Handiham World for November 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 November 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…

While it seems difficult to believe, we returned to standard time over the past weekend in the United States. It’s November already, and 2020 is just flying by! Don’t forget that the Handiham Nets are held based on local time, so if you are in other parts of the world, you will need to adjust for the time change.
Photo of fall leaves and an alarm clock.

The virtual Closing the Gap conference started last week, and I have been enjoying seeing all the latest in accessibility and assistive technology. Unlike the in-person conferences where one can only hear a few presentations per day over just three days, with the virtual conference, I can hear any number of presentations over the two weeks that the conference is in session. I will be sharing some of what I learn in the News in Assistive Technology column over the next few weeks.
Photo of the logo for the 2020 Closing the Gap virtual conference.

Do you need cartridges for your NLS Talking Book Player? You can now order 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB cartridges from the Perkins Library on Amazon with free shipping. Additionally, you can get mailers and the cable you need if you want to load your own cartridges. Please note: if you are waiting for mail arriving via Free Matter for the Blind, be aware that due to post office delays, mail may take as long as 6 to 8 weeks to arrive.
Photo of the NLS Talking Book Player.

The Morse code class reaches the half-way point this week with class 6. We are pleased to have Tom Behler, KB8TYJ, back at the teacher’s desk this week. Not only are students learning letters, numbers, and prosigns, the instructors are also helping teach the common abbreviations and shortcuts used in typical Morse code QSOs. Next week, we will have Jim, KE5AL, as our instructor. 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 invitations. 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 Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app, another article about the ARRL’s plan to file comments in response to the proposed increase in fees, and the next part of a new interview with Tom, KB8TYJ, one of our Morse code class instructors. 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

Everyone Can Code: Swift Playgrounds App

Photo of logo for Apple Swift Playgrounds app.

Technology has a language. It’s called code, and Apple believes that everyone should have access to coding. It is an essential skill in our increasingly technologically dependent world. Learning to code teaches people how to solve problems and work together in creative ways. It also allows people to build apps that bring their ideas to life. Apple feels that everyone should have the opportunity to create something that can change the world. To help accomplish that goal, they designed a program that lets anyone learn, write, and teach code. The program includes the free Swift Playgrounds App along with lesson plans that are suitable for students and teachers. To learn more, check out the following website at: https://www.apple.com/in/everyone-can-code/

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi everyone,

This is a good list of Morse code abbreviations: https://www.qsl.net/w5www/abbr.html

Jim Shaffer, KE5AL

Interview of the Week

Tom Behler, KB8TYJ, joins us this again week for the next part of a new interview talking about the virtual Morse code class. Tom is one of three instructors teaching for this intro level class. He is both a member and volunteer in the Handiham Program and brings a great deal of experience thanks to his many years as an active ham radio operator. Please enjoy the next part of this interview.
Photo of arm in suit jacket with hand holding a large communications microphone.

TB: I’m even working with some people locally here, at least one person, maybe two, who just want to learn the code. And I’m sort of trying to work with them in the same way, and now one of the people, he’s actually getting on the air and making QSOs.

LM: Wow!

TB: And he said, you know it took a bit more effort than I thought it would, but he said, I’m really glad I did it. This guy is now making QSOs. Last night, he emailed me and said, hey, what about contesting. I want to get into contesting now. I said, okay, the first step that we’re going to do is we’re going to have you over here for a contest, and we’ll have you make some contacts, so you can see how it’s done, because it varies with each contest. And before we know it, I think I’m going to have a real competitor here. I think it’s going to happen.

LM: That’s great!

TB: This is all because he wanted to learn CW. He wanted to learn the code. And I think what you find in ham radio so often is that if somebody wants to learn something, if they start asking around, they will get help. They will get help because that’s just the way hams are.

LM: Yeah, and what a great thing. You know, right now, we’re in a pandemic, things are a little different than normal, and this is a great opportunity to zero in on learning that new language, expand your brain.

TB: Yes. And there’s one thing that I do want to address here, quickly, because I think it is important. Some people, when they talk about learning the code, get really eager, and they want to start sending the code. And what we tell them is, that will come. Don’t worry about sending right now. What you need to worry about at this point is, make sure that you can copy those letters or characters without even thinking about it, that it becomes so natural that when you hear dit-dah, that’s an A.

TB: Get to that point so that you can really copy the code well. Then sending gets really easy. Then sending is just adding another little skill to what you have already gathered. If you start sending too soon, you may send the code incorrectly, and then you’re not going to learn it the way you should, and then that will create problems down the road.

LM: That’s a good reminder for everybody.

TB: And in future CW classes or Morse code classes, I’m not sure how we would do this, but, what I would really like us to do, and maybe this will be for the next series of classes, I’d like to see if we can figure out a way to get people who have learned the code to actually now work together and start sending it.

TB: I remember in my area of Michigan one, actually it was a number of years, I did CW classes very similar to what we are doing now. And at some point, it was after we were pretty sure that everyone had learned all the characters and were pretty comfortable with them, we actually got on the air. It was a 10 meter frequency in our local area. I think it was every Monday night at 8:00 pm, and we just had QSOs.

TB: People would just send the code back and forth, and we made sure that everybody gave their IDs and stayed within the legal limits of what we need to do. And it was a lot of fun. And we, even as a result of all that, we even had people pass the 20 word per minute code for the Extra when that was required back in the day. So, it can work, and again, you just have to be dedicated to it, ask for help when you need it, ask questions if you need clarification on things, and you will learn the code. It will happen.

LM: Definitely. You know, people have been learning languages since time began, so there’s no reason why anybody out there can’t learn it.

TB: That’s right, that’s right. It doesn’t take intelligence. It almost takes more perseverance and persistence than anything.

LM: Yes.

TB: And as long as you can do that, as long as you can hang in there and not get yourself overwhelmed or discouraged, you will get it, you really will, especially if you’ve been interested in it to begin with. There’s no reason that you can’t do it and do well with it.

TB: And I always get the question, well CW, Morse code, that’s outdated, isn’t it? And I always say, if you think Morse code is outdated or CW is outdated, go on the HF bands during a contest weekend. You’ll see wall to wall CW, unbelievable amounts. There are times when I can’t even find a frequency to call CQ on because there are so many people.

TB: People love the code, and once they get over the mental obstacle of convincing themselves that they can learn it, they will learn it. It’s just not that hard. You just have to persevere.

LM: Right.

Stay tuned for the next part of our interview with Tom airing next week.

Ham Radio in the News

ARRL Urges Members to Join in Strongly Opposing FCC’s Application Fees Proposal

Photo of ARRL logo.

The ARRL will file comments opposing the FCC proposal that would increase amateur radio license and application fees. Because of the fast approaching November 16th deadline, the ARRL is asking members to add their voices by filing comments as well. To help you with this process, the ARRL has prepared a Guide to Filing Comments with the FCC located at http://arrl.org/fcc-fees-proposal with tips and filing instructions. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-urges-members-to-join-in-strongly-opposing-fcc-s-application-fees-proposal

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 Technician Class pool this week to a question about coax.

T7C10 Why should the outer jacket of coaxial cable be resistant to ultraviolet light?

A. Ultraviolet resistant jackets prevent harmonic radiation.
B. Ultraviolet light can increase losses in the cable’s jacket.
C. Ultraviolet and RF signals can mix, causing interference.
D. Ultraviolet light can damage the jacket and allow water to enter the cable.

You can have the best radio and the greatest antenna system, but if your coax isn’t good, your signal won’t get out. Always look for professional-grade coaxial cable that has an outer jacket that will not break down from exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. If you use poor quality coax, the jacket will likely break down allowing moisture to collect inside the cable, making answer D the correct choice. If moisture gets into your coax, you will be off the air.

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.