Handiham World for November 23, 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 23, 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…

As we contemplate our celebration of the US Thanksgiving holiday this year, we know that our celebrations will look a lot different than they typically do because of the pandemic. Our lives have changed in many ways as we try to adapt to slow the spread of COVID-19. Despite that, I remain thankful for many blessings, including that we have readily available and accessible technology that allows us to interact virtually. I am also grateful for each and every Handiham Program member and volunteer and for all the things you do to support each other and promote the growth of the ham radio hobby. Pemdy and I wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Photo of Camp Courage North chapel at sunset with the word Gratitude across the bottom.

We will be holding a Member Gratitude Gathering on Saturday, November 28th, at 3 PM Central Time. That’s 1 PM Pacific, 2 PM Mountain, 3 PM Central, and 4 PM Eastern. All Handiham Program members are welcome and encouraged to join. A Zoom invitation will be sent to everyone on the new Handiham Notify list on Groups.io. If you have not yet changed your membership email from Freelists to Groups.io, please contact Pemdy right away for assistance. You don’t want to miss your chance to come to our virtual gathering! Attendees will be eligible for prizes, and you do have to be present to win.

Photo of Matt and Lynelle playing and singing around the campfire at Radio Camp 2019.

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.

We held Class 9 of the 2020 intro level Morse code course today. It’s hard to believe that we only have three more classes to go. Over the final three weeks, we will be focusing on call signs and QSOs. It has been a pleasure to witness the progress students are making in their ability to copy Morse code. 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. In addition to a recording of each week’s class session, students also receive a second weekly 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 early February of 2021. This will be an intermediate level class with in-depth coverage of just a few 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 went 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 11) covers antennas for your station and what to consider beyond cost and complexity. 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 on Monday and Tuesday this week. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, however, the Handiham Program office will be closed from Wednesday, November 25, through Friday, November 27. 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 hands-free Smyle Mouse, another article about HamSCI’s data collection plans during the upcoming eclipse, and the final 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

Smyle Mouse

Photo of Smyle Mouse logo.

Smyle Mouse software allows hands-free and voice-free control of your computer with simple facial gestures including head motions and smiling using a standard webcam. Smyle Mouse can be especially helpful to people suffering from disabilities or motor impairments due to spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, arthritis, etc. Users can point using gentle head motions and click with a smile or dwell. It can also be used as an adaptive switch for AAC software. There is no requirement for stickers on the face, sip and puff switches, wearables, or specialized cameras. To learn more, check out the following website at: https://smylemouse.com/.

You can watch a video at: https://youtu.be/OAM4NdlBZ4M.

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Lucinda,

With time on my hands, I just wanted to share a few things about the Handiham program, some memories, facts etc. A few months back, I read a letter from a first time member on his experience at radio camp. He mentioned the navigation beepers and how helpful they were. This is where I would like to start.

In the early days of radio camp, we generally navigated with a support system. Everyone helps each other. Somehow, I imagined the CW beepers and how they could work. I went to Lyle, K0LR, with the idea, and he made it all work. One of the key letters was the letter I, that identified the turn towards the King Building. If one notices the natural wooded area in front of the King Building, I imagine it to be a beautiful, natural island of Minnesota wilderness.

The rest of the beepers spoke for themselves. K for the King Building, D for the dining hall, B for the beach etc. The second season of the beepers called for an adjustment with the letter B, as Lyle added a motion detector to that location so as to not disturb the natural silence that some campers requested.

I hope this all makes some sense, Lucinda. I especially wanted to make sure Lyle was remembered, as he made it all happen. There, I said it. Handihams is so huge in my life, and it holds so many memories. God willing, it will carry on with your endless energy and with Pemdy at your side.


Jerry Kloss, N0VOE

Interview of the Week

Tom Behler, KB8TYJ, joins us this again week for the last 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 final part of this interview.

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

TB: I could tell you a story about my son’s first CW contact. My son is a ham. He’s in his thirties. He’s not active now, but he doesn’t let his license expire. He knows the importance of that. I can still remember. He got his Tech Plus. This was back in the 1990s, and one day, I went down into my shack, and he was down there. And he said, I want to see what I can do here, and he just started sending CQ. And I said, go ahead and keep sending CQ. Nobody will probably come back to you right away, so at least if nothing else, it will give you some practice. So, he’s there sending his CQ, and after about the fourth or fifth time, somebody came back to him. And he was like, oh no! What do I do now?

TB: I said, you know what to do. I’m right here with you. And he had his first CW QSO, and the guy he had the QSO with was, I believe, out in Kansas or something like that. And the guy sent him, not only a QSL card to mark his first CW contact, but also a T-shirt. And I don’t know if he still has the T-shirt, but it said something like, first CW contact. And, you know, that is so cool!

TB: It basically verifies what Lucinda says. If you want to learn CW, there will be people to work with you, and they will be happy to do it. And they’ll celebrate your successes when you get them.

LM: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Well, we’re going to be wrapping up this interview here. Is there anything you haven’t had a chance to share yet but you want to share with everybody, Tom?

TB: I guess what I’m saying to everybody is two things: first, if you have the slighted bit of interest at all in learning the code, go for it. We will keep you posted as to when future classes are going to be. You can also start doing some things on your own, if you’d like. And we can certainly advise you on that, how to get started, even without a class.

TB: And the second thing is, like anything, sometimes the going will get a little bit rough. You’ll think, oh my goodness, I’m never going to learn this. The worst thing you can do is get overwhelmed. Don’t get overwhelmed. Just stop, take a couple of deep breaths. Take a break. Go back into it at some point. It’s not like you’re trying to learn some advanced theory here. You’re simply trying to learn another language. And like learning any language, if you take breaks and come back to it, take it one step at a time. You will learn it. I have seen it so many times. And the people that I’ve seen learn the code are not high IQ, super intelligent people. They’re just everyday people like you and me who wanted to learn a language and did it.

TB: So, it can be done, and I think there are very, very few people out there that absolutely, positively cannot learn the code. You can do it if you want to, and we’re here to help you.

LM: Absolutely. And that’s such a good reminder that anybody can do this. Just like almost anybody can learn a language and learn to communicate one way or another, anybody can learn another language. It does, like you said, take persistence, but if you keep it fun and keep at it, you’ll do it.

TB: Yep, and we’re happy to be a part of it. I think it’s really great that the Handiham Program is doing this. And onward we go from here!

LM: Definitely! Well, thank you so much for doing this, Tom, and we’ll obviously be bringing you back for future interviews as we talk about other things going on in the Handiham Program, because we just keep doing more stuff.

TB: Yep, we do. And we enjoy doing it. That’s what it’s all about. Hams helping hams. I think I heard that somewhere!

LM: Yes! Well, thanks again.

TB: Thank you.

Stay tuned for a new interview airing next week.

Ham Radio in the News

December 2020 Eclipse Festival of Frequency Measurement

Doppler cartoon.

For ham radio operators, experimenting is just another fun aspect of the hobby. HamSCI, the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation is looking for hams who can help collect propagation data during the eclipse happening across South America on December 14. The study hopes to promote international goodwill by working with citizen scientists around the globe while measuring Doppler shifts caused by space weather’s effects on the ionosphere. To participate, you will need to have a computer connected to your HF radio. A practice run will take place on December 5th, so hams can be ready to record data from December 9th through December 16th. To learn more, go to: https://hamsci.org/december-2020-eclipse-festival-frequency-measurement

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 converting your radio to another band.

T7A06 What device converts the RF input and output of a transceiver to another band?

A. High-pass filter.
B. Low-pass filter.
C. Transverter.
D. Phase converter.

For many people who came to ham radio from the CB bands, some of that equipment can be repurposed using a transverter to convert the 11 meter CB signal to another band that includes ham radio privileges, making answer C the correct choice. We’ve heard a lot about the experience, Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, has using a reasonably-priced transverter to operate on bands like 222 MHz. If you want to play on that band, purchasing a transverter is a great way to upgrade your station while remaining within your budget.

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.