Handiham World for January 27, 2020

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of January 27, 2020

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 past weekend was Winter Field Day. Its purpose is to increase camaraderie between hams, improve field operations, advance emergency operating preparedness, and just get people on the air in the great outdoors in the middle of winter. The event runs the last full weekend of January each year from 1900 UTC on Saturday to 1900 UTC on Sunday. If you don’t currently participate in Winter Field Day, now is the time to add it to next year’s calendar!

Along with the release of the new On the Air magazine, the ARRL is doing a new podcast to take a deeper look at some of the topics and projects included in the magazine. You can check it out at http://www.arrl.org/on-the-air-podcast.

There are still a few extra items from the latest merchandise list. If you want to see if something is available for you to order, please contact Pemdy.

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, don’t forget to let Pemdy know that you want to be on the list. Pemdy has been busy getting the applications ready to go out in just a couple more weeks. We have already had more than 40 applications requested!

Camp will include license class instruction along with 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.

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

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. 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 using an iPhone to make lists, another article about preserving the 3 GHz band, and the next part of a new interview with Jerry Kloss, N0VOE. 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

Make a List and Check It Off

photo of apple logo

Many people who are blind or vision impaired can’t read or write a shopping list. Now, with your iPhone, you can make a list and check things off as you go using only your voice. The following is a short video explaining how to do just that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHJRLLAdWD0

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Good day to everyone,

In October, I took the general class test and passed, answering 33 out of 35 questions correctly. The dip in the pool articles were quite helpful.

I now have a Kenwood TS-590SG on my desk with an off center fed dipole crawling up my apartment walls. I also have an FT-100 dual band Fusion radio with an Arrow JPole behind my couch. So, now I’m ready to play on the airwaves.

I wanted to share some thoughts on the tools I used to get my General. In my opinion two tools are necessary.

1. an app with study topics and the full current question pool along with practice tests.

2. A great but simple book that also has the questions but introduces easy ways to remember those confusing answers along with just enough theory so that there is an actual understanding of what all that stuff actually means and how you apply it.

My biggest challenge was that I would go through the questions, see the answers, but not really understand what they meant. I’d start googling the question, so I could develop an understanding. Hence the book, which is called, Pass Your Amateur Radio General Class Test – The Easy Way: 2019-2023 Edition by Craig Buck K4IA. I got mine on Amazon.

This is a fantastically fun and easy read. Craig describes how to use the book and how to study. His advice is sound, and the way he writes makes it extremely easy to understand.

After all that, at the end of the book are just the questions with the answers—no choices so you don’t see the wrong things. Along with that are the hints. Trust me on this: a person studying will start understanding his system and create their own hints to memorize. As you hear a question all of a sudden something pops in to your head that helps.

The app is called: Ham General, and you can find it in the app store. The story behind this is interesting. About a year ago or more I thought of at least looking at what it would take to study for the General class test. I downloaded the app and found it sort of accessible.

I wrote to the developer, and he expressed great interest in making it totally accessible. It took a year, but he did, and it’s great. A person can tell the right answers when studying topics, the tests don’t show the score until you tap the score button, and then you can retake the test if you like. During the retake you see your original selection and when it or another is tapped, if it’s wrong, the right one shows as selected.

So, these are the tools I’d recommend. The Kindle book is completely accessible, and because of these tools I could study anywhere. I highly recommend these two study aids, and my score is proof of how helpful they were.


John, N2FGB

Interview of the Week

This week, we welcome Jerry Kloss, N0VOE, who agreed to come back and do another interview for 2020, even though he really wasn’t sure he could improve on the last one from 2018.

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

LM: I still say, and I said this back in 2018 when we talked, I feel incredibly lucky to get to do a job that I love.

JK: Yeah. Isn’t that something! I left MNDOT too, doing a job that I loved. I did public relations kinds of things in a similar environment, but it was in traffic services where I had a lot of public contact. And then, if it wasn’t for the dispatch environment, I would have never known of the Handiham Program.

LM: Isn’t that amazing?

JK: Funny how it works out isn’t it, life?

LM: It is.

