Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, September 13, 2017

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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, September 13, 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.

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Welcome to Handiham World.

In this edition: 

  • A note from the coordinator

  • Getting More Check-Ins

  • Avery’s QTH

  • Down memory lane…

  • Check into our nets!

  • ...And more!

A note from the coordinator...

As I was preparing the E-Letter for this week, I ran into an August RAIN Report that aired an excerpt from the new ARRL President, Rick Roderick K5UR. He talks about changes that need to be made for the future. (You can check it out at http://www.therainreport.com/rainreport_archive/rainreport-8-25-2017.mp3)

In the E-Letter this week there is an article about increasing net participation, along with two Handiham World articles from 2008.

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.

Two ways to get more check-ins on your local nets

by Trippy Brown, AC8S

It's Sunday morning, September 10, 2017, and on Saturday nights, I read all kinds of ham radio articles and newsletters. Well, this morning, on the eHam web site, I'm reading through older articles that I've never read before. In that collection of articles, an article appeared about 2 meters that also applies to 440. Many hams reported in those days, like today, that 2 meters and 440 were not being used like they use to be. People say they listen and don't hear anyone on 2 meters or on 440 for days at a time.

So, I thought to myself, how can we get local nets to have higher numbers of check-ins? Here are two things net managers can do:

1. Local nets should meet on repeaters or simplex nodes which are connected to Echolink. This way, you'll have many more check-ins from all over the world! The Handiham net meets on a repeater, but it also uses Echolink, and, my, oh my! They sure get check-ins, and the people love that net!

2. Another idea mentioned by a ham in the comments section was, "Prior to the advent of 2 meters and 440, hams used 10 meters both for base and mobile operations. It was loads of fun, and it was amazing the distance one could work with groundwave conditions. We had a couple of nightly nets during the week with local contacts as far away as 100 miles, and the check-ins numbered anywhere from 50 to 75!

Many hams today were born after the 2 meter and 440 intrusion, and that is all they know. They do not know how much they are missing on 10 meters! Net managers should put their local nets on 10 meters instead of 2 meters or 440. Pick out a frequency to meet on, and watch how many people check into your nets. And when the band is open, watch how many people check in to your nets from hundreds or thousands of miles away! I would love to check into nets I use to check into, but I don't have 2 meter or 440 capability. I do have a computer with Echolink capability, and I have an HF rig and an antenna, so I can get on 10 meters! Why don't we take all of our local 2 meter, and/or 440 nets and do either of the above two ideas? It excites me very much!

Come to think of it, I will start talking to net managers, and see if they would move their local nets to repeaters or simplex nodes that are connected to Echolink or to move their local nets to 10 meters. Now that is exciting

Avery’s QTH—Circuit boards are more complicated than you think!

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

Did you ever happen to open up one of your newer pieces of ham gear to change an internal switch or add a voice chip or make a modification? Well, did you happen to notice the circuit board all the parts were mounted on? No! It doesn’t just happen!

In fact, there is a considerable amount of work that goes into producing a circuit board. Then there is the problem of getting rid of the hazardous wastes left after making the board. First, someone has to use a CAD system to draw out the traces and determine where the holes for the through-the-hole parts have to go and also what size the finished hole has to be. The holes are then drilled slightly larger to take into account the plating in the hole.

After the boards are drilled and deburred, the traces and other artwork have to be photographed onto the film that was placed on the board after it was chemically cleaned. Then the board has to be tin/lead plated which is quite a process in that the plating has to be in the holes thick enough to cover the laminate but not so thick that the parts leads will not fit through the hole.

Now the board is etched, and all that is left of the copper on the board is what was plated. So the rest of the film is removed, and then any connections on the board are now gold-plated, which is quite an operation in itself.

After this the boards are sent though a reflow machine to melt the solder. All of these steps have several sub-steps where boards are cleaned in various solutions that are considered hazardous waste when spent. So, now the problem becomes how to get rid of the hazardous waste. If I remember right, we had five different forms to fill out. One for the City, County, State, Federal, and one other I can't remember right at the moment.

To top this off, there had to be chemical analysis of the stuff before anything could be moved out of the building. OK! So now we have a board that still has the area around the outside of the board with the tooling holes and connections for plating on it, so the next step is to have a die made so the board can be routed to the correct dimensions. The people making the die were in the machine lab and had the necessary equipment to produce a very accurate die.

After this step, the board is inspected, and, if it passed, it will be used for production. Now, this is for a single layer board only. If it was a multilayer board, the accuracy of the tooling holes becomes very critical in that the boards from each layer have to line up just right when they are pressed together or circuits may not be function correctly.

All of this work goes just into manufacturing the circuit board and doesn’t include the rest of the building of the device. Parts have to be placed in the holes and the surface-mount chips have to placed in the proper locations, and then the whole works has to be solder-flowed and then inspected again.

There is a considerable amount of work in building a circuit board, even if it is a very small board!

So until next time,

73 & DX from K0HLA, Avery

Editor’s note: This was found in the January 9, 2008 issue of Handiham World.

Down memory lane...

