Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 16 August 2017

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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 16 August 2017

This is a free weekly news & information update from the Courage Kenny Handiham Program, serving people with disabilities in Amateur Radio since 1967. 

Our contact information is at the end.

Listen to this newsletter in audio format: https://handiham.org/audio/handiham16AUG2017.mp3

Subscribe or change your subscription to the E-mail version here.

Welcome to Handiham World.

In this edition: 

  • A note from the coordinator

  • The Ken Gruetzmacher Story

  • Things Technical Part 2—Why radials?

  • Eclipse Webinar with Ken KB3LLA

  • “Observe” August’s Eclipse with Your AM Radio

  • Eclipse App Description

  • Other Options for Remote Operation

  • Easily Install and Maintain Computer Apps

  • Blind Friendly Ham Radio Site

  • Avery's QTH

  • Down memory lane…

  • Check into our nets!

  • ...And more!

A note from the coordinator...

As we have been emphasizing in the E-Letter each week, 2017 marks the 50 year anniversary of the Handiham Program. The following article originally aired in the Spring 1997 issue of Handiham World, celebrating 30 years of the Handiham Program. It is a good chance for us to review the history of the program and even get a glimpse of the different names the program has used over the years!

The Big Three-Oh!

By Richard Jorgenson, KB0QPY

In 1997, we celebrate 30 years of Handihams! Come and join the party! Work the Handiham headquarters station, W0ZSW, or the Radio Camp station, W0EQO, and get a special 30 year commemorative QSL card.

The Courage Handiham System was “born” in Rochester, Minnesota in 1967, the idea of Ned Carmen, W0ZSW. Ned worked for a clinic, and, in the course of his work, would visit people with severe physical disabilities. As he spoke with his clients, who often had few opportunities to leave their homes, he realized that Amateur radio would be the perfect hobby for them. Here was a hobby that could open a window to the world!

A person with the most severe disabilities could stand as an equal with fellow hams in the world of Amateur Radio! Ned enlisted the help of a group of local nuns, the Sisters of St. Francis, on April 30, 1967. Although their first action was as weather watchers during a thunderstorm that passed through Rochester that day, the Sisters were committed to helping Ned with his new project, and several received their licenses. Among them was Sister Alverna O’Laughlin, WA0SGJ, the current Educational Coordinator for the Handiham System.

The first Handiham was Edna (Eddy) Thornson, N0YL, who took her General Class license exam in December, 1967.

Very soon, the Rochester Amateur Radio Club, and, a little later, the PICO Net of South Eastern Minnesota took up the torch of service that Ned had lighted. The Handiham System soon expanded throughout southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

By 1969, it was very evident that the expansion of Handiham services could not continue without some rather substantial financial support. This support came from the nonprofit Minnesota Society for Crippled Children and Adults (whose name would later change to “Courage Center”). The Society granted full affiliate status to the fledgling System and helped with money and equipment.

Word of the Handiham System spread throughout the Upper Midwest, then across the country, and around the world. It became impossible to continue the work of the System as a volunteer organization…Something had to be done, or Handihams would be a victim of its own success. The answer emerged when Courage Center agreed to accept the System as a program, and, in 1975, the Minnesota Handiham System merged with Courage Center to become a full service providing help wherever there was a need.

The Courage Handiham System, now a fully-integrated service of Courage Center, is able to call on the resources of its parent organization, from accounting and counseling to rehabilitation medicine and physical therapy, in order to better serve its students and members.

Ned Carmen is a silent key, but the Courage Handiham System’s headquarters station bears his call sign, W0ZSW, and an organization of volunteers and paid staff carries on his good work of sharing Amateur Radio with people who have physical disabilities.

Eddy, N0YL, was featured in last week’s E-Letter. Be sure to check out her amateur radio story if you have not already read it!

What name do we use now? We are the Handiham Program. We no longer use the terms Handiham System or even Handihams, although you will still hear them from those of us who have been in the program a long time. Old habits die hard!

Do you have a story to share about your ham radio related activities? Please send your articles and stories via email to Lucinda.Moody@allina.com or by calling me at 612-775-2290.

