Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 23 August 2017

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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 23 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.

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

Welcome to Handiham World.

In this edition: 

  • A note from the coordinator

  • Linda Reeder, N7HVF “High Voltage Female"

  • Things Technical Part 3—Why Radials?”

  • Forty Years of the Handiham Program

  • Avery's QTH

  • Down memory lane…

  • Check into our nets!

  • ...And more!

A note from the coordinator...

I think it is time for an update from the Handiham Program headquarters. Nancy and I have been busy working on the plans and changes taking place in the Program. Stay tuned to your weekly newsletter for announcements and updates as the Program evolves.

Last week, Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, played at Diane’s, WD9DNQ, home. Dennis, K0CCR, was also in attendance. Following lunch, everyone had lots of fun singing along with Matt. The event brought back pleasant memories of camps where Handiham Members were encouraged to bring their musical instruments and play for talent night or during impromptu jam sessions and evenings around the campfire.

Today, Nancy and I met with Jerry, N0VOE, to discuss the history and future of the Handiham Program. Jerry had all kinds of stories to share of his years working with the Program. For those of us who have been around for a while, our first contact with someone from the Handiham Program was often with Jerry when he telephoned us, challenging us to study hard and not let our disabilities define us. I am looking forward to hearing Jerry on the Handiham nets. Be sure to check in so you can talk to him too!

In the newsletter this week, we will continue with the third installment of our series on radials, Avery offers some tips and stories about helping people learn CW, and we will hear more stories from past issues of Handiham World.

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.

Linda Reeder, N7HVF “High Voltage Female”

Editor’s note: Linda, N7HVF, is the current president of the Handiham Radio Club. Listen for her on the Wednesday evening net where she is often the back-up net control station. The following article was first printed in the Fall 1992 issue of Handiham World:

Linda Reeder, N7HVF “High Voltage Female”

By Cheryl Berthelsen, N7XHZ

Tune in your 2 meter ham radio to the 146.62 repeater in the Salt Lake City area any weekday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and call “N7HVF,” and you will probably make contact with Linda Reeder, affectionately known as “High Voltage Female.” This phonetic for her call sign appropriately describes this remarkable young woman who is full of energy and dedicated to services for others. Linda stands just five feet tall, but she is a giant among amateur radio operators in the area. Ask Linda for a phone number or address, and she’ll read it to you from the Braille cards she keeps with her. Yes, Linda is blind, but her lack of sight has not clouded her vision of what life is all about. Her bright and giving spirit touches many of our lives, and she is an inspiration to all.

Linda was born blind, but this hasn’t stopped her from achieving her goals. She received a degree in communications from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. For several years, she worked at KSL radio. It was the engineers at KSL that got her interested in amateur radio. She earned her technician class license in 1985. With the encouragement of her friends, she started working on the 13 wpm Morse code requirement for general class license. Then she suffered a great setback. While on a river trip with her church group (Linda’s blindness doesn’t stop her from enjoying life), she suffered a ruptured aneurysm in a blood vessel in her brain. She had to start all over learning the code. The code didn’t come easy for Linda, but her determination paid off. After a year and a half of practice and hard work, she received her Extra class license, including the 20 wpm code requirement.

Linda now works as a switchboard operator at the county health department. Her value to the ham community is demonstrated by the fact that her employer allowed the local hams to erect an antenna at her place of employment so she can monitor the airwaves while at work. Between telephone calls, she answers radio calls for information or has a friendly conversation with a mobile operator who wants to talk. Almost every ham in Salt Lake County knows N7HVF, and she has a large group of friends who love to talk with her on the radio.

Linda also enjoys the HF bands. She regularly checks into the net for the American Council for the Blind and the Kididdlehopper Net on 40 meters. She is happy to do third-party contacts and phone patches when needed. Linda is active in many volunteer activities. Every year, she pays for her own plane ticket and uses her vacation time to attend the Handiham Radio Camp. She enjoys helping other disabled people get their amateur radio licenses. Every Thursday night, she does public service announcements for the local radio station, KRCL-FM 91. Linda is an active member of the MARA net and for years did announcements on the Utah Amateur Radio Club (UARC) net on Sunday nights. Every Saturday, she makes a long distance call to record the Amateur Radio Newsline to be replayed on the UARC net on Sunday.

When Linda knows of a need, she does her best to assist or find someone to help. For example, Linda learned of a blind man who enjoyed listening to the TV show “Hee Haw” and who was upset when it was taken off the air in his area. For the past year, Linda has recorded the show on cassette tape every Saturday and mailed it to him.

