Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Happy New Year

We will close on Wednesday afternoon, New Year's Eve for a long New Year's Day holiday.  We reopen on Monday, January 5, 2015.  
The traditional welcome to the New Year is ARRL Straight Key Night.  I'd planned to acquire a straight key, but don't have one yet.  If you have trouble sending CW, it can be so frustrating to work a paddle and keyer that you might be tempted to just pick up a microphone instead.  A straight key can be the answer for anyone, really.  Whether you have a disability that makes using fancy keyers and paddles problematic or you just plain prefer to form the dots and dashes of the Morse Code yourself, it doesn't hurt to have a straight key in your station.  If you are a newbie to the code, the straight key is an essential practice tool.  It can always serve as a teaching tool later on if you help someone else learn code, and it can always be dusted off for service on Straight Key Night!
If you are not planning to get on CW, there may be some folks welcoming the New Year on IRLP and Echolink.  This sort of thing is usually a free-for-all without any direction; just a gathering of whoever wants to show up with no particular topic, time, or net control.  
Two things we have come to expect at this time of year are year-end retrospectives and New Year resolutions.  We will spare you a long list of happenings about things that you already knew about anyway and we will not badger you about stuff you should do in the upcoming year...  except for one thing, and it is this:
Please check your ham shack for safety!  Today we will talk about preventing fires.
What got me thinking about safety was the sound of the emergency vehicles rounding the corner in front of our house, heading for a residential fire.  This was a few weeks ago, and no one was hurt in the fire, but the damage was profound, between the part of the house that burned and the terrible water damage from the firefighting process. 
We work with electricity every day, especially in the ham shack.  Fires are rare, but they do happen - usually because something was done wrong and has failed as a result. The basics are to avoid overloading circuits, fuse 12 VDC equipment power cables with the recommended fuse sizes, dress cables carefully, away from sharp metal edges and so that they are not a tripping hazard, keep equipment cabinets in place (especially if they contain high voltage), and make sure that everything is adequately ventilated.  
Most of us know all too well that there are never enough AC outlets for all of our gadgets and radio equipment.  Yes, you can solve this problem with a few power strips and extension cords, but be careful what you plug into them.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Cartoon snowman holding handy-talkie.

Holiday wishes

Happy Hanukkah!  The holiday season is well-joined with the beginning of Hanukkah (December 16 - 24) and Thanksgiving already behind us.  Since this will be your second-to-last E-letter and podcast of 2014, we want to take this opportunity to wish everyone all the best for a wonderful holiday season.  Next week we will be closed for the Christmas holiday on Christmas Eve and reopening on Monday, December 22.  We will close on Wednesday afternoon, New Year's Eve for a long New Year's Day holiday.  We reopen on Monday, January 5, 2015.  There will be no E-letter next Wednesday, so we'll take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas.  

What's on your Christmas list?

Assuming you've been good boys and girls, you probably have a wish list.  Will Santa deliver?  I guess he probably has to balance all of your good behavior on the air with the reasonableness of your requests!  Being technical-minded folks, we can imagine a sort of mathematical equivalency.  Let's look at a few examples:
Wish List format:  Item wished for = positive behavior.  We will list the item you would like and the behavior that we think should be required to earn it.  Santa has to have some kind of accounting system, right?
So what happens if you are on Santa's naughty list? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Cartoon world with radio tower

Yes, you can say it on the air.  But should you?

Just last week I started teaching the "Communicating With Other Hams" section from the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual. Since this is the Technician course, I never assume that my students will know how to start and conduct an actual contact on the air.  The contact has certain procedural requirements, of course.  You need to follow the rules for identification, but aside from that FCC mandate, you do actually have very few restrictions on either what you say or how you say it.  A basic contact consists of exchanging callsigns, signal reports, names, locations, and station information.  If you are in a contest, you'll do a quick exchange of the required contest information and move on to the next contact. In a net, your contact time may be extended over most of the time the net is in operation, even though you may actually say very little unless you are called upon to handle traffic or do whatever it is the net is all about.  In a casual conversation between stations or in a social net, the topic of conversation can vary widely and can go in any direction.  It's always safe to talk about the weather, but maybe discussing photography or aviation may be your cup of tea. Go for it!
This brings me to the section in the book entitled "Appropriate Topics".  It should go without saying, but indecent and obscene language is prohibited.  This is the sort of thing that isn't really defined and is hard to enforce, but most of us generally have no trouble recognizing bad language when we hear it.  Then there is the fatal triad: sex, religion, and politics.  These three topics are deadly at the Thanksgiving day table because any one of them - or any combination - is guaranteed to offend someone and start a family feud.  When I first started my ham radio career, one of the best pieces of advice I received was to avoid talking about sex, religion, or politics on the air.  It was good advice then and is good advice now. 
Just don't do it!
Yesterday I was listening to an early morning net on 75 meters, and some guy decided to tell a joke about a priest hearing confession and an Obama supporter.  In a matter of a few seconds, he managed to offend a major religious group and anyone who voted for the President.  This is bad, bad form.  The venue - a popular, long-running net, should never have been the forum for this kind of thing, which included two of the three "don'ts":  religion and politics. 
What's the net control to do?
The introduction of topics in bad taste can put the Net Control Station in an uncomfortable position.  Put yourself in the unenviable role of the NCS. You don't know whether to chastise the guy or just move on.  It can be tricky, because you have to tread a fine line between blowing the incident out of proportion, thus calling even more attention to it and causing people to start choosing sides, or just doing nothing - which is an implicit acceptance of bad behavior on the net.  Since every incident will be unique, it's hard to be ready with the appropriate response.
I would not be afraid to say, "Please avoid topics involving sex, religion, or politics on the (fill in the blank) net."  This is a fairly benign reminder to your net participants that you do not welcome certain topics. 

Read or listen to the entire podcast here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 03 December 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Cartoon world with radio tower

Vintage radio gear?  What does vintage even mean?

Read or listen to the entire news here. 

Retired Handiham volunteer K0CJ with a Collins station in the old W0ZSW shack at Courage Center.
CJ Robinson, K0CJ, is posing with a Collins station in this old photo of the W0ZSW station when it was still located at Courage Center. CJ was one of our long time volunteers at the Handiham repair shop.  I said hi to him this morning via Echolink.  It is an example of old tech vs. new tech.  How times have changed!
Yesterday I talked with a fellow who is interested in getting old equipment on the air.  I chalk this up to a complex mixture of nostalgia, the fun of doing restoration work on old radio equipment, the fellowship offered by participation in on-the-air groups of operators who share your passion for vintage radios, and the good feeling one gets from tackling a challenge and meeting it head on. These days, using old tube gear seldom is a choice made simply to save money.  I guess we'll let the vintage radio enthusiasts define what is "vintage", since we are not experts!
Thinking it through:
I have to admit that I like the idea of vintage gear and vintage operating, but I know myself well enough to realize that I don't have enough time and space to put into that facet of Amateur Radio.  To do it right, I would have to reconfigure my ham shack - as you might expect, since the vintage gear tends to be big and needs adequate ventilation and uses more power.  My ham shack is sandwiched between the basement stairs and the utility room wall, so it can't be expanded.  That would mean tearing everything out and building tiered shelves while still trying to keep everything in reach.  Furthermore, I'm already pretty well maxed out on AC circuits.  To do it right, I'd need to run another 15 amp circuit, and that would mean contacting an electrician.  You don't plug this power-hungry vacuum tube stuff into some cheesy power strip!  This is starting to look like a real project!
Hey, there's more!
But wait, folks - that's only part of what you have to do when you embrace vintage gear.  The ham shack is the place where the old gear shines - it's on display and that's where you will put it on the air.  But what about making it ready after you first bring it home from the hamfest?  You will need a serious workbench to go through the old gear.  It will need adequate power, good lighting, and several essential test instruments and tools.  A good multimeter, an oscilloscope, a dummy antenna load, plenty of hand tools like screwdrivers, nut drivers, wrenches, pliers, a soldering station, and an isolation transformer are all going to come in handy.  These radios are big, and they have vacuum tubes. They require high voltages from their power supplies, along with several other voltages.  There will be lethal voltages present when the radio is powered up, and large capacitors in the power supply can store high voltages even when the radio and power supply are turned off and unplugged.  You have to know what you are doing when you work on this old gear!  There can be dangerous voltages where you don't expect them, including on the chassis and metal cabinet, due to faults in the circuit. An isolation transformer can help, but you have to learn a whole new set of safety procedures to avoid getting a shock.  Even those of us who grew up with this old gear cannot afford to be complacent around it.  After all, we are used to working with 12 VDC power these days, and remembering everything about vintage gear with its hundreds of volts on vacuum tube plates is not always easy!  Things like discharging electrolytic capacitors in the power supply and assuming that you could get a shock by touching the radio's metal cabinet are not things that we think about quite so much with newer gear, but they are vital to keep in mind when working with vintage equipment.  You also have to be careful when handling the old gear, just because of its bulk and mass.  Heavy radios may even call for a two man lift.  Seriously, you can injure your back while trying to heft some of the old stuff! 
The payoff:
We now know that we need well-equipped shop space and a reconfigured ham shack.  If you are still eager to "go vintage" at this point, I think you might be a true vintage radio enthusiast.  The rewards are there for you:  The fun of finding and restoring a vintage treasure, the excitement of giving it a place of honor in your ham shack, and the satisfaction of actually using it on the air.   
Avery, K0HLA, with the Collins station.
Pictured:  Avery, K0HLA, posed with the complete Collins station at the old Handiham office in Courage Center.
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Cartoon world with radio tower