The Ken Gruetzmacher Story

Editor’s note: For persons with disabilities, achieving that coveted amateur radio license can mean having to work harder than most other aspiring hams. While accommodations may be available for some people with certain disabilities, the reality is that those accommodations are no substitute for hard work and consistently applied effective study methods. The following article demonstrating the extra effort necessary to reach personal goals was printed in the Fall 1994 issue of Handiham World:

The Ken Gruetzmacher Story

By Janice Robidoux, K0JA

For Ken Gruetzmacher of St. Paul, receiving his amateur radio license and call letters, KB0OCU, must be almost as exciting as getting his hole-in-one on the Hiawatha golf course come years ago.

Five years ago, Ken, a retired organic chemist, suffered a stroke that damaged his brain, putting a seemingly overwhelming obstacle in his path to getting his amateur radio license. Before his stroke, Ken had completed an amateur radio course offered by the St. Paul Radio Club and had even purchased a Kenwood TS820S and antenna in anticipation of getting on the air. After the stroke, Ken couldn’t remember any of the material he had learned and had lost any and all code skills.

The VA hospital suggested he contact the Courage Handiham Program for assistance in recovering the lost material and skills. Ken embarked on a correspondence course and found that although he could do fairly well with radio theory, he was unable to recover any code skills. The Handiham Program recommended he go for the No-Code Novice or Technician license, but even that seemed overwhelming.

Perseverance, determination to get on the air, and lots of hard work won. Ken enrolled in the radio classes taught by Tony Tretter, W0KVO, at Courage Center. Despite constant transportation difficulties, Ken completed the course and was one of two students to get the Technician level of No-Code license in July, 1994.

Ken has since purchased a Realistic 2 meter handi-talkie and intends to become active on the repeaters in the Twin Cities.

That doesn’t mean that Ken has forgotten that Kenwood TS820S. He still intends to overcome the code obstacle and get the license that will allow him to transmit with it on the HF bands.

Congratulations Ken, and good luck on upgrading. See you on the air.

Things technical Part 2—Why radials?

From the Fall 1992 issue of Handiham World, editor Pat Tice, WA0TDA, shares the following introduction……

Last time, Don Newcomb, W0DN, discussed the finer points of grounding as related to vertical antennas. This time, he takes on some practical aspects of grounding systems. Do you really have to copper-plate your back yard? Read on

Reprinted with permission from DX Engineering / Butternut

Some practical considerations, however, before we take a close look at some fairly typical installations and draw some rough conclusions: the perfect ground system for a vertical antenna operating in the HF range is probably out of the question on most residential lots, but that doesn’t at all mean that nothing can be done to reduce earth losses and turn more of your applied power into useful radiation rather than heat. The most important thing to keep in mind as we go along is that some of your precious R.F. will be radiated straight-away (good), a relatively small amount will be lost forever in feed line, traps, loading coils, and the like (not so good, but we can usually live with it), and a fair amount will come raining down from the vertical radiator onto your lossy real estate. Your main task will be to help this last portion of R.F. work its way back to the antenna feed point with as little wear and tear as possible so that most of it will be available to run up the radiator again on the next cycle. How to do it? Copper-plate your back yard? Hardly practical, but you can do quite a bit with plain old wire (bare or insulated) in any gauge heavy enough to stay in one piece if stepped on or if ground between rocks during a hard freeze. Many radial wires emanating from the base of the antenna will offer a number of low resistance paths back to the feed point. These radial wires can be buried an inch or two under the sod to protect them from lawn mowers and foot traffic, or they can simply be draped on the earth. There’s no point in burying them any deeper than is necessary to get them out of the way. Space them more or less uniformly over 360 degrees (not always possible, but that’s the goal).

How many wires? That depends on how long they are. How long should they be? Answer: The longer the better. The hitch is that as the wires become longer, more of them are required to take full advantage of their greater length. This is because a longer wire will intercept current on the surface out to a greater distance than will a shorter wire (good), but for a given number of wires, the separation between adjacent wires necessarily increases as the wires become longer, in which case currents on the surface between two highly–conductive wires must cross an ever-greater stretch of lossy earth to encounter a low-loss path home (not so good). Of course, four 1/2-wave radials will do a better job of reducing ground losses than will four ¼-wave radials, but the difference may not be very great for the reason just given and because the intensity of currents flowing out near the end of the wires will be much less than that of currents closer to the antenna.

It’s generally reckoned that approximately half the ground loss encountered occurs within a circle having a radius equal to the antenna’s height and that most (though not all) of the remaining loss resistance occurs in the next quarter wavelength out from the antenna as the capacitance between the vertical radiator and the earth rapidly decreases. In any case, it’s clear that for a given amount of wire, it pays to lay down a larger number of radials when they have to be short, although some have pushed this sound principle to ridiculous lengths, cutting 120 one-foot radials (covering approximately the same surface area as a garbage can lid) when a dozen 10-footers would have done a much better job.

Perhaps you’ve heard or read that all radials should be some particular resonant length, say a quarter wavelength, before they’re draped on the earth or buried slightly under the sod. Resonant radials have their uses (as we’ll see shortly), but, within a few feet of the earth, any practical length of wire in the HF range will have enough capacitance to the earth to be tightly coupled to it and thus be detuned considerably, much as a horizontal wire dipole at very low heights will be detuned from the formula lengths for resonance by the earth. Luckily, radials at ground level need not be resonant at all, so at ground level your only problem is to make the earth around the antenna more conductive than it is to start with. In practice, that means putting down as many radials as possible and making each one of them as long as possible.

In essence, all we’re talking about is efficiency. If you put 100 watts into an antenna, how much of that leaves the antenna as useful radiation, and how much is lost as heat? Some of the quantities we have to deal with are elusive and usually can be measured only indirectly, but with a little theory and seventh-grade math, we can begin to evaluate things more or less logically and usually come up with useful insights into the probable effectiveness of a proposed vertical installation.

The first basic concept we have to deal with is radiation resistance. This term is a misnomer in that it doesn’t denote a real resistance, but R.F. energy that is “lost” by radiation—just what we want. In fact, we can say that radiation resistance is “good” resistance as opposed to “bad” ground and conductor resistance which represent a total loss.

Let’s assume that the antenna is a full quarter-wave tall and resonant or nearly so (the usual case), so that we don’t have to worry about any inductive or capacitive reactance components or losses in loading coils or matching networks. Of all the several “resistances,” the radiation resistance is the easiest to estimate because that’s largely a matter of radiator height (length) and to a lesser extent, diameter. Conductor resistance is usually negligible for radiators constructed of tubing, but leading losses can increase rapidly as the structure to bring the antenna to resonance and the various trap circuits required for multiband operation add their own losses. Some of these are lossier than others, so one should refer to the ARRL Handbook or other publications for a more thorough understanding of such concepts as “Q” and “form factor”.

But ground losses can easily exceed combined conductor, loading, and trap losses if no measures are taken to reduce them. Let’s consider a ¼-wave vertical at ground level with only a 6-ft. rod for a ground system (a fairly typical installation, regrettably). Because a quarter-wave is a resonant length, we can forget about loading and trap losses, and the conductor losses will usually be low enough to ignore.

Therefore, we can assume that whatever feed point impedance we encounter will consist of the antenna radiation resistance plus the ground loss resistance and little else, so we attach our 50-ohm cable and measure the SWR. Hmmm. The lowest SWR in the center of the band is 2:1! What does that tell us? First, we know that a SWR of 2:1 on 50-ohm line means a feed point impedance of either 100 or 25 ohms. Which is it? Luckily, we also know that a ¼-wave vertical has a radiation resistance of approximately 35 ohms, so there’s no way our total feed point impedance can drop below that value. Our feed point impedance at resonance, then, is 100 ohms, and we now have enough information to say something about the efficiency of this antenna and its ground system. If our radiation resistance is 35 ohms, we must also have some 65 ohms of pure ground loss resistance that’s doing us no good at all.

Efficiency (the ratio of power radiated by the antenna to the total power fed to it and expressed as a percentage) can be easily calculated by dividing the radiation resistance by the total impedance of the antenna circuit (i.e., radiation resistance + ground loss resistance + conductor, trap and loading losses of all kinds). In this little example, we’ve assumed a resonant quarter-wave antenna to simplify matters, so we can now say that the efficiency is equal to the radiation resistance (35 ohms) divided by the same radiation resistance (35 ohms) and ground and other losses (65 ohms) of 35/100 = 35%, meaning that a little more than one watt out of every three applied to the antenna goes anywhere.

