RCForb Keyboard Commands for Blind Users

By Patrick Tice, WA0TDA

I know that some of you will wonder if the software is blind accessible.  The answer is, yes, probably.  I am only qualifying that with a “probably” because I have not heard from any screenreader users who have tried it, and I’d like to do so before I say one way or the other.  Here are some things I did find out, though:

  • Under “Options”, you can choose “text to speech” enabled.  This will cause the frequency display to be announced and other announcements to be made as you use keyboard commands.

  • ALT-Shift-F is a simple keystroke command to read the frequency anytime.

  • ALT-Shift-M causes the mode to be read.

  • ALT-Shift-B reads the buttons.

  • ALT-Shift-D reads the dropdowns.

  • ALT-Shift-S reads the sliders.

  • ALT-Shift-A sends an “Ask to tune” request to the software chat area.

  • You can focus on the direct frequency entry with CTRL+F.  Once there, simply enter the frequency in kHz, so for example 3.925 MHz would be entered as 3925 <ENTER>.  This will be confirmed by an audio announcement.

  • The mode does not change automatically as you change frequency, so you have to use CTRL+M to gain focus on the mode selection. Hold the CTRL key down while repeatedly pressing the M key to go through all the modes.  The mode will be read aloud to you.

  • CTRL+T toggles transmit.  If you have gained focus on the TX button, you can also use the spacebar to toggle transmit as you can with EchoLink.  You can’t transmit unless you have been granted permission to do so by the station’s owner.  Once you are granted permission, you can transmit any time you use that station.

If you can see the display, you will be looking at a virtual radio with the typical buttons, knobs, and frequency display.  The best way to learn how to use the software is to learn by doing.  Connect to different radios and give the tuning a try.  It is also a good way to find out what HF propagation is like by listening from various locations.

If you have tried the Remotehams.com RCFORB software and can comment on it, especially as a screenreader user, please send me an email.

W0ZSW Service Outages

Remote base station W0ZSW will be taken offline if severe thunderstorms are in the vicinity of Minneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota. This is simply a prudent measure we take to avoid lightning damage to the equipment. The station will return to service as soon as the weather passes through.

Please report any undocumented outages to us as soon as you notice them. A long outage is rare for us, but please be aware that thunderstorm season is underway here in the Upper Midwest and this will continue to disrupt service periodically.  From time to time the station will be taken offline to avoid lightning damage.

Click here to report a problem with the stations.

What does the end of service life of Windows XP mean for remote base users?

Dear Handiham Members and Volunteers,

Should we be concerned with the announcement by Microsoft that the end of life for Windows XP Service Pack 3 is for April 2014?

The good news is that Microsoft also announced late last year that all support for legacy applications written using VB6 and standard Microsoft components will continue to be supported through the life of Windows 8.

What does this mean?

Well, this means that the remote base client should function well on Windows 7 and Windows 8 platforms. We know of a few hams that are already using the remote base client on Windows 8, many are also using the client on Windows 7. Please let us know if you find a particular configuration with Windows 8 that causes issues with the remote base client. In the meantime, we have assessed and continue to review compatibility with Windows 8 for future updates to the remote base client. This type of work takes time but it is well worth the effort. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!

73, KK4JZX

Progress on 6.2X – Please report issues

To All Handiham Members and volunteers,

We are preparing for an upcoming release of the web transceiver client.  We are planning some minor updates which will make managing the remote stations much simpler.  One of the target milestones of the remote base client development project is to make the system simpler  to manage in addition to improving usability and accessibility.  Continue reading Progress on 6.2X – Please report issues