Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of July 19, 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…
We had a great time last Saturday sharing stories at the Field Day Roundup Zoom Gathering. We will play some of the stories in the interview section of the E-Letter in coming weeks.
Wednesday is our seventh Technician Class license class. This week, we will finish covering amateur radio equipment. It’s almost time for students to start taking practice exams! During this 12 week class, we will help students prepare for their Technician Class exam while also having some fun along the way.
We are planning to hold our first virtual General Class series this fall, starting September 22nd. Classes will be held once weekly over Zoom, and students will get a recording of each class along with a list of the questions from the question pool that were covered in that week’s class. If you are interested in joining this class, please contact Pemdy to be put on the list for an application.
We will also hold another virtual basic Morse code class this fall, starting September 27th. Students will attend an interactive class using Zoom and receive class recordings and practice recordings each week in Mp3 format. This class starts from the very beginning, covering letters, numbers, and prosigns. Prior knowledge of Morse code is not required. Of course, students will need to practice regularly outside of class to be successful. If you want to join this class, you can reach out to Pemdy to be placed on the application list.
While we continue to work remotely, we are still able to check our phone messages and return phone calls, and mail will be picked up regularly. Of course, the best way to get in touch with us is via email.
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 19) is all about the new ARRL online Learning Center. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the E-Letter, there is an article about the 2021 Microsoft Ability Summit, another article about the ham radio response to devastating flooding in Europe, and the first part of a new interview with Tom Behler, KB8TYJ. 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
2021 Microsoft Ability Summit
The Ability Summit is a two-day, free digital event experience that brings together people with disabilities, allies, and accessibility professionals to improve the future of disability inclusion and accessibility. This year, the event took place on May 5th and 6th. You can read more about the event at: https://assistivetechnologyblog.com/2021/05/5-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-microsoft-ability-summit-2021.html.
You can check out the complete playlist at: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtSVUgxIo6Kpv–OFXzwdgMz4Kw-cJFLW.
From the Mailbag
On Wednesday, July 14th, we had one of the biggest sporadic two-meter E-skip openings I have ever seen. I worked about 14 stations. I worked Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. In Canada, I worked New Brunswick and Quebec. The opening lasted about two and half hours.
It was very interesting to see when other stations in Minnesota were hearing and working them. Sometimes, I wouldn’t hear the far away station, then all of the sudden, they were there. When I could work them, others weren’t even hearing them.
Stations as far as Wyoming were working into the Northeast. So, there was actual double hop between the Northeast and Wyoming. That’s very rare. We’ve had three E-skip openings that I know of this year, the most in many, many years. I missed two of them, but I was able to get the one on the 14th.
Also, six has been very good as well. So, keep watching the bands.
Thanks and 73,
Hi Lucinda and all,
I just wrote an article on my blog about using a ground plane with a magnetic loop.
Interview of the Week
In early July, Tom Behler, KB8TYJ, joined me for an interview to talk about Field Day 2021 and the 54th Anniversary Special Event for the Handiham Program. Please join me for the first part of this interview.
LM: We’ve got Tom here, today, and we’re going to record a couple of topics for the E-Letter. And we’re going to start out with the 54th anniversary of the Handiham Program, because you won’t believe the number of people who let me know that they worked Tom. So, now I want to hear it from your side.
TB: Okay, well, I don’t remember when it was. You can clarify, Lucinda, if you’d like. But sometime back in the winter, maybe or early spring, somewhere back in there, I was reading the E-Letter from Lucinda, and Lucinda is talking about this Handiham 54th anniversary special operating event. It’s like, oh, that’s cool. I like those. I’m the kind of person that loves operating events.
TB: And we hadn’t really kind of finalized all the details yet, but–so, we knew it was going to be experimental, but we had the basics. What you need is to get on the air and make as many contacts as you can, however you can, basically giving your name and call sign and state and then maybe talking a little bit to people about Handihams and the Program. So, of course, I latched right on to this thing and talk to Lucinda about it.
