Handiham World for April 3, 2019

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, April 3, 2019

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
  • From the Mailbag
  • Interview of the Week
  • Ham Radio in the News
  • A Dip in the Pool
  • Website Update
  • Equipment Connection
  • Help Needed
  • Check into our nets!
  • …And more!

A note from the coordinator…

Are you planning to go to Hamvention this year? Our booth number is 6602, which is the same location as last year. Please plan to stop by and hang out with us. Kelly Stanfield, W0YQG, will also be helping out at the booth, so you might get a chance to meet her as well. As usual, we will have a place to sit, so when you need a rest from all that shopping, plan to stop by and visit.

We are updating our podcast feed. You may have already noticed that there is a new player that appears after the e-letter on the website. There are also new subscribe links below the player. Additionally, you will start noticing new links to subscribe in the e-letter over the next couple weeks. Stay tuned for more updates!

Pemdy designed a new logo to be used on swag for our 2019 Radio Camp participants and volunteers. This week will be your last chance to participate in the survey to give us a better idea of what kinds of products you are interested in purchasing. A list of items will be sent out before Radio Camp, and orders will be delivered to you at camp. Please complete the following short survey to let us know your preferences on what we make available. Click here to complete survey

If you are having trouble receiving your E-Letter, you can always go to https://handiham.org/wordpress1/weekly-e-letter/ to see the latest E-Letter. Additionally, you can go to https://handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 to listen to the current podcast. These links are updated each time a new E-Letter and podcast is released.

Radio Camp applications were sent out four weeks ago for the 2019 Radio Camp at True Friends Camp Courage North. Because space for camp is limited, we are accepting campers based on when they requested and turned in their completed application packets. If you have questions or if you want to attend and have not requested an application, please contact Pemdy as soon as possible.

Pemdy and I will be in the office during our usual hours next week. If you call the Handiham Program office, and we do not answer, please leave a message. When you leave a message, don’t forget to leave your phone number. Also, if you send an email, please include your name along with your call sign if you have one to speed up the response time. As always, if you need to update anything like your contact information, call sign, license class, membership, or members only log-in information, you can email us at handiham@allina.com.

In the E-Letter, there is an article about a weather app for iOS, another article about announcements on WWV and WWVH, and the final part of our interview with Sam from the YouTube channel The Blind Life. Of course, you can also find the regular articles you see 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

Weather Gods App

photo of weather page on Weather Gods App

This is a low-cost weather app for iOS, and it is accessible with VoiceOver. The app has sun, wind, rain, ice, and moon gods that can be either awake or asleep. Sounds accompany the text, so if it is raining, you will hear rain. You can set alerts to be notified in the event of hazardous weather conditions. To learn more, check out the following web site: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/weather-gods/id1041512978

Editor’s note: Thanks to Kitty Hevener, W8TDA, for letting us know about this app.

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Lucinda,

Someone was asking about ARRL code practice on the net. You can listen to the code practice files by going to


The text for the code practice is also available. There’s even a page where you can listen to the individual Morse characters. I also tried to listen to some code with my iPhone, and it worked fine.

I would also like to mention that almost every Thursday evening, given I’m here at home which is most weeks, I go to 7113 KHz at 9:00 pm eastern U.S. time, and send CQs at 13 wpm. Feel free to respond if you hear me, or just listen to whatever QSO I’m able to get. That’s 6:00 pm Pacific time by the way. Look for KE5AL.

Jim Shaffer, KE5AL

Interview of the Week

I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam from the YouTube channel The Blind Life a few weeks ago. He works in the field of assistive technology and is passionate about helping people who are blind or low-vision to keep a positive attitude and even a sense of humor about their vision or lack thereof. Please join me for the last part of our conversation.

Photo of arm in suit jacket with hand holding a large communications microphone.

LM: What else do you think people need to know about assistive technology?

SS: One thing is that people always think of assistive technology, and they kind of latch on to the technology part. They think it has to be fancy, high-end electronics. No, it doesn’t. Absolutely not. It could be as simple as a handheld magnifier that doesn’t have any batteries or electronics or anything. It could be the bump dots.

SS: It could be a dark magic marker that makes is easier for you to take notes because you can see it due to its high contrast. It could be that signature guide that you keep in your wallet, and whenever you are paying the check at the restaurant, you pull it out, and it allows you to independently sign the check. It’s those things, the little things that you use that bring that independence back to you.

SS: I often will go and do presentations at schools. I love talking to the kids, especially little kids. They’re the best! I’ll take a bunch of technology with me, the big CCTV, the iPad, the digital magnifier, I’ll take all these great gadgets with me, but I’ll also have my cane—my white and red cane.

SS: And, at the end of the presentation, I will quiz the students, asking them out of all the devices I show them, what do they think is the most powerful piece of assistive technology. Of course, they will say the iPad or the CCTV. I will say actually it’s this cane right here.

SS: This cane is the most useful tool that we have. The reason why is because, number one, it can help me detect obstacles. Someone like myself who just has low vision, I’m not going to run into a car in the parking lot. But, I’m not going to be able to tell how deep that step is. So, I can use the cane to investigate that step. But, the most powerful role of the white cane is as an identifier. It lets people around me know that I have a vision impairment, and I might need help.

SS: In many, many cases, which has happened to me numerous times, when I ask somebody for some help and they look at me like I am an idiot—if I walk into a fast food restaurant and say I know you guys have hamburgers, but what kind of hamburgers do you have? And they look at me like—and they look back at the menu right behind them—I have actually had people say, well it’s written right there. I know, I know, I look like I can see it, but I really can’t see it. All of these questions are answered immediately if I am holding my cane.

SS: Or, if I am in a crowd, and I do pretty well in crowds, but inevitable I am going to bump into somebody, or I’m going to run into something. And, when that person whips around and demands to know what I am doing, if they see the cane, it is instantly clear why I just bumped into them. The cane as an identifier—that’s the main reason I use it and I think one of its most powerful uses.

LM: What do you think the future of assistive technology is?

SS: Well, we are always going to have the tried and true. We’ve always had the digital magnifiers. They’ve lasted this long because they’re so useful. I have a video on my channel called Low Vision Must Haves, and the electronic magnifier is one of those because it is just so useful for a wide variety of things.

SS: But I really see technology, especially the wearable devices, getting smaller, getting smarter, getting more discreet. Right now, a lot of these things are big, bulky goggles that you wear on your head. Very reminiscent of night vision goggles like the military would be using. And, they work great, they’re fantastic, but they’re not the prettiest things in the world. So, I really see those things getting smaller. You know, everything technology and mobile technology is getting smaller. So, I really see that going as well.

SS: There’s a new trend toward using sonar, sonar devices to identify objects in front of you. They have some that fit onto the handle of a cane. There’s some devices that you wear, and they vibrate, alerting you if something is in front of you. Those are great. So, really, the sky’s the limit. I can’t imagine, as much as it has changed over just even the last five to ten years, I can’t even fathom what it’s going to be in another ten to twenty years. Bionic eyes, we haven’t even talked about bionic eyes.

LM: It’s pretty amazing where things are going. We sure appreciate you taking the time to talk to use today. Do you have anything else you want to share?

SS: It’s my pleasure. I think the whole ham radio community is fantastic. If you have any questions about living with vision impairment, go check out my channel, The Blind Life, on YouTube. I do assistive technology, but I also focus on the life side of the blind life as well. Tips and tricks videos, how-to videos, I focus on the lighter side of vision loss.

SS: I don’t want to focus on the negatives. We all know the negatives. We live the negatives every day, so I don’t want to focus on that on my channel. So, I try to feature the positive side and the humorous, because there is some funny things that come along with being visually impaired. If that sounds good to you guys, go check it out. I would appreciate it!

LM: That sounds great! And I really like your focus. We’ll make sure to put your YouTube channel link in our E-Letter, so people will have an easy time finding that. And maybe we’ll get a chance to talk again down the road.

SS: Absolutely! I’d be happy to. Anytime you guys would like to, just let me know.

LM: Awesome! Thank you so much!

SS: Thank you!

You can find Sam’s YouTube channel at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNbzN3eHbLKPzltSB560DkA/videos

Stay tuned next week for a new interview.

Ham Radio in the News

Department of Defense to Transmit Interoperability Exercise Info via WWV/WWVH

Photo of old WWV station sign

The US Department of Defense (DOD) says it will start using a provisional time slot on WWV and WWVH. They will announce upcoming HF military communications exercises, including how ham radio operators can get involved. The time slots are at 10 minutes past the hour on WWV and 10 minutes before the hour on WWVH. The first announcements are set for April 20 through May 3. You can read more at the following link: http://www.arrl.org/news/department-of-defense-to-transmit-interoperability-exercise-info-via-wwv-wwvh

A Dip in the Pool
drawing of person studying

It’s time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the question pool…

Let’s go to the General Class pool this week to a question about a vertical antennas:

G9B12 asks: What is the approximate length for a ¼ wave vertical antenna cut for 28.5 MHz?

