Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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

  • News in Assistive Technology

  • Interview of the Week

  • Ham Radio In the News

  • Win Some Handiham History Loot

  • Equipment Connection

  • Check into our nets!

  • ...And more!

A note from the coordinator...

Happy Pi Day! Hopefully you celebrated with your favorite calculation using Pi.

The comments continue to come in, both in support of and against the ARRL proposal for expanded HF privileges for Technician class operators. The request includes some phone privileges in the 75, 40, and 15 meter bands along with RTTY and digital mode privileges on the 80, 40, 15, and 10 meter bands. I will post the comments in the E-Letter in the next couple weeks, so send in your thoughts if you have not already done so. The Handiham Program would love to hear your opinion! You can check out the story from the ARRL at the following link: http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-requests-expanded-hf-privileges-for-techni...

I am publishing the E-Letter from Michigan this week. Nancy is in the office during her regularly scheduled hours, and I will be back in the office on Monday. Remember, if you need to update anything like your contact information, call sign, license class, membership, or members only log-in information, you can email Nancy at Nancy.Meydell@allina.com.

Answer the Handiham History trivia question correctly to be eligible to win the prize, another hat this week! Winners will need to respond, confirming their contact information before we send out your prize. Please note: only current Handiham Members are eligible to win.

In the E-Letter this week, we have an interview from a popular Handiham Program member, some information about the Be My Eyes app, along with the usual content you find here each week.

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.

News in Assistive Technology

Be My Eyes App

The Be My Eyes app seeks to help people with visual impairments throughout the world by connecting volunteers with smart phone users. The app provides help from a sighted person via the camera on a smart phone, enabling people to get nearly instant access to assistance when needed. Hans Jørgen Wiberg, a visually impaired person, got the idea of developing the app to provide that quick help that is needed, help like reading the instructions on a baking mix or finding out the color of a shirt. Check out the following video for more information. https://youtu.be/IfeLJxCSLC0

The following video describes the app from a volunteer’s point of view:

In this video, the app is demonstrated by a visually impaired individual. This was the first time this person used the app, so she was unfamiliar with needing to aim the rear camera rather than the front facing camera at the object she was asking the Be My Eyes volunteer to see. It’s a good reminder to check which camera an app is using! https://youtu.be/dshPL68gYN4


Interview of the Week

This week, I have the privilege of interviewing a popular Handiham Program member, Diane Vorwald. Diane, WD9DNQ, has her Extra Class license. While the interview airs in the podcast, I have included an edited transcription of the interview below.

Diane, WD9DNQ, sitting at radio camp with a big smile.” width=

LM: Welcome, Diane. Maybe you could start out with a little introduction of yourself and how you got into the Handiham Program.

DV: First, I want to thank you for this coffee mug. I think it is great that I won this! It is very special to me because I knew Tony Tretter, W0KVO. He was a very special friend of mine. I miss him terribly. He died in 2012. He was like the Grandpa I did not know. I personally have been a ham since I was in the seventh grade.

LM: That’s a long time!

DV: Yeah! It was the last year that I was at Janesville, the state school for the blind. There were other people in the ham radio class, so I thought I might as well join in, especially since there were other people I knew in it. The theory kind of bored me at first, leaving me wondering how I would ever be able to do it. But it was the CW that got me—I loved the CW! It fascinated me, leaving me thinking I had to learn it. I got to be really fast at it and got my Novice. I later studied for my General and Extra. I remember this one guy that wrote me a letter after I left Janesville, telling me that if I did not go from Novice to Extra with my code speed, I was nuts! So I did, going to Extra.

DV: I never wanted to change my call, however. I am from Wisconsin, so the 9 is from there. I never wanted to change it even though I had opportunities when I moved to Minnesota. I really liked the “Diane Never Quits,” WD9DNQ phonetics. That fits me so well because Diane never does quit—I just keep going and going. I was born blind, but I was diagnosed with MS when I was 18. The MS has just kept me going. I don’t give up even though I feel like I might want to in some circumstances, but I just keep going. I have a wonderful family and ham radio has helped a lot too.

LM: When did you first get involved with the Handiham Program?

DV: When I first got into Ham Radio, I did not know anything about the Handiham Program. It was probably when I moved up here, I think around 1989. I went to Courage Center, and I think it was at that time that I first heard about the then “Handiham System.” I went to their radio camp. From then on, I started going to radio camps every year, both in California and at Courage North. I have wonderful memories of Camp Courage. In fact, right now I am wearing a sweatshirt that says Camp Joan Mier on it! I have a lot of good memories of camp.

LM: What is one of your favorite memories from radio camp?

DV: What I really like about camp was just the camaraderie that I had there. One of the main memories that I really liked at camp was when Matt would play his guitar. That was great! We would sit down and have our snacks, and he would play his guitar. We always really enjoyed that. The food there was always good. The PCAs were always good. It was just so nice to be able to get away.

LM: What kinds of things did you do at camp?

