Handiham World for April 24, 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 24, 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…

Things are busy in the Handiham Program Headquarters. I will be heading to Camp Courage North this weekend to check out the camp in preparation for our session in July. Next week, I will also be attending the accessible SKYWARN training class in Grandville, Michigan. It is a blessing to travel on roads that are no longer covered in snow and ice!

Radio Camp applications continue to stream in for the 2019 Radio Camp at True Friends Camp Courage North. Don’t forget, transportation is available between the Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport and camp. For those who have attended before, this camp will be different from ones in the past. There are many more activities that campers can participate in, and the old operating skills classes have been updated with new options. I have looked at the proposed menu for the week, and the food looks good! 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 yet requested an application, please contact Pemdy as soon as possible.

If you are planning to go to Hamvention at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center this year, our booth number is 6602, located in the same spot as last year. We would love to have you stop by for a visit. Kelly Stanfield, W0YQG, and Jim Shaffer, KE5AL, will also be helping at the booth at different times. Additionally, the Hamvention officials decided to open the gates to the public on Sunday at no charge! If you live in the area and have never attended, this is your chance to check it out for free—well almost free. That depends on how much you spend while you are inside! The booths are open between 9 am and 1 pm on Sunday. Hamvention starts in just 22 days!

We have a new podcast feed titled “Handiham World.” You may have already noticed that there is a new player that appears below the E-Letter on the website. There are also new subscribe links on the website and in the E-Letter. This will be the last week that the Handiham World podcast is posted in both the old and new locations, so please be sure to update your pod catchers. As a reminder, here are the instructions for listening to the podcast on your Victor Reader Stream or Trek.

Instructions for subscribing to the new Handiham World Podcast using the Humanware Victor Reader Stream or Victor Reader Trek

1. Press the online button to get to the online bookshelves.
2. Press the number 1 key repeatedly until you reach podcasts.
3. Press the 4 or 6 key repeatedly until you get to “add podcast feed.” Press the # or confirm key to select this option. The machine will say “Title Search.” Press the # or confirm key to select this. The machine will say “enter text to search.”
4. Enter the word Handiham on the keypad. Here are the actual key presses for doing this: 44, 2, 66, 3, 444, 44, 2, 6, and then press the # or confirm key to enter. The machine will say “please wait.” The machine will give a list of search results. If there are multiple results, use the 4 or 6 key to find the one labeled “Handiham World.” Press the # or confirm key to select this one. The machine will say “you are subscribed to a new podcast feed.”

That’s it! You are now subscribed to the new Handiham World podcast feed. Each week, your Victor Reader Stream or Trek will retrieve the new podcast when it is connected to wi-fi.

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.

While I will be out of the office all next week, Pemdy will be in during her usual hours. The Handiham World E-Letter will be released per its usual schedule. 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 name, phone number, and call sign, if you have one. Also, if you send an email, please include your name along with your call sign 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 the new FT4 mode being released soon, another article about an affordable scan and read app, and the second part of our interview with Kitty Hevener, W8TDA. 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

Inexpensive Scan and Read App

photo of voice dream app logo on smart phone

While not a perfect app, the Voice Dream Scanner App functions very well for the low price. Users can scan text using their iPhone and the app will read it back using OCR technology. It even has a batch mode, allowing users to take pictures of multiple pages before reading. One drawback is that it does not yet recognize columns, meaning that it will read the document out of order. Hopefully that will be improved in future updates. You can learn more by checking out the app at https://ndassistive.org/blog/6-scan-and-read-app-of-my-dreams/

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Lucinda,

It’s just over half way through April, and I already have a Hamvention related story for you. This is another one of those stories that I think just shows how small the world is at times.

On this past Thursday, April 18, I was keeping myself busy, since it would have been my Dad’s 72nd birthday if he were still here. I was playing around on Facebook and was accepted into a group for the Dayton Hamvention. That evening I wrote a post in the group explaining a quick version of my ham radio story. I also mentioned that from my story and things we discussed you had asked me last year if I would help you run the booth this year. I asked if anyone in the group had anything they might share with me that they thought a person coming for the first time would want to know. I gave call signs throughout my introduction post. I also mentioned that my Uncle Joe is a ham and my Grandpa had been a ham.

There was only one person who wrote back to my post. It was a lady named Charissa Dunham, whose callsign is KB4BML. The first thing she did was describe some of what is near where the booth will be located. She said she helped you out from time to time last year as a Hamvention volunteer. Then she said that if she saw Joe she would try and get him a copy of the book from last year since he wasn’t there. Through chatting with her some more on Thursday evening and Friday morning while I put together the playlist for my internet radio show, I discovered she’s known Uncle Joe from various ham related activities since 2008. It was neat to learn that she knew Grandpa as well. As she told me, since the hospital was just down the street from where she lives, she went to see him most days when he was in just before he went into Hospice in December of 2014.

Kelly Stanfield, W0YQG

Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing this story, Kelly. It really is a small world! I am looking forward to having you volunteer at the Handiham Program booth next month.

Hi Lucinda,

I am writing to let you know that as of last evening I passed my General class exam. I have a CSCE in hand!

Dan Beaver, KC4DOY

Interview of the Week

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kitty Hevener, W8TDA, two weeks ago. She has many years of experience and fun in the amateur radio hobby. Please join me for the next part of our conversation.

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

KH: I actually enjoy Morse code. For me, it’s just the way to go. I’m much more comfortable in that mode. It did some good things for me. I’ll never forget when I was in my first semester of college, it was really tough, both academically and emotionally, because it was the first time I had been where as a blind person I was in the minority. I realized that people were really into body language and all the things that sighted people get into.