JK: Yeah. I wrote a little book about my life. My sister has it now. I did it on email. I just felt like talking about life’s journey because life has been good. Nobody’s life goes through without rough spots, but here I am at this age. How would I ever know it would turn out like this. I’ve been married all these years and have a healthy family. It doesn’t get much better than that.

LM: No. You’ve been incredibly blessed.

JK: Yeah, I sure have. And I’ll carry on the energy with you folks as needed, that’s for sure.

LM: Yes. And both of us have been lucky enough to work with this incredible program.

JK: Yeah, well, it seems to have new life. I thought it was dead in the water when I was laid off there.

LM: So, in 2019, we ended up with about 50 new members.

JK: Fifty! Oh, good deal!

LM: Plus, we had about another 20 who came back to the Program that used to be in the Program.

JK: Okay. Roughly, what is the whole total of the membership?

LM: We have about 600 active members.

JK: I think I told you the story about when I came on board when Nancy was there. And there were two four-drawer file cabinets in that little office where she was. And she had me start going through those files and calling folks—some of them were deceased. We cleaned that up and got that down to, when I left at that time, one file drawer with all the members in it. It made a lot of room in there—more room for the janitors to vacuum.

LM: And now we’re converting all the files. Pemdy has been working to convert all the files to electronic format which means when we are out of the office, and we log in on our computers, we have access to information that we can’t get if it’s only in paper format.

JK: Yeah, I think I mentioned in my earlier interview, I wonder what Ned Carmen would think, W0ZSW?

LM: And his picture is still in our office, so he’s still watching over the Program.

JK: No kidding! I never knew it was in there.

LM: Yeah, he’s still watching. You know, it’s pretty amazing when you look back at what he started and what it’s turned into. And it just keeps getting bigger. There’s more stuff coming down the line for the Program. We’re just going to continue growing it.

JK: Where would you like to take it? Ham radio is ham radio. What else is there?

LM: Well, there’s things in ham radio that we want to be able to have for campers, so one of the things we are adding this year at Radio Camp is a little focus on satellite communications. So, people are actually going to be able to make satellite contacts. And we will be covering some of the theory involved with that in the various classes. There will be an optional class where people can put together a satellite antenna to use. So, things like that where we are looking for what kind of curriculum we can add. We don’t want to just do the same thing every year. We want to keep making this better.

JK: I like the sound of that, and I can hear the energy in your voice.

LM: Well, if you want people to keep coming back to Radio Camp, you have to make it an experience where people can come and continue to build on their knowledge. I think it’s going to be good. We have good things to come, and it’s hard to believe it’s 2020 already. And it’s exciting to think about you coming back to camp.

JK: Well, thank you for that. I’m humbled at your comment.

LM: We will definitely keep in touch with you, and we are looking forward to having you at camp this summer!

JK: I will be there!

Stay tuned for a new interview airing next week.

Ham Radio in the News

ARRL to Argue for Continued Access to 3-GHz Spectrum as FCC Sets Comment Deadlines

Photo of ARES logo.

The ARRL is interested in protecting amateur access in the 3 GHz band. The FCC has requested comment on how amateur radio operators use the spectrum and appropriate options for relocation. Because hams make substantial use of the band that would be hard to replicate elsewhere, more than 150 comments were filed before the designated comment period even opened. The ARRL requests that hams who comment be sure to let the FCC know about how they use the 3 GHz band. Commenters should reference WT Docket 19-348. You can learn more at: http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-to-argue-for-continued-access-to-3-ghz-spectrum-as-fcc-sets-comment-deadlines

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 LEDs.
G6B08 asks: How is an LED biased when emitting light?

Possible answers are:
A. Beyond cutoff.
B. At the Zener voltage.
C. Reverse biased.
D. Forward biased.

The LED (Light Emitting Diode) is always forward biased when emitting light, making answer D the correct choice. Not all semiconductors are silicon-based. While an LED has two terminals and conducts better in one direction than the other like a “normal” diode, LEDs use exotic materials that serve as semiconductors. As more exotic materials have been found, more colors are now available, since any change in the exotic material used changes the color of the LED.

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.

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 $15.00. The lifetime membership rate is $150.00.
    • 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: 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.