DV: Of course, getting on the air, getting on CW, checking into nets. Getting on the pontoon boat and getting on the radio on the pontoon boat—that was a big thing. It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed that. I have a radio here, in my room, and I do check in on Wednesday nights and Saturday nights. I enjoy the Wednesday night trivia net. I might not always know the answer, but it is just fun to get on there. Pat Tice always checks in and says he will say whatever Lady Di says. They always call me Lady Di. I am not sure how that got started. I generally just go by Diane. One of the things that Tony would always say to me is “Keep the faith.” This mug is always going to be special to me because of that.

LM: I am happy to be able to deliver your mug and to have the privilege of interviewing you today. So, how old were you when you got your extra?

DV: I must have been about 15. I lived on a farm. We had a big rhombic antenna. I could have worked a lot of DX. I worked some, but I did not do a lot of DXing.

LM: What radio were you using back then?

DV: I think it was a TenTec.

LM: I know at radio camp, you always liked it when Matt would do code with you. Matt would send and you would receive.

DV: Oh, yes. Well, code was always my thing for sure. I was pretty fast back then.

LM: Yes, you were well known for that. How did you end up moving to Minnesota?

DV: Courage Center, just to be more independent. I was living on the farm with my parents. After high school, I majored in Medical Transcription at the Chippewa Valley Technical College. Not long after that, I was diagnosed with MS, so I moved back with my parents in River Falls. I lived there for a little while, but I thought I needed to strike out and do something. So I went to Courage Center from ’88 to ’89, living in the residence. From there, I moved to North St. Paul. I lived there for about ten years by myself with a homemaker that came in to help me out. And then my MS started getting a little bit worse, so I had to move to a group home in Stillwater. Eventually, I had to move to another group home in White Bear Lake. Then this last June, I moved here to another group home in Vadnais Heights where they have more cares and 24 hours nursing. I now have a respirator and need more care. The MS is going downhill, but you know what? Diane Never Quits—I am not going downhill spiritually. I just keep going and going and going!

LM: And I can see that in the smile on your face.

DV: Nothing gets me down!

LM: No, it doesn’t. I have seen that over the years. There is something to be said for that perseverance and the determination to look on the positive side of life.

DV: I am going to have my down days, no doubt about that.

LM: Everybody does. That’s normal.

DV: But the people here at my current home are so nice. It is a very supportive environment. I have been blessed with a great family and a great ham radio family.

LM: Do you have any final comments?

DV: This interview is in memory of Tony, one of my greatest friend. And to all of you guys out there, I appreciate you. Thank you!

LM: And thank you for taking the time to talk with us today!

Editor’s note: Diane wanted to also thank Jennifer for always bringing treats to share at camp. She is also grateful to John Hoenshell, who knew how much camp meant to her, for helping her with camp fees over the years. She still talks to him every Sunday and counts him as a special friend. She is thankful for Dennis who continues to trek to her residence to visit her on a regular basis. She also mentioned Johnny Ott as a wonderful friend.

Ham Radio in the News

Color the Bands Green for Saint Patrick’s Day

Badge with two four-leaf clovers and St Patrick’s Day, March 17.” width=

Ham radio operators are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day over the airwaves. You can learn more at the St Patrick Award website. The event starts at 1200 UTC on March 16 and ends at 1200 UTC on March 18. Both amateurs and SWLs are able to participate, with awards in multiple categories. You can even register to be an official participating station.
You can read the entire article at the following link: http://www.arrl.org/news/color-the-bands-green-for-saint-patrick-s-day

Win Some Handiham History Loot

Here is your chance to own a piece of Handiham Program history! We are offering one of two remaining 40th Anniversary Handiham hats. These hats were originally available in 2007 as part of the celebration of forty years of the Handiham Program. If you want a chance to win this hat, make sure your membership is current and answer the following question:

 Tan baseball cap with with Handiham 40th Anniversary logo embroidered on the front” width=

Sister Alverna worked extensively with the Handiham Program over the years. Others from her convent also supported the Program. What was the name of the convent that Sister Alverna was from? (Hint: Check out past E-Letters from 2017 if you are not sure of the answers to these questions.)

You can send your answer via email to Nancy.Meydell@allina.com or call 612-775-2291. You can send your answer via email to Nancy.Meydell@allina.com or call 612-775-2291. Make sure to include your name, call sign, license class, and current contact information. We will pick the winner on Tuesday, March 20.

Equipment Connection

photo of Icom IC-7200 with LDG auto-tuner and power supply.” width=

The list is opening! If you have a request for the Equipment Connection, contact me, leaving your name and phone number. I will call you to discuss your request. Please note that it may take several days for a return call due to all of the other things going on in the Handiham Program. If you don’t hear back from me after two weeks, you may contact us a second time. Because I am in Michigan this week, there will be no returned contacts for the Equipment Connection until next week. Your patience is appreciated!

Many thanks to the numerous people who have offered equipment for Handiham Members. If you have equipment that you would like to donate to a Handiham Program member, please email Lucinda at Lucinda.Moody@allina.com or call 1-612-775-2290.

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 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:

  • As always, while our other services require that you have a current Handiham Program membership, you do not have to be a member to receive the Handiham World E-Letter.

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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