Possible answers are:
A. 8 feet
B. 11 feet
C. 16 feet
D. 21 feet

If you are planning a vertical antenna installation, don’t forget the ground. It acts as half of your antenna, making it critical to your operating success. That being said, I did work my first HF contact, Spain, on a vertical without radials because I hadn’t installed them yet. I heard him and had to try even though the antenna was not complete! Essentially, the ground in a vertical is equivalent to one side of a dipole.

There are two ways to find this answer. You can directly calculate a ¼ wavelength dipole by dividing 234 by the frequency in MHz. If you choose this option, always double check to make sure that the answer is looking for ¼ wavelength and not ½ wavelength. The other option is to calculate for a ½ wavelength dipole and divide by 2. To find the answer, first calculate the length of a ½ wavelength dipole antenna in feet by dividing 468 by the frequency in MHz. Dividing 468 by 28.5 gives us a rounded answer of 16.42 feet. Now, you need to divide that answer in half to get the length of a ¼ wavelength antenna. 16.42 divided by 2 is 8.21 and rounds to 8 feet, making answer A the correct choice.

Website Update

Photo of the words website update with construction equipment working on the letters.

Here are the latest updates on the new Handiham.org website. Don’t forget to monitor the site for updates throughout the week. When changes are made, I will post to the website. You can also find the latest updates any time by going to https://handiham.org/wordpress1/website-updates/. If you have any feedback about the website, I would love to hear from you. If you are a current member and your credentials are not allowing you to login to the site, please contact Pemdy for assistance at handiham@allina.com or 612-775-2291.

The April issue of the QCWA Journal is available in Mp3 format in the magazines and newsletters section of the members only website.

Equipment Connection

Photo of Icom IC-7200 with LDG auto-tuner and power supply.

Equipment connections are happening, and the list is open! 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 the other things going on in the Handiham Program. If you don’t hear back from me after two weeks, you may contact me a second time. Additionally, if you have received any equipment from the Handiham Program during the last 12 months, you will automatically be placed at the bottom of the list so that others can also participate in the Equipment Connection. As a reminder, there is some fine print that you will need to be aware of when these connections take place.

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health (“CKRI”), provides a way to connect Handiham members in need of radio equipment with people who want to donate used equipment; however, CKRI makes no warranty whatsoever regarding the equipment. No warranties, promises, and/or representations of any kind, express or implied, are given as to the equipment.

CKRI shall not be liable for any loss or damage of whatever nature (direct, indirect, consequential, or other) whether arising in contract or tort or otherwise, which may arise as a result of your use of contact information (or failure to use) contact information provided by CKRI. CKRI only provides contact information upon request where an individual has used ham radio equipment to share that matches a request and both individuals have agreed to the exchange of contact information. The outcome of the contact between the individuals is not with the control of CKRI, and we cannot take responsibility for any aspect of the communications or transactions. The provision of contact information is not to be taken as an endorsement or representation of any kind by CKRI.

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.

Help Needed

Photo of note with the words help needed written on it.

The Handiham Program needs contributors to Handiham World. Do you have a particular interest in amateur radio that you would like to share with others? Maybe you have a particular mode or band you like to operate and have learned a lot about. Or maybe you have some great stories to share from your experiences in the amateur radio hobby. Put your writing skills to work for Handiham World by sending your submissions to Lucinda.Moody@allina.com.

The Handiham Program needs more readers. While we need some regular readers, we also need some with a background in teaching in STEM related fields, especially if you have also worked with students requiring accommodations. This volunteer position requires you to use your own equipment to record, however, we will provide the reading materials. If you or someone you know would like to try reading material for the members only section, please contact me for more information on how to submit a demo recording.

We need help updating our available resources for members. If you are blind and enjoy using your ham radio or assistive technology related devices, your assistance is especially needed. It would be a big help to your fellow Handiham Members if you would record a tutorial or product review. These need to be sent in Mp3 format, and the Handiham Program reserves the right to edit the recordings as needed before publishing in the Members Only section of the Handiham.org website. Please contact me at Lucinda.Moody@allina.com or 612-775-2290 if you have any questions.

I want to say a big thank you to those who have made or volunteered to make tutorials for the Members Only portion of the website. We have already had a number of members step up to offer their services, and their help is greatly appreciated! We also have some new readers who are working on some books, so keep watching for website updates as we add more content.

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 DMR Talkgroup on Brandmeister is 31990. On AllStar, it is available at node 47367.
  • 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.


  • 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

E-Mail: handiham@allina.com

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 assistive technology, operating information, and Handiham Program news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is available to everyone free of charge. Please email handiham@allina.com for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.