Handiham World for January 11, 2021

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of January 11, 2021

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…

Today, the announcement was made that due to the pandemic, Dayton Hamvention is once again cancelled. They look forward to coming back stronger than ever in 2022. While we are saddened by this, we also know the importance of making good decisions during difficult times. Because of the pandemic, we will not be able to hold Radio Camp this summer either. Like those who are responsible for running Dayton Hamvention, we look forward to once again holding camp in the summer of 2022.

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 next Morse code class series will be an intermediate level class starting March 1st and running for 12 weeks. Students will be able to attend an interactive class using the Zoom platform and will receive class recordings and practice recordings each week in Mp3 format. For this class, you need to already know the letters, numbers, and prosigns. We will focus on increasing your ability to copy, working toward a speed of around 13 words per minute by then end of the series. Students will need to practice regularly outside of class to be successful. If you are looking for a basic Morse code class, we will offer another series later this year. Contact Pemdy to be put on the list for an application for either of these two class series.

Photo of the Morse code key.

Building on the success of the 2020 Virtual Get on the Air class, we are getting ready for the next Get on the Air session, now running the week of February 15th. This will be an intermediate level class with in-depth coverage of just a few topics. If you want to receive an application, please contact Pemdy right away.

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 office 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 the card game Uno Braille, another article about the FCC’s request for comments about adding new VECs, 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

Uno Braille

Photo of pack of Braille Uno card game.

Sometimes Assistive Technology isn’t really that technical. The card game, Uno, has been popular for many years, but the cards had not been available with Braille. To encourage families and friends to play together, Mattel teamed up with the National Federation of the Blind to make the card game accessible for people who are blind or low vision. To learn more, check out the following website at: https://www.mattelgames.com/games/en-us/uno-braille.

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

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.


I thought this Blind Abilities podcast might be of interest to some Handiham members.


I was nowhere near as brilliant as Ryan when I was 14, but the interesting thing is that he approaches and understands the weather in ways that are very similar to what I, as a blind weather enthusiast, have developed over the years.


Tom Behler, KB8TYJ

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: Let’s see. Next up here is Sheila Enerson, go ahead.

SE: This is Sheila, and I don’t have a license. I used to. I had my Tech Plus. So, I’m interested in Morse code. I’m interested in the different things that you can do with electronics. I think it’s kind of interesting. I’m not sure what ARES and RACES mean anymore, but it’s something about the weather. And that was kind of interesting when people were volunteering and doing things with them.

SE: And I’m thankful for my Elmer, Diane Vorwald, and she is my very good friend as well who has kept me knowing that somebody cared for a long time. And I appreciate her during these times, especially. So, that’s all.

LM: Well, thanks, Sheila. I appreciate you being here today. And, let’s see. Next up is Steven Henry, Go ahead.

SH: Hi, this is Steven Henry. I live in Gonzales, Louisiana, which is 20 miles south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And I was licensed—I had my Technician license years ago, and then I let it lapse. So, I got relicensed in 2013, July of 2013. I studied using the Handiham courses with Pat Tice. I took my Technician and General in one night. They said, do you want to take your Advanced? I said, no, I don’t really know enough.

SH: I’ll be 72 in December. I work for the Postal Service doing customer service work. I’m totally blind. My wife and I are both blind. We’ve been married for 36 years. It’ll be 37 next year. We have two wonderful children. What I’m thankful for is that all of our children and our grandchildren are healthy and that no one in our family has caught the corona virus. And I’m not saying that to brag. I’m just saying that’s something to be thankful for.

SH: And I’m thankful for Handiham that it offers us the opportunity to learn and study. And I hope to participate in some of the Morse code classes next year. I just need to find out what type of equipment that I’ll need. So, Lucinda, I’ll turn it back to you, and thank you for all you do, and thank you for getting me on Groups.io. The group is working fine.

SH: Oh, my call. I didn’t give you my call. I’m sorry. It’s K5WTI. When I got my license, it was KF5, and then I changed it. And I’ve got some old QSL cards with my KF5, so I’m wondering, can you change it back? I wondered if I could change it back to the KF5 or not. So, I will turn it back to you. Thank you very much.

LM: Thanks, Steven, and I’m glad we were able to get everything figured out with Groups.io and make that work. And Susan League, are you able to—go ahead, Susan.

SL: Hello, this is N0PTS.

LM: It’s good to hear you. It’s been so long!

SL: Really, we’ll have to get together sometime. I’m in White Bear Lake. And the thing I’m thankful for is good health.

LM: Yes, definitely something good to be thankful for. Well, I really appreciate you being here. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

SL: I don’t have anything else to share right now. But, just 73 to everyone out there.

LM: Okay, and 73 to you too.

SL: Well, thank you.

LM: Next up is Tom Behler, go ahead.

