Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, November 15, 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, November 15, 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

  • The Legacy of Stella Young

  • New Assistive Technology from 2017

  • Early Handiham Program History, Part 6

  • Down memory lane…

  • Check into our nets!

  • ...And more!

A note from the coordinator...

While researching topics for this week’s E-Letter, I did a search for attitude and disability. Imagine my dismay when all I could find was article after article about others’ attitudes toward persons with disabilities. That wasn’t what I was looking for at all! You see, while we are impacted by the attitudes of those around us, we are more affected by the attitude we have toward ourselves. Do we believe that we can accomplish our goals? If so, do we take the actions necessary to work toward making our goals a reality? Yes, our attitudes are important, because without a “can-do” attitude, we will have little chance of progress toward our desired outcome. If we don’t also actively pursue our goals, however, all the attitude in the world won’t change anything!

In Down Memory Lane this week, Dr. Tom Linde described just such a situation regarding learning Morse code. If one’s attitude toward code is that it is impossible to learn, there is not much chance you will ever learn it. If, like in Sister Alverna’s article, you find ways to practice regularly, in addition to believing that you are capable of learning Morse code, you will likely accomplish your goal, even if it takes a long time to do so. I have found that it is the goals we have to really work at to accomplish that are the most satisfying.

How about you? Are you studying for a license upgrade? Did you get your license after the Morse code requirement was dropped and now you want to learn? Maybe you are in college, or maybe you are developing your computer skills through studying at home. Whatever your goals in life are, make sure you approach them with a “can-do” attitude and lots of effort!

In the Handiham Program office, Nancy has been working on updating the E-Letter and Handiham Notify lists along with the Members Only list for the website. If you need to update anything, you can email her at Nancy.Meydell@allina.com. I have been working on the website, updating all the pages in preparation for the big change as we transition to the updated version of Handiham.org. Next week is a holiday in the United States, so the Handiham office will be closed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Additionally, there will be no E-Letter next week, so look for your next issue on November 29.

Watch for a new feature in the E-Letter in two weeks! We found some Handiham gear, hats and mugs, from over the years of the program. We will have a trivia question each week. If you get the correct answer, you will have a chance to win some of that loot. Stay tuned, and get ready to respond!

In the E-Letter this week there is a link to an article about the legacy of Stella Young, a woman whose Ted Talk was featured in the E-Letter a while back. There is another link to an article about three life-changing advances in assistive technology this year. Sister Alverna’s early history of the Handiham Program is back with Part 6. Finally, there is an article from the Summer 1982 issue of Handiham World in Down Memory Lane.

Do you have a story to share about assistive technology or 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 Legacy of Stella Young

photo of Stella Young sitting in her power chair

A couple of months ago, the link to Stella Young’s Ted Talk was in Handiham World. Here is a follow-up to that video, talking about her legacy. While she died unexpectedly at a young age, her thoughts about people with disabilities are especially appropriate to the topic of this week’s E-Letter. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2014/12/08...

Three Life-Changing Assistive Technologies from 2017

Here is an article about three assistive technology options that can help people with various disabilities. http://theinstitute.ieee.org/ieee-roundup/blogs/blog/three-lifechanging-...

Early Handiham Program History, Part 6

by Sr. Alverna O’Laughlin

Sr. Alverna O’Laughlin

Handiham History: Emphasis on Education

(Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of articles on the early history of the Handiham Program.)

In 1969, Tony Tretter, W0KVO, an able-bodied member from White Bear Lake, Minnesota, took on the project of working with student Mike Peterson, WA0VUP. Mike was in a wheelchair and legally blind. Tony found that Mike learned best when things were taught to him by a ham because most written materials needed explanation and background information which is unfamiliar to most non-amateurs.

After working with Mike, Tony developed a program of study for other students—a question and answer sheet designed for use with the license manual. As each sheet was completed and returned, it would be corrected and another sheet would be sent out. This seemed to work quite well, but it became a lot of paperwork over time. Before long, Tony had a change of work schedules which forced him to give up this method of teaching. Tony’s motto had always been, “a one-to-one for every student.” He felt strongly that an experienced amateur was needed for encouragement, direction, and motivation—vital ingredients in each student’s progress.

