Weekly E-Letter

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of September 21, 2020

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…

The instructor team for the upcoming Morse code class has been hard at work getting ready for the first session next Monday. Class admission is now closed, so if you didn’t sign up for this one and still want to learn Morse code, you can ask Pemdy to put you on the list for the next class in 2021. We look forward to meeting all the students and having fun with Morse code over the next twelve weeks.
Photo of the Morse code key.

Thanks to the success of the 2020 Virtual Get on the Air class, we are already working on plans for the next Get on the Air session, likely in January of 2021. If you want to be placed on the list to receive an application, please contact Pemdy.

Screenshot from 2020 Virtual GOTA Class with N3FJP logging software in use and photos and names from Zoom attendees.

The Handiham World E-letter list along with Handiham Notify and the Handiham Radio Club lists are moving to Groups.io. Please keep watching for invitations to all the new lists. Invitations have gone out to everyone on the old Handiham E-letter list. If you haven’t received one, please contact Pemdy for assistance. Once you are subscribed to the new list at Groups.io, you will be unsubscribed from the old list. All you have to do to subscribe is reply and send when you receive the invitation. You don’t have to type anything additional in the email to be subscribed to the new lists. Please note, while Handiham World is available to everyone, only current members of the Handiham Program are eligible to join Handiham Notify and the Handiham Radio Club lists. We are enjoying the improved accessibility with Groups.io.

The new Handiham Radio Club email list is the place where members can ask questions and share their experiences with amateur radio and assistive technology. We have so many talented and highly experienced members in the Handiham Radio Club, making this an invaluable resource for information. If you are a Handiham Program member and would like to join the Handiham Radio Club email list, please send an email to Pemdy.

Photo of green road sign with the word change printed on it.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, we are not working from the office right now. We are still able to check our phone messages and return phone calls, and mail will be picked up as often as possible. Of course, the best way to get in touch with us during this time 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 9) has more information about properly tuning signals on the HF bands along with some information on transceiver tools that will improve your listening. 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 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 the In Your Pocket software to make a smart phone blind accessible, another article about the FCC waiver for hams involved in communications related to the hurricanes and wildfires, and the first part of a new interview with Diane, KK6LOE, our new Handiham Radio Club Net Manager. 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

Voice Activated Assistive Tech to Improve Accessibility for Users with Sight Loss

Photo of Samsung smart phone running In Your Pocket software.

In Your Pocket is an easy to use phone and media device that uses natural speech and is designed specifically for people who are blind or have low vision. It is a voice controlled smart device that is designed to be simple to use yet of great value to people living with sight loss and blindness. The software is installed on a Samsung smart phone, and it completely takes over the phone. More than just a phone for the blind, using your voice you can make phone calls, search for and stream audio books from five libraries, read today’s newspapers, get navigation or sight assistance, and much, much more. You can check out the website at: https://thiis.co.uk/voice-activated-assistive-tech-to-improve-accessibility-for-users-with-sight-loss/

You can watch the video about the software at: https://youtu.be/2Uia8lEPA6c


From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Lucinda and all,

I’m Pete, K1PXE, and I’m back again. Actually, I really never left. I just kind of focused away from Handihams. When Pat was editing the newsletter, I read the newsletter each week, and I even made some contributions from time to time. After the newsletter restarted, I read them for several issues, and for no particular reason, I stopped reading them. But, I have saved every issue figuring that someday something would happen that I would need to find out about in the newsletter.

A couple weeks ago, that thing happened. I got the email from groups.io inviting me to join the Handiham World email list. It really didn’t say much so, I went back to the newsletter. So, I joined, and I have received two welcoming emails.

Anyway, back to the newsletter. I’m glad to hear that Handihams is still doing great things. One thing got my attention really quick. In Pat’s time, I always enjoyed “a dip in the pool,” and I am glad to see that feature back again. I have read the newsletters back to my birthday in June, and I’m enjoying catching up on things. Of course, I have been answering all of the dip in the pool questions. So far, including the letter for June 14th about polar coordinates, I have one wrong, and that was only because I was just too smart for myself.

I have been working meteor scatter on 2 meters for a long time. My first meteor scatter QSO was on July 18, 1971 with K0MQS when I tailed his sked with WA1JTK. We caught a 2 minute burst. Two QSOs can easily be completed in one burst. I don’t believe there was a meteor shower at the time by personal experience and conformation from others that the month of July is a great time for random meteors. In fact, my latest meteor scatter contact was with my friend Gary, N1GC, in EM95 on July 7 this year.

Meteor bursts on 2 meters are often very short, lasting from just a ping to several seconds. It is necessary to ensure that both stations are not transmitting or receiving at the same time during a sked. My friend, Dan, formerly WA1SFC, good with electromechanical devices, built one for me consisting of a clock motor, an erector set wheel, and a micro switch. He took the wheel and ground it down a bit in two 90 degree segments on opposite sides of the wheel. He mounted the wheel on the second hand center shaft on the clock motor and mounted the switch so it would brush the edge of the wheel. The switch would be on for 15 seconds and then off for the next 15 seconds and back to on again, repeating the sequence forever. I used that sequencer successfully for skeds for a number of years.

Dan is a pretty talented guy. When they came out with the logic integrated circuits (I think it was the 7400 series), he learned how to use them. He taught me about divide by 2, divide by 10, and I don’t remember what else. I also need a J-K flip-flop for a divide by 3 circuit. Dan worked for the telephone company and used wire wrap construction, and he taught me about it. He got me a wire wrap tool and made me a wire unwrap tool (so I could correct my mistakes), so I could avoid the problem of trying to solder to an IC socket. So, with all this knowledge, I was able to design and build a totally electronic device to perform the same function as Dan’s electromechanical device. I used my sequencer for many years, but it now sits on the shelf. These days, hams are making meteor scatter schedules using high speed digital data to take best advantage of the short bursts. Nevertheless, there are times one can catch a random burst for a QSO, and I am sure I could find someone to run one with using SSB or CW. In that case, I can always grab my BrailleSense U2, turn it off and on again to sync the time to the internet, display the time, and read the braille display to tell me when to transmit or receive.

Enough of that! Back to the question. I said to myself (sometimes I do talk to myself), they probably want 6 meters, but there still is the characteristic of longer bursts for longer wavelength. I remembered a book I read that talked about early meteor scatter work at the famous Jodrell Bank Observatory. I think they were talking about 10 meters. I’ll go with 10 meters, and find the book

I keep a list of the books that I have read that goes back to 2008. I tried several search terms and finally went with astro. I got a bunch of books with astronaut in the title which didn’t surprise me. I am really interested in human space flight, and I have lots of recordings, and I read over a dozen books in the Apollo 11 50 year anniversary. I found the book I wanted, Astronomer by Chance, by Bernard Lovell. I read it in 2016. I don’t erase the books when I have read them. I store them on an external drive. I brought back the book and started reading at chapter 7. The book tells of acquiring World War II military surplus radar gear and setting up at Jodrell Bank and the first recorded meteor scatter. I think the book will be really interesting to hams, and I strongly recommend it. The book number on BARD is DB31614.

Well, I was wrong about 10 meters. The radar gear was on 4 meters. I believe I read in another book that early coastal radar in England was on a longer wave length, and I guess that confused me. So, the question is, does meteor scatter exist on 10 meters, and what are the characteristics?

I kind of got even with that question with the one about chordal hop propagation. I never heard of it. But I am pretty good at math, so maybe I can figure it out. A chord intersects a circle at two points. Answer A talks of great circle. Maybe that is it. No, not quite right. The one that talks of refracting from point rather than point back to ground. That is the answer I chose. The description of the answer talked about 80 meters, but I would think that Sporadic E on 6 meters double hop and triple hop without a return to ground would be the same thing.

I took my Extra Class back in 1988. I believe a test is not the end of it. In the test you showed what you know. It also showed what you are responsible for. You are still responsible for that stuff years later. It’s like a driving test. Just because you passed the test, you can’t just forget everything. Indeed not. If you forget what you learned while learning how to drive, you will be in serious trouble.

So, “a dip in the pool” can be lots of fun, cause you to think, and is kind of a reality check on what you know or can figure out. For the reader, it is easy to do. For the editor it is a bit more of an effort, but there is one editor and many of us. So, Lucinda, thanks for “a dip in the pool”.

73,

Pete, K1PXE


Interview of the Week

This week, we begin a new interview with Diane Fisher, KK6LOE, our new Handiham Radio Club Net Manager. Diane possesses both a love for the hobby and excellent interpersonal skills, making her an obvious choice for net manager. Please join me in welcoming Diane for the first part of this interview.

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

DF: So, this is going to be exciting—the first one-on-one Zoom meeting I’ve ever been to!

LM: Well, you know with COVID, we’re learning to do all kinds of things.

DF: Oh, yeah. Things are kind of new and interesting now.

LM: And it’s interesting because we have technology that now allows us to do so many different things. I think about if this pandemic had hit thirty years ago, how different our lives would look.

DF: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

LM: You know, thirty years ago, not very many people had computers, and we didn’t have access to the internet, and the thought of having these kinds of meetings was unheard of. Back then, we didn’t even have unlimited phone.

DF: Oh no! Back then, you had to have beaucoup bucks to even have a cell phone.

LM: And it was those old bag phones.

DF: Oh, yeah. I remember those with the big rubber duckies.

LM: I remember one with an antenna that went on the roof of your car.

DF: Oh, yeah.

LM: It was such a different world!

DF: Tell me about it.

LM: So, in a way, I’m really thankful that the pandemic didn’t hit thirty years ago and that we have had more time to develop technology that has supported us in being able to have more life than we would have been able to have otherwise.

DF: Isn’t that the truth.

LM: I think about, even for me, I can very easily get groceries delivered. Back then, that wasn’t an option.

DF: Yeah, I think some of the grocery stores were starting to deliver, but you sure didn’t have the apps where you could order ahead. You had to call on the land line and take care of that, and even then, sometimes, you weren’t guaranteed to get all the groceries that you wanted.

LM: Things have changed, and it definitely supports us in a different way. We didn’t have Amazon back then. There are so many things now that I can order, and it’s here in a couple of days.

DF: Absolutely.

LM: So, I am very grateful for the things we have now that we didn’t have then.

DF: Something that we call our modern conveniences.

LM: And it helps to survive the situation we are in now.

DF: Oh, sure.

LM: It’s still hard on people. It’s taking its toll. I definitely can see that.

DF: Oh, sure. Well, we’re not meant to be isolated. And then you add all the stuff going on in the world right now. People’s nerves have just been stretched to the breaking point, and I think it is just really making people uptight. So, it’s good that we have something to help bring us down a little bit from that.

LM: Yes. People need distractions where they can engage their mind in something productive.

DF: Absolutely, which kind of segues into what we are here for. Because John Glass—it happened right after I had retired my guide dog. I was in tears when I was talking to him, telling him how much I missed her, Jane. She was a yellow lab and golden retriever mix, and I hadn’t had her long, which made it even more sad. I’d had her almost three years, so that was a welcome distraction. He asked me, he said, Handiham is looking for a net manager, and I was thinking, wait a minute. I don’t know if I have the equipment to do this if I have to monitor the AllStar and the DMR. And he said, oh, no, it doesn’t involve anything like that. All we need is somebody to oversee the nets and make sure everything runs smoothly. It was like, okay, that doesn’t sound like too much of an undertaking. So, I thought, why not? I’ve got nothing but time, and I had already offered to do net control and things like that, so if it works into something higher, if that’s what’s expected of me, we’ll see if I’m the one that can measure up to that. So, here I am, and I’m glad to be of service.

LM: Well, we’re really excited to have you as the new Handiham Radio Club Net Manager. And we try to keep this position workable because we do have a lot of nets. You don’t have to attend every net. It’s not like it’s a once a week thing.

DF: Sure.

LM: It’s having that one person that people can go to if they have questions or if they want to change out a net control slot, just having someone they can talk to about it. That’s a huge help and a way you get to help support the club. So, it’s a great service that you are doing.

DF: Well, thank you. I’m glad to be a part of it.

Stay tuned for a new interview airing next week.


Ham Radio in the News

FCC Grants ARRL Rules Waiver Request for Fire Emergencies, Hurricanes

Photo of FCC logo.

The FCC has granted the ARRL’s request for a temporary waiver to allow amateur data transmissions at a higher symbol rate than currently permitted under part 97 rules. The waiver supports hurricane and wildfire relief communications in both the US and its territories. The waiver applies to hams directly involved with hurricane and wildfire relief who are using PACTOR 3 and PACTOR 4 emissions in the continental US and Puerto Rico and is limited to 60 days. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-grants-arrl-rules-waiver-request-for-fire-emergencies-hurricanes


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 radio range.

T3A12 How might fog and light rain affect radio range on the 10 meter and 6 meter bands?

A. Fog and rain absorb these wavelength bands.
B. Fog and light rain will have little effect on these bands.
C. Fog and rain will deflect these signals.
D. Fog and rain will increase radio range.

Fog and rain will have very little impact on most radio signals below the UHF range, making answer B the correct choice. 220 MHz could be an exception, where precipitation starts to have a noticeable effect. If you are operating on the microwave bands, however, fog and rain can cause tremendous negative impacts on radio range.


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. 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.

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.


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.

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 Mondays, 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.