Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of October 18, 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…
Thanks to all who joined us last Saturday for our Fall Zoom Gathering. We had some technology glitches due to internet issues in my shack, but members displayed their flexibility as ham radio operators while we waited for my internet to come back online.
We will be holding our next Zoom Gathering on November 27th. Watch your email for the link. It will be a Gratitude Gathering, where we will share what we are thankful for.
Due to ongoing problems with AllStar, please use alternate ways to connect to the Handiham Radio Club nets. The best way is via EchoLink with DMR as an alternative.
We are currently in the search process for a new Handiham Radio Club net manager. If you are interested in this position, please note the following requirements:
• You must be a current member of both the Handiham Program and the Handiham Radio Club
• You must possess good interpersonal communications skills
• You must show plenty of both patience and compassion while utilizing leadership skills
If you feel you are a good fit for this position, please email email@example.com with a letter explaining your skills and experience. Your email will be forwarded to the Handiham Radio Club leadership for consideration.
We are holding our fifth virtual General class this week. Because all the material is covered in just 12 weeks, students are finding the class keeps them busy! Classes take place over Zoom, and students get a recording of each class along with a handout and a list of the questions from the question pool that were covered in that week’s class. We are looking forward to a new group of General Class hams after students complete their studies and exams.
We held our fourth virtual basic Morse code class today. The students are studying hard and making great progress already! Students 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 do need to practice regularly outside of class to be successful.
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 22) is all about the contest season. 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 expect to 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 Rivo smart device accessory, another article about a group of deaf students who made an ARISS contact, and the final part of a new interview with two of our Morse code 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
Rivo, Smart Device Accessory
Rivo 2 is a smart device accessory that allows you to control your device using the Rivo’s physical buttons. The device is about the size of a credit card and is helpful for people who have difficulty using a screen reader on a smart device. Essentially, the Rivo is great for someone who wants to use a smartphone but struggles with all the different gestures that are needed to control the phone. It is compatible with both Android and iOS. Additionally, the Rivo can connect to six different devices at a time, including smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. You can learn more at: https://rivo.me/en/ and https://lssproducts.com/rivo-2-bluetooth-smartphone-keyboard/.
You can watch a video at: https://youtu.be/cRklpvdV134.
From the Mailbag
I wrote an article on my blog about my Vibroplex bug. It has some instructions which some may find helpful. You can read the article at: https://austinseraphin.net/2021/09/15/my-vibroplex-bug/.
Interview of the Week
A few weeks ago, two of the three Morse code instructors were able to join me for a discussion on learning the code, some stories from over the years, and their thoughts on teaching the class. Please join me for the final part of this interview.
LM: So, we’ve had our first week of the new Basic Morse Code Class cohort with this new group of students. And now, this is your third Morse code class to teach with the Handiham Program, because we’ve done basic last fall, and intermediate this spring, and now we’re doing basic again. So, why don’t we talk a little bit about what this is like? What’s your experience of working with students on, because we are working virtually, and I don’t know, have you guys taught virtual classes before this?
TB: No. Nope.
LM: Okay, so this has been something new. And we’re teaching people all over the US. And I’m just curious what it’s been like to be an instructor for this.? So, why don’t we start with Jim?
JS: Well, I’ve really enjoyed the experience. And it makes me think about my copying of the code, and kind of how I’ve approached the code. I found that at some point in time, around 71, or in the early 70s, I wanted to get my speed up and improve my Morse code. So, I joined the National Traffic System and started copying messages and doing that sort of thing.
JS: And eventually, I wound up in an organization in the 80s, I was a member of an organization called the Chicken Fried Operators, the CFOs. And you could always tell them, because they do kind of a chicken cluck thing with the key. And in order to be in the Chicken Fried Operators, you needed to be able to ragchew at 45 words a minute. And that was a lot of fun. Boy, you can really do some talking when you get your speed up.
LM: Wow, I cannot imagine doing that! That is impressive. Tom, why don’t you go ahead.
TB: I’ve taught CW or Morse code a number of different ways over the years. I used to do it where I lived prior to moving to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. I used to do it on 2 meters, just modulated CW. You’d get a key or a paddle or whatever, and put the microphone on the speaker, and go for it. Then I got more sophisticated with computer software and that kind of thing.
TB: But I think the thing that I always try to keep in mind when teaching something like the Morse code is what I’ve always tried to do as a college professor. Many of you know that I’m retired now, but I always try to put myself in the students’ position. And it’s kind of like me, now learning certain forms of assistive technology. You’re going to get overwhelmed every once in a while. That’s perfectly normal. And we stress that with the students all the time.