KH: Also, being college, I felt pressured to join a sorority, but I didn’t really want to. I was struggling to keep up with academics because there were things I hadn’t been prepared for in high school. So, it was all really hard. To make matters worse, my parents felt that I would not succeed in college.

KH: No one in my family went to college except me, but they were convinced that if I had gone to a college for the blind, just like I went to a school for the blind, I would do well. However, there was no such college. Consequently, in their minds, they were convinced I would fail. So, I felt like I had to prove them wrong. Obviously, I wanted to succeed. I was very determined to get a degree in special education for the visually impaired.

KH: So, that first semester I was home on Thanksgiving break. It was the night before I was going back to college. I was really dreading it, but I knew I could not show my sadness. I was talking to a friend in CW, and he asked me how college life was going. I asked him if he really wanted to know. He probably wondered later why he answered yes! He found out!

KH: I wasn’t even thinking about the fact that amateur radio conversations were not private because, to me, it was private because my parents had no clue what I was saying. He was the one who gave me the encouragement I needed to go back to college and get through that semester. It got easier after that. But, it was that late night CW conversation that made such a huge difference for me.

LM: You know, you just never know the impact you can have on another person just by simply being another human with a listening ear at the right time.

KH: Yes! And the thing is, I had gotten to know him because, although he lived in Ohio, he always checked into the West Virginia Novice Net, which I was net manager of for a while. And, we just connected.

LM: I think things happen, probably more often than we realize, that we can have quite an impact on other people, if we are willing to slow down and take the time to do it.

KH: I agree.

LM: So, you made it through college.

KH: I did, and I will say that ham radio helped me get through college because I found out that there were some scholarships available. At that time, they had seven scholarships, now they have a whole lot more. This was all through the AARL Foundation. Some of them were specific to engineering students, but there was one, and I got it three years in a row, which was amazing.

LM: That can help a lot!

KH: It did. It also just showed me another really positive side to ham radio.

KH: When it was time for me to start giving something back, I had wanted to do public service, but options were not available in rural West Virginia. I was appointed Emergency Coordinator of my county, but I was the only ham in that county. And, my parents did not believe that I could do anything like that, and they were too busy with farm work and stuff like that. It was a paper appointment, but its meaning was nonexistent.

LM: You were a team of one.

KH: I was! I couldn’t even recruit because I had no way to get out anywhere to try to talk to people. However, once I graduated from college, I moved to Boston, and the opportunities abounded.

LM: Tell me about Boston. What happened there?

KH: That was my first teaching position. I was making $10,000 a year living in Boston. I thought that was a fabulous income before I actually got there. And, it was, because I didn’t have anything prior to that.

LM: Yes, because you went from nothing!

KH: I took a 2-meter mobile rig with me, and I got to know some folks on 2 meters. In fact, the ham community there helped me look for a place to live. At first, I was staying at the facility where I was working, and I needed some separation.

LM: I don’t blame you!

KH: So, it was the ham community that actually helped me find a place to live. What I found was a single room, a small room at that, in a house with two single, female parents. One lady had six kids plus one adopted child, and the other lady had one kid. All of these kids, with the exception of one, were teenagers. It was just really hard to live in that environment.

KH: The primary homeowner, the one that had the most kids, gave me the chance to put up an antenna. I explained what it was, and I had the ham community come over and put up an HF antenna. She didn’t like it, and it was going to have to come down. She was one who was very into aesthetics. Then I found out one of my friends had put these brightly colored insulators on the antenna. So, I got those removed, and she was a little more tolerant.

KH: But, when I was in Boston, the ham community was very open to me. I continued my work in traffic handling, which I had done a lot of, especially when I was living in West Virginia. I went to the region and the area level of traffic handling, all in Morse code. I also started doing public service events. I was affiliated with a club that was doing communications with the Red Cross. I found that I started being asked to be net control for a lot of events, including the Boston Marathon. So, there were great opportunities because the community was open, and I just felt like one of the gang.

LM: That had to be a lot of fun!

Stay tuned next week for the next installment of our interview with Kitty Hevener, W8TDA.

Ham Radio in the News

Faster, More Contest-Friendly FT4 Digital Protocol to Debut in a Week

Photo of computer screen with FT8 mode running on WSJT-X

The WSJT-X Developers are working on the new FT4 mode, one that can compete with RTTY contact rates in contests. The new mode will use shorter transmit-receive sequences, making it about 2.5 times faster than FT8. FT4 can decode signals that are 10 dB weaker than RTTY while taking up less bandwidth. Downloadable installation packages that include this release candidate software are expected to be available on April 29. You can read more at the following link: http://www.arrl.org/news/faster-more-contest-friendly-ft4-digital-protocol-to-debut-in-a-week

A Dip in the Pool
drawing of person studying

Let’s go to the General Class pool this week to a question about soldered joints and lightning protection:

G0B09 asks: Why should soldered joints not be used with the wires that connect the base of a tower to a system of ground rods?

Possible answers are:
A. The resistance of solder is too high.
B. Solder flux will prevent a low conductivity connection.
C. Solder has too high a dielectric constant to provide adequate lightning protection.
D. A soldered joint will likely be destroyed by the heat of a lightning strike.

When you ground your tower, you will not want to just solder the connections. You will want to connect your tower to your ground rods using something like copper clamps. While you can solder a connection, know that all that heat from a lightning strike will likely melt it. This makes answer D, a soldered joint will likely be destroyed by the heat of a lightning strike, 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.

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.

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. We are currently searching for a new reader for CQ Magazine. We also need some readers 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.