Handiham World for August 7, 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, August 7, 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…

The 2019 Radio Camp is history! We had a great time up at Camp Courage North and enjoyed beautiful weather throughout the entire week! Because there is so much to report about camp, this E-Letter will only cover the first part of the week. Stay tuned to future issues of Handiham World to hear the whole story about camp.

photo of Nick, Scott, and Ron on the deck of the dining hall

Campers arrived on Sunday, with some coming by car, some flying into Bemidji, and some flying into the Twin Cities and riding the chartered bus to camp. For those who rode the bus, they were treated to a comfortable ride on a beautiful tour bus where they could enjoy visiting with other campers attending Radio Camp. The camp made sure that supper was ready for those campers coming in on the bus when they arrived.

photo of Matt and Lynelle playing instruments and singing by the campfire

If you have ever been to Camp Courage North, you know how peaceful the atmosphere at camp is. One comment heard over and over throughout the week by both campers and volunteers alike was how beautiful and relaxing it is there.

photo of chapel at Camp Courage North with sunset in the background

On Monday, we kicked off camp with a special message from none other than Don Wilbanks, AE5DW. You can listen to his opening message to everyone at camp on the podcast this week. Don helped out by introducing the new awards, acknowledging some special campers and volunteers, and wishing everyone well in their studies. Everyone was off to their classes after that rousing start to the week!

Tom Behler, KB8TYJ, a retired sociology professor, took on teaching most of the material in the new Get on the Air class. He had students engaged and participating, and it was great to see him in action! John Glass, NU6P, joined him in teaching several of the modules. John Glass also helped teach in the new Advanced Stem Topics class.

Of course, Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, was there! He was our resident noise hunter, and he enjoyed teaching noise hunting along with fox hunting, especially with the new Byonics fox hunt transceiver. One day, he set a new record with four completed fox hunts! As some of you know, when Matt zeros in on a signal, he follows it—no matter where it leads! That makes it a bit challenging sometimes when hiding the fox because we don’t want anyone to get hurt! In any case, we all had fun finding the fox during numerous hunts throughout the week.

photo of Matt, Bob, and Joann all searching for the fox

Bill Vokac, K9BV, and Sue Behler, KC8IFP, another new volunteer, joined forces to teach the Technician class. Dr. Dave, KN0S, taught the Extra
Class. As always, Bill, N0CIC, enjoyed piloting the boat during the week.

photo of campers on the pontoon boat

Also new this year, Joe Uhrich, AI0Y, gave us help in so many different areas, including demonstrating the new Buddipole and Buddistick antennas, helping with the Kenwood 590, and setting up antennas and the repeater. Additionally, he made the long trip to go pick up the replacement repeater when the first one developed serious problems. No matter what, Joe always had a smile and was ready to help campers with what they needed.

photo of Dr. Dave enjoying a picnic lunch with Extra Class student Bob

There are so many great stories to tell from camp, so you will have to check back in next week to hear more! And, if you haven’t already ordered your special 2019 Radio Camp mug with our Handiham Program Radio Camp logo and the group photo, be sure to contact Pemdy as soon as possible.

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.

I will be back in Michigan all next week helping with my father David Moody, N8XOF and 5V7MD, as he recovers from complications following a heart attack in early July. You will still be able to reach me via email, and I will be checking my phone messages daily. The E-Letter will also go out on schedule next week. Pemdy will be in the office during her usual hours. If you call the Handiham Program office, and we do not answer, please leave a message. When you leave that message, don’t forget to leave your name, phone number, call sign, if you have one, and the reason for your call. 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 a new companion program for WSJT-X, another article about hams helping with a wildfire, and the first of our interviews recorded during Radio Camp 2019. 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

FT-8 Companion Program for Screen Reader Users Looking for Beta Testers

Photo of WSJT-X FT-8

Because of the difficulties with using WSJT-X with a screen reader, a companion program is being developed that makes it easier for blind hams to use FT-8. The program uses function keys and other keyboard input to control parts of WSJT-X and self-voices feedback while making FT-8 contacts. At this time, the program only allows the blind ham to respond to an FT-8 CQ. More features are being developed.

To successfully use the program, you must already have your computer connected to your HF rig through a dedicated sound device. Some newer radios already have a sound card interface built in. You must also have WSJT-X working. Many of the people who are testing have completed much of the WSJT-X and hardware set-up without sighted assistance, but in most cases, a bit of help is needed. If you have WSJT-X working in your shack and are interested in trying the companion program, please contact me at handiham@allina.com with FT-8 in the subject line. Also, in your email, please include a description of your HF station and what sound card interface you are using.

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Lucinda,

Does anyone know of an audible battery tester? At one time a company made one. Perhaps a skilled ham could design one? Or could the USB port on a smart phone be used as the output device?

Thanks and be well,


Interview of the Week

We recorded several interviews at the end of Radio Camp 2019. Please enjoy the first one with Linda Reeder, N7HVF, and Jennifer Thompson, KC9AGR.
Photo of arm in suit jacket with hand holding a large communications microphone.

LM: We’ve got Linda and Jennifer here ready to talk about Radio Camp. Why don’t you start, Jennifer. Tell us what’s happened this week.

JT: The first thing that pops into my head is that Matt showed me how to use Be My Eyes. I had the app, but I didn’t know how to use it. I didn’t know that you actually just double tap on it and it calls the volunteer that answers. We used a can of soup, and you put the camera on the phone up to the can and the person tells you the kind of soup and the directions and all that stuff. So, I was so excited that I learned how to do that!

JT: And I learned Echolink on my phone. I had the app, and I tried it a few times, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it, so I just gave up. So, John showed me how to do it, and now when I go home, I can check into the Handiham nets on Wednesday night and I don’t even have to use my computer if I don’t want to.

LM: Very nice! And speaking of phones, something big happened with Linda this week related to the iPhone!

JT: Yes!

LR: Well, Jennifer taught me to use the iPhone. I don’t know it really well yet, and I don’t know when I will do it, because I have this other braille display that I am learning, and it is really complicated.

LM: But Linda, you are reminding us that you are never too old to learn new technology!

LR: Yes. I learned how to do tapping and how if somebody calls you, you just use two fingers to tap and then say hello. And when you are done, you use two fingers to tap to hang up.

LM: So, what else did you get to do this week? I know there was a very special PICO net Friday morning.

JT: Yes! We got to check-in with our good friend, Luella, who lives in Rosemount, Minnesota.

LM: And someone else ran the PICO net this week!

JT: Yes! Diane ran it on Monday. I didn’t get to check-in with her, but I did get to sit in the room when she did it.

LM: And there have been a bunch of camp activities this week. We’ve had some great camp staff.

LR: Well, I got to do the hidden transmitter hunt where you have to listen to when the signal gets louder. And I actually found it! It was in the chapel!

LM: Was that the first time you found the hidden transmitter?

LR: Yes! And I was so excited! My guide kept asking me if I wanted to check in the Chapel, so I said yes. And I found it!

Stay tuned next week for more interviews from Radio Camp!

Ham Radio in the News

Arizona ARES Volunteers Support Communication during Arizona Wildland Fire

Photo of ARES logo

ARES members stepped up to staff the Emergency Operations Center as winds caused the Museum Fire to spread. ARES members have responded to numerous incidents during the past few years, providing communications support when regular cellular and radio coverage was limited or nonexistent. All of the ham gear is stored at the EOC, and members are trained to have it operational within one hour of activation. With the fire’s rapid growth, efforts were aimed at protecting critical communications sites, sites that also house amateur radio repeaters. To prepare for whatever scenario they would face, ARES members set up extra radios and repeaters. Thanks to the hard work of the firefighters, however, the repeater sites were saved. You can read more at http://www.arrl.org/news/arizona-ares-volunteers-support-communication-during-arizona-wildland-fire

A Dip in the Pool
drawing of person studying

Let’s go to the New General Class pool this week to a question about minimizing RF hot spots in the shack:

G4C11 asks: What technique helps to minimize RF “hot spots” in an amateur station?

Possible answers are:
A. Building all equipment in a metal enclosure.
B. Using surge suppressor power outlets.
C. Bonding all equipment enclosures together.
D. Low-pass filters on all feed lines.

Even though you often hear the terms bonding and grounding used interchangeably, they are really two different things. In this case, bonding all your equipment enclosures together using a low impedance RF connection, like a copper strap or braid, will generally prevent RF hot spots in your shack. This makes answer C the correct choice. RF bonding can even work effectively when a good earth ground is not available. However, you should always both bond and ground your equipment to get the best results.

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 August issue of the QCWA Journal is available in Mp3 audio 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.

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.

We are always looking for more readers, including some with a background in teaching in STEM related fields, especially if you have also worked with students requiring accommodations. 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.