Handiham World for March 2, 2020

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of March 2, 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…

I had the privilege of attending the Cabin Fever Reliever hamfest put on by the St. Cloud Amateur Radio Club in mid-February. The weather turned out great that day, and Matt, KA0PQW, and Joe, AI0Y, tagged along for the event. It was well-attended, and we made some great contacts for the Handiham Program.

Photo of 2020 Cabin Fever Reliever hamfest at the Handiham Program booth.

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.

Radio Camp applications went out last month. If you want to come to camp, please fill it out and return it as soon as possible. If you haven’t requested one and you want to come to camp this year, please contact Pemdy right away.

Photo of Camp Courage North bunk in one of the lovely log cabins.

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 Echo smart speakers, another article about new amateur radio equipment headed to space, and a new interview with Rachel Niedringhaus, KC0VBV. 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

Echo Smart Speaker Makes Life Easier for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

photo of Echo Dot

Tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are normalizing voice activated technologies, making them appealing to everyone. This is good news for people of all abilities as accessible devices become more affordable and readily available. For people who are skeptical about embracing this new technology, trying it usually turns them into believers. Check out the following article to see twenty ways Alexa makes life easier for people who are blind or visually impaired: https://lifeofablindgirl.com/2020/01/19/20-things-the-amazon-echo-can-make-easier-for-blind-and-visually-impaired-people/

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Lucinda,

I ordered an 82-foot snake antenna from Jim at DX Engineering, got it shipped to me, put it up, and just yesterday made 5 contacts on 40-meter CW using my new snake.

Jim makes them to order, and they’re not the way I make them. You just plug it into the antenna SO239 connector, and twist it tight just like any other coax, and you got a fully usable antenna. But, it’s all RG213 coax!

Take care,

Trippy, AC8S

Interview of the Week

This week, we interviewed Rachel Niedringhaus, KC0VBV, to find out what she is looking forward to at Radio Camp 2020. Please join us for the first part of her interview.

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

LM: We have Rachel in the office here today, and we are talking about Radio Camp 2020. And Rachel was the first person to get her completed application into the office! What are you looking forward to at Radio Camp this year?

RN: Tubing.

LM: Did you like that last year?

RN: I didn’t go on it.

LM: Oh, you’re going to have to do it this year! Do you think maybe you’ll take Jeanne with you?

RN: Yeah.

LM: Jeanne is one of our camp volunteers, and she is really good about getting out there and doing things with campers on the water and pretty much anywhere else too.

RN: Yeah. I’m excited for the sing-alongs and the campfires.

LM: A lot of people like those jam sessions at the campfires. There’s lots of singing and lots of music.

RN: Yep.

LM: Those are fun. What else are you excited about?

RN: Going to the talent show.

LM: The talent show. Last year, remember you ran a net one day. Do you think you’re going to that again this year?

RN: Yeah.

LM: And you’ll be able to talk on the radio lots that week, because you always do. And you’ll be in class all week.

RN: Which class?

LM: I don’t know. Did you sign up for the Get on the air class?

RN: Yeah.

LM: With Tom. He’s really nice, isn’t he.

RN: Yeah.

LM: He has a PhD. Did you know that?

RN: No.

LM: He’s one of those smart people!

RN: Kind of like Dr. Dave.

LM: Yep. Dr. Dave is another one of those smart people, isn’t he. We have a bunch of those at camp, don’t we.

RN: Yeah.

LM: So, you’ll be in the Get on the Air class, and that class focuses on getting you on the air. Now, there’s going to be something new this year.

RN: There is?

LM: We’re going to do some teaching on satellite communications this year.

RN: Oh, wow!

LM: Yeah, we haven’t done that at camp. So, that will be something new that you get to do. And it looks like we have a couple people from AMSAT that are going to come in and help us out with that. So, we would actually be making communications—you know how for your tests you had to learn some things about satellites? Well, now you will actually get to do some of that stuff you had to learn for your tests.

LM: Remember where you have to be on one band for your uplink and another band for your downlink. And you have to know something about the orbit of the satellite to know when you can use it. And all that’s going to be in Radio Camp this year.

LM: And we’ll still have some of the other familiar stuff like after lunch, there’ll still be other optional camp activities like swimming, tubing, nature walks, and even spa days. Last year, I think you came home with some different looking hair. What color was it?

RN: Not purple. I think I it was pink.

LM: I think your dad was surprised when he picked you up!

Stay tuned for the final part of Rachel’s interview airing next week.

Ham Radio in the News

International Space Station Resupply Mission to Carry New ARISS Ham Radio Gear

Photo of Marines flag

The resupply mission for the International Space Station scheduled for March 7th, will include the first ARISS Interoperable Radio System (IORS) flight unit. This first IORS will be installed in the ISS Columbus module. Later in 2020, a second IORS will be installed in the Russian Service Module. The IORS is the first major upgrade of the ARISS equipment and includes a high-power radio, an improved voice repeater, APRS, and slow-scan television. The unit consists of a custom-modified Kenwood TM-D710GA transceiver, a multi-voltage power supply developed by AMSAT, and the cables needed to connect the equipment. You can learn more at: http://www.arrl.org/news/international-space-station-resupply-mission-to-carry-new-ariss-ham-radio-gear

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 Extra Class pool this week to a question about amateur radio mesh networks.

E2C04 What type of transmission is most often used for a ham radio mesh network?

A. Spread spectrum in the 2.4 GHz band.
B. Multiple Frequency Shift Keying in the 10 GHz band.
C. Store and forward on the 440 MHz band.
D. Frequency division multiplex in the 24 GHz band.

Commercial wireless networks tend to need more bandwidth than is commonly available on the ham bands. On the microwave bands, such as 2.4 GHz, however, there is more room to experiment with wideband signals such as spread spectrum, 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.

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.