Horn of plenty with fruit and Yaesu HT.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Handiham office will be closed for the 2014 United States Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and Friday, November 27-28.  We will reopen on Monday morning, December 1.  There will be no weekly new audio notification on Thursday or Friday. 
Handiham nets continue on their usual schedule, though if there is no net control station available the net will be a simple roundtable. In past years people have discussed things for which they are thankful. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Switching between antennas? 

Let's think about this a little.  Do you have more than one antenna and use these antennas with a single radio?  If so, you are either using antenna switches or connecting and disconnecting coaxial lines manually. 
two position antenna switch
Manually switching feedlines gets old quickly.  It's okay if you are running a short test or some such thing, but if you have a need to change antennas on a regular basis, you will want to have an antenna switch in place.

Read or listen to the entire podcast here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The problem with clouds

Guy shaking fist at broken computer
No, I'm not talking about the kind of clouds that float in the sky above us.  The ones that are bugging me lately are the computing "clouds", which store data and perform operations for us from some computer server farm so that the data or the data processing software do not have to be stored locally on our own computers or devices.  

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 05 November 2014

This special event exceeded expectations!

TS-590S and antenna tuner
The 2014 "Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald" Split Rock Lighthouse Special Event is now history.  It's been a long-standing tradition in my radio club, but I had never participated. This year things worked out and my wife and I planned a weekend getaway that would allow us to stop by the event location on the first day of setup and operation.  It turned out to be a good decision, because everything about it exceeded our expectations.

Read or listen to the entire edition here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Turning the Bencher CW paddle on its head

Pat holds up the Bencher paddle. 
What do you do when the wiring to your CW paddle needs to be replaced?  I wasn't really satisfied with the too-short length of the wiring between my Morse code key and the radio, but I'd been putting up with this minor annoyance for quite a while.  Then when I decided to push the IC-7200 transceiver back a bit in the desktop, I noticed that the radio wanted to send a constant stream of dits.  Obviously the 1/4 inch phone plug in the back of the radio was shorted.  It turned out that I had to cut it off and replace it because the way it had been installed in the first place made it impossible to reuse. 
It was finally a good time to rewire the Bencher!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Cartoon world with radio tower

Broken technology?

