Handiham World for December 14, 2020

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of December 14, 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…

It is with deep sadness that I announce that James, KD0AES, is a silent key. James was a Life Member of the Handiham Program. He served as net control for the Tuesday Handiham Radio Club net and had previously served as both assistant net manager and net manager. He loved ham radio and the Handiham Program, and he will be greatly missed.

Photo of Morse code straight key.

We will be holding a Member Holiday Gathering this Saturday, December 19th at 3pm Central time. That’s 1pm Pacific, 2pm Mountain, 3pm Central, and 4pm Eastern. All Handiham Program members are welcome and encouraged to attend. We had a great time at our last gathering in November and look forward to this next chance to get together virtually. Pemdy sent out an email to everyone. You will need to respond to that email ASAP to attend. If your email address on file is not up to date with the Handiham Program, please contact Pemdy right away so you don’t miss out on events like this.

Photo of Christmas ornaments with the words Member Holiday Gathering written across the top.

This is an important reminder to all Handiham Program members. The Handiham Program is staffed by two people, only one of which works full time, and we serve some 600 members. Due to that, you will often have to leave a message, even when you call during our office hours. Pemdy and I are so grateful to the many Handiham Program members who are polite and courteous in their interactions with us and remain so even during the difficult times we have faced in 2020. Because of several recent difficult interactions with members at the Handiham Program, however, this reminder has become necessary. If you contact the Handiham Program and are not polite and courteous, we will be unable to respond to your request. If that behavior continues, your membership can and will be suspended or revoked. Just like being an amateur radio operator is a privilege that comes with the responsibility to behave according to FCC rules, being a Handiham Program member is also a privilege that can be lost if your behavior is rude. One additional thing: do not contact the Handiham Program office on behalf of another person. Due to privacy concerns, we cannot speak to any member about another person and will be unable to respond to your request.

Photo of stamp with the words important reminder.

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 the final class of the 2020 intro level Morse code course today. It’s hard to believe how fast twelve weeks went by! All of the instructors have enjoyed watching the progress students have made in their ability to copy Morse code. For these students, this is just the first step in their journey to operating Morse code. Learning any language requires regular practice, and Morse code is no exception. Students are encouraged to take advantage of all the different opportunities for additional practice between now and when the intermediate class starts on March 1st. If this class sounds like something you would like to participate in or if you are interested in an entry level Morse code class to start your path to learning code, 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 running from February 1st through February 5th 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 12) covers storm spotting and SKYWARN, a topic that is popular with most hams. 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 need anything from the Handiham Program yet this year, please contact us right away. The Handiham Program will close for the annual holiday break from December 21 through January 4th. The office will reopen on Tuesday, January 5th. 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 updated WeWalk smart cane, another article about the first successful transatlantic communications, and the next part of a new interview series featuring attendees from the recent Member Gratitude Gathering. 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

Updated WeWalk Smart Cane

Photo of WeWalk smart cane.

The WeWalk smart cane and companion app have recently been updated in some significant ways. WeWalk has partnered with Ambutech, one of the biggest names in mobility canes, to improve the durability and performance of their smart cane. The smartphone app is free to use, and the new updates make it an even better navigational tool for the blind and visually impaired community. To learn more, check out the following article at: https://wewalk.io/en/.

You can also watch a video at: https://youtu.be/HFQsbdDv6v4.


From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Lucinda,

Our Sunday night nets will not be the same here in Benton County, Missouri, since the loss of James. He was there by way of Echolink almost every time I ran the net. I already know it’s going to seem a bit strange running the net after this and not having him check into it. I will be keeping his family in my thoughts and prayers, especially during this holiday season.

Kelly Stanfield, W0YQG


Interview of the Week

On November 28th, we held the first Member Gratitude Gathering using Zoom. As part of the activities of the event, members introduced themselves and shared a little about what they are grateful for in 2020. Please enjoy the next part of this event.

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

LM: Next up here is James Kinnison.

JK: Good afternoon. My name is James Kinnison, but I go by JR. My call sign is KJ7RJL. I am about a month green of getting my technician license, and I have a little 2 meter that I’m using that my trainer gave me for the time being. My dad purchased or won a Kenwood triband that he gave me, but it’s being programmed right now. I live in Bremerton, Washington, which is West of Seattle.

