Handiham World for December 16, 2019

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Monday, December 16, 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…

This is your last week to get in on the current membership rates before the cost goes up. Be sure to contact Pemdy right away if you want to renew early or upgrade to a life membership to lock in your savings.

Pemdy asked me to remind you that there are a few extra items from the latest merchandise list. If you want to see if something is available for you to order, please contact her via email or phone.

Photo of stack of new gray sweatshirts with the Handiham Logo embroidered on them.

If you haven’t already signed up to receive an application for the 2020 Radio Camp, be sure to let Pemdy know that you want to be on the list. Applications will go out in mid-February. We are planning some great new curriculum for next year’s camp that will help campers continue to expand their knowledge of amateur radio.

Photo of radio campers out on the pontoon boat on Lake George.

Camp will include license class instruction along lots of hands-on amateur radio and training in science, technology, math, and engineering. Instructors are experienced ham radio operators from many locations who come together each summer to make this great experience a reality for campers of all abilities. The week will also give campers the opportunity to learn from each other while enjoying traditional camp activities like swimming, meals in the great outdoors, and nightly campfires.

Are you a newer ham? A great podcast to listen to is the ARRL’s So Now What. The latest episode is all about navigating nets. With a new episode released every other week, I would encourage you to check it out at: http://www.arrl.org/so-now-what

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.

Pemdy and I will be in the office during our usual hours this week. Don’t forget, the office will be closed from December 23rd through January 3rd for the annual holiday break. The office will reopen on Tuesday, January 7th. 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, and the reason for your email 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 Aira and Target, another article about some special visits with Santa via ham radio, and a holiday interview with long-time member Diane, WD9DNQ. 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

Aira Access Now Being Piloted at Even More Target Stores

photo of Target storefront

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, Aira services are now available in 600 Target stores located in 13 major markets. If you live in one of the areas, you can access help from an Aira agent without using any of your minutes. When you enter the store, Aira will send a push notification to your smart device, letting you know the service is available. There is no time limit, and shoppers can use Aira to shop for gifts, locate sale items, find shopping carts, locate check-out lines, pick out cards, find clothing, and even select grocery items. You can learn more at: https://aira.io/target

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Lucinda,

Well, on November 23 and 24, I operated the CQ WWDX contest. I have worked it before but not with turning in my log. With help from Joe, AI0Y, and Tom, KB8TYJ, however, I was able to actually log the contest on my own and turn in my score.

Considering the band conditions and the fact that I couldn’t get on the air Friday night, I think I did well. I entered as an all-band station and made contacts on all bands, 80- through 10-meters. I don’t have a good 20-meter antenna, so that doesn’t help either.

I worked New Zeeland on 80- and 40-meters, only my second time to work them on the 80-meter band. I came up with 171 QSO’s. I am not sure about the multipliers, but my claimed score was 70,518 points. I know there are a lot bigger scores, but I also didn’t work the whole 36 hours that I could have, and at least I was able to log it and get it turned in.

I am doing this to get geared up for the VHF contests. Way back when I used to enter, I was always one of the top scorers in the state on 6 through 432. I have noticed people bragging about how good they can do, and I know I have a better station, and so now it is time for a show!

With help from Joe, we were able to get my rig to track with the logger program N3FJP software, and that’s really nice to have, so you don’t have to worry about going in and changing bands on your log all the time.

So now, I for sure will be doing more contesting. The ARRL 10-meter contest is coming up, and I hope to be able to work it and enter my log. Who knows what we will have for a band, but it’s worth a try.

I have to say I really like this N3FJP Logger. I think it is well worth the money I paid for it.

Thanks and 73,

Matt, KA0PQW

Interview of the Week

This week, we have a short interview with Diane, WD9DNQ, one of our long-time program members.
Photo of arm in suit jacket with hand holding a large communications microphone.

LM: We have Diane here. We are actually at Diane’s home.

DV: Hello!

LM: And we’ve been working on her radio today.

DV: I am very anxious to get that up!

LM: Diane wants to get on the air!

DV: And more and more, we are getting closer.

LM: We just have a little more work to do because the mic wasn’t working quite like we thought it would. But, we’ll keep at it until we get it right.

DV: I’m glad to be on here with all of you guys. And, I’m looking forward to next year and Radio Camp. I’m so glad that we were able to do it last July. I didn’t know a year ago how I was going to get there or what nurses I would have, but I was able to get three nurses together, and we all had a good time. They all want to go next year again. It was just as much of a vacation for them!

LM: They were enjoying themselves, and they were a big help too.

DV: They were, definitely. One of the biggest things I enjoyed, of course, was seeing people I hadn’t seen in a while. The food was great, and getting on the air, for sure, that was one of the highlights.

LM: I know people really enjoyed getting to talk to you on the nets.

DV: That brought back a lot of memories getting on the PICOnet.

LM: So, the next thing we have to do, once we get your home station all set up is to get you running the weekday nets.

DV: Right. Exactly.

LM: That will be good.

DV: And I get to do so many things now, getting together with people, going to my day programs and stuff. My sister was saying today how when I used to leave camp, I would be crying. But now, I really have a life, and I do different things. Camp is not the end all, be all, but I just enjoy it so much. And I really appreciated it when Matt came over a couple of times to sing. And Matt, you are always welcome to come over any time that you want to sing for us. Anyway, I am really enjoying life as I know it here in Vadnais Heights. Merry Christmas to all, and Happy New Year. Bye!

LM: Thanks so much, Diane! I really appreciate you doing this.

Stay tuned for a new interview airing next week.

Ham Radio in the News

Santa Visits Kids at a Tampa Hospital via Ham Radio

photo of Santa at his ham radio station.

Being in the hospital is a tough way to spend Christmas, especially if you are a child. Patients at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, got to talk to Santa via ham radio. They used the equipment for hurricanes and other disasters, already located in the hospital, to reach out to Santa at the North Pole. To make the contacts even more special, Santa’s elves did some fact-finding ahead of time to provide Santa with the best intelligence on what the kids wanted. Of course, the one present that was usually requested was a trip home. You can learn more at: https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/local/hillsboroughcounty/santa-visits-kids-tampa-hospital-ham-radio/67-99829c10-c236-47c8-a69e-3828ba730113

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 type N connectors:

G6B07 asks: Which of the following describes a type N connector?

Possible answers are:
A. A moisture-resistant RF connector useful to 10 GHz.
B. A small bayonet connector useful for data circuits.
C. A threaded connector used for hydraulic systems.
D. An audio connector used in surround-sound installations.

In your ham radio hobby experience, you may have found type N connectors when working with UHF and microwave equipment. Because the type N connector is moisture resistant and works great up to 10 GHz, it is particularly suited for VHF and UHF feed points, making answer A the correct choice. You are not as likely, however, to see this connector used for HF stations.

Editor’s note: Matt Arthur sent the following addendum to last week’s topic:

Hi Lucinda,

That is a great question from the Technician class pool. I would like to point out that we have seen sporadic E skip as high in frequency as 1.25 meters or 222 MHz. I actually have heard it myself, but I just couldn’t get the rig set up in time to work him. I had a problem with the keying circuit in the set-up.

I have also worked aurora as high as 432 MHz. A lot of people will tell you that can’t happen, but it can and has. I actually know of one ham who worked aurora on 1296 MHz. He used a lot of power to make that happen.

A few other observations I have made over the 40 or so years that I have been in ham radio is that when we get sporadic E skip on 10- and 6-meters in the winter time, 80-meters doesn’t go as long in the evenings. When there is no E skip, 160- through around 30-meters will go very long, which makes it so you cannot talk to someone in say a 200 or 300mile area, but yet you can work someone 1500 miles away or even get good DX. Most people don’t seem to know or understand that.

The other thing it seems that a lot of hams don’t understand, including whoever comes up with the questions for the exam pool, is the fact that aurora affects all of the HF bands, not just 6-meters as they claim. Aurora will enhance everything from 20-meters up through 70 cm—sometimes not every band because it also depends on the intensity of the aurora. But, it will pretty much destroy propagation on the low bands. Sure, you will probably be able to work someone, but it may be tough. I have heard 80 meters be out right worthless because of aurora.

You can also get what is called auroral E skip. This happens when the aurora couples with an E skip cloud and causes the auroral E skip.
Now, you can take this one step farther. I and several others think we had a situation back in the late 90’s, I think 1998, in September. We had a very strong aurora, and I called a CQ on 6-meter CW, and several stations called me on the aurora, but the strongest station that called me had a clear tone. That was VK4KK from Australia. The opening lasted seven minutes, as far as we can tell. We think that the aurora was able to couple into an E skip cloud that in turn maybe had some F 2 skip or maybe coupled into a trans-equatorial path. Now of course, we don’t really know what happened and caused that opening, but I can say I haven’t seen anything like that since.

So, I just thought you would find all of this interesting.

Thanks and 73,

Matt, KA0PQW

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 December issue of CQ Magazine is now available in DAISY 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 six hours ahead of Minnesota time during the winter.

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 and increasing to $15 in January of 2020. The lifetime membership rate is $120.00 and increasing to $150 in January of 2020.
    • 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: Tuesdays through Thursdays between 9:00 AM and 3:00 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 Mondays, 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.