Linda is also a dedicated member of her church. She is active in her singles ward, attends services weekly, and participates in church activities. Recently, the ward had a weekend campout in the mountains with a Friday night dance. Linda DJ’d the dance, announcing the songs and giving details about the hit and the artist, which she typed in Braille on cards for the occasion. She is the temple coordinator for her ward and organizes monthly visits to temples in the area for her group. Linda’s blindness doesn’t stop her from going on ward activities. She went on the annual snow outings, sliding down the slopes on an inner tube just like the rest of us. Her adventurous spirit and cheerful ways are very contagious.

Linda is a dedicated ham, encouraging others to get into the hobby, assisting them in their goals, and celebrating their accomplishments. How do I know? Because I caught the amateur radio “bug” from her.

Things Technical Part 3—Why Radials?

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

Last time, Don Newcomb, W0DN, explored the practical aspects of grounding systems. Now he forges forward into the strange and uncharted vastness known as “SWR”. Here’s your chance to find out what folks like us don’t know, but should, when we use the term “SWR” and “antenna” in the same sentence!

Reprinted with permission from DX Engineering / Butternut

Consider standing wave ratio, or SWR. Doesn’t a low value of SWR always mean that an antenna is operating efficiently? No, it means nothing of the kind. Over the last 30 years or so, low SWR has become an end in itself, especially since most no-tune solid-state transceivers won’t deliver full power into 50-ohm lines that aren’t almost perfectly matched to the antenna circuit. But what about line losses because of high SWR? The truth is that even a perfectly matched 100-foot length of good coax will have a built-in loss of approximately one decibel at 30 MHz, and increasing the SWR to 3:1 or so would cause only negligible additional loss that would be even more negligible at lower frequencies.

How can we account for all the superstitions that have grown up around SWR? We’ve all heard of the fellow who raised and lowered his beam until he found the exact height that produced the lowest SWR reading in the shack. That his beam might have worked much better at a slightly greater height with only a slight increase in SWR didn’t interest him at all because SWR was the only thing that mattered. Similarly, some poor misguided souls have ripped up excellent radial systems because they found that increased SWR was too great a price to pay for greatly improved performance. Silly? It certainly is, but it points up a dirty little “secret” that most manufacturers would rather not reveal; namely, that they depend on you having a fair amount of ground loss for their verticals to operate with tolerable SWR on some or all bands.

We said a bit earlier that a vertical antenna’s radiation resistance depends almost entirely on its physical height or length. For obvious practical reasons, this height is usually between 25 and 30 feet, much shorter than the 60-odd feet needed for a quarter wave length on 80/75 meters or even on 40 meters, so the antenna radiation resistance never reaches the 35 ohms that we read about in the literature. In fact, the multiple-trap design approach most often means that the radiation resistance won’t reach 35 ohms on any band except 10 meters where only the lower eight feet or so of the antenna is being used. Feed such an antenna with 50-ohm cable over a good ground system and the SWR should be no better than 1.5 on any band—barely acceptable in these days of no-tune solid state finals. But if we can count on a few dozen ohms of ground loss resistance, the total feedpoint impedance comes closer to 50 ohms and the SWR moves closer to 1.1! All is right with the world, at least if you don’t worry about efficiency. One final example to illustrate:

A popular multiband trap vertical has a total height of some 25 feet, all of which is used on 80 meters. On 40 meters, however, only about 20 feet of it is used because a 40 meter trap is inserted at that point to block current flow on that band and to provide enough inductance for resonance on 80 meters. The normal physical length for a resonant quarter wave-length on 40 meters is still approximately 33 feet. So the fact that this antenna needs to be only 22 feet tall suggests that the trap circuits for the higher-frequency bands contribute a fair amount of loading on 40 meters. But, as we’ve seen, shortening the antenna can lower the antenna’s radiation resistance quite a bit, to maybe 20 ohms on 40 meters in this instance. When a 50-ohm feed line is connected, what will the SWR be? Absent significant ground and loading losses, it should be roughly 50/20 or 2.5:1 at best. Happily, however, most people will drive a stake in the ground, run out a short radial or two, accept another 25 ohms or so of ground loss resistance and end up with a SWR of 1.5 or less, not realizing that more than half their power is being lost in the ground connection. Luckily for all concerned, very little radiated power is required for effective communication over great distances under most conditions, as the QRP crowd has amply demonstrated over the years, so no one is the wiser. When you hear someone describe a vertical antenna as a “dummy load on a stick” or as “one that radiates equally poorly in all directions,” these remarks should probably be directed at the whole installation, including the ground system, rather than the vertical radiator and its circuits.

But what about the poor fellow who read the ARRL Antenna Book and installed a good ground system? Is he stuck with his 2.5 SWR or must he remove radials until his SWR (and his signal) drop below some magic number? Must he buy an expensive “antenna tuner?” Not at all! It’s a simple and inexpensive job to come up with a “cheap and dirty” matching device that will cover all the HF bands, and one is included with every Butternut HF vertical.