TB: And one of the issues that we had to resolve was how best to do the logging for it. And what I ended up doing was I used the N3FJP logging software, North American QSO Party contest logger, because that is such that all you need is call, name, and state. And I talked to Lucinda, and she said, that’d be fine. So, I use that logging program, very easy to use on my PC with JAWS. And then it was just a matter of, okay, trying to make some contacts.
TB: So, I had a shift, and I’m trying to remember what it was, I think it was three to six on Friday, April 30, three to 6pm Eastern time. And so I said, all right, I’ll sign up for this shift. At least I’ll make a presence on the air and see what happens. And I got on 40 meter single sideband. And I do have an ALS 600, so that I could use that with my TS-590 and get a little more power. I was using about 500 watts.
TB: And I will tell you that 40 meters was not in the greatest shape. It was up and down. It was all over the place, as it typically can be sometimes late in the afternoon, but I figured, well, get on and give it a good old college try. So, I started calling CQ Handiham 54th anniversary, I think we said CQ Handiham 54, if I remember. And I’d say in those three hours, I made 79 contacts, I think it was. Then I said, all right, that’s probably enough. I’ve got to do some other things here. And I wrote it Lucinda, and Lucinda said, cool, yeah, 79 contacts. Great!
TB: Well, what happened was, it was like 7:00 Friday night, and I said, I want to just check 40 meters here again, see what it’s like. And the band was like wide open. I mean, it was just amazing how much it had changed in an hour and a half. And maybe in the type of person I am, I said, I can’t resist this. I’ve got to get back on the air here. And so I ran I think from seven Friday night until close to midnight. And I ended up with a total of 224 contacts.
TB: It was so much fun. You guys, if we do this again next year, and I think we will, you’ve got to do it. It is just so much fun. Not only did I contact a lot of people, but I was able to talk about the Handiham Program. And I didn’t go into great lengths, but it was enough to spur people’s curiosity. And I had a bunch of follow up emails after that, you know, just clarifying things. And to me, that’s what it was all about–having fun, getting on the air, and helping to publicize Handihams.
TB: Now, I have to tell you one really cool thing that happened during this operating event that I did. And I said this to Lucinda, and I’m still amazed to this day. Some of you who are experienced in HF will know that 40 meters can get really crowded and crazy at times. You’ve got people talking on top of each other, you’ve got this, that, and the other thing going on. It’s often hard to not only maintain a QSO, let alone keep a frequency for a number of hours.
TB: I will tell you, this is no lie, I will tell you that when I was operating on the frequency I was on, I believe it was 7215, 7.215, that frequency, aside from maybe a tuner-upper every once in a while, was completely clear. I couldn’t believe it. And I firmly believe to this day that people realize the importance of what we were doing. And they stepped aside. It was just absolutely amazing to me. I never experienced anything like that in all of my, what 40 years of ham radio operating. It is just amazing. So, my message to all of you would be, if the 55th anniversary Handiham special event comes around, please do it. It’s a lot of fun. We’ll be able to talk on the air. And we’ll be able to spread the Handiham message far and wide and have fun doing it.
LM: And we are planning an even bigger one for the 55th next year. So, this was kind of like a test run to see how it would look. And of course, you handled it beautifully. But we’re looking to make it even bigger for next year.
TB: The other thing I will say too, and I’m making this offer right now, if somebody is concerned about logging, and using the N3FJP software, I can guide anybody through the process of working with that North American QSO Party log and setting it up so that it would work for the special event. In fact, I’ve actually written up some instructions that I have here. And I’ll be happy to share those with anybody or work directly with people who want to solve that logging issue. Because if you can purchase the N3FJP software, you can do it by contest or you can just get the whole package, I think you’ll be good for the rest of your life. And it’s great software, and it works very well with JAWS.
LM: Yeah, we’ve had lots of good comments about the N3FJP software. And frankly, your log was so easy to deal with because it was all typed out. It’s easy to read. So, I’m all for using logging software because it makes my life easier too!
