Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, October 4, 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

  • Better Receive Audio

  • Space Weather & Ionospheric Propagation

  • Early Handiham Program History, Part 1

  • Down memory lane…

  • Check into our nets!

  • ...And more!

A note from the coordinator...

With all the events that have taken place in recent weeks, there has been a renewed focus on amateur radio’s critical role in emergency communications. The following is a news story about the amateur radio operators who have responded to the need for communications in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. http://fox61.com/2017/09/26/newington-based-ham-radio-organization-sendi...

The Handiham Headquarters is fully staffed again this week! Please be patient as Nancy and I continue to catch up on all the messages and work that backed up while she was away.

In the E-Letter this week there are links to a couple of YouTube videos. The first is Bob Heil, K9EID, talking about receive audio. The second is a lecture given at a DC radio club meeting about space weather. This week, we also start reprinting a series of articles covering the early history of the Handiham Program. Finally, there is an article from a 2010 issue of Handiham World in Down Memory Lane that is especially appropriate to our discussion of emergency communications.

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.

Better Receive Audio

Much has been written about how to make our SSB signals more easily understood in adverse conditions. Bob Heil explains how we can make our receivers and the audio we hear clearer and with far better clarity than one could have expected. https://youtu.be/DvJhCKyFwVc

Space Weather & Ionospheric Propagation

Understanding space weather and its impact on HF propagation is helpful to ham radio operators. Check out this presentation by Dr. Damien Chua that took place on December 10, 2014 at the HacDC Amateur Radio Club (W3HAC), located in Washington, DC. https://youtu.be/WPQILipSyXI

Early Handiham Program History, Part 1

by Sr. Alverna O’Laughlin

Sr. Alverna O’Laughlin

(Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles on the early history of the Handiham Program. This was initially published in the Spring 1981 issue of Handiham World. Sr. Alverna, who had recently joined the Courage Handiham Program staff as educational services coordinator, had been actively involved in amateur radio for people with disabilities for years. She was one of the first members of the original Handiham organization and served as the first secretary of the System when it was known as the Handi-Ham System of Rochester, Minnesota.)

The Handiham Program has been around for many years, just how long may be a little hard to document. I would like to share some of my memories of the early years of the System. Ned Carman, W0ZSW, was the founder of the Handiham Program. Ned, now deceased, used to talk about Jean (Heikkila) Fingarson, W0IRJ, Hildur Hedine, W0TOP, and Bill Bazil, W0CID, as first making a connection with amateur radio and people with disabilities. Bill, the only one of the three still living, recalls, “In the summer of 1958, Ned, Jean, and Hildur stopped here (Eveleth, MN). This Handiham Program was only an idea, a dream, then.” It was during this visit that the foursome tossed ideas around.

On April 30, 1967, there was a thunderstorm watch in Rochester, Minnesota, and Ned Carman called Sr. Lauren Weinandt, WN0RRJ, and Sr. Judith Simon, WN0QVN, to activate the amateur radio stations at their respective locations: “Sky Wave” at St. Mary’s Hospital and “The Voice of Assisi” at the Assisi Heights convent. A few weeks after this, four sisters at St. Mary’s and one sister from Assisi Heights received their novice calls. At this time, only one sister in Minnesota held her general class license, Sister Cletus Kroll (now Mary Fiero), WA0JIE.

The weather watch worked so well that Ned invited the sisters to help him start an organized group. The first meeting was attended by Helen Swanson, WN0SVD, and Charlene Mott, WN0QWE, (both deceased), Sr. Lauren and Ned Carman.

A 14 member steering committee was formed which met on the air every week to suggest policies and discuss problems. A six member management committee met in person each month. Later, the steering committee became the board of directors and the management committee became officers.

By early fall of 1967, there were four new novice tickets. In September of that year, Ned was honored by the Rochester Chamber of Commerce for his efforts in helping persons with disabilities, his tireless efforts in finding equipment for homebound students, taking lessons to students’ homes and finding transportation. Ned also received the WCCO radio Good Neighbor Award that year. By this time, there were ten students in the Handiham Program.

On December 2, 1967, representatives of the Federal Communications Commission came to the Rochester Courthouse to administer the General Class test to Edna (Eddy) Thorson, WA0RRA (now N0YL); Charlene Mott and Helen Swanson. Harold Allen, FCC field engineer, and T.E. Kangas, FCC electronic engineer, were the FCC representatives, and they were so impressed with the three young women that they offered to return to Rochester if the Handiham Program ever needed them.

On February 5, 1968, the FCC examiners returned to Rochester to give license examinations to three more members with disabilities. This time, Scott Suddendorf, WA0VUA (now deceased); Sr. Alena Bickel, WA0UWT; and Alta Mitchell, WA0VTZ, passed their general tests.

A white elephant sale was held during the summer of 1968 to raise money to repair equipment and purchase study material. At that time, the Minnesota Society for Crippled Children and Adults (later Courage Center) gave the Handiham Program $1000 to help purchase equipment.