Suppose, however, that we put down a half dozen radials and find that our SWR drops to 1:1? (It may or may not!) That would mean that the feed point impedance has dropped to 50 ohms, and since our radiation resistance is still 35 ohms, we can assume that the ground loss component is down to only 15 ohms. Our efficiency, however is up to 35/50 or 70%--a notable improvement for a dollar or two worth of wire! Additional increases in efficiency will come more slowly and require much more wire, of course, but from zero radials to a half-dozen or so, there’s probably no easier or less expensive way to make your signal louder. Just how much improvement you can expect from adding radials to a system that previously included none is hard to predict because we don’t usually know what the local R.F. ground loss resistance is to start with, and the technique of working back from the SWR with no radials at all permits only a rough estimate if we have an approximate idea of the radiation resistance of the antenna. If the antenna is much shorter than ¼ wave and has to be loaded to resonate on a given band (the usual case with multiband verticals), the radiation resistance will be lower still and the overall efficiency reduced, particularly if the loading or trap coils are lossy, as they usually are, though you’re not going to find this mentioned in any of the ads of those concerns who sell them.

Most commercial multiband vertical antennas stand less than 30 ft. tall (a bit less than ¼ wave at 7 MHz) and, worse, the use of traps to decouple sections of the radiator for resonance on the higher frequency bands means that less than ¼ wavelength of the available radiator will come into play on all but the highest-frequency band (usually 10 meters). This, in turn, means that the radiation resistance will reach 35 ohms only on that band because the first trap, inserted at the ¼-wave point for the highest-frequency band, acts as a loading coil on each lower-frequency band and progressively reduces the length of the radiator required for resonance. In other words, the 10 meter trap “loads” 15 meters, the 10 and 15 traps load 20 meters, the 10, 15, and 20 meter traps load 40 meters, and so on, each trap adding its own little bundle of loss resistance and helping to reduce the radiation resistance at the lower frequencies where the antenna is already “short” and thus has relatively low values of radiation resistance to start with.

Consider a vertical antenna having the same physical height as a quarter wave but now loaded to resonate at half-frequency over our original no-radial ground system. If the antenna is ¼ wavelength on, say, 40 meters, its physical height is about 33 ft. A 1/4-wave resonant vertical for 80 or 75 meters would have to be some 60 ft. tall, so what order of radiation resistance can we expect from something half as tall? Probably something in the range of 12 ohms, and we can assume that our ground loss resistance won’t be any worse on 80/75 than it was on 40 meters because ground losses tend to increase with frequency. Anyway, if we apply a little power to it, we’ll probably read SWR = 3:1 or so at resonance. With 50-ohm line, we know that the total feed point impedance at resonance must be either 3 x 50 ohms or 50 ohms/3, either 150 ohms or 16.6 ohms. Again, it’s almost certainly the higher values because our 12 or so ohms of radiation resistance subtracted from the lower value would leave only 4.6 ohms for any ground and loading coil loss resistance. If we met with 60+ ohms of ground loss on another band, we’ll probably have nearly as much to contend with on 80 or even 160 meters. Further, we shouldn’t completely ignore possible loss resistance in the loading coil, so figure maybe 5 ohms of our total feed point impedance for that.

Efficiency, then, would be approximately 12/150 = 8%! If we put back our six radials and observe that the SWR at resonance has dropped to 1.5, we can assume that the total feed point impedance has dropped to only 75 ohms and that our efficiency has gone up to 16%. That may not sound like much compared to a full-size dipole operating at 90% efficiency or more, but don’t be misled, for it still amounts to a signal gain of 3dB! Most low-band dipoles can’t be put high enough above the earth to produce much low-angle radiation for DX operation, and even an “inefficient” vertical will often out-perform a low dipole on 80 or 40 meters when the path length exceeds a few thousand miles. Longer and more numerous radials would further reduce the ground loss resistance and increase efficiency, and, if you managed to string out 100 radials for zero ground loss resistance would you ever arrive at even 90% efficiency? Probably not, because of the loss resistance in the loading coil or in the traps that contribute to the loading. The total feed point impedance would consist of the antenna radiation resistance (12 ohms), loading coil loss resistance (5 ohms) and zero ground loss resistance, 17 ohms in all, so 12/17 = 70% efficiency at best. Your signal would be stronger by some 6 decibels, equivalent to quadrupling the transmitter power, and your SWR would be up to 3:1 again, but a simple matching device can take care of that. Have we really gained anything? Yes, we certainly have. It’s much easier and less expensive to match the feed line to the antenna than to use an amplifier!

Several important points emerge from this last discussion. The first is that one should try to keep the radiation resistance as high as possible in relation to the circuit loss resistance for the sake of efficiency. Unfortunately, the radiation resistance largely depends on the height of the vertical structure, so as a practical matter, all we can hope to do is to reduce the ground loss resistance through the use of radials and the loading losses through the use of high-Q loading inductors of large diameter. The slim loading coils and traps of light wire encased in metal that one sees in today’s commercial designs are not what is needed!

Next time: Don reaches into his magic hat and pulls out…Hmmm, what is this? Yikes! SWR! Put it back! We need to take five before we find out whether low SWR means high efficiency. Find out when Don discusses SWR and superstition in the next issue of Handiham World.

Eclipse Webinar with Ken KB3LLA

Earlier this week, Erin McKinley and Ken, KB3LLA, connected with Hadley Institute for a special NASA-Hadley Eclipse edition of their online podcast. It was a great event, and they have uploaded the recording here: https://hadley.edu/eclipse-webinar.asp

“Observe” August’s Eclipse with Your AM Radio

Bob Kelley, K1KVV, told us Sky and Telescope is sponsoring an opportunity using AM radios. See the link below for all details, including preferred AM stations to monitor during the passage of the moon’s shadow during the (partial) solar eclipse. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/2017-total-solar-eclipse/how-to-hear-the-...

Eclipse App Description

Kitty Hevener, W8TDA, sent in the following: I just listened to a demonstration of an iPhone app that provides a multisensory approach to “viewing” various eclipses, including the upcoming total eclipse on August 21. It sounds really cool! I thought others might be interested in checking it out. Listen to the demo at http://blindabilities.com/technology/quickhit/eclipse-soundscapes-projec...

Other options for Remote Operation

John Glass, NU6P, says the remote control rig from Remote Rig might be an option for those who would rather have hand controls similar to those found on a radio rather than computer based controls. More information can be found at their web site: http://www.remoterig.com/wp/

Harwood West, WB4RLO, suggests the controller from Remote Shack as an option that allows you to control your radio remotely via a telephone. More information is available at the following web site: http://remoteshack.com/

Easily Install and Maintain Computer Apps

Dick Garey, WA0CAF, alerted us to this next site where you can install and maintain your computer applications easily. This is a collection of apps that have been tested and are known to work with common screen reader software for people with visual impairments. The website can be found at the following address: https://ninite.com/accessible

Blind Friendly Ham Radio Site

Harwood West, WB4RLO, also told us about another ham radio web site for hams who are blind or visually impaired. You can find the information at http://www.hamradioandvision.com

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

How I became a licensed Radio Amateur:

One of my relatives our family visited had a Zenith Transatlantic short wave radio I used to listen to every time we were there. At one point that person bought a brand spanking new Zenith Radio and gave me the old one... Watching the glowing tubes late at night SWL'ing the short wave bands, I heard many things. Commercial short wave broadcast stations from around the world, thumping—no BFO to copy it—sounds (CW), people chatting with each other (hams), and, oh, how I wished I could enter the conversations. Later, I built an external BFO and copied commercial CW stations.

Before school I would hear BBC in London, HCJB in Peru, Radio Moscow in Russia, Voice of America and some others. Probably I was more informed on World News than even my teachers. It always amazed me how the same news could be reported so differently depending on which country was reporting it.

Around 1954-5, I was introduced to Amateur Radio by a couple friends. The high school I attended had a ham radio club that had meetings after school was over. One of the school's teachers was a licensed ham and started the club.

