Handiham World for October 19, 2020

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of October 19, 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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https://handiham.org/audio/handiham19OCT2020.mp3


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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…

Last night, I had the privilege of being a guest on the Blind and Beyond Radio Show, thanks to an invitation from Dave Hillebrandt, W4CI. It was great to share what the Handiham Program is doing and talk about the virtual classes we are planning for next year. You can check out their website at www.blindandbeyondradioshow.org.

We had our third session of the 2020 Morse Code Class last week with John, W2QCY as our instructor. This week, Jim, KE5AL, was the teacher. In addition to a recording of each week’s class session, students also receive a second recording with more practice to help solidify what they learned in class. If this class sounds like something you would like to participate in or if you are interested in an intermediate level Morse code class to increase your speed, you can ask Pemdy to put you on the list for the next classes in 2021.
Photo of the Morse code key.

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 in February of 2021. This will be an intermediate level class with more in-depth coverage of topics. 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. Invitations have gone out to everyone on the old Handiham E-letter and Handiham Notify lists. If you haven’t received one, please contact Pemdy for assistance. Once you are subscribed to the new lists at Groups.io, you will be unsubscribed from the old lists. All you have to do to subscribe is reply and send when you receive the invitation. You don’t have to type anything additional in the email to be subscribed to the new lists. Just like with the old Handiham World E-letter and Handiham Notify lists, you can’t post emails to the new lists. The lists are only for receiving notifications and E-Letters from the Handiham Program. 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 enjoying the improved accessibility with Groups.io.

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

The new Handiham Radio Club email list is the place where members can post, ask questions, and share their experiences with amateur radio and assistive technology. We have so many talented and highly experienced members in the Handiham Radio Club, making this an invaluable resource for information. If you are a Handiham Program member and would like to join the Handiham Radio Club email list, please contact Pemdy.

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 10) has an interview about the ARRL’s new Learning Network webinars. 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. 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 using widgets with iOS 14, another article about students launching balloons with ham radios onboard, and the final part of a new interview with Diane, KK6LOE, our new Handiham Radio Club Net Manager. 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

Using Widgets with iOS 14

Photo of Dot Mini smart device.

With the release of iOS 14, you can now add widgets to your home screen. For the most part, VoiceOver works very well with widgets allowing you to access the information you need more easily than having to ask Siri or enter an app. You can also set up widgets to use with Siri shortcuts. To learn more, watch the following video from Sam at the Blind Life at: https://youtu.be/qrMaD8KxV5E


From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

I would like to notify you of a silent key. Don David Taylor, WA0YAH, became a silent key on October 5, 2020, at the age of 80. Don had been a member of Handihams since sometime in the middle 1960’s and until the last couple of years had always checked in to the net. He enjoyed his friends at Handihams and remembered fondly Sister Alverna and Ned Carman. Thank you all.


Interview of the Week

This week, we hear more from Diane Fisher, KK6LOE, our new Handiham Radio Club Net Manager. Diane possesses both a love for the hobby and excellent interpersonal skills, making her an obvious choice for net manager. Please join me in welcoming Diane back for the final part of this interview.

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

LM: And there’s all kinds of different modes. There’s so many different things you can do in the hobby, so if one thing isn’t your cup of tea, find the things that are.

DF: Absolutely.

LM: So, this is a great way to introduce you to everybody and let people know that there’s a new Handiham Radio Club net manager. And they know who to contact if they have questions or maybe they want to be a backup net control or whatever. They know who to talk to.

DF. Absolutely, and we’ll do our best to get you in and get you transmitting and all that kind of stuff. And hopefully once I do get my General Class license back, I can kind of study up on some of my question pool knowledge and maybe even Elmer people and get them involved. And you never know, my next step might be a VE position. I’m going to say that would probably be a mid- to long-term goal, but you never know. Who would have thought that I’d be a net manager for an organization that serves hams all over the world.

LM: You just never know where life is going to take you. And we keep all the options on the table, and everything is wide open, and you never know where your path is going to lead.

DF: This is so true.