The PICONET (Public Information, Convenience, or Necessity Network) and the Rochester Amateur Radio Club invited the Handiham Sytem to join them in hosting the 1968 Winter Hamfest. Handiham officers were announced at this meeting: Charlene Mott and Helen Swanson, co-chairmen; Sr. Alverna O’Laughlin, secretary; Sr. Lauren Weinandt, treasurer; Alta Mitchell, progress report chairman; Don Johnson, WA0EPX, historian; Wes McAnnally, K0HGO, chief technician, and Ned Carman, chief coordinator.

The weekend of June 21, 1969, the Handiham members made their first big venture. Twenty-six amateur radio operators with severe disabilities traveled by bus and car to the National Amateur Radio Convention in Des Moines, IA. Six non-disabled helpers, Sr. Cletus, Sr. Judith, Sr. Clara Marie Schotzko, Sr. Alverna, Ron Frisby, K0IJU, and Ned Carman went along. The caravan of the Sunshine Bus and the loaned car left Camp Courage in Maple Lake, Minnesota at 6 a.m. and made pickup stops at the MiSCCA office in downtown Minneapolis, Assisi Heights convent in Rochester and, the Albert Lea armory.

The Handiham Program was the talk of the convention. People who were blind pushed wheelchairs and the people in wheelchairs told people who were blind which way to go. Everyone helped someone, and you can be sure there were a good number of inside jokes about the convention. Helen Swanson, who was unable to travel by bus, made the trip to the convention in a private plane piloted by Dave Young. Her doctor, Donald Erickson, and Sr. Lauren attended her during the trip. Sen. Barry Goldwater, the featured speaker at the convention, made a special trip to Helen’s hotel room which had been equipped with a rocking bed. The Senator was quoted as having said, “I wouldn’t miss this visit for anything.”

The trip to the convention was made possible through the generous donations of many and is an example of the support and enthusiasm that fostered the Handiham Program.

(Sr. Alverna will continue with her account of the early years of the Handiham Program in the next issue of Handiham World)

Down memory lane...

In honor of the celebration of 50 years of the Handiham Program, here is an article from the February 24, 2010 issue of Handiham World.

Red Cross emergency communications vehicle with elevated mast.

Amateur Radio: Reliable Emergency Communications

by Pat Tice, WA0TDA

If there is any theme that runs through publicity about amateur radio these days, it is generally one about the reliability of our communications in an emergency situation. In story after story that I see ferreted out by Google, ham radio operators tell the press and the public about the way amateur radio operators can stay on the air to provide vital communications when cellular phones are overloaded or down altogether and other communications infrastructure has failed. The training and volunteerism of amateur radio operators are highlights of these articles, and the very best of these stories also include some human factor - a volunteer operator who has helped the community, a team of operators who have worked in tandem with emergency personnel to provide backup communications, and sometimes even a victim who owes a debt of gratitude to amateur radio. These are themes that the ARRL has taken a leadership role in promoting, and the evidence is that the strategy has worked. More new hams than ever joined the ranks of amateur radio here in the United States last year.

Quoting from a story on ARRL's website, "A total of 30,144 new licenses were granted in 2009, an increase of almost 7.5 percent from 2008. In 2005, 16,368 new hams joined Amateur Radio's ranks; just five years later, that number had increased by almost 14,000 -- a whopping 84 percent! The ARRL VEC is one of 14 VECs who administer Amateur Radio license exams."

Of the many reasons people become interested in amateur radio, the one I have heard most often in recent years is that new hams want to earn a license so that they will have the means to help in emergencies and to be of service to the community. This, among the other themes, has been expertly promoted by ARRL in special websites, publicity releases, articles, and videos. Taking on the erroneous image of ham radio as an "outdated technology" that has been all but replaced by the internet, ARRL answers the questions of why we are relevant in the 21st Century on its Wordpress "We Do That Radio" and "emergency-radio" websites.

Well, with all of that in mind, we turn to the large cardboard envelope I received from Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, this week. Matt had told me he was sending me an article, but I was surprised and delighted to see that it read:

Honored by President Obama

Matt, KA0PQW

Local ham radio hobbyist recognized

The story appeared in the February 18, 2010 edition of the Star-Eagle newspaper, and featured a photo of Matt, KA0PQW, in his well-equipped ham shack. In the article, staff writer Jody Wynnemer explained that when a letter arrived from the White House, Matt had learned that he had been selected to receive a President's Volunteer Service Award.

"Congratulations on receiving the President's Volunteer Service Award, and thank you for helping to address the most pressing needs in your community and our country," the letter began.

Matt was recognized for his work with the Community Emergency Response Team in Steele County, Minnesota. He recalled how he volunteered and handled communications during a flood in 2007. It had been nine hours until the National Guard could relieve him, and in the meantime he handled traffic in and out of the flood zone, passing messages to authorities in Winona.

Those of us who know Matt as a Handiham leader and volunteer understand what a great spokesman he is for amateur radio. To paraphrase a familiar saying about politics, all good ham radio work is local - at least that's how it begins. Local ham radio classes, local Skywarn training, local ARES exercises, local club meetings and programs - and local news stories, just like the one that features Matt. Of course ham radio is worldwide by its nature, but getting the word out about the things we can do really does begin right at home.

Congratulations to Matt, KA0PQW, on this wonderful honor!

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. 

    • 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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