Handiham World for November 1, 2021

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of November 1, 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 will be holding our next Zoom Gathering on November 27th. Watch your email for the link. This will be a Gratitude Gathering, where we will share what we are thankful for as we enter the holiday season.

Photo of Chapel at Courage North with the word, Gratitude, across the bottom.

If you are interested in taking the Intermediate Morse Code class or the Extra Class license course, we are planning to run both next year. You can reach out to Pemdy to get your name on the lists for an application when they are ready. Because of everything we have to cover for the Extra Class, that course will run a full 16 weeks, so keep that time commitment in mind.

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 handiham@allina.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 seventh virtual General class this week. Because all the material is covered in just 12 weeks, students are finding the class keeps them rather 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.

Cartoon of laptop with multiple people attending a virtual class on the screen.

We held our sixth virtual basic Morse code class today. The students are studying hard, making use of all the practice materials, and it shows in their class participation. 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.

Photo of the Morse code key.

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.

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 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 handiham@allina.com.

In the E-Letter, there is an article about a self-navigating smart cane, another article about hams responding to a recent severe storm, and the first part from our recent fall Zoom 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

Self-Navigating Smart Cane

Photo of man using a self-navigating smart cane as he walks on the sidewalk.

Stanford researchers have built a self-navigating cane for people who are blind or visually impaired. Using tools from autonomous vehicles, the research team has built the Augmented Cane, which helps people detect and identify obstacles, move easily around those objects, and follow routes both indoors and out. You can learn more at: https://hai.stanford.edu/news/stanford-researchers-build-400-self-navigating-smart-cane.

You can watch a video at: https://youtu.be/N8JZXI2oyqk.

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hello Everyone,

Today, I felt it necessary to test how well my handheld gets into the local repeater. I was standing outside my American sign language professor’s office waiting for the midterm that had to be rescheduled by, you might say, the weather. It seems to me that whenever we get the chance to test outside of a formal emergency preparedness test, we should take that opportunity.

Ironically enough, the person that I was talking to just so happened to be the ARES coordinator for this portion of California. And just for your edification, the weather here has been truly dreadful for some with moderate to heavy rain and, at least in the morning, winds approaching 50 to 60 miles an hour. And in the mountains, meaning the southern Sierras, according to the weather warnings, they were getting dumped on.

I will watch for the invitation for the upcoming gathering. I believe the blurb said Thanksgiving week for the meeting. I’ll bring my thoughts about what I am thankful for.


Maurice, KD0IKO

Interview of the Week

A few weeks ago, we held our 2021 Fall Zoom Gathering, getting together to shares stories of memorable contacts from over the years. While some of the contacts were long ago, others were very recent. Of course, sometimes problems occur, even in Zoom meetings. In this case, my internet failed only a few minutes into the Gathering. Thankfully, John Glass, NU6P, was able to keep things going for the next 10 minutes or so while I waited for my internet and modem to get back up and running. One of the best characteristics found in hams is their ability to find creative solutions to whatever problems they encounter, and our Zoom Gathering was no exception. Please join me for the first part of this interview.

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

LM: So, let’s start out today with John Gunn. Go ahead.

JG: Well, Lucinda and the rest of the group, one of my favorite contacts was back in ’89. I was on CW. And I’m Advanced at that time–still am now, but anyway, that’s going to change. And it was on Thanksgiving Day. And I was talking to a gentleman out of Yugoslavia. And I think was before the Soviet Union broke up, so there were limited things that this person could talk about. But going back to August of that same year, I happened to be in Newington, Connecticut. And I was able to be behind the mic of W1AW. So, that’s something that was pretty memorable. And I think we were on 20 meters. And that’s all I have.

LM: Wow, that sounds like some really fun contacts there. Thanks, John. And we appreciate your being able to get those comments in even though you’re short time today. So, Pat Gormley, I know you have stories, great contacts from over the years, so take it away.

PG: Okay, I’ll tell you the probably the neatest one. I was part of the original International Space Station contact, and I was actually manning the video. My reader happened to be the late Joe, KU3Z. He was a member of Goddard. And he took me out and took me my wife, Tina, who became KB3GHH, and one of the most favorite contacts we ever had was the time when they were taking apart a multibillion-dollar computer system with a $20 crescent wrench

AF: I remember that.

LM: There’s a little irony there.

PG: Yeah. The simplest thing. It was a multibillion dollar computer system, and they had to take it apart to replace a module. And they had to, and they did it with a $20 crescent wrench in outer space.

LM: Not bad. And you just reminded me the one after you Dave WD8LDY, go ahead.

DA: Okay, I’ll say a good morning everyone from Dunedin, New Zealand. This is David WD8LDY portable ZL4. Gosh, a lot of memorable contacts over the years, but probably the one that’s most memorable over any other contact was the night that I managed to contact Ellen, W1YL, from here in Dunedin. That was on 20 CW. I was listening around the FISTS frequency, 14.028, and heard her make a contact. And I thought, gosh, can it really be W1YL, and she signed the call and told the person her name was Ellen. And she was in Florida, so I knew that it was the very one. So, I waited until she finished that one, and called her. And I took the opportunity to thank her for the time that she spent back in the late 70s, early 80s narrating QST for the National Library Service and the Library of Congress. And after that, I exchanged email with her, and that was my most memorable contact. Thank you.