Radiation resistance, remember, is not a real resistance, but we have to account for any power fed to the antenna circuit that disappears through useful radiation as well as any loss resistance that simply consumes power to no purpose. But there’s no harm in treating it as “lost” for our simple calculations so long as we recognize what’s happening in the real world.

Remember, too, that our various calculations, simple as they are, don’t begin to explain in detail just what is happening in all cases with all antennas, useful as they might be for a general understanding of what is involved.

Next time: Ha! Just when you thought you had SWR under your belt, Don threw in radiation resistance, too. Next time, he wraps it all up with some practical tips and discusses some commonly used terms.

Forty Years of the Handiham Program…

"Forty Years of Handi-Hams"

Written by Daryl Stout, WX1DER

1) Forty years of Handi-Hams, the celebration sings;
Of its varied history, the changes that it brings.
W Zero Zed S W, began it long ago.
And, what it has become today, Ned Carman could not know.

2) Forty years of Handi-Hams, Rochester it began;
Then all of Minnesota, and all across the land.
Now, worldwide, it is known, success for all to see.
Ham Radio help to everyone with disability.

3) Forty years of Handi-Hams, Courage Center run,
The learning process that they do, makes the hobby fun.
Helping hams get their license, upgrading after that.
Gaining skills they'll use for life...just like it's old hat.

4) Forty years of Handi-Hams, and daily on air nets.
Both RF nets and Echolink, a check-in you can get.
California and Minnesota, Radio Camps there are.
To learn the hobby, fellowship, with hams from near and far.

5) Forty years of Handi-Hams, to all the volunteers
We celebrate all of their work, and give our hearty cheers.
To keep the dream alive forever, of Ned Carman's plans,
I'm proud to be part of this group, Courage Handi-Hams.

From the "My Testimony --To Soar With Jesus Collection".
(C) Copyright 1989, 2017 by Daryl Stout. All Rights Reserved.

Editor's note: Daryl sent this poem that he wrote commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Handiham Program.

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

For many years International Morse Code at 5, 13, and 20 words per minute was a requirement for the amateur radio license in the United States and other parts of the world, but several people had problems with it. I thought, wouldn't it be great if there was an on the air class?

I called the FCC office in St. Paul and asked an FCC engineer about the legality of one way communications for the class. The reply was that W1AW does it for their CW runs, so it's OK. Also, I asked about using modulated CW (that’s where you hold the output speaker of an oscillator against the microphone and send CW into the mic). For six meters and up, it's legal. Now, all I had to do was get permission from the repeater owners to use the 2 meter linked repeater that covered the Twin Cities and suburbs. Word came back that it was OK, and how about 2 hours every Thursday evening? Wow!

I purchased an old Amstrad computer with a neat code program from someone and put together a control board so I could plug the straight key, bug, or computer into my transmitter.

I called it an upgrade net. After check-ins, I started out going through the letters, numbers, and punctuation at a very slow speed for people that were learning. Then I went to 5 wpm, 13 wpm, and 20 wpm. I started off the net taking check-ins, either on phone or CW, and responded in kind. Then I'd start with the learning group letters. I would break to take more check-ins, then the 5 wpm, etc., until after the 20 wpm, when I'd run the computer’s CW program that would send a regular QSO with one station being slightly different pitch. The computer program was neat because speeds could be changed along with many other variables.

I want to mention that after each CW contact or session, I would read back what was said on CW so people could correct their own copy. The thing I stressed was that each person go at their own speed, and, since no one else could know how you did, there was no competition.

During breaks, I would pass along tips. For example, between classes, pick out a CW station on the air and copy as much of it as you can. If you miss a letter, skip it and go on as you'll get too far behind. When you are copying solid, pick faster stations.

Don't tell anyone, but I cheated. The 5 wpm was really 7 wpm, the 13 wpm was really 15 wpm, and the 20 wpm was really 22 wpm. I thought that when people go for the exam, they will be nervous. Paper is rustled, people might cough or sneeze, a pencil might be dropped on the floor, or other distractions, so having the extra wpm would be compensation.

Even after the code requirement was dropped, many people wanted to learn it "for the fun of it". No pressure, I guess.

Hi again all:

I've been receiving lots of questions on learning International Morse Code so here are some tips from when I ran a CW upgrade net back when the code was a requirement for getting an amateur radio license.

Tips on learning International Morse Code:

Pick out a CW station on the air that is at a comfortable speed and copy as much of it as you can. If you miss a letter, skip it and go on as you'll get too far behind. Get as many letters as you can. Try to get more right each session. When you are copying solid pick faster stations.

Don't forget that CW people use a lot of abbreviations so if you’re not making any sense out of your copy, look for them.

There are several websites & apps that contain code learning and practice programs that are free to use.

Copy W1AW practice code runs.

Practice code when your mind is the most sharp—morning, noon, or evening, whatever is better for you.

If you reach a plateau, put aside the code for a couple months and do some other interesting hobby. During this time your subconscious mind will be working, and when you pick up the code a couple months later, you will probably have overcome that plateau.

Make a game out of it. Make it fun.

Each of us is different, and what works for one person may not work for someone else; so if you find a method that works for you, use it.

Remember when you learned to speak English (or any language)? First you learned the alphabet, then words, then sentences, then paragraphs. This whole process took several years, not merely a few days or weeks. International Morse Code is like that too. Go one step at a time. Like anything else, the more you do it the better you will become.

After a while, one thing you will be able to do is copy—your call, name, and some other things—at almost any speed. It is like someone calling your name in a room full of people. At this point, you are ready to start copying in your head. Many code experienced people just write down necessary information like name, call, QTH, etc.

It is interesting that people that sing or play a musical instrument seem to learn code faster and better than people that don't. It possibly has to do with rhythm as both music and code use it. Many operators can recognize people on the air just by the way they send code.

You can check out Jay Leno on YouTube for the contest between the two fastest message handlers in the U.S.A. It took place between two text messaging people and two hams. The expression on the faces of the text messaging people after they lost by 40 seconds to the hams is out of this world. What got me is the hams slowed down from their normal operating speed to be sure they would get the copy correct. 100 year old technology beat the newest high tech gadgets. Check it out. It is fun to watch!

Practice, practice, practice!

I hope these tips will help you on your International Morse Code journey.

As Roy Rogers used to say (sing) “Happy Trails to You until We Meet Again”

73 es DX de K0HLA Avery

Down memory lane...

In honor of the celebration of 50 years of the Handiham Program, here is the story of John Shook, first printed in the Winter, 1989 issue of Handiham World.

John Shook: My Friend and Mentor

By Paula S. Schwartz, KC4LMB/AG

This is an article about how the Handiham Program and one member in particular, John L. Shook, have helped me through a very difficult time to achieve a goal that has made me feel like a new and more fulfilled person.

I have had many physical problems in the last 15 years, including rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, chemical sensitivities and chronic ankle sprains. The last two years have been a nightmare. My chronic ankle sprains had become so severe and constant that I became just about bedridden for those two years. I could not use a wheelchair because the arthritis in my spine made it painful to sit. The isolation and severe loneliness became insurmountable during that time.

I wanted to study ham radio so that I could contact the outside world from my bed, but the Sjogren’s Syndrome, a severe dry eye condition which affects the cornea, made it impossible for me to read. Then I heard about the Courage Handiham Program and realized I could actually study and learn everything I needed to know by listening to their tapes. It was like having a private instructor with you in your own home.

I met John L. Shook through Handiham World in Spring 1989. He wrote a very moving article on his chemical sensitivities and the isolation which he experienced from this problem until he discovered ham radio and the Handiham Program. I could empathize with John since I also was experiencing the effects of chemical sensitivities. I had been wondering whether I could find a rig which would not trigger chemical reactions. I subsequently called John at his home and our friendship began.

I have never had such a giving friend as John. He is a friend that only wishes me the best and tries his hardest to help me every step of the way so that I may achieve my goal and become a happier and more fulfilled person. This is what John has done for me.

Every day, I learn something new from John. Step by step, he patiently advised me which station equipment to buy that would not cause chemical reactions, taught me how to use my rig, and helped me figure out what antenna to use. He is always eager to answer any questions on theory. For the past two months, he has been working CW with me every day. He patiently started at 5 wpm and gradually raised the speed until I was at 18 wpm. It was not easy for him to send and copy at the slow speed. John is about to take his 20 wpm code test. I wish him all the luck in the world, but I know he won’t need it. I now have learned to love working CW.

October 1, 1989 was a very special day for me. Three VE’s came to my home, gave me the tech, general theory, and the general 13 wpm code test. To my relief and joy, I passed and now am proud to say I hold a general’s license. But, in addition, I also tried the 20 wpm code test. To my amazement I was able to pass that also.

When I first started studying Tune in the World on April 20, 1989, I would have never believed how studying ham radio could make such a big difference in my life.

I have a wonderful feeling inside of joy and accomplishment. In addition, I have made new special friends on the air and in person and have joined a local repeater club. I just want to express my gratitude to John. Everyone should be as lucky as I to have a special friend like him.

P.S. On October 12, 1989, John passed the advanced theory test and the 20 wpm code test, and he is also feeling on top of the world. I am very happy to share this special joy with him and his family.

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 CDT (Noon Eastern and 09:00 Pacific), as well as Wednesday evenings at 19:00 hours CDT (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 Nancy.Meydell@allina.com  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.

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