Handiham World for November 29, 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 29, 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 at our second annual Gratitude Gathering last Saturday. Participants shared lots of stories while also talking about what they are grateful for. We had a special guest as well. Pemdy was able to join us for the event, and people really enjoyed getting to thank her directly for all she does for the Handiham Program.

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. The Extra Class course will start the end of January, and the Intermediate Morse Code course begins in late February. 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 the Handiham AllStar setup, 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 thankful for some very helpful volunteers who are working on finding a solution to the AllStar issue and hope to have it up and running soon.

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 tenth virtual General class this week, covering propagation on the HF bands. Because all the material is covered in just 12 sessions, 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 also held our tenth 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. This week, we are taking a deep dive into call signs. 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 still 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 23) is all about Q signals. 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. Due to a family medical emergency, Lucinda’s schedule may change at a moment’s notice. Lucinda’s mom, Janet, KD8RPQ, was diagnosed with COVID a couple weeks ago and has been on a ventilator for the past 14 days. We appreciate your patience during this difficult time. Also, as we approach the end of 2021, please keep in mind that the office will be closed from December 24th through January 7th for the annual holiday break. 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 Apple Watch Accessibility with VoiceOver and Zoom, another article about plans for a live Dayton Hamvention in 2022, and the next 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

Apple Watch Accessibility with VoiceOver and Zoom

Photo of Apple logo.

The Apple watch has a range of accessibility options designed to allow users of all abilities to get the most from their device. VoiceOver is a built-in screen reader that lets users both navigate and know what is happening on their Apple Watch even if they can’t see it. Zoom is a built-in magnifier that also works wherever you are in Apple Watch. With magnification up to 15 times the native size, Zoom provides solutions for a wide range of vision challenges. You can learn more at: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204576.

You can watch a video at: https://youtu.be/8S9qPJUSjwU.


From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

With all the scams targeting people with disabilities, I thought this would be a good reminder. If you receive a call, text, or email that does any of the following, it’s a scam.

• Threatens to suspend your Social Security number, even if they have part or all of your Social Security number
• Warns of arrest or legal action
• Demands or requests immediate payment
• Requires payment by gift card, prepaid debit card, internet currency, or by mailing cash
• Pressures you for personal information
• Requests secrecy
• Threatens to seize your bank account
• Promises to increase your Social Security benefit
• Tries to gain your trust by providing fake “documentation,” false “evidence,” or the name of a real government official

To protect yourself and others from scams, try to stay calm. Don’t provide anyone with money or personal information when you feel pressured, threatened, or scared. Additionally, if you receive a suspicious call, text, or email, hang up or do not respond. Government employees will not threaten you, demand immediate payment, or try to gain your trust by sending you pictures or documents.


Dear Handiham,

A couple of years back I wrote a Windows program for my blind friend, Adam, WK4P, that provided spoken word control of a Hygain rotor controller and verbal readout of the rotor position. He used this daily until his recent and untimely passing. It occurred to me that there may be other sightless hams out there who could benefit from the program. If you or anyone you know might be interested in trying it out, please email me at floydsense@gmail.com.

73,

Floyd, K8AC


Interview of the Week

A few weeks ago, we held our 2021 Fall Zoom Gathering, getting together to share stories of memorable contacts from over the years. While some of the contacts were long ago, others were very recent. Please join me for the next part of this interview.

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

LM: Let’s go next to Austin. Go ahead.

AS: Sure. Hey, Lucinda, this is Austin, Kilo, Alpha, 3, Tango, Tango, Tango, here in Philadelphia. And interesting contacts. Well, you know, when you operate QRP from an apartment, I think every contact is an interesting contact. I always feel like it’s a minor miracle that this magnetic loop on a tripod in my window makes contacts. I would say, well, for instance, in the Pennsylvania QSO party, Tom and I worked each other, KB8TYJ. That was fun.

AS: As far as distance goes, my record for my base station here using the magnetic loop is Hungary. This is on 20 meters CW during the solar minimum here. And I also like to go up to the roof deck with a loaded whip, an AX1, and my record for there is Spain, which is pretty cool. And I started playing around a little bit with digital. I call CW the most accessible digital mode. And I started playing around with some of the other modes, and I was sending out WSPR beacons on 30 meters, and it was late. It was like, two in the morning here. But a station in Australia heard it. It may have been their grayline–I don’t know. But I thought it was really neat that a station in Australia heard this little beacon I sent out with five watts. So, that’s my story.

LM: Wow, that’s pretty amazing, hitting Australia with five watts. That’s incredible. Great story. Let’s see. Next up, let’s go to Dan. Go ahead.

DW: Greetings, everybody. W0OJW. I got it where I toggle the space bar on and off here. I think that’s the easiest way. I learned a lesson about VOX transmissions, you know, and live mics. I’ve, you know, being part Irish and part Polish I’ve, let’s say, said some very interesting things that microphones have picked up from time to time. Maybe not quite as interesting as Maureen’s but pretty close.