About this time I figured it would be fun to get licensed, so I started studying. Back then there were 5 classes of licenses, and, besides the written exam, there was an International Morse Code test which had to be passed before being able to take the written. 5 wpm for Novice and Technician, 13 wpm for General & Advanced, 20 wpm for Extra class.

One minute of solid copy out of the five minutes it was sent was required to pass. The Novice was good for only one year after which one either left the air or upgraded to General. My novice went about 9 months, when I passed my General. Tests were taken in the FCC office in St. Paul, MN. If a person failed they had to wait thirty days before taking the exam again. The written part contained some questions that required drawing diagrams of different circuits. No multiple choice guessing on those.

OK, so now with a passed test, the wait for the license to could be up to three months (mine did), and no operation at that class until the "ticket" came in the postal mail. In 1956, I was a Novice with the call, KN0HLA, and when I passed my General, the "N" was dropped. K0HLA was and is my original call.

My first rig was a Hallicrafters S-40B with a Heathkit "Q" multiplier attached and a Heathkit DX-35 transmitter with a Heathkit antenna tuner and a very long, long-wire antenna.

The DX-35 was both AM phone & CW, however, it was cathode controlled carrier modulation and, other than a few locals on 80 or 10 meters, I didn't operate much phone because the modulation was so poor I'd get signal reports of " strong carrier but very poor modulation." On CW, I worked the world and, not realizing it, my code speed increased just from using it so much.

Just shortly after I became General Class, I heard 2 CW stations, and, since I thought I was a "Hot shot CW operator," I broke in on them. We had quite a 3 way going on CW, but our speed kept increasing until I couldn't get much of their transmissions. Well this hot dog CW operator was humbled when it turned out those two guys were the radio operators on board ships on the Great Lakes and all they did all day was CW...

Their ham chats were a bus man’s holiday off the commercial frequencies... Well, that taught me about the gentlemen’s agreement that you only send as fast or slow as the other person... QRQ & QRS were used by me quite often after that...

When Single Side Band first came on the bands I was still only AM and CW, but I had a very stable VFO for that point in time, so I'd very carefully zero beat the SSB stations and chat with them. Most of the time, they never checked to see if I had a carrier and never knew I was an amplitude modulated station. Every once in a while a station would drift off frequency noticing my secret but not very often.

Novice Roundup was a favorite of mine. I'd go down on the novice CW bands, giving them contacts and slowing down to whatever speed they were at.

Field Day was another one of my favorites. One year when Bruce, K0HR, was Handiham manager, I helped with a Field Day station set up on the patio just outside the Handiham office. In those days, the office was on the main floor at the end of the building. Several Handiham members operated Field Day from W0ZSW that year.

As the years passed, I was involved with most of the activities radio amateurs are associated with, operating most of the bands and modes.

Last Thursday, I visited Lucinda & Nancy at the Handiham Headquarters where I was greeted by these and a million more memories. So ends a trip down memory lane.

73 es DX de K0HLA Avery

Down memory lane...

In honor of the celebration of 50 years of the Handiham Program, here is an article by Peter Gamble, N1SCL, first reported in the Summer 1995 issue of Handiham World. It is a good reminder to keep your HT close by and your batteries charged!

Handheld Radio Proves a Lifesaver: Murphy Pays a Visit Twice, but Is Thwarted By an HT!

My little 2 meter HT has saved me twice in the past six months. I am a paraplegic who likes to consider himself very independent, but keep my radio handy “just in case.”

My wife and I rent an apartment in the town of Hanover where I am now going to school. We also have a tree farm in a town about an hour south of there. In January, I went to the tree farm to get some tools out of the house. I was trying to fix my wheelchair lift on the van and needed the soldering tools. Unfortunately, the soldering iron I had was a low wattage one and what I needed for this job was a heavy duty iron. It was pretty cold outside (about 0 degrees Fahrenheit), so that low-watt iron really couldn’t do the job. I was trying to replace a toggle switch on my lift, but no matter how long I held the iron up to the terminal it wouldn’t get hot enough to melt the solder off the joint. I decided to pack it up for the day before it got too cold outside.