LM: Thanks. I appreciate you joining us. You’re morning, and we’re afternoon, but we appreciate you taking the time to join us. Next up I’m wondering, Johnny, are you still able to reach us?

JO: Ah, that’s better. Can you hear me now?

LM: All right, thanks, John. Yeah, there isn’t much you can do when the internet drops out. Life happens sometimes. That’s just how it goes. Let’s see. Do we have anybody else that needs short time?

DD: WD9DW D, I got to go short time.

LM: Okay, Don, why don’t you go now?

AF: And I can’t stay neither, thank you.

LM: Okay. I’ll get you next. Okay.

AF: Thank you, Lucinda

LM: Yeah.

DD: Thank you, Lucinda. Sorry to do this, like yeah, we’re going to a birthday party for my wife. So, we can’t be late for that.

LM: No.

DD: Anyway, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard so far. And I don’t know if I have any real memorable contact, but I’ll tell you about a couple this summer. In fact, one was a week ago today. I was trying to make contact with some of the, oh, there was Arizona and, I can’t remember, Pennsylvania had the QSO party last weekend. And so I was just kind of spinning the dial on 20 meters. And I came across a call sign that was a, I can’t remember the call sign now. But it turned out it was Finland. And they had kind of a pile up going. And I only run 100 watts through a loop antenna, 526 foot loop. And I thought, well, there’s no chance of me getting through this pile up. But I gave it one shot, only one, and he picked me up. And that was pretty awesome to break through that pile up. And he was in Finland.

DD: And I had a similar situation on 40 meters about midnight back in early August, the same kind of thing going with an Australian station, and the pile up was crazy. And I thought, well, let’s try it. That one took about five tries. But when he did get me, I was his first Idaho contact. So, he held me for a little bit, and we just chatted. That was pretty awesome. So, those are a couple that are, you know, they’re going to be memorable contacts for me. So, anyway, sorry to run. But everybody have a great day. I enjoy these Zoom meetings, and Lucinda, thank you very much. 73 all.

LM: Thanks. I’m glad you were able to make it here, and Arly, go ahead.

AF: Yeah, thank you, Lucinda. This is the first time for me from Shafter, California, near Bakersfield, California. And I was telling the group when you were gone that I attended the camp in Malibu at Star Ranch, I believe it was in the 80s, 1980 or so. Pat was there, and we even got to meet WB6NOA, our great guy here on the West Coast. What’s his name? I forget. It slipped my memory.

AF: But anyway, I got my General there, thanks to Handiham in the 80s. And then I asked for your help in 1987. I got a Extra exam CD and studied it. And in November of 2017, I got my Extra still with the same original call. But quickly, probably my most interesting contact was in the Antarctica Expedition KC4AAA. And I remember him telling me it was 100 degrees minus Fahrenheit. And in Bakersfield at that time it was 100 degrees plus Fahrenheit–200 degrees difference in temperature, but the contact was just wonderful and amazing to remember. Plus hundreds and 1000s of other contacts–too many to mention. Thanks for the Zoom. Interesting. I have Joanna here, my helper helped me hook up, and so she has to go, so I’ll say 73 for now. Thanks for all your help. N6INT.

LM: Well, thanks so much for joining us, and wow, what a contact–200 degrees difference! That’s mind boggling. Wow! Thank you, and thanks to your helper as well.

AF: You bet. Thanks. Bye

Stay tuned for the next part of this interview airing in the next issue of Handiham World.

Ham Radio in the News

Amateur Radio Emergency Service and SKYWARN Respond to Major Nor’easter

Photo of ARES logo.

On October 26, hams with ARES and SKYWARN teams came together to provide communications support in response to the powerful nor-easter that caused widespread damage. Reports included downed power lines, trees falling on houses and cars, and even a few cases of direct structural damage after the storm brought winds even stronger than those from Tropical Storm Henri in August. Hams handled several hundred reports of damage, and operators relayed reports of hurricane-force wind gusts reaching as high as 94 miles per hour in one location. Volunteers put in long hours in difficult conditions to provide this critical service to their communities. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/amateur-radio-emergency-service-and-skywarn-respond-to-major-nor-easter.

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 General Class pool this week to a question about emergency stations.

G4E11 Which of the following is a disadvantage of using wind as the primary source of power for an emergency station?

A. The conversion efficiency from mechanical energy to electrical energy is less than 2 percent.
B. The voltage and current ratings of such systems are not compatible with amateur equipment.
C. A large energy storage system is needed to supply power when the wind is not blowing.
D. All these choices are correct.

In an emergency situation like the recent severe storm in the Northeastern US, hams need consistent power. While there was lots of wind in this storm, wind is not something that can be counted on as a power source at all times. For that reason, a huge bank of batteries would be necessary to store energy from when the wind was available to generate power, making answer C the correct choice.

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.

The November issue of the QCWA Journal is now available in Mp3 format in the Magazines and Newsletters section of the Members Only website.

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. 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.

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 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.

    • 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.