LM: But I really appreciate you taking the time to share with us and do the interview and everything, and I look forward to continuing to work with you. I hope you are a member of the Program and the Radio Club for years to come.

DF: In fact, I can tell you one thing that I am planning on—I think it’s highly likely that I will become a lifetime member. That’s just going to be one of my things on my bucket list.

LM: Well, we would love to have you. It would be a thrill. Hopefully, you are going to find all kinds of things in the Handiham Program and the Handiham Radio Club that enable you to learn and grow and then be able to give back to others.

DF: Absolutely. That’s the plan!

LM: And, you know, the Handiham net for years has been the place where new hams who, when they started getting comfortable, could try out net control. It was the place where you could try it out. Existing net controls would give up their spot one day just to let a new ham try it.

DF: Sure!

LM: In fact, that’s how I tried it the first time.

DF: Wow!

LM: And it’s always been a place where you did not have to be a perfect net control operator. You could come and learn.

DF: Sure, absolutely, and that’s always a good thing to do, and you don’t have to feel pressured or anything like that, which is one of the things that I really liked. It made it easy to settle into the net control operator role.

LM: Yes. We’ve never tried to make it high pressure where you had to do this perfect, rigid thing. You were to make it your own, have fun, and make it friendly.

DF: Absolutely.

LM: So, there’s a long legacy there of how people developed net control skills. In my case, I developed my net control skills on the Handiham net when I just occasionally filled in as net control. Then, before long, I was running multiple nets in my local community. So, it gave me a platform to practice a little bit and develop a bit of confidence, and then I went and did it regularly at home.

DF: Oh, yeah, and once you learn how to do it, you don’t really forget. It’s kind of like riding a bike. When I did the nets on Wednesdays, back when Michael was net manager, and all of the sudden my equipment died. And it took me a while to come back. But once I worked out my system, I felt like I was comfortable in that position, so it was kind of neat to know that it was a place where nobody was going to look down on me if I messed up a call sign or anything like that, and it gave me the confidence that I needed to continue.

LM: Yes. There’s a lot of hams over the years who have done that, and in that way, you get to carry on this legacy. And that turns around and reaches so any more people because so many develop this skill and go on to serve their local community. They are some pretty big shoes, but I think you are going to do a good job filling them.

DF: Well, thank you, and I do appreciate the opportunity.

LM: Oh, it’s our pleasure, and I know I have already had multiple members in the Program and members in the Radio Club that have reached out to me and are just so excited to have you.

DF: Oh, well, thank you. I am so glad to be here, and it’s really good to be able to help out.

Stay tuned for a new interview airing next week.


Ham Radio in the News

Multiple Balloons Carrying Ham Radio Payloads Launched

Photo of teacher helping with balloon launch.

On October 9th, eleven schools located throughout the US launched helium-filled balloons with amateur radio payloads. The balloons can be tracked via ham radio on APRS at 144.39 MHz or 144.34 MHz. The balloons were expected to move eastward at an altitude of 20,000 to 25,000 feet. At least one balloon was reported over the Mediterranean on October 14 at some 40,000 feet. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/multiple-balloons-carrying-ham-radio-payloads-launched


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 noise blankers.

G4A16 How does a noise blanker work?

A. By temporarily increasing received bandwidth.
B. By redirecting noise pulses into a filter capacitor.
C. By reducing receiver gain during a noise pulse.
D. By clipping noise peaks.

When you are operating HF, one of the most frustrating noise issues is pulse-type noise, often produced by vehicle ignition systems and other man-made sources. This type of noise is more noticeable when working AM modes, including single sideband (SSB). When you hear that noise, you can eliminate it by using the noise blanker on your transceiver that works by reducing receiver gain during a noise pulse, making answer C the correct choice. Unfortunately, the noise blanker is not helpful in reducing white noise or hash. To help with those forms of noise, modern digital signal processing methods are more effective.


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.

A tutorial by Linda Reeder, N7HVF, for the Kenwood TM-V71a is now available in the Manuals and Tutorials 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.


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.