I put the tools inside and turned on the alarm for the house as I was leaving. I got outside and reached back to close the door behind me and heard a POP! My left shoulder popped out of the socket. This has happened only a few times since my accident a few years ago, but has been happening more lately since I started a swimming class. Now I was stuck outside with my arm hanging off my shoulder, bent over in my chair, and unable to move with only one arm to use.

I thought to myself, “OK, since I didn’t close the door to the house, the alarm should go off, and a cop will come. I should be outta here soon.”

So I waited. I decided to scream out for help anyway just because it hurt so much. I knew there was no one around for miles, but at least I got to shout some of the pain out. After about 20 minutes in agony, I realized I was going to have to figure out how to call for help. I was getting colder and colder waiting for the police to check up on the house alarm, and still bent over in the chair when it dawned on me, “Hey, I’ve got my HT! I can call for help on the repeater!”

I reached down to the net under my chair and started grabbing for the HT. I finally got it and broke into a conversation that my Elmer was having. He called the dispatcher for me using the autopatch, and the ambulance came in a few minutes.

The other day, I got home late from a trip to Boston. I got into the shower as soon as I stepped in the door and didn’t take the time to turn the heat back up. I was in the shower and reaching for the soap at about ten after midnight, and I heard a POP! Out came my arm again.

It took me awhile to sit upright on the shower bench, but I got there. Next, I tried to shut the water off so my neighbors could hear me shout for help. I shouted my head off, but no one heard me. Meanwhile, I was thinking about how to get more comfortable…I was freezing cold. I decided to lean over to my left so my arm hung over the side of the bench and my head rested on the toilet seat. This way, I thought I could try to pop my arm back into place and reach my HT. I couldn’t get my hands on the HT until about 4 am and never did succeed in getting my arm back into its socket.

But I got my HT. Of course, the battery wasn’t strong enough to reach the repeater that has autopatch capability, so I tried a closer repeater. Nobody uses the smaller repeaters at that time of day. Naturally, I wore out the battery trying to make contact. God stepped in at about 8:30 am and recharged my battery just enough for me to break into a conversation on the small repeater. All I had was enough juice to transmit my location, my need for an ambulance, and my call sign. Help showed up about 9 am (the cop had to break the window to get in).

Now I’m recovering at home. I have bought a 12 inch antenna and a larger battery that I will always keep charged. Also, I plan on taking my cordless phone with me into the bathroom from now on.

What are you waiting for? Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome! 

How to find the Handiham Net: 

  • The Handiham EchoLink conference is 494492.  Connect via your iPhone, Android phone, PC, or on a connected simplex node or repeater system in your area.

  • The Handiham Net will be on the air daily. If there is no net control station on any scheduled net day, we will have a roundtable on the air get-together.  

    Cartoon multicolored stickman family holding hands, one wheelchair user among them.

Our daily Echolink net continues to operate for anyone and everyone who wishes to participate at 11:00 hours CST (Noon Eastern and 09:00 Pacific), as well as Wednesday evenings at 19:00 hours CST (7 PM).  If you calculate GMT, the time difference is that GMT is five hours ahead of Minnesota time during the summer.

Doug, N6NFF, poses a trivia question in the first half of the Wednesday evening session, so check in early if you want to take a guess.   The answer to the trivia question is generally given shortly after the half-hour mark.  A big THANK YOU to all of our net control stations and to our Handiham Club Net Manager, James, KD0AES.


  • You can pay your Handiham dues and certain other program fees on line. Simply follow the link to our secure payment site, then enter your information and submit the payment.  It's easy and secure!

    • Handiham annual membership dues are $12.00.  The lifetime membership rate is $120.00.

    • If you want to donate to the Handiham Program, please use our donation website.  The instructions are at the following link:

How to contact us

There are several ways to contact us.

Postal Mail:

Courage Kenny Handiham Program
3915 Golden Valley Road MR#78446
Golden Valley, MN 55422


Preferred telephone: 1-612-775-2291
Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442)

Note: Mondays through Thursdays between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM United States Central Time are the best times to contact us.

You may also call Handiham Program Coordinator Lucinda Moody, AB8WF, at: 612-775-2290.

73, and I hope to hear you on the air soon! 

For Handiham World, this is Lucinda Moody, AB8WF

The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is available to everyone free of charge. Please email Lucinda.Moody@allina.com  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.

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