Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of July 26, 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…
It’s hard to believe that we are coming to the end of July already! One of the exciting things happening in 2021 is the increasing solar cycle. If you’ve been watching the solar forecasts, you know that more spots keep coming. After an extended solar minimum, it’s great to see propagation that supports the higher bands. This is a great time to get on the air and have some fun with a contest or get that award you’ve been dreaming about.
Wednesday is our eighth Technician Class license class. This week, we will cover communication with other hams. Next week, students will start working on practice exams as well. 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 Apple TV accessibility, another article about a successful Youth on the Air camp, and the next 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
Apple TV Accessibility
Apple TV offers numerous accessibility options for people who are blind or visually impaired. Both VoiceOver and Zoom work in similar ways to an iPhone or iPad, making it easier for people already familiar with using other Apple devices. Another helpful option is to use Siri through the remote. You can learn more about Apple TV accessibility at: https://support.apple.com/guide/tv/accessibility-features-atvbaeff85db/tvos.
You can check out the complete playlist at: https://youtu.be/RLSTJah7_nc.
From the Mailbag
This may be of interest to some hams. This week’s Twenty-Thousand Hertz podcast is about numbers stations, particularly the buzzer. They spend some time at the beginning introducing listeners to what shortwave radio is, then they get into numbers stations and the buzzer.
Here’s the link for the show notes page and where you can listen.
Hi Lucinda and all,
I hope this is helpful to someone. It’s a podcast that I did with CQ Blind Hams about updating firmware for the Kenwood TS590SG using a screen reader.
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 next part of this interview.
LM: So, now we go from that, which, you know, the band started out not so great, then turned out great. And now we’re going to talk about Field Day this year, which you had great plans for, and then things had to change. And that happens sometimes. So, why don’t you tell us about that?
TB: Well, you know, hams are known for being resourceful and just adapting, adjusting. And this year’s Field Day was a perfect example of it. Basically, to summarize, we had great plans for Field Day this year, and we being the club I belong to–the Grand Rapids Amateur Radio Association, called GRARA. And Grand Valley State University in our area here also has an amateur radio club. And we were going to combine efforts this year, and we were going to have a joint Field Day with the two clubs, GRARA and the Grand Valley Amateur Radio Club, a student amateur radio club. We had great plans, we had a great Field Day site, everything was terrific.
TB: I spent probably a day and a half getting everything ready, including the logging software and all my equipment, so that I could take it out there in our RV and operate Field Day. I was going to be a CW station. We had that all figured out. And not only was I going to operate, but there were some other people too, that we’re going to give CW a try, which is what Field Day is all about, getting other people involved in the whole operating event. All the plans were there, and everything was going well.
TB: But by Friday before Field Day, that would have been Friday, June 25th, the weather was not looking so good. I would say between Thursday and Friday, we probably had about three inches of rain. And it was just like monsoon season. And we were thinking, okay, well, you know, we’re hams, we’re adaptive, rain is probably not going to interfere with anything, although we do have to be careful with lightning, because you’re putting up antennas and masts and all that kind of stuff. But we figured, well, let’s just see how it plays itself out.
TB: So, as Friday goes on, I’m starting to look more and more at the weather, and it’s like, oh, man, there are now starting to be severe weather possibilities. Guess what, for Saturday afternoon and night and in the Sunday, perfect timing for Field Day. And we weren’t just talking about run of the mill, severe thunderstorms here that, you know, how a line comes through and it’s gone. We were talking about multiple possibilities, including tornado possibilities. So, I was not necessarily in on this decision. I was ready to go, and I was going to wait till Saturday morning to actually make a decision as to what I would do.
TB: But it turns out that late Friday evening, I think it was, there was a decision by the club officers and by Grand Valley’s club officers to cancel Field Day, our Field Day operation. And we were not the only ones. One, two, three, four other clubs in our area, canceled them as well. And it turns out that that was actually a very wise decision, because on Saturday, right around Field Day time was between 2 in the afternoon at about 8 or 10 at night, there were a number of confirmed tornadoes in our area. And there was additional potential for other tornadoes.
TB: So, it would not have been a good time to be out there. There are those who argue, and they’ll say, well, but Field Day–it should happen under any conditions, no matter what. That’s what we’re trained for. But I think the overall feeling was, you know what, though, part of emergency preparedness is don’t put yourself purposely in harm’s way. If you can avoid harm, do it. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way. And I think that was the prevailing thought, and I think it was a wise decision.