JK: It’s kind of drizzly today, and I’m pretty thankful because the weather was really actually pretty nice. It was the first year for Thanksgiving that we didn’t ever lose our power. I am on the hunt for any assistance with any devices or information about any chips that are radio related. I am totally blind, and it took me about five years to get my license. I’ve been knowing of ham radio since the early ‘70s, only because there was teacher at the blind school in Vancouver who got me interested.

LM: Wow. So, you’ve had some good people in your life who have helped kind of steer you toward ham radio. Congratulations on getting your license. I hope you have a lot of fun with the hobby. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best one there is, but I’m a little biased, you know.

JK: Like I said, I’ve been in it for five years trying to get my license, but I’ve been a member of Handiham for about three of those years, signing up and just keeping at it. So, I am a member.

LM: Well, I’m glad you kept at it. Persistence is generally what foretells success, so the most important thing is to keep at it. Next up, let’s go to Jamie Taylor. Go ahead.

JT: My name is Jamie Taylor. I do not have a call sign. I’m working on a call sign. I need to get past my Technician test. So, lovely me just happened to be studying and was getting really close to taking a test, but COVID happened. So, now I have to figure out how to take a test.

JT: So, I normally live in the Twin Cities, but because of assistance issues because of my disabilities, I’m deaf-blind, it doesn’t really work for me in the Twin Cities right now. So, I’m living with my parents in Northern Minnesota, as in Northern Minnesota—I’m 5 miles south of the Manitoba-Minnesota border. I don’t know if you know where Manitoba is, but that’s in Canada.

JT: So, I’m really close to the border, and I’m very happy to know—I did some research, and there are some repeaters around here. So, I’m very thankful for that, but I don’t have a radio yet. So, I can’t use them, and I don’t even know what kind of repeaters they are. But I’m learning.

JT: I’ve been interested in ham radio for a while now, ever since I was young and I read a few books like Radio Rescue. That’s a kid’s book where they use Morse code to send and receive messages. It was a really interesting book. And I learned about the Handiham Program through John Hess. He’s really encouraged me to keep at it, so I’m keeping at it, and hopefully I will be able to take a test soon, remotely. It’s quite interesting. So, I’m grateful that there are resources like the Handiham Program. And I was thinking that maybe there should be some book reviews on fiction books that have ham radio incorporated into them. I really love to read, so it seems like a good idea.

LM: Well, it’s good to have you here, Jamie.

JT: Also, I’m not very fluent on Zoom.

LM: You did great. Next up here is Jean Parker. Go ahead.

JP: Good afternoon, good to be with you. I’m Jean Parker. My call sign is KC0HKB, and I currently live in Tucson, Arizona, about an hour north of the Mexico border. My time with Handiham was back in the early 2000s with Phil Temples and also with Jerry Kloss who I see is on this call. So, Hello Jerry, good to be with you again.

JP: My ham activity mostly took place with ARES, both when I lived in the US and when I came back. I was also with ARES and several emergency preparedness nets that were happening at the time. I’m currently inactive. As far as what I do, I’m a program coordinator for an online learning institute. I also teach economics and non-profit management to graduate students.

JP: And what I’m thankful for are the technical skills that I gained from ham radio. And they have come in very useful and very necessary for me throughout the years. So, I think that’s what I’m very appreciative of right now.

LM: You know, that’s one of the great things about ham radio is that you do increase technical skills, increase your knowledge of science, math, and engineering—those things that are useful to know for everyone. It’s one of the reasons why we encourage people to learn what you need to pass your test but also understand what’s behind what you do in the hobby because it just increases your ability to function in the world. Alright, thanks so much, Jean. It’s great to have you here. Jim Shaffer, you’re up next.

JS: My name is Jim Shaffer, and my call is KE5AL. I work mainly CW. Anyway, I live in Pflugerville, Texas, and it’s near Austin. In fact, it’s hooked right onto Austin. You can’t tell when you go from one to the other, really. I’m thankful, on this CQWW contest weekend, I’m thankful for the WARC bands. This is KE5AL.

LM: Thanks, Jim. I appreciate your being here today. Jim is a member of the Program, and he’s also one of our instructors. And we sure appreciate all the work he has done in helping us with the various classes we’ve been offering this year. Next up is John Glass. Go ahead with your call sign, a little bit about you, and what you’re thankful for.

JG: Okay, well, thank you very much, Lucinda. I am John Glass. My call is NU6P, and I live in Saratoga, California, which is near San Jose, about fifty or so miles south of San Francisco. So, I’m in the Silicon Valley where a lot of electronic companies are located.

JG: I’ve been a ham since I was in the 6th grade. I got my Novice license in 1974, and, of course, I’ve enjoyed the hobby ever since. I’m totally blind, and I started out as a Novice. We had a science teacher at our local junior high school who was a ham, and he convinced the school administration to allow him to teach a ham radio class as an elective. And over a period of about 8 years, he licensed approximately 400 kids. It was pretty impressive.

JG: And many of those kids continued to enjoy ham radio after they got out of school, and several of them have had electronics careers as a result of the ham radio classes that he taught. I enjoy all aspects of ham radio. I’m a CW operator. I have 5 repeaters currently that are on the air. Three of them are analog and two of them are digital. They are using the DMR network. Not to provide too much technical information, but for those of you who know DMR, one of the repeaters is on the DMR-MARC Network, and the other is on the Brandmeister Network. So, it’s kind of fun having access to both of those.

JG: I’ve been participating with the Handiham Program for the last 15 years or so. I’ve attended three radio camps, two here in California and one in Minnesota last summer, which I really enjoyed. And I’ve been a volunteer instructor, and I’ve really had a wonderful time being a part of Handihams.

JG: I’ve worked for a number of different companies, but I wanted to mention that the first company I worked for after graduating from college was a ham radio company. It was Advanced Computer Controls. We manufactured and sold talking repeater controllers. I got a job with the company as their sales and customer service manager and was there for 8 years.

JG: And so, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been able to get employment as a result of my hobby of ham radio. It’s really a lot of fun. And of all the companies that I’ve worked with, I have to say, looking back, that experience was the most fun of all the work experiences I’ve had. So, that’s kind of a quick summary about me.

JG: Lucinda, I really appreciate you putting this together today. It’s a lot of fun to hear everyone. It’s really nice to have one of these virtual get-togethers. Oh, to say what I’m thankful for these days—one of the big things that I’m very thankful for is that we have Zoom so that we can have events like this. It’s really great, and there are so many things going on on Zoom these days that you can get involved with just about anything you might be interested in. So, it’s really a lot of fun. So, that’s it for me. Lucinda, back to you.

LM: Thanks, John. We appreciate you being here. And John is a member, but he’s also one of our volunteers, and we really appreciate everything he’s done to help us out.

Stay tuned for the next part of the Member Gratitude Gathering airing next week.


Ham Radio in the News

Transatlantic Tests Mark 99th Anniversary

Photo of CW AM Transmitter

Almost 100 years ago, the first successful transatlantic radio transmission using shortwave frequencies was completed, making radio history. During the test period, more than two dozen stations were heard between 230 and 235 meters, in what is now the AM broadcast band. Some used spark-gap transmitters, while others employed vacuum-tube CW transmitters. The station heard most consistently was a CW transmitter operated by members of the Radio Club of America, and they transmitted their message at 2152 UTC on December 11, 1921. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/transatlantic-tests-mark-99th-anniversary


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 front end overload.

T7B05 How can overload of a non-amateur radio or TV receiver by an amateur signal be reduced or eliminated?

A. Block the amateur signal with a filter at the antenna input of the affected receiver.
B. Block the interfering signal with a filter on the amateur transmitter.
C. Switch the transmitter from FM to SSB.
D. Switch the transmitter to a narrow-band mode.

Sadly, a lot of consumer equipment is designed and built as if they were the only occupants in the radio spectrum. No matter how clean your amateur radio signal is, some types of interference, including front end overload, can only be fixed by addressing the consumer equipment, making answer A the correct choice. You can check out the ARRL Handbook for more detailed information about how to place filters on consumer gear to solve this issue.


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.


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.