Okay, I'll admit it.  This is going to start with a rant because I'm sick, sick, sick of things that don't work!
cartoon guy shaking fist at dead computer
Read or listen to the entire podcast here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Cartoon world with radio tower

Are you a teacher?

You could be.  All it takes is a willingness to learn how to share your knowledge about Amateur Radio.
Pat, WA0TDA, holds three license manuals.
How did you learn to walk?  Who taught you how to tie your shoes?  To wear a coat when it's cold outdoors and a hat when the sun was hot? 
Mom and Dad!
Of course our parents were our first teachers.  If you are a mom or dad with children, you know what I'm talking about.  In a way, all of us are teachers at one time or another.  We help each other to learn almost as second nature when we explain the rules of a game to another kid or help our little brother to find his way home from the school bus. 
The teacher isn't always in a school classroom. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 08 October 2014

Are you a multimode operator?

You could be.  All it takes is a willingness to try something new.
The IC-7200 tuned to14.050 CW and the Bencher paddle.
Take a look at your HF transceiver.  Main tuning control, audio and RF gain, noise reduction...  Oh, there it is: MODE.  If you never press the MODE button, you don't know what you're missing.  Sure, we have our favorite modes of operation, mine being SSB phone - typically lower sideband on 160 through 40 meters.  The problem is that we can get into a rut, stuck in the same old places on the band and doing the same thing every day. 
That may be comfortable, but it really isn't going to stretch our operating skills, is it?

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 01 October 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Cartoon world with radio tower

What do you do when no one shows up for your class?
That's the situation I found myself in last week. I'd prepared to teach my assigned part of the General Class course and no one showed up. It was the second scheduled class, and the first instructor had reported the same thing the previous week, so I wasn't really that surprised.  It isn't the end of the world.  When I studied for my Novice license as a teen, it was all strictly do-it-yourself.  Once I passed Novice, I had to pump up my Morse code speed to 13 words per minute and also learn enough from my ARRL license manual to pass the exam given at the FCC office in St. Paul, MN, which was almost two hours drive from my home town.  And that was the days before the internet and on line question pools!  Most of us back then studied alone, working our way through the material and practicing code as best we could.  Having a class to go to would have been helpful, but it wasn't absolutely necessary.  I practiced my code on the air with my buddy Karl, WA0TFC, who is now a silent key.  Karl and I were both in the same radio club, and as you can tell from our pretty close callsign assignments, (TDA & TFC), we were licensed as Novices about the same time. Back then, on the air practice was expected - it was the purpose of having the Novice license, which was only good for a single year.  During that year, one was expected to study and pass the General or go off the air.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Pat and Newt check out a generator, circa 1971.

Picture: The scene is a farmyard set against a background of tractors and cultivating equipment.  The time is circa 1970, and in this old photo we see a 20-something year old me on the left, a yellow gasoline generator in the center, and my friend Newt on the right, showing me how to work the generator.  Newt was kind enough to host several of us on his family farm for Field Day even though he himself was not a ham radio operator.  His brother and farming partner Bill was, so Newt was very familiar with Amateur Radio.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Screenshot of HRD tuned to 3.730 MHz. 

Picture: The IC-7200 is tuned to 3.730MHz AM, and this is a screenshot of the rig control software, Ham Radio Deluxe. In the latest release, 6.272, there are some new features that even includes a friendly "Welcome to Ham Radio Deluxe" audio message if you have the voice feature enabled.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Read or listen to the entire edition here.

Radio tuned to 75 meters

Picture: The IC-7200 is tuned to 3.925 MHz, which is possible because I have a 75 meter antenna in my yard.  There are plenty of ham radio operators out there who are told, "No antennas for you!"  

ARRL asks us to write a letter.  I think we should.