In honor of the celebration of 50 years of the Handiham Program, here is a story from the Blind Hams email list that originally aired in the January 30, 2008 issue of Handiham World.

Remember When

By Phil, K0NX

I had an interesting experience recently. Over 40 years ago, after passing my general at 14 years of age, I discovered 15 and 10 meters. The bands were so good in the mid to late sixties, I spent most of my operating time on the higher bands. I got interested in all the activity, at that time, on the 15 meter novice band. In fact, I often worked novices on every band where they had privileges. 15 meters was loaded, back then, with lots of novices, and I even started something I called the WWN or Worldwide Novice Net. I got check-ins from all over the country, too.

During this time, I ran across a ham in New York. We had a long rag chew and became friends and started meeting several times a week during the summers when school was out. During school, we scheduled on weekends. He only had, as I recall, a single 15 meter crystal, so I always knew where to find him. Time passed, and we lost track of each other. Recently, I received an email.

This guy was asking me if I used to be WA0ORO back in Omaha, Nebraska and if I remember Chas, WN2CBX. It was the same guy, now living in Florida and retired and taking care of his mother, who lives a few blocks away. We have been exchanging emails since then, and hopefully we'll get to have an on air contact eventually.

40 years, or a little longer, have passed, but it seemed like yesterday when I recalled all those contacts we had on 15 meters. I well remember growing up around older hams who did such things, that is, they made friends on the radio by establishing regular weekly contacts. Oh, I know it is out of style now due to cell phones, digital voice over internet phone connections, Echolink, and a variety of other ways of keeping in touch. Perhaps those ways are even easier, for that matter, but there was something special about agreeing to regular on-air scheduled contacts that really seemed to make the hobby grow. I made literally dozens of friends this way and about on every band, too, including CW and sideband. Sometimes even Amplitude Modulation for that matter.

Is it just me, or has the hobby changed that much? I used to stay up on Friday nights, after getting home from the Nebraska school for the blind, until 4 o'clock on Saturday mornings, if not later, because I had a schedule with a small town Nebraska cop who got off duty at about that time. We worked each other for weeks at that same early hour time. Another friend, long dead now, and I got our novices about the same time. He lived 45 miles from me, but we decided, as novices, to set schedules at exactly midnight on 3746 KHz. We did that all during our novice days but eventually switched to sideband. We did it nightly during the summer and on weekends when school was in session. It didn't take us long to attract a number of other teenage hams all over the Midwest. It was not uncommon for 8 to 12 states to all be on frequency, all teens, and, often, we talked all night until the sun came up. This literally went on for years. Occasionally, I still run across one or two of these guys on the bands. Some are big DX operators, while some only get on the air occasionally.

As a young teenager, I was literally quite shy. I found carrying on a conversation with people difficult at best. When I got my novice license, I suddenly wanted to talk, and I wanted to talk to as many people as I could. My code speed jumped to 25 words per minute within a few short weeks. I worked mostly 80 and 40 with a 100 foot long wire and no tuner. My DX20, into a dummy load, put out 10 watts. I worked about 36 states in about 4 months until I got a Viking Ranger 1, and a friend helped me put up an 80 and 40 meter dipole at about 35 feet. I got up to 41 states before I passed my general six months into the hobby. We established traffic nets for novices, worked cross band with generals who went to the phone band and transmitted on SSB and listened to us to transmit CW in the novice band, and man did we think that was hot stuff.

I really miss the novice days and those early general class days working people all over the world on a couple of inverted V wires hanging up on the roof. I eventually went to rotary antennas and found that I had more and more fun, and newer things to try, the bigger the antenna. When I got married and was broke most of the time, I ran a QRP rig running 2 watts and a ground mounted vertical. I found that equally as fun after working over 600 stations and all 50 states, including 14 countries, plus Alaska and Hawaii both on 40 CW. With digital and satellite communications, internet node connections, VHF modes, line of sight modes, moon bounce, amateur television, and dozens of other things to try, Wayne Green of 73 magazine could never have been as wrong a few years ago when he said to Art Bell on Coast To Coast nothing new had been created in 50 years of ham radio since single sideband. I guess he forgot all the other modes now available to hams.

This guy who contacted me recently after 40 years? When I confirmed it was me, he dialed up my location on the net and saw my house, told me its color, described my son's house in the backyard, and my son's pickup and trailer parked in the long driveway.

I think Wayne Green lost it when he started that UFO net on 75 meters back in the sixties. Remember how fun it was just to get QSL cards in the mail? I stopped collecting those decades ago, but now I wish I had kept them all. Shoot, I even worked the county hunters’ nets and began trying to achieve that award. Talk about QSL cards! Then there were the sideband and CW traffic nets as well as all those overseas phone patches from soldiers out in the Pacific islands and MARS contacts and phone patches from Vietnam. Who ever said the hobby was boring? I used to keep one of my wrapped McDonald hamburgers lying on top of the back of my Drake TR4 final amplifier cage as I operated just to keep it warm.


Editor’s Note: Danny Dyer, WB4IDU, originally submitted this for publication.

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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