Handiham World for May 4, 2020

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of May 4, 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…

Our world has changed so much over the past couple months thanks to the novel corona virus. To keep up with that change, the Handiham Program will be making some changes as well to the events we will be offering members this summer. Of course, in person events are not an option this year, but there are other ways for us to interact in a safe way from our homes throughout the world. Stay tuned for more details coming later this month!

The Handiham Program is thankful to both the ARRL and CQ Magazine for publishing our need for more readers. Many have stepped up to offer their services, and we look forward to having them join us as volunteers and adding a lot of new material on the website as projects are completed.

As our world has rapidly changed to slow the spread of COVID-19, there are several things you can do to remain strong. One of the most important things is to limit your access to news coverage of the virus to no more than a few minutes each day. Another important thing is to maintain or renew regular contact with friends and family. As hams, this is a great reason to get on the air and check into the daily Handiham Net. It’s also an opportunity to keep your local repeater active and get on HF just to call CQ and make some new friends. Following a routine is another important thing you can do during these uncertain times. Keeping a regular schedule of getting up, eating meals, exercising, participating in hobbies, contacting friends, and going to bed will help you feel more normal despite all the changes. Finally, look for opportunities to volunteer and help others. There are many ways we can all give back to our communities while maintaining social distancing and safety precautions.

Photo of 2 meter wavelength as guide to social distancing.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, we are no longer working from the office. We are still able to check our phone messages and return phone calls, and mail will be picked up as often as possible. Of course, the best way to get in touch with us during this time is via email.

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 2020 has been officially cancelled. We hope to bring Radio Camp back in 2021, bigger and better than ever. In the meantime, stay home and stay safe. Full refunds are being processed for all applicants.

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 working during our usual hours this week. If you call the Handiham Program office, please leave a message, and we will return your call as soon as possible. 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 remote exam testing, another article about the FCC’s support of remote testing, and an interview with John Farina from our archives. 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

Fully Remote Amateur Radio License Exam Administration

Photo of CSCE

One of the positive changes that has come about with the social distancing necessary because of COVID-19 is the implementation of fully remote amateur radio license exams. While some VECs already offered remote exams, they required the use of an onsite proctor during the exam. With advances in technology, however, there are now ways to give the exam via the internet while watching the examinee from multiple angles to verify that the test is valid. To learn more about how the testing is done and how the system for remote testing is being developed, go to: https://blog.hamstudy.org/2020/04/fully-remote-amateur-radio-license-exam-administration/

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Lucinda,

When I read Matt Arthur’s article in the latest Handiham World newsletter a second time, my head was spinning with the degree of knowledge he has about ham radio. In this virus plagued time we are living in and with a steady rain on the roof today, I got to thinking about how much Matt contributes to the Handiham Program.

For so many years his musical talents have enhanced the bonfires at Handiham radio camps night after night, and his knowledge of the hobby of ham radio that he also shares is most impressive. In addition, he maintains repeaters that are open to the amateur radio community. I think he really can be identified as a valued contributor to our Program. It is with these thoughts that I would like to nominate Matt for Volunteer of the Year.


Jerry, N0VOE

Hi Lucinda and all,

I just wanted to give you a snake antenna update. This weekend was the New England QSO Party, and I worked 13 contacts in two and a half hours on 40, running 15 watts with the snake inside my apartment!


Trippy, AC8S

Interview of the Week

This week, we go back to our interview archives to enjoy our conversation with John Farina, W2QCY. He has enjoyed many years in the ham radio hobby and also has experience in assistive technology. Please enjoy the first part of this interview.

Editor’s note: This interview took place in the Handiham Program office. Because some work was being done on Pemdy’s computer at the same time, there is some extra background noise.

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

LM: We have John here for an interview with the Handiham Program today. His call sign is W2QCY, and let’s start out with what got you interested in amateur radio.

JF: I started as a high school kid like a lot of folks who got into ham radio back in my generation. We didn’t have a club in our school, but I had been in CB since middle school. A friend of mine got a general coverage shortwave receiver, and I started listening to hams at his house, like many people did back then. I decided this was the next step up for me. The two of us were actually going to get our licenses. I got the license, and he got the receiver. Some twenty years later, he did go back and get his license and enjoyed the hobby until he became a silent key. At that point, amateur radio study material was available through Hadley School for the Blind. They had Novice and General on reel-to-reel tapes.