TB: So, what do you do feel days canceled? Right? Well, I was also Kent County’s SKYWARN coordinator for my county. So I have SKYWARN duties all Saturday. I was basically on the air from, I think it was shortly before one o’clock on Saturday afternoon till about nine or 10 o’clock Saturday night, until we knew that the worst of the severe weather potential was beyond us.
TB: So, what do you do? I couldn’t do a normal Field Day operation. I’d already spent eight hours doing SKYWARN that day, but I’m a ham and I’m resourceful and I just don’t want to throw Field Day away. So, what I did was I did a 1D operation here. I operated from my home station on commercial power. Fortunately, this year, the ARRL continued its practice from last year where 1D contacts can count normally. And so I just figured, well, let me get on the air and see what I can do.
TB: So, I operated late Saturday night, late Saturday night for a couple hours, then I was pretty well wiped out. I had to get some sleep. And then Sunday morning and early afternoon, I operated for another few hours. In five hours of operating, I think it was five hours and 24 minutes, I had 200 CW contacts. In fact, I hit the 200 mark, literally, a minute before Field Day closed, on Sunday, a minute before 2pm Eastern, I hit my 200 contacts.
TB: Again, I had fun. No, it wasn’t as fun as it would have been. But you know, life is that way sometimes. And I just made the best out of it and had a lot of fun. So, again, as hams, my advice to you would always be, be resourceful. Just because things don’t work out doesn’t mean you can’t do something.
TB: For Field Day, once again, I used the N3FJP logging software, very easy to set up. Very easy to log with, and I would encourage anybody to get it and it’s, you know, I don’t have a vested interest in this. I just know what works. And if anybody wants more information, I can certainly guide you to where you need to go to get it. Field Day is an operating activity that literally anybody can do, and anybody is welcome. And it doesn’t matter what your disability is, if you’re part of a club, and you’re serious about it, hams are hams. We’ll help you figure out how to get on the air and make the best of it and have some fun with it.
LM: Well, and Field Day is one of those experiences that you don’t want to miss. And when you can do it and actually join with other hams and stuff, there’s a lot that you learn just from watching other people operate and then putting it into practice when it’s your turn to be at the radio. I know I’ve logged for people on Field Day, I’ve been the one operating, I’ve been the one helping out with other things that, you know, kind of taken my turn in all the different areas, and it’s so much fun.
TB: It is, and it’s a learning opportunity. And yes, the initial purpose of Field Day was emergency preparedness, you know, can you get out there in the field and set up portable stations and make contacts. But a lot of it is teaching and learning and a lot of it is just a social activity. It’s just fun to get together with other hams and set up stuff and make it work. And then, you know, enjoy each other’s company. There’s always, of course, the food that goes along with Field Day. We can’t forget that. You eat way too much and eat all the wrong stuff. But, you know, it’s a once a year thing. And you stay up way too late. You get way too little sleep,
TB: But then after it, you go home and you crash for a few hours and everything’s fine. You know, it’s just a very, very fun event.
Stay tuned for the next part of this interview airing in the next issue of Handiham World.
Ham Radio in the News
Youth on the Air Camp Success
Earlier this month, the first Youth on the Air (YOTA) camp for young hams in the Americas wrapped up. Campers experienced numerous activities including a balloon launch with a ham radio payload, contact with the ISS, kit building, antenna building, and transmitter hunting and direction finding. This was a pilot camp, with hopes that it will be replicated in numerous locations for years to come, inspiring a more robust community of young hams in the hobby. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/youth-on-the-air-campers-enjoy-successful-iss-contact-busy-with-other-activities.
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 Technician Class pool this week to a question about identification.
T1D11 When may an amateur station transmit without on-the-air identification?
A. When the transmissions are of a brief nature to make station adjustments.
B. When the transmissions are unmodulated.
C. When the transmitted power level is below 1 watt.
D. When transmitting signals to control model craft.
In ham radio, it’s a big mistake to make unidentified transmissions. There is one exception, however. If you make transmissions to operate radio-controlled cars, boats, or aircraft, you can transmit without on-the-air identification, making answer D the correct choice. An alternate means of identifying the transmitter call sign is used, such as attaching a sticker with the call sign to the remote-control transmitter.
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!