People studying in places like Rochester, Minnesota, found that instruction was not a big problem. The Rochester Amateur Radio Club conducted regular classes. Handiham students found these classes to be a real encouragement as well as a great opportunity for them to meet other amateurs who were willing to help with equipment and antennas once they got their licenses.

When a number of students are studying together, they find their own ways of learning. Ma Bell’s telephone system got a lot of use by a couple of folks. I enjoy telling the story about Sister Alena, WA0UWT, and Alta Mitchell, WA0VTZ. I attempted to call the radio room at Assisi Heights Convent where both Sister Alena and I lived. The line was repeatedly busy, so I walked down to find out what the problem was. There was no problem at all. Sister and Alta were making CW contact across town, and, after each transmission, they would check on the phone to see that all was received correctly. They were like kids being caught! With daily contacts, however, they soon became proficient with Morse code. Before long, they were sporting their General class licenses, but using a microphone wasn’t nearly as much fun!

It didn’t take long for Jon to see the tremendous gift of hope Ned was bringing to people with disabilities through the Handiham Program. Jon came up with the idea to set aside a day at the annual May Convocation at Camp Courage to honor Ned, calling it Founder’s Day. Ward Jensen, W0TLE, Handiham Program president at that time, thought it was an excellent suggestion and a precedent was set for future years.

On May 6, 1972, founder and friend of the Program, Ned Carman, W0ZSW, was presented with an engraved watch, a red windbreaker jacket with the newly designed Handiham emblem on the back, a framed certificate, and the remaining cash. Judy Vervair made a huge white cake with the same emblem that was on the jacket. The presentation was a total surprise to Ned and was the first time I had ever seen him speechless and choked up. The gesture of love and thanks had touched him deeply.

(Sr. Alverna’s account of the early years of the Handiham Program will continue 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 Summer 1982 issue of Handiham World.

The book cover of Dr. Tom Linde’s Memoir, I Am Not What I Am

Great Expectations!

by Tom Linde, KC0L

Not long ago, I was reading an article about CW (Morse code) in one of my ham radio magazines and stopped short at something I read. The author described CW as a “secret language” which was “often impossible to learn.”

I guess there are a lot of people who feel that way about Morse code. I did for many years. It was really hard work for me to pass the various tests with which we prove our ability to the FCC. I wonder though, how much of our apprehension, how much of our concern, how much of our general antagonism about CW stems from faulty expectations and attitudes? I just wonder, if by expecting code to be an obstacle, a treacherous barrier, we set up obstacles to learning in our own minds that really don’t need to be there at all?

If you stand back and look at it objectively, what is Morse code? It is about four dozen auditory symbols. These symbols are combinations of short and long bursts of sound. Now really, people. Forty-eight symbols is not that big of a deal! Even as you read these words in Handiham World, your eyes are scanning that many or more visual symbols. You scan at a tremendous rate. The average reader has no trouble doing 200 to 300 words per minute, except maybe for very technical stuff.

Now, we get back to CW. We are asked to use our ears to scan not 200 words a minute, but five or 13 or 20 words per minute. When you look at it this way, it begins to look almost funny. Of course, it isn’t funny for many people.

Maybe it would be easier if we, as amateur radio operators, come to look at code as an alternative language rather than a secret language. Maybe it would be good to keep in mind the fact that our eyes are no more marvelous in reading print than our ears are in hearing it, as symbolized in those goofy, but easy, bursts of sound.

Expectations are a major influence in what we decide to do, what we attempt to do, and what we ultimately succeed in doing.

What can we, as hams with common interests, do to achieve more positive expectations about our common language? Let’s expect more of ourselves. Let’s expect more of our ears (or however we receive code). Let’s stamp out concerns that are essentially irrational so that we can enjoy our common language. It is a vital and beautiful part of our hobby.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Tom Linde was a psychologist with the Veterans Administration in Knoxville, Iowa. He had cerebral palsy, was an amateur radio operator for most of his life, and taught Morse code at a number of Handiham Radio Camp sessions after earning his Extra Class license.

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 six hours ahead of Minnesota time during the winter.

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 Michael, VE7KI, the Handiham Radio Club Net Manager.


  • 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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