Handiham World August 15, 2018

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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
  • Website Update
  • Equipment Connection
  • Help Needed
  • Check into our nets!
  • …And more!

A note from the coordinator…

We are pleased to announce the 2018 Amateur Radio and Assistive Technology Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on November 7-10. We chose those dates since airline travel is cheaper if you don’t have to fly on Sunday. There is a complimentary airport shuttle, so getting to and from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport will not be difficult. We will have some scholarship funds to help people on a sliding scale with the cost of attendance, however there will be no assistance with travel expenses. Don’t forget, if you require the services of a care attendant, you will need to bring them with you. If you have a friend who wants to attend, rooms can be shared to reduce the cost. If you are planning to come, please contact Pemdy to be placed on a list to receive an application and also let her know if you will be applying for any scholarship assistance. If you are local to the Twin Cities and would like to attend during the day only, please let Pemdy know when you contact her for an application.

Pemdy and I are in the office during our usual hours next week. I will be on vacation the last week of August, so if you need something, please let me know as soon as possible. We continue to experience high call volumes, so please be patient about return phone calls. The best times to reach us are Monday through Thursday between 9 am and 2 pm Central Time in the United States. Don’t forget, 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 this week, there is a link to some more information about low cost cellphone apps for people with disabilities, a story about WWV, and the final part of an interview with John Farina, W2QCY. 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

Cheap or Free Cellphone Adaptations for People with Disabilities! Part 3 Physical Access

Photo of Apple and Android smart phone.

With smartphones, you are basically carrying a computer in your pocket or purse. Many people who have these devices are not aware of assistive technology that is already built in. The North Dakota Assistive Technology blog is publishing a series of articles bringing all the cell phone assistive technology information together in one place, working to create a reference guide for smart phone assistive technology. This week’s article contains information about apps for both iOS and Android, specifically for people needing assistance with physical access. You can learn more at the following website: http://ndipat.org/blog/cheap-or-free-cellphone-adaptations-for-people-with-disabilities-part-3-physical-access/

From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Ron Kolesar, KR3DOG, is looking for someone or a group of people interested in writing a program to develop a blind accessible (ear to hand) flight simulator or flight control software. If you would like to learn more about this project, you can email him at kolesar16417@roadrunner.com.

Interview of the Week

John Farina, W2QCY, joined me for a phone interview a few weeks ago. He has enjoyed many years in the ham radio hobby and also has experience in assistive technology. Please enjoy the fourth part of this interview.

Editor’s note: This interview took place in the Handiham Program office. Because some work was being done on Pemdy’s computer at the same time, there is some extra background noise.

Photo of w2qcy and n2shc with seeing eye dogs.

JF: I guess that the other change is that there are in a lot of radios today a lot more built in accessibility than I certainly had growing up in amateur radio. We had to modify things, like putting a pointed wire around a knob and counting the revolutions to count the kilocycles, adding up the frequency that way. That was nice if you had a piece Drake gear because it moved 25 kilocycles per revolution. Other manufacturers were like 17 and 2/3, and I would say I can’t count by 17s.

JF: Having accessibility right off the ground is something that we just need. I wish all the manufacturers would do it. I hate to pick on just one, but Yaesu seems to be lagging in their willingness to incorporate built-in accessibility right out of the box. Kenwood and Icom do it, and even the Elecraft K-3 has some degree of accessibility, and you combine that with some software and you are pretty good.

JF: It’s why you buy something someone else has, because they know. One of the radios I bought growing up was a Drake TR-4, and I bought it because several blind people I knew had it. And I knew how to modify it, how to make it work. And that is a good thing.

JF: I think the other thing about amateur radio—you know, I hear a lot of other people in a lot of other hobbies, whether riding snowmobiles or ATVs or horses, kayaking, or skiing—I think it is one of the very few hobbies that you can do for a lifetime. It does not require good knees or physical prowess that is probably going to change with age or injury. You can get started at any time in your life. You can’t necessarily start sky-diving at age 75, unless you are a former US president, that is. I think that this is one of the appeals of this hobby.

JF: It will be 47 years for me in November in the amateur radio hobby, and I intend to keep on doing it. Unfortunately, the downside to that is when you move, the areas that you move to may not be conducive to outdoor antennas. I see a lot of that in one of the email lists that I am on where people are moving into a situation where there are homeowners associations and regulations and things like that. Fortunately, we don’t live in that kind of situation, but who knows way down the road. That would be disappointing, but hopefully the Amateur Radio Parity Act in Congress will provide some help with that.

JF: I appreciate you having me do this. It is always a pleasure to participate. I would like to see more people with a variety of disabilities think about amateur radio as an option. I obviously have more experience with the solutions that are available to people who are blind or visually impaired. I know that it can be done in a variety of ways, and probably even more now with remote control and things like that.

LM: You know, this is a good time to be a person with disabilities because there is so much assistive technology available.

JF: It is far different than what it used to be. While it is not easy in a lot of ways, the ability to control your environment is a huge change. The whole Echo Dot or Google Home are pretty amazing.

JF: Well, I will say 73 to those who are listening and hope it has been of use and help.

LM: Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking time to talk to us today.

JF: Stay cool, and thank you for sending us the heat. We really appreciate it.

LM: I knew you would love it! Take care, and good bye.

Stay tuned for the first part of a new interview with Craig Martin, KY0O, airing next week.

Ham Radio in the News

NIST FY 2019 Budget Would Eliminate WWV and WWVH

Photo of sign with WWV in large letters.

According to the fiscal year 2019 budget, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is planning to shut down WWV and WWVH. Ham radio operators and short wave listeners around the world have relied on these stations not just for the time and frequency standard signals, but also for the propagation information they offered. You can read more at the following link: http://www.arrl.org/news/nist-fy-2019-budget-would-eliminate-wwv-and-wwvh

Editor’s Note: For those who need a little bit of humor in the midst of this proposed loss, here is WWV All the Time: http://myqsx.net/w8ern/audio/wwv.mp3

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/.

A lot more changes were made to the website over the last week. The August CQ Magazine is available in DAISY audio format in Magazines and Newsletters, and the ARRL Public Service Manual is now in the Books section on the new web site. I have moved the resources links, taking them off the home page to make it more accessible for screen reader users. You can now find a link to the new resources page on the home page. I added a Members Only page redirect to help reduce the confusion for members who are logging in. The Members Only links will still appear on the homepage once you are logged in, but this should make it easier for those who have been struggling to know their login status. I have also removed the category specific RSS because some members were confusing those links with the Members Only links. 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 more readers. While we need some regular readers, we also need some 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 recorded 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, 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 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.

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.

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. 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 $12.00. The lifetime membership rate is $120.00.
    • 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: Mondays through Thursdays between 9:00 AM and 2:00 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!

For Handiham World, this is Lucinda Moody, AB8WF

The weekly e-letter is a compilation of assistive technology, operating information, and Handiham Program news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is available to everyone free of charge. Please email handiham@allina.com for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.