TB: This is Tom, KB8TYJ. I live in Grandville, Michigan, which is just west of Grand Rapids, which is in the western Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Let’s see. I was first licensed as a ham in 1969. I had one of those two-year Novice licenses. And then due to college, graduate school, and everything else, I didn’t do anything with ham radio for years and years and years. I got back to it in 1994, once I was settled in a job, then kind of the rest of the story goes from there, I guess.

TB: I’m retired. I was a university professor. I taught sociology for 34 years and retired three years ago and moved to Grandville, Michigan, where I currently live. Interests in ham radio—I have all kinds of interests—emergency communications. I’m our county’s SKYWARN Team leader. I am a net manager now for a state-wide repeater system that we have. I am, of course, very involved in Handihams, teaching the various courses that we offer to the best of my ability.

TB: And also, I am very involved in working with the National Weather Service on a SKYWARN training program for the visually impaired, which we offered here in the Grand Rapids area three times, I think it is. We were going to do it a fourth time, but that got cancelled because of COVID. So, we’ll have to see when we can do that again. And that course has actually gained some national recognition.

TB: In fact, Lucinda travelled all the way to Michigan to take advantage of it, two out of the three times it was offered, so that was kind of special. What am I thankful for? I’m thankful for a number of things. I’m thankful for ham radio. It’s a great hobby to help us through the pandemic, as many have said.

TB: I’m also thankful for something called—and I’ll tell you the rest of the story in a second—the West Michigan Emergency Communications Net, because when I moved down to Grandville, I was doing what hams do—I was looking for nets to check into, trying to get to know people. I checked into this West Michigan Emergency Communications Net which I was interested in anyway, and lo and behold, Lucinda was a net control. And she and I got to sort of emailing and talking back and forth. It’s through Lucinda that I’ve been able to become so involved in Handihams as I am now, and I’m really honored to do it.

TB: I’m also thankful for the technology which allows us to do this stuff. It drives you nuts sometimes, but I’ll tell you what, it has really made the pandemic easier to deal with, and it’s made us able to carry on our activities even though we can’t be together personally. So, lots to be thankful for here, and so with that, this is KB8TYJ, and I’ll turn it back to you, Lucinda. Thanks.

LM: Thanks, Tom. I appreciate it, and I appreciate all the work you do teaching for the Handiham Program as well. We’re getting to our people on the phone, so since I don’t have your names, I’m going to give your area code. So, let’s start with 916.

DE: Hi, I’m Doug Emerson. My amateur call is N6NFF. I’m out here in Sacramento, California. I’m originally from the Cleveland, Ohio area. I was originally licensed as a Novice in 1966, but I failed my test for the General in 1967 and then became interested in hi-fidelity equipment as opposed to amateur radio things.

DE: I got relicensed in 1997, so I’ve been licensed for 23 years now. I’m a General class licensee. I’m the past president of not one, not two, but three radio clubs. And I’m the one that currently does the Wednesday night net on the Handiham Echolink Conference server and other places that are supposed to be there.

DE: My wife also is a member of Handihams. Her name is Sheilla, and she spells it with two Ls. Her call is N6IKB, and she’s not available right now. But the thing I’m thankful for is, I’m thankful for the many friends that I have met in amateur radio, both back in Ohio and out here in California down through the years. And I’m thankful that so far, neither my wife nor I have caught the bug, and I sincerely pray that we don’t get it, and I sincerely pray that none of you get it either. Thank you very much, Lucinda.

LM: Thanks so much, Doug. It’s really good to hear from you, and I definitely appreciate you being here. And I echo what you said. I hope everybody stays safe and healthy. We don’t want anybody getting sick, and we don’t want anybody having the long-term effects that can happen with this.

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

Ham Radio in the News

FCC Invites Comments on Expanding the Number of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators

Photo of FCC logo

In a Public Notice on January 5th, the FCC requested comments on whether the current 14 Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VECs)are adequate to fulfill the needs of their accredited Volunteer Examiners in administering amateur radio exams. At issue is whether up to five additional VECs should be authorized. Comments are due by February 5th, with reply comments due by February 19th. The FCC provided several questions for framing comments that should be filed on WT Docket No. 21-2 via the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing Service. To learn more and to find the questions that should be address when you file comments, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-invites-comments-on-expanding-the-number-of-volunteer-examiner-coordinators

A Dip in the Pool

drawing of person studying

Let’s go to the Technician Class pool this week to a question about diodes.

T6B06 What are the names of the two electrodes of a diode?

A. Plus and minus.
B. Source and drain.
C. Anode and cathode.
D. Gate and base.

The symbol for a diode consists of a long, straight line with an arrow in it that has a short, straight line that crosses the long line at the tip of the arrow. The cathode is represented by the short line and the anode is represented by the arrow itself, making answer C the correct choice. Current flows in the opposite direction of the arrow, from the cathode toward the anode. There is almost no current flow in the direction of the arrow from the anode to the cathode.

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.