TB: What I did, just so that people know and those who are familiar with the software will know this, what I did is I simply converted it to what’s called a Cabrillo file, a Cabrillo log file, which is basically a text file. And then what I did is I grabbed my statistics from the logging program itself. And I think I either put it at the top of the file or put the stats at the top or the bottom of the file, just so that they would be there too. So you know, if you’re any good at all at editing a text file, it’s very, very easy to work with once you get the log.
LM: Yeah, and you know, it’s interesting because other people have learned to use this thing, even people who didn’t think it was possible to do logging like this. And once they figure out how it all works, they seem to really like it.
TB: I may get in trouble for this. He’ll probably kill me. He will, maybe, but our friend Matt, KA0PQW. He was initially–we were working with Joe, AI0Y, and trying to get Matt up and running on N3FJP software. And, you know, originally he was, I don’t know, I don’t know if I can do this, if this is worth all the trouble.
TB: Now, it’s to the point where Matt is teaching me some things about the N3FJP software. We were talking the other day, and I forget what he said to me. And it’s like, I never knew you could do that, Matt. He said, oh, yeah, I do it all the time. So yeah, don’t get overwhelmed with it. It’s initially a little tricky to set up. But you know, and that’s another topic for another day, probably. But it’s really not that bad once you get it set up. And it’s very, very easy to use.
LM: Yep. And it makes your life easier when you’re doing this kind of event and makes my life easier when I’m doing all the QSL cards. So, you know it’s a win for everybody. Well, I think that’s a really good plug for the 54th anniversary event that we did, and again, everybody that I talked to said they’d worked you. So, you were making the rounds on the bands. That was great. And people really enjoyed listening to you do it because you’re a good operator, and they enjoyed the experience of listening to somebody work an event like that.
TB: Well, I had fun and I’m psyched! I’m ready to do it again. So, bring it on.
LM: All right. We can’t wait!
Stay tuned for the next part of this interview airing in the next issue of Handiham World.
Ham Radio in the News
Amateur Radio Responds to Flooding in Western Europe
In the wake of widespread catastrophic flooding in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, ham radio volunteers have stepped up to provide communications support. The flooding was caused by unprecedented heavy rainfall, leaving more than 120 dead. Hundreds more people are listed as missing in the aftermath. Because mobile telecommunications networks are down, efforts to locate people have been hampered. Some hams have been handling requests for radio support while also dealing with members of their own emergency communications groups who have been victims of the flood, some even losing their radio equipment. A mutual aid agreement between amateur radio organizations throughout the affected area allows hams to coordinate their efforts as needed. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/amateur-radio-responds-to-flooding-in-western-europe.
A Dip in the Pool
It’s time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the question pool…
Let’s go to the Extra Class pool this week to a question about digital modes.
E2E05 Which of these digital modes does not support keyboard-to-keyboard operation?
It’s fun to exchange keyboard-to-keyboard messages with other hams in real time using RTTY, PSK31, and MFSK. If you want to send email, however, Winlink is a great way to send digital traffic using PACTOR protocols. You can even send graphics and weather charts. PACTOR is not, however, designed for keyboard-to-keyboard communications, making answer A the correct choice.
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 email@example.com or 612-775-2291.
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.
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.
Our daily Echolink net continues to operate for anyone and everyone who wishes to participate at 11:00 hours CDT (Noon Eastern and 09:00 Pacific), as well as Wednesday evenings at 19:00 hours CDT (7 PM). If you calculate GMT, the time difference is that GMT is five hours ahead of Minnesota time during the summer.
Doug, N6NFF, poses a trivia question in the first half of the Wednesday evening session, so check in early if you want to take a guess. The answer to the trivia question is generally given shortly after the half-hour mark. During the Friday Mid-day net, Jim, KE5AL, asks a question from the current Extra Class pool. The answer is given at the end of the net. A big THANK YOU to all of our net control stations and to Diane, KK6LOE, our Net Manager.
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.
- 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.
Courage Kenny Handiham Program
3915 Golden Valley Road MR 78446
Golden Valley, MN 55422
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!