Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Handiham World for 09 April 2008

Cartoon family

Welcome to Handiham World!

the deck of the dining hall complete with beach umbrellas at radio campSpring just seems to be teasing us here in Minnesota. We will get a few warm Spring- like days, then snow. I saw a cartoon pasted up on a wall and it showed mittens sticking straight up out of a huge snowbank. The caption read, "If you are sick of winter, raise your hand". I can guarantee that we are all sick of winter and sick of having to wait to get out into the yard to get our antenna work underway for the season. My vertical antenna has a broken capacitor and the radial field needs to be redone this season, but I'll be darned if I'll go out there to work on it if I have to take a snow shovel.

Similarly, the sun seems to be teasing amateur radio operators worldwide with its on again -- off again sunspot activity. Now it seems that the sun can't decide whether it is finishing off the old cycle 23 or starting the new cycle 24. I guess you can't predict solar weather any better than the prognosticators can tell us when Spring will arrive in Minnesota.

Still, we have faith that Spring, and ultimately Summer, will arrive and that outdoor amateur radio activities will be as much fun as ever. Field Day activities are being planned right now, there is the warm weather VHF DX season, and Handiham Radio Camp in northern Minnesota during late August.

It is this last Summer ham radio activity that I want to bring to your attention: Minnesota Radio Camp.

I know that all of us share a common goal: we would like to help more people learn about amateur radio and become licensed operators. That is why the Technician class at Radio Camp is so important. People who are not amateur radio operators at the beginning of the week will hopefully be eagerly awaiting FCC license grants at the end of the week. But there is a problem.

Not enough people know about the availability of the wonderful opportunity to get licensed through Courage Center's Handiham program and the radio camps that we offer for people with disabilities. We need some help recruiting campers -- YOUR help, I might add. All of us know how much fun amateur radio is and how you become part of a community of life-long learners where friendship and public service go hand in hand. All of us also know people with disabilities, right? Why not let those people know about Handiham radio camp?

In fact, we are going to ask you to help us sell people with disabilities on the idea of amateur radio. In order to help you out, we have a free DVD about our program that you can request and use to help spread the word. But wait, folks, that's not all!

Radio campers who pass their first license exam and earn their Technician at Minnesota Radio Camp will be rewarded with a new 2 m handheld radio to get them started off right in amateur radio. How about that?

Campers come from anywhere and everywhere. At the last Minnesota camp we even had a Handiham member from Germany. For people with disabilities, there is often a concern about meeting personal-care needs while away from home. Rest assured that we are equipped to handle these needs so that campers can enjoy what they really came to camp for: a wonderful ham radio experience in a safe, comfortable environment.

The most frequent concern we hear about from people who have not attended the radio camp in the past is that they don't think they can travel. However, campers who make the trip learn that we will be waiting for them at the airport or bus station nearby camp and that there was never anything to worry about in the first place. Once a person has attended camp, they often get home and immediately mark their calendar so that they don't miss the next year's camp.

So what do you say? Can you help us out? We really need to recruit new people into amateur radio. With a resource like radio camp and the Handiham program, people with disabilities can be on an equal footing in licensing classes and become part of our wonderful amateur radio service. Ask them to call us, toll-free, at 1-866-426-3442 or to send us an email at

By the way, did you figure out that last week's stories about Avery climbing Devil's Tower and the Antenna worms were both April Fool's Day jokes? Have you found the April Fool's article in QST yet?

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager