Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Handiham World for 29 June 2011

Welcome to Handiham World!

Before I mention anything else, I want to thank all of you who expressed sympathy or had suggestions for me and my broken computer. Things are looking up this week, and most everything is back to normal. I did have everything properly backed up. In our radio club, this is called the "belt & suspenders theory". You wear both to make sure that if one fails, the other will still hold your pants up! It does pay to back up your data, since you just never know when something will quit working, whether hardware or software, in a system as complex as a computer. The idea of having backups extends to other parts of your ham shack, too. Having more than one radio can be a real relief when another has to be repaired at a factory service center a thousand miles away. Having a spare HT battery during a public service event is just plain smart. Engineers call this concept "redundancy", and there is certainly good reason for it when you need to protect a high-stakes system like the communications system in an airliner or the brakes in a car. Since you have a lot at stake with your personal computer's many files, you have an interest in protecting it with regular backups.

Echolink screenshot showing connection during today's Handiham net.

Turning to Field Day, we have an email from Ken, W6KHS, who came up with the idea of holding our own version of Field Day on the HANDIHAM Echolink conference:

You probably know by now that Field Day operations using the Handiham conference server was a total success. As this entity becomes more and more popular, repeaters and radio links using it will be more likely to receive emergency or life or death messages from situations when cell service is not available. I recommend that there be a twenty second break between transmissions so that there is room for emergency traffic to enter. If this information comes from you, it will be carved in stone, rather than from me. Thanks again for just being there.

73, Ken Schwartz W6KHS

Yes, Ken, you are right about that! Occasional longer pauses are in order considering that we are using a worldwide resource. Susi, WA0DKS, who worked behind the scenes to manage the Field Day event on the HANDIHAM conference and put in considerable time as net control station during the overnight hours, commented on the event, calling it a "rousing success". Podcast listeners will hear Susi tell them about it herself! Our thanks to Jim, WB4LBM and the other net control stations and participants who made this first-time event possible. In talking with Susi after the event, we concluded that the HANDIHAM conference really gained a lot of exposure worldwide. I just happened to tune in later in the day on Saturday and heard a YL who had been at a local Field Day station here in the eastern Twin Cities Metro area. She was driving back home and heard our net on the N0BVE repeater system. (Thanks, Don!) As I have said many times before, having Echolink or IRLP on a repeater really enhances its value to the community, and will make the difference between a dead, unused system and a vital, much-appreciated community resource.

Even though the contacts made on our system don't count for points, the whole idea of building our operating skills, making friends, showcasing amateur radio and technology, and building a stronger community while HAVING FUN just somehow seemed more important to me. I'll bet it did to you, too.

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager