Handiham World for August 17, 2020

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of August 17, 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…

Thanks to the success of the 2020 Virtual Get on the Air class, we are already working on plans for the next Get on the Air session, likely in January of 2021. If you want to be placed on the list to receive an application, please contact Pemdy.

Screenshot from 2020 Virtual GOTA Class with N3FJP logging software in use and photos and names from Zoom attendees.

The Handiham World E-letter list along with Handiham Notify and the Handiham Radio Club lists are moving to Groups.io. Please keep watching for invitations to the new lists. All you have to do to subscribe is hit reply and send. You don’t have to type anything additional in the email to be subscribed to the new lists. Please note, while Handiham World is available to everyone, only current members of the Handiham Program are eligible to join Handiham Notify and the Handiham Radio Club lists. We are looking forward to the improved accessibility with Groups.io.

As we adjust to the changing times, we are offering new classes for Handiham Members, including a weekly Morse code class to begin on September 28th. Class sessions will use Zoom and will be available via the internet or telephone. Sessions will also be recorded, so participants will have access to any sessions that cannot be attended live. If you are interested in participating, please ask Pemdy to send you an application.

Photo of green road sign with the word change printed on it.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, we are not working from the office right now. 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.

Photo of 2 meter wavelength as guide to social distancing.

Along with the release of the new On the Air magazine, the magazine for beginner-to-intermediate ham radio operators, the ARRL is also doing a monthly podcast to take a deeper look at some of the topics and projects included in the magazine. The latest episode of the On the Air podcast (Episode 8) has more information about the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative, which is not just for college students. You can check it out at http://www.arrl.org/on-the-air-podcast.

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. Due to the class next week, however, I will be unavailable for routine requests. If you call the Handiham Program office, please leave a message, and we will return your call as soon as we are available. 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 the new OrCam Read, another article about a new IARU working group to address HF digital mode congestion, and a new interview with one of the participants from last week’s virtual Get on the Air class. 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

OrCam Read

Photo of OrCam Read, an assistive technology device for people who are blind or low vision or have a reading impairment.

The new OrCam Read helps people who are blind or visually impaired to read printed material. This device also works for anyone who has a reading impairment including dyslexia. The OrCam Read has physical, tactile buttons, improving accessibility. It also has two modes, a full-page scanning mode and a section mode. In the section mode, it will read only the part that the device is pointed at rather than the entire page. The smart reading setting helps you find specific information rather than having to read an entire page to find what you are looking for. To read more, check out the website at: https://www.orcam.com/en/read/

To watch a video review about the OrCam Read, go to: https://youtu.be/q9zCNwA4xbc


From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Lucinda,

That dip in the pool question made me think that there are a good number of hams who have never adjusted a squelch knob. I don’t think you use that on a DMR or other digital radio, and there is no such knob on a Baofeng or similar FM handheld. You can press a side button to open the receiver, and there is a software setting to determine how tight the squelch is set.

I discovered the “CQ Ham Radio” podcast. They also put the podcasts on Youtube, so you can search for CQ Blind Hams as well.

After many tries,I got a registered DMR code from http://radioid.net. Some pitfalls include setting a complicated password and having the password field change to green. I had to borrow my wife’s eyes for that. Then I had to upload a copy of my license to the site. Once that was accomplished, I got the code in under an hour.

73 for now,

Mark Senk, WB3CAI


Interview of the Week

Lifetime Handiham Program member, Johnny Ott, WA8WFH, joined me for an interview over the weekend to talk about his experience at the recent Get on the Air class. Please join me for the conversation.

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

LM: So, today we’ve got Johnny Ott. He was one of the attendees for the recent Get on the Air class that we had. And welcome, Johnny! Why don’t you start out with a little bit of your impressions about the class.

JO: Well, it’s a completely different experience, and I had to do it—I don’t know about the rest—but I probably the only one that I’m aware of that had to do it completely on the phone because my computer is not acting like it should. That was completely different as well. I enjoyed it, though. Now, of course, you got to remember that me being in an assisted living place, there was always interruptions between physical therapies and taking temperatures and oxygen and blood pressure and who knows what all.

JO: So, a lot of it, I had to be in and out, I guess you would say. I had everything left on, but I was in and out. So, I don’t know if anybody was looking for me any time that I wasn’t around, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hated to see it come to an end. I can’t wait for the next class to take place, which I guess will be another phone session as far as I know, the way things are going now. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was just wonderful.

LM: Well, I’m really glad you enjoyed it, Johnny, and yeah, for the time being right now, we are going to have to do Zoom sessions until we can safely do in-person stuff again. And I really think we are going to just continue doing Zoom stuff anyway, even when we can do in-person stuff again. So, you’ll just have more stuff you can attend.

JO: Yeah, we just Zoomed right in and out, didn’t we!

LM: Oh, Johnny!

JO: Ah, that’s one thing I missed that you get to do at camp, like I said at the end of the last session. See, at camp we get to do one-liners and quotas, stuff like that. Here, it was a little bit more subdued, but it was all right.

LM: Yeah, we did have to keep things a bit more subdued just because you have so many different people, and with getting people’s mics open and muted and that kind of stuff, it does limit some of the free-form activity that takes place at camp.