DW: I’ve been a ham since 1975. And I’ve talked to such a wonderful, wonderful array of folks. I know that the first person that I ever talked to even before I got my license, when as I began to study ham radio was WA8WFH. And the most amazing thing about that was after getting to know him, I still stayed with the hobby. So, anyway, but so I learned a great deal from him and a gal named Ginny KA8CPS in Michigan–she’s a silent key now, but she was a wonderful, level headed, and very pleasant person. I learned an awful lot about traffic handling with her. In fact, I talked to WI8K and WD8LDY, handihammers, over the years on traffic nets.

DW: I think one of the most interesting persons that I talk to now is a fellow out of Montrose, Colorado, on an 80 meter net, K0QIG. He’s 89, still active, in fact, he was just up on his roof, getting his swamp cooler closed down for the summer. And at 89, he still travels, he still is engaged just like the other feller that we, N6INT, there. And so he’s still out and about. I’ve run into folks that I’ve gone to college with. I went to a small, defunct, now defunct college out of California and ran across a feller that was a student out there right about the same time I was, but we didn’t know each other then, but that was very interesting. And of course, the feller that was in Detroit radio at the same time I was trying to break in as well. So, we knew some of the same people and also could tell some of the same lies. So, that worked out actually quite good.

DW: And I also have had a Antarctic deal on straight key night, the KC4USA station out of McMurdo Sound. And I talked to a fella for about 20 minutes out of New Jersey. He was over there researching seals and a really neat QSO. I’ve been extremely, extremely blessed. Now here in the area, there’s even a young fella out of Pueblo here that we talked to, KE0WWC, about 16 years old, really involved in the music and just a real nice fella. And I really hope that he treats life well. So, I’ve been extremely, extremely blessed all down the years and looking forward to lots and lots and lots and more fun on the radio and also with the ham clubs that I’m involved with. A big 73 to everybody. Catch you down the old trail from W0OJW.

LM: Thanks, Dan. It’s good to hear from you, and we appreciate hearing some of your stories from over the years. And let’s see, next up here, let’s go to Jason. Go ahead.

JS: Well, I have only been a Technician for a little over a year, so my contacts are limited, interesting or otherwise. But I got involved with ham radio just as the pandemic was hitting its stride. So, the first real gathering of the local ham club that I’m a part of, the first real big thing was this past Field Day. And that was a lot of fun. I won’t say my interest in ham radio had been lagging or anything, but without the, you know, monthly meetings, it was other stuff was–I was getting involved with other things. And it just had kind of taken a backseat, I guess you would say. But that really reinvigorated my interest in the hobby and really spurred me to want to get my General class license.

JS: And because I was using the club’s call sign, I could get on more bands. And I made several contacts. A friend of mine was working the dials since I wasn’t real familiar with the setup and everything. But that Sunday morning, we got ready to go. And he said, I’m going to pack the, you know, the equipment up, and he said, you just sit here and kind of go through, I think we were on 40 meters. He said, just spin through the band and just listen to what’s going on.

JS: Now all morning, we had been getting call signs we’d been hearing call signs that the club had already worked. I was just, you know, scanning through, and I got this guy’s call sign. And I asked him, I said, has he been worked? He said, no, he checked the log. He said, no. So, I found the contact, and I made the contact. It was the first contact I had made completely on my own. And it was a guy out of St. Louis. I don’t recall his call sign. But that’s my most memorable contact to date. I hope to have a lot more. So, that’s my story.

LM: Well, congratulations. That’s a lot of fun. And you know, those early contacts really stick in our memory. There’s something special. So, thanks so much for taking the time to join us today. And we keep Jason pretty busy, right now. He’s in a couple of class too. So, he does a lot of studying in these days. I’m not sure how he has a life.

JS: I didn’t have a life before I started, so what’s the difference?

LM: Guaranteed you don’t have time for one now. All right.

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


Ham Radio in the News

Dayton Hamvention Expects to be Live Event in 2022

Photo of DARA emergency communications vehicle with antennas in the operating position.

After an unprecedented two years of COVID-related cancellations, organizers of the Dayton Hamvention expect to be back live and in-person next year. Hamvention is set for May 20 – 22 at the Green County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio. Vendors and inside exhibitors can book their spaces, and individuals can already purchase tickets via the website. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/dayton-hamvention-expects-to-be-live-event-in-2022.


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 Technician Class pool this week to a question about choosing a frequency.

T2A12 Which of the following is a guideline when choosing an operating frequency for calling CQ?

A. Listen first to be sure that no one else is using the frequency.
B. Ask if the frequency is in use.
C. Make sure you are in your assigned band.
D. All of these choices are correct.

If you violate answer A or B, you may earn a reputation as a lid, a derogatory term for an inept or impolite operator that dates back to the days of the telegraph. If you violate answer C, you could get a so-called pink slip from the FCC. As a responsible ham radio operator, you will want to be both polite and legal. To accomplish that, you should follow all of these steps, making answer D 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.


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 six hours ahead of Minnesota time during the winter.

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. A big THANK YOU to all of our net control stations.


Membership

  • 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.
      MEMBERSHIP DUES PAYMENT LINK
    • If you want to donate to the Handiham Program, please use our donation website. The instructions are at the following link:
      DONATION 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.