TB: And I try to put myself in the students’ position and ask myself, all right, why is this person getting overwhelmed? And what can we do to lessen that? And so, I always have a mindset toward changing things or improving things, not necessarily doing things like we did before, because we did. I mean, I want to have good reasons for doing it. And one of the things that I think teaching this class has really taught me, and especially in the virtual environment, is that there are just so many different ways to do things, and teaching virtually has been different.
TB: We’re not necessarily in person. But yet, I think through the years here, and we’ve done this now, this is our second year, we’ve gotten pretty good at it. We’re ironing out the technical glitches. I don’t want to say that too loud, because maybe they’ll happen now next week, but we’re ironing out the technical glitches. And it’s becoming, I think, more and more like an in-person class. It’s never going to be the same, but it’s becoming more and more like that. It’s sort of less impersonal. I don’t know how quite to say it. And so, I always tried to make that happen, to be personal with the students, to basically say, look, we’ve all been there. Do not get overwhelmed. We’ll get you through it. And here’s how. And that’s been the neatest thing for me to see.
TB: Last year, and it’ll happen again this year, I’m sure, we took students with absolutely no knowledge of the code. And by the end of that class, they were copying stuff. Now, the rest is up to them, but we made progress. And that is good to see. And I think that only happens when you put yourself in the students’ position and say, all right, what can we do to make this as achievable as possible? And that’s what I hope I can continue to do in the months ahead here. It’s been a really fun experience. And one of the greatest rewards of it is to actually see the people learning and enjoying the learning process.
LM: Yeah, it’s fun to watch students get excited. And to even get the email that somebody, a student, made their first on air contact with a stranger. It’s fun to share in that excitement.
TB: Yep. Yeah. Darrell from the class did that last year. He was from the, I think it was from the intermediate level class. He said, I made my first contact. All right!
TB: That’s what we like to see!
LM: He was so excited!
JS: I worked Michael on 80 meters.
TB: Oh, yeah. Right. Mike Keithley.
JS: Or it was 40 meters.
LM: Yeah. So, that’s a couple people from the class.
LM: And one of the things, you know, as good teachers always do, we’re taking the classes that we’ve taught, and then tweaking them, learning from what we did. Our students have been so helpful in giving us feedback, so that we can improve the classes for the next group. And sometimes we’re making changes even along the way within a class series as well. So, I am really grateful for students who share that information with us so that we can improve and make things better.
LM: Well, I appreciate you guys taking the time to do this interview. It kind of gives a plug for Morse code. And, you know, if you’ve got a little bit of Morse code knowledge, you’ve got your five words a minute, you know your characters, but you want to increase your speed, we are offering an intermediate level class, starting next spring, so early spring of 2022. So, keep that in mind.
TB: Yeah, and that intermediate level class, you know, by that time, we can assume a basic knowledge of the code. And then what we do is we get into QSO segments and, you know, what it’s like to actually go through a contact on the air. And then, we’re going to do a little bit of this in the beginner level class, but in the intermediate level class, we tried to do more with sending CW, where people actually send it. and you can get involved in some back and forth, and that’s really fun. That’s when you can really see that the learning has happened.
LM: Well, and it’s just like you said, Tom, about learning a new language. Because the same way when you’re learning a new language, when you start communicating in that new language, your use and knowledge of it just increases exponentially. And it works that way in Morse code as well.
TB: Right, same principle.
LM: Well, thank you guys so much for taking the time to do this. And we’ll look forward to hearing from you guys in future Handiham Program events. And you guys have a good night.
JS: Thank you, Lucinda.
TB: Thank you, Lucinda.
Stay tuned for a new interview airing in the next issue of Handiham World.
Ham Radio in the News
Students at UK School for Deaf Youngsters Enjoy Space Chat
Students from the Mary Hare School for deaf children participated in a contact with the International Space Station (ISS). They posed their questions orally, and the astronaut’s replies were displayed in closed caption format. With some 250 students, staff, and volunteers present plus an additional 600 students connected via the internet, the contact provided a memorable experience for all involved. Students asked questions that included the use of sign language in space, how the ISS would be evacuated in the event of a fire, and whether cell phones work in space. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/students-at-uk-school-for-deaf-youngsters-enjoy-space-chat.
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 noise or signal hunting.
T8C01 Which of the following methods is used to locate sources of noise interference or jamming?
B. Doppler radar.
C. Radio direction finding.
D. Phase locking.
I remember when I connected my six meter all-mode radio in my first ham shack. I couldn’t hear a thing due to noise that wiped out the entire band! The solution was to use radio direction finding to locate the source of the noise, which turned out to be a power supply in an old desktop computer. This makes answer C the correct choice. Another use of radio direction finding is to locate jammers and stations who are blatantly violating FCC rules.
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. AllStar is not working at this time. Stay tuned for future updates.
- 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 round table 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.
Linda, N7HVF, 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.
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!