JO: That’s true. And I like the way you broke up each session. You had 45 minutes with a 15-minute break. Then you had another 45, with a two-hour break for lunch. Then another 45 session with a 15-minute break, and then the last one would be another 45-minute session. And on that last session on the last day, there was not a dry plastic eye in the place. Everybody hated to see it end.

LM: Yep. We had some really delightful comments that people shared on that last day talking about how much fun they had throughout the week. I know the instructors really enjoyed it too, so it was kind of a good time had by all. But, Johnny, you have a unique perspective because you’ve attended a lot of radio camps over the years, and now you’ve attended our first Zoom event. So, what do you think, and how do the events compare?

JO: Oh, that’s a good question. Well, with camp, you had a lot of preparation, and then you had to worry about being dedicated unto being medicated—you had to make sure you had all your stuff with you, make sure you had all your pills and stuff just in case. And then, of course, you had a lot of the other activities as well. You had the entertainment and the bon fires and the s’mores, and you thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, you sometimes wondered if you were in a bug-infested jungle or something, but you had a chance to learn how to play with different pieces of equipment.

JO: And, in my case, and I know with some other people as well, you got to do things for one solid week that you knew you wouldn’t be able to do until the next year. And for some people, that was their, not only their event of the week, but their event of the year—something you could really look forward to. There was more action, more things going on. And, of course, you had your class sessions, and then you had test day, and you got to be involved with that, especially if you were a VE. It was one kind of experience, and I think you had more people attending camp if you included everybody than you would with this online or on-the-phone adventure. And you got to learn, and you picked up new skills. You learned new things.

JO: With the Zoom sessions, they were okay, but they were completely different. There was a lot of things that you missed by not being at camp. And then some people had to worry about time differences. Now, for people like you and I, it was no problem because we’re all in the same time zone. And the part that I really liked was when you and especially your fellow Michigan instructor started to talk about stuff. And when you mentioned different places and things, I followed you exactly. I knew exactly what you all were talking about, and boy does that bring back memories.

JO: So, I think it’s like apples and oranges, two different ways of doing things, two different experiences. And then, of course, you begin to wonder if we’re going to return to camping next year or whether we will be confined to doing it the way we did it this time and the way we’ll do it for the next class. If you were to ask me, which did you like better, that’s a hard question to ask because you’re talking about two completely different worlds or universes. You really—it’s hard to compare the two because they are all different things.

LM: That makes sense.

JO: So, that’s about the best I can do.

LM: That makes a lot of sense, and from listening to you talk just now, I get the feeling that you like both of them, and you’d like to do both.

JO: I did like them both, yes. I liked each and every one of them. That’s all right.

LM: Well, we sure enjoyed having you join us last week, and you asked some good questions in the classes and were able to participate. And even though you were only able to connect via phone because of computer issues, you were quickly able to master the skill of raising your hand virtually and navigate all of that, so I thought it worked really well.

JO: Yep, that’s very true. And I liked the way we tried to do a virtual net. That was very interesting as well.

LM: Yes.

JO: The other thing, though, at the camp, we could devote—like we did one day to emergency and public service. And we actually simulated an emergency. We weren’t really able to do that while Zooming away, like we would at camp, but I still enjoyed it. I enjoyed both, and I’m looking forward to the next session. That’s going to be very interesting too, how we’re going to do that one, and especially how I’m going to be able to do it, because I do want to maintain my code speed, and I’d like to, although I guess I don’t really need it—it’s a skill that you acquired over the years, and you do want to hang onto it.

LM: Oh, yeah.

JO: Because you never know when you might need it, even though it’s no longer a legal requirement.

LM: Yep.

JO: You do it because you want to and you enjoy it and you want to be able to improve it and never let it go.

LM: Most definitely. Well, thank you so much for taking the time, Johnny, to do this little interview and let us know about your experience. Again, it has some special meaning because you’ve been to lots of radio camps and now this event.

JO: And I’ve enjoyed both, and I want to continue. And that, by the way, is why I am a life member. It’s a great investment!

LM: That’s right, Johnny. Well, thank you so much for doing this, and I hope you have a great week this week.

Stay tuned for a new interview airing next week.


Ham Radio in the News

IARU Announces HF Digital Mode Band Plan Review

Photo of IARU logo.

To reduce congestion from increasingly popular HF digital modes, an International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) working group has been formed to create solutions that prevent interference from incompatible modes as much as possible. In this history-making effort, representatives of all three regional band-planning committees are working together to accomplish this goal. This is the first time all IARU regions have directly joined in coordinating band planning. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/iaru-announces-hf-digital-mode-band-plan-review


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 inductors.

E6D11 Which type of core material decreases inductance when inserted into a coil?

A. Ceramic.
B. Brass.
C. Ferrite.
D. Powdered Iron.

You won’t likely find brass slugs in your ham gear, but high-powered transmitters do often use moveable brass slugs in their tuning networks. This is because brass has a negative permeability and works to reduce the inductance of an inductor, making answer B 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 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.


Membership

  • 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.
      MEMBERSHIP DUES PAYMENT LINK
    • If you want to donate to the Handiham Program, please use our donation website. The instructions are at the following link:
      DONATION 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.