LM: I remember those.

JF: Most of us that go back a ways remember those. You did the lesson and sent back the tape along with your written answers typed on a typewriter. I passed the course and got my General while at a transition program between high school and college in Syracuse, New York. That was back in the days when you had to go to the FCC when they were in town. They happened to be in town in July. Otherwise, I would have had to wait until December when they would have been there next. So I got that. My dad had built an HW16 for me as a kit. He had never done anything like that before. He did electrical work, wiring houses and things like that, and he was very skilled in carpentry. I just remember when he opened up the box, he looked at all those pieces and was a bit overwhelmed. But he put it together, and it worked, and I used it for a number of years after that as a CW rig. That was a good time to get my license because I was going into college. I don’t think I would have had time to study for my license along with a full load of college credits.

LM: That makes sense.

JF: I believe it was the next summer that a friend convinced me to study for my Advanced, and I took that and passed it. It wasn’t until 1990 or so that I got my Extra. Again, a friend of mine was going for his Advanced, and he suggested that I study for my Extra, and he would give me a ride for the test. We both came out with the license we went for, although he maintains that I was a lot more excited about getting my Extra than he was about his Advanced. That was a very different process with the VE team than with the FCC examiner process. It was a lot more private. I was in a one-on-one setting so someone could read me the questions, and I could provide them with the answers while not disturbing other test-takers. The atmosphere was a lot different.

JF: So over the years, I have done HF and VHF, National Traffic System stuff, CW rag-chewing, and a little bit of contesting here and there. This is the second place I have lived where I have had a ham station. I had one when I lived with my parents, and now I live some 25 miles from where they lived. I had to move because I had to live on the bus line so I could work. In my hometown, there weren’t any busses. So I got married and moved. My wife is a ham, and she is N2SHC. Hopefully she will get her General here soon. She has been concentrating on other things, such as working with her first seeing-eye dog.

LM: That’s a lot of work.

JF: She was just telling someone that the dog is a lot more work than she first thought. They have been home a couple of months now, and they are making a lot of progress. They get out nearly every day to practice. I have had dogs since 1974. This is dog number seven for me. Today, I do some rag-chewing, both on HF and VHF. I seem to do more CW on HF. I am not exactly sure why. I like it, and I guess that is why. I have got into PSK-31 through the Accessible PSK-31 software that has modified the Digipan program with some very effective JAWS scripts. I hope to try the JT-65 software, but I am still trying to figure out how to get my computer and SignaLink to talk to each other with that program. I am still playing with it, but it is getting a little warm in my shack over the last few weeks, making it an unpleasant place to be for extensive testing.

JF: I have been a member of several different radio clubs over the years, including the Saratoga County Amateur Radio Association. I have been an officer in our local emergency communications group that is affiliated with ARES/RACES. I regularly attend those meetings. I have been net control on a variety of public service nets, including a large four-day sporting event last year that had security considerations as well. Amateur radio keeps me busy now that I am pretty much retired from my job.

Stay tuned for the second part of our interview with John next week.

Ham Radio in the News

FCC Providing Flexibility to Volunteer Examiners in Developing Remote Testing Methods

Photo of FCC Logo

The FCC has offered clarification in an April 30 news release that their rules do support remote amateur radio testing and that no prior approval is needed to conduct these remote sessions. The FCC further notes that they provide flexibility to both examiners and coordinators who desire to develop new remote testing methods or to increase the utilization of remote testing programs that already exist. While these sessions can make testing possible during this pandemic, they also can provide increased accessibility for people with disabilities. You can read more at: http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-providing-flexibility-to-volunteer-examiners-in-developing-remote-testing-methods

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 vertical antennas.

G9B03 Which of the following best describes the radiation pattern of a quarter-wave, ground-plane vertical antenna?

A. Bi-directional in azimuth.
B. Isotropic.
C. Hemispherical.
D. Omnidirectional in azimuth.

If you have a single wire antenna, it radiates in an omnidirectional pattern that is broadside to the wire. If that wire were vertically oriented, as in a vertical antenna, it would radiate in a pattern that is omnidirectional in azimuth, making answer D 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.

The May issue of the QCWA Journal is now 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 $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.