Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Handiham World for 29 October 2008

Welcome to Handiham World!

Pat, WA0TDA, with headset microphone
Image: Pat takes part in a SKYPE audio conference as we move forward on the Handiham Remote Base project.

It's time for another Handiham remote base update! As our regular readers and listeners know, the remote base HF station is up and running in beta test mode. We remain on schedule to begin regular member access in early 2009.

For those of you just learning about this station for the first time, it consists of a Kenwood TS-480SAT, an LDG AT-100 automatic antenna tuner that activates as soon as it senses RF, a G5RV wire antenna, and a Lenovo computer running Windows Vista. The interface to the rig is via a West Mountain Radio RigBlaster.

The station is strategically located in the center of the North American continent at Camp Courage North, where we run our annual Handiham Minnesota Radio Camp. The location is exceptionally RF-quiet, as all power lines in the area are underground. The camp's high-speed Internet connection is more than adequate for all of our control and audio needs.

Last Friday, Handiham volunteers Lyle, K0LR, and Joe, N3AIN, joined me in a conference call with Stan, W4MQ, author of the rig control software that we have installed at the remote base. The purpose of the conference was to address a few small changes to the W4MQ remote base software that will allow easier access by blind users running screenreading software.

Joe, N3AIN, is a blind beta tester who has an excellent understanding of the JAWS screenreader, so his input on how the software interface appears via screenreader access is vital. Some of you will remember that Joe also owns a Kenwood TS-480 himself, and has produced our TS-480 audio tutorials.

Lyle, K0LR, has taken the reins of this project and has installed the station hardware and software. He has been in charge of setting up usernames and passwords for beta testers, and checks the station status daily.

Stan, W4MQ, has kindly taken the time to listen to our comments and will be helping us out in the coming month with some tweaks to the W4MQ software.

The conference took about an hour. We will keep you posted on our progress, but I wanted to make sure you know that we are working for you behind the scenes. Isn't it great when hams get together to help other hams on projects like this one?

It makes me feel good about ham radio! For your Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Center Handiham Manager