Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Handiham World for 26 March 2008

Welcome to Handiham World!

I hope you didn't miss us too much last week! No matter how we announce our departures from the usual schedule, some readers and listeners always seem to miss the news and ask us where their weekly Handiham World went. I guess it's better to be missed than to have no one notice!

This morning I ran across an interesting item in the usual scan of Google news during morning coffee: "Wave-powered skipper chats on Ham radio". Of course I had to follow that link, which took me to Practical Boat Owner Magazine and a story about sailor-adventurer Kenichi Horie, who, it turns out, is about a week into a voyage from Hawaii to Japan in a most unique wave-powered craft. I couldn't find anything about this on the ARRL website, but I must say I'm curious, and it would be fun to listen for Kenichi Horie on the HF bands. But where? And what's his callsign?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Handiham World for 12 March 2008

Welcome to Handiham World!

Since I'll be out of the office next week, the e-letter is also going to take that week off. Avery asked me about it, and I suggested that he do the e-letter by himself. I think he would have jumped out the window to escape right then and there, but he doesn't have a window in his office! Anyway, we will make this issue do double duty, and we will still update the main website at as necessary.

You never know what you'll discover on the Internet, which is one of the reasons I like checking out sites like Google News from time to time. This morning's discovery was "New Directions Radio" from Mother Earth News. It is a series of columns written for the magazine during the 1980's by Copthorne Macdonald,VY2CM, the inventor of slow-scan television. VY2CM was inducted into the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame in 2007. I suspect that Mother Earth News only recently posted these articles, which is why Google News picked them up in March of 2008, as if they were news from a time warp!

One of the things you can do with a Google account is to change your news notification settings so that stories in your interest areas will appear. Of course I am always interested in ham radio stuff, so I modified the Google settings to show more ham radio stories. Some of these new tools can work to our advantage in getting the word out about ham radio publicity successes.

Speaking of successes, Nancy from our office reports that the new lifetime membership is gaining ground with several new members. Thanks to all of you who renewed your Handiham memberships.

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Handiham World for 05 March 2008

Welcome to Handiham World!

The Handiham Radio Club had their regular meeting at the California camp session last month. As I already reported to you, the club passed a motion in support of a lifetime membership in the Handiham System. The club suggested a lifetime member fee of $100 US. This change would have to be approved at Handiham headquarters.

Well, guess what? In a staff meeting yesterday, the lifetime membership was approved. We will now begin offering lifetime memberships in Courage Center's Handiham System. Renewing members will be offered the option of paying $100, which is 10 times the amount of the regular annual fee of $10.

As always, we accept people into the program who cannot afford to pay anything, and payment by DX members is optional (due to hassles with exchange rates and the like.) We do ask our members to confirm their membership annually, regardless of payment method. USA members receive a notification via mail that includes a pre-addressed return envelope.

We are trying to make participation in Courage Center's Handiham System as easy as possible, and we hope these changes will keep our members active in the program. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to add value to membership.

In other news from the staff meeting, we have decided to continue the new radios for new hams program at this summer's Minnesota Radio Camp. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, the Handiham members who enroll in the Technician course at Minnesota Radio Camp will once again be able to earn new handheld radios by passing their Technician exams. How cool is that?!!! Please let us know if you would like an application form to attend this summer's week-long Minnesota Radio Camp session in late August.

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager

Avery's QTH: In which Avery gets a couple of disturbing calls.

Avery's head pasted on a duck
Image: Avery the Muscovy Duck. "Let insults roll off your back like water off a duck's back", quacks Avery.

Welcome Once Again To My Humble QTH:

Last week I received a couple of very disturbing phone calls from hams saying things I never thought I would hear. They were told to get off the air because they were blind and can't do anything. (This can apply to just about any disability.)

Even if the persons saying such things were only kidding, those kinds of comments were in very poor taste. It was even worse if it was done over the air so many people would have heard it.

Of course the idea that hams who are blind are incompetent on the air is totally untrue as we all know. I have a very good friend who lost his sight to a disease who was net control for a major wide area repeater system every week for three solid years. He repairs computers and writes software as a business. Every time I drive over to visit he is working on a project like fixing a broken dishwasher or changing the oil and plugs in his wife's car. He is very good at playing several musical instruments, too.

Another local area blind ham (now a Silent key) did the traffic on a major AM Broadcast station for many years. The majority of listeners did not even know he was blind until a full page article on him appeared in the local newspaper. He had bank of scanners and would read Braille to get necessary information he needed. On the ham bands he was just another operator.

But back to my story about the disturbing phone call. Not being there, it is a little difficult to know what was happening for sure. Many times people do like to kid around. For example, one person I used to work with would always say something very negative to me whenever he saw me.

He would say something like, "OH, NO! It's you again!" Or one I will never forget -- a "compliment" that went like this:

"Avery is strong as an Ox and twice as dumb".

I would reply, "GEE! Not everyone is as strong as an Ox", and just leave out the rest. It soon became a game and the contest was to be the first one to get out the negative comment... As it turned out he was like that with everyone if he liked you. If he didn't like you, he would just not say anything at all and walk right by like you were not even there.

Anyway I guess my point here is that sometimes we have to be like the duck. You know the saying "it is just like water off a duck's back". We just have to have "THICK SKIN" and let some of the kidding or outright stupidity just slide off our backs. If a person is quick with responses, they can turn around the comment and get the other person laughing with you, not at you, and you have made a friend. If you have a chance listen to some of those old Dean Martin Celebrity ROASTS, you know what I mean. Someone has a birthday or anniversary of an award and the person who got the award is at the head of the table and the rest of the people around the table tell some very embarrassing (not always true) stories about them. It is all in fun, of course. Then when they are all done, the person gets a turn to respond to each person's comments which are many times even worse that what was said in the first place. OK! So, when everyone is done they all have a good laugh and have their meal.

The other thing is there are always other ham radio clubs or repeater groups that you may consider joining if you think there was something more than just kidding going on. If it is just one or two people in the club doing it, just stay away from them and work with other people in the group.

I sincerely hope that we don't have this sort of thing happening in the Amateur Radio community. After all, we have proved time and time again that when all else fails, the Amateur Radio operators get the communications through whether or not we have a disability.

So, until next time, 73 es DX de K0HLA, Avery

If you want call me my direct line is: