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 January 10, 2022

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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https://handiham.org/audio/handiham10JAN2022.mp3


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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…

Welcome to 2022. We are having a difficult beginning as the pandemic once again displays its ability to overwhelm the healthcare system throughout the world. Ham radio, however, remains a great way to keep your brain fit and active and remain socially engaged during this time. We are getting ready for the first Handiham virtual Extra Class license course starting in just a couple weeks. Pemdy and I are also preparing to celebrate 55 years of the Handiham Program. It’s an exciting milestone, and we have lots to reflect on and lots to look forward to in our future.

If you are interested in taking the Intermediate Morse Code class or the Extra Class license course, we are running both this 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 an application. 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. The Morse code class will run the usual 13 weeks.

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 completed the General Class license course on December 22nd. Because all the material was covered in just 12 sessions, students found the class kept them rather busy! When we run the next General Class, we are planning to spread the sessions out over two semesters, giving students less to cover each week. 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 final virtual basic Morse code class on December 20th. The students studied hard, utilizing all the practice materials, and it showed in their class participation. Class participants 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. The next virtual Basic Morse code class is planned to start in September. You can reach out to Pemdy for an application if you are interested.

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 25) covers getting started on the air with Morse code. 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 Spoken RX, another article about new WAS awards on the 1.25 meter band, and the final part from our 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

Spoken RX

Photo of prescription bottle and printed pharmacy medication information from CVS pharmacy.

CVS has rolled out its talking prescription feature through the US. Customers use the CVS app on their Apple or Android device and scan a special label on the pill bottles using RFID. Additionally, if the customer does not have a smart phone, a stand-alone speaker device is available. This new option gives customers with any print disability more autonomy and independence. You can learn more at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenaquino/2021/12/30/cvs-makes-reading-prescriptions-more-accessible-with-spoken-rx/.

You can watch a video at: https://youtu.be/FYSTk6eqf0M.


From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Lucinda,

What a delightful surprise to receive your card! Yes, it is hard to believe that Handihams has been around and thriving for over fifty years. My involvement in the 70’s and 80’s was rewarding to say the least.

Best wishes for continued success and growth.

73,

Bruce, K0HR


Lucinda,

I thought this might be of interest to some readers of the Handiham e-letter. It has some good audio descriptions of the tornadoes and the aftermath in December of last year.

https://talkdescriptiontome.buzzsprout.com/1136756/9740259-episode-82-quad-state-tornado

Tom Behler, KB8TYJ


Hi Lucinda,

I thought members who participate in ARRL’s Field Day contest might want to put their two cents in on a survey the ARRL is conducting about the future of this activity. I discovered that the survey is accessible to people using screen reading software. The final day to respond is January 17th. You can access the survey at the following link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2022–ARRL-FIELD-DAY-SURVEY

73,

Kitty, W8TDA


Interview of the Week

Last October, 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 final part of this interview.

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

LM: Diane, you want to go ahead?

DV: Yes, hi. It was so good to hear Susan in there from White Bear. I’d like to get back in touch with her. Well, yeah, I’ve been ham since ’75, when I was at the State School for the Blind in Janesville. And I met a lot of folks over the radio. There was a lot of them. I remember making quite a few contacts during their camp and stuff. I can’t think of any specific contact, but I really enjoyed it. I really want to get on the air again. I was going to get on the air, and then a pandemic hit. So, I really want to make that happen for me. And Dennis is going to get Echolink here, and I can’t wait. But I miss my Tony, KVO, he was a great guy, and other people. So, ham radio has opened a lot of things for me.

LM: Yeah, ham radio has a way of doing that for people.

DV: It’s good to hear you too.

LM: Yeah. And I agree, it was good to be able to hear Susan in here too. It brings back lots of good memories of radio camp.

DV: I wonder if I could be able to get a hold of her again.

LM: Yeah, you guys should try to get in touch with each other. Dennis, do you want to go ahead?

DH: Well, I’m here, and I have only been on 2 meters since 1975. And haven’t talked too much except from my work. When I was working nights, I was able to access, I don’t know who the guy was in New York, from my antenna on top of my building in downtown Minneapolis. And we had a nice chat. And then I was talking to a UPS driver who was working nights. And we got together and started playing chess over the radio during his break, and that was interesting. I was able to play a couple of games of chess to pass the time of the night while I was sitting there waiting for phone calls. But I got through to a lot of hams that were traveling through town and getting off the air from TV stations.

DH: So, that’s about what I have. Oh, and I was a person in a play here in Apple Valley where I live now in a nursing home. And so that’s about all I have from here, and say hi to Diane again and everybody else on the net, and I’m trying to get back on Echolink. Well, then you can hear me and Diane on your 24 hours a day maybe. But that’s all I have to say. This is K0CCR in Apple Valley, and back to you, Lucinda. Thank you.

LM: Thanks, Dennis, and we’re really glad you’re able to join us today. Next up, Linda N7HVF.

LR: One of my most memorable was there was a gentleman who’s call was Great Gobs of Baloney. He had a net every day called the Kadiddlehoppers. He got permission from Red Skelton to use it. And it was just a net to get to know people and talk and learn about people. And I could always count on him whenever I wanted to demonstrate ham radio to my friends, my church friends. We’d come home from an activity, and I’d turn on the radio, and I’d invite everybody to come over and say hello. Good old Roy, his name was Roy. And it was so much fun because they talked from all over California. Sometimes we have people from Alaska or other parts, and they just thought that was so wonderful, and they couldn’t believe that people knew me. Just when I got on there, Roy goes, hello, high voltage female Linda.

LR: He’s passed away now. He’s a silent key. He had that Kadiddlehopper net. It was on 40 meters, 7268.5. And I just loved it. I could always introduce my friends that weren’t hams and show them how wonderful it was and how wonderful times I was having. When I come to Handiham Camp, I’d always get on Kadiddles and have everybody at the camp talk to him, and it was a lot of fun. And I remember when I got my Extra Class license. Oh man, Roy went and said, if Linda Reeder can do it, anybody can do it. She’s blind, and she got her Extra Class. And he went on and on. And I’m sitting there, oh, brother.

LR: So, that’s one of my memorable contacts that I had, that was always, I could always count on him because he was always there. You know, he was there. I worked at the health department, so I’d get home by five or six, and he’d still be on. He’d start about two or three in the afternoon. He was in California, and he was always there. I just, it was fun, and it was one of the most fun, fun, memorable contacts I made and the fun times I had and, and anyway, back over to you, Lucinda. I’ve just had a lot of ham radio problems. So, I was, anyway, hopefully I can get them all fixed, especially before the net on Wednesday night. But anyway, back to net. N7HVF.

LM: Thanks, Linda. Yep, I’m hoping that you’re able to get that stuff going too. Let’s see, I’ve got a Douglas that came in here. Go ahead.

DF: My callsign is KE5KGD. I’m in Austin, Texas. I’m a General class license. And I heard about the meeting today. And I just want to join and see what’s going on, listen to what you all have to say.

LM: Well, right now we’re talking about memorable contacts from over the years, so do you have any memorable contacts to share?

DF: Not at this time, I don’t.

LM: Okay, well, we sure appreciate you joining us. How long have you been in Handihams?

DF: I got my license in 2006. September of that year, I went to radio camp in Bemidji, Minnesota. And I studied and got my Technician class license. And then I went back the following year in 2007, I think it was, and I attained my General class. And that’s where I am now.

LM: Well, we must have been at Radio Camp as campers that year.

DF: We were. Don’t you play the piano?

LM: Yes, I do.

DF: You accompanied me on the flute.

LM: Oh, my word, I remember you!

DF: Yeah, I played a real weird version of Mary Had a Little Lamb. I called it, Mary and her little lamb went to Russia where it was cold and dark. And I played it in a minor key, and you accompanied me. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.

LM: We had some good musical talent that year too.

DF: We sure did.

LM: Yeah. Well, I’m glad to run into you. Now, as soon as you said that I knew exactly who you were.

DF: Yeah, well, I’m glad to run into you, Lucinda.

LM: Yeah, well, who knew we would meet this way now.

DF: I know it.

LM: You just never know.

DF: I want to start studying to get my Extra Class, and that’s something I want to ask someone about. Do y’all have study material there that I could get that’s recorded? I don’t ask for it to be free or anything like that. I’m very happy to pay for it. But do you have any study material there that I could obtain to start working to get my Extra Class?

LM: Well, if you contact Pemdy, we have some stuff that’s available on cartridge. And then we are running an Extra Class starting the end of January that we’re going to run for 16 weeks next year. It will be a live one. So, if you wanted to get the stuff that’s on cartridge just to start refreshing your brain, that would be something I would recommend in the meantime. And then if you want to join us for the class in January, that would be a way to do it.

DF: Okay, would you tell me again who it is that would get in touch with to get the stuff on cartridge?

LM: So, you’d be reaching out to Pemdy, it’s Papa Echo Mike Delta Yankee. And she’s the program secretary, and you can reach her at handyham@allina.com. And she can get you all set up on all that.

DF: Great. I’ll do that. As a matter of fact, I’ll probably do it Monday.

LM: Then that’ll get you everything you need to know so that you’re ready to get that Extra Class license next year.

DF: That’ll be great. I will do that Monday.

LM: Okay, sounds good. Thanks so much for joining us.

DF: Thank you for having me and for your information.

LM: Yeah. All right. I think we made it through everybody that is here today. Thanks so much for joining us, and we’ll look forward to the next time.

JSA: Thank you, Lucinda.

[Multiple speakers] Thank you very much, Lucinda

NB: Thank you so much for running Zoom.

LM: Thank you.

Stay tuned for a new interview airing in the next issue of Handiham World.


Ham Radio in the News

Growing Number of Operators Completing WAS on 222 MHz

Photo of Worked All States map of the US.

Over recent years, Handiham members have described their difficulty in making contacts on the 222 MHz band due to a lack of operators. As a sign of hope for increased activity on the band, 3 new Worked All States (WAS) awards have now been given for 1.25 meters after a 35 year hiatus since the previous WAS award on that band. The first WAS award on the 222 MHz band dates back to 1983, and nine more hams earned the award between then and 1987. Hopefully, there will be many more WAS awards given to hams for 1.25 meters. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/growing-number-of-operators-completing-was-on-222-mhz.


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 Extra Class pool this week to a question about noise blankers.

E4E03 Which of the following signals might a receiver noise blanker be able to remove from desired signals?

A. Signals that are constant at all IF levels.
B. Signals that appear across a wide bandwidth.
C. Signals that appear at one IF but not another.
D. Signals that have a sharply peaked frequency distribution.

A noise blanker works best for repetitive, correlated, wide-bandwidth noise such as spark plug noise, motor noise, and even noisy home light dimmer switches, making answer B the correct choice. However, the noise blanker will create phantom signals on your receive frequency from stations on nearby frequencies or create distorted reception to very strong on-frequency stations. It’s good amateur practice to turn off the noise blanker circuit on your station whenever it is not needed.


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 January 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 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.