By Patrick Tice, WA0TDA 
One of the problems with summer is that everyone has a summer schedule that includes time doing summer stuff.  It might be away from the office, vacationing away from home, taking a break from being constantly connected via email and phone, and yes, putting ham radio activities on the shelf until autumn rolls around.  I guess that most of us might think of this as a good thing - everyone needs time away from the usual routine. 
But there is a problem.  Sometimes critical, time-sensitive things come up, even during summer and vacation.  It is easy to miss news about what it going on in ham radio during the summer, and unfortunately for a lot of us that is exactly what has happened with a very, very important piece of Amateur Radio related legislation in the United States House of Representatives, HR. 4969.
HR. 4969 has been in the ham radio news for much of the summer, but most of us have been in "summer mode" and have pretty much ignored it.  But now - TODAY - is the time for you to act in support of The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014, which is what HR. 4969 is all about.  The ARRL website states that "it is crunch time" and that the letters in support of this bill MUST be at the ARRL for delivery to Congress no later than September 12 - and that's THIS FRIDAY!
"Constituent letters urging members of the US House of Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 4969, the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014, need to arrive at ARRL Headquarters by Friday, September 12, for forwarding to Congress. ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, said the last legislative day for the fall is September 19, and Congress will not be back in session again until after the mid-term election."
Okay, I'll admit that I've been too busy to take care of this simple task until today, but I did get my letter to my Congressional Representative written and emailed to ARRL headquarters, where it will be delivered to Congress en masse to show our support for our being able to set up antennas more freely, which is what this is all about. 
It's easy to do.  Just go to the following ARRL page:
Once you are there, read the concise summary of what this is all about, and if you agree that accommodating ham radio antennas is important, go to the HR. 4969 sample letter that ARRL has set up at the bookmark labeled "How can I help to get HR 4969 passed?"  You will find a sample letter and a link to your Congressional Representative.  Please note that you only need to make up the letter that includes your name and address, make sure it is addressed to your representative, sign it, and either FAX or email it to ARRL.   To find your representative, look for the bookmark link "Who is my Congressperson?" and to find out how and where to send it, look for the bookmark link "Where should I send my letter to my Congressperson?"  All of these bookmarks are on the page
Making up my own letter took all of five minutes.  I opened a letterhead document I already had for writing letters, found the sample letter on the ARRL website, then located my representative's name and address, which I also pasted in.  I had a scanned signature to insert at the end, and then I saved it and sent it to ARRL as a file attachment:
"If you wish to write and sign your letter then send the signed copy to the ARRL as an attachment (PDF or scan) to an email, please send them to with the words 'HR 4969 letter' in the SUBJECT field of the email." 
Be sure the letter is SIGNED!  That means that you may have to print and sign it, then scan it and send it as an attachment if you don't have a pre-scanned signature as I did to paste in.
Take a few minutes to do this right now, today.  Remember that it must be at ARRL by this Friday, September 12, 2014.
One of my favorite nets is the 75 meter PICONET.  I hate to think how much I'd miss getting on that net if I had to put up with antenna restrictions. Act now!
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A Reminder About the Seasons and a Radio Camp Retrospective 

By Patrick Tice, WA0TDA 

IC-7200 display set to 3.925 MHz
Image:  Early morning music on 3.925 MHz means that the band is opening long into Japan before sunrise.  Winter propagation on 75 meters is starting.  
We are refreshing the Handiham World format a bit to make if flow better.  Hopefully this will work for both the text and audio versions as we move into the Fall and Winter ham radio seasons.
What?!!  Fall and Winter?  It's August, for heaven's sake!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Radio Camp begins late this week!

Keying the rig with a Bencher paddle.

Image:  Keying the TS-590S with a Bencher paddle.

This week we have a short edition of Handiham World due to our busy schedule during the run up to 2014 Radio Camp.  Campers will arrive this coming Saturday, August 16, and camp will continue through the week, with our VE session on Friday and campers departing on Saturday, August 23.  During Radio Camp we will try to make as many contacts on HF and through the camp repeater, W0EQO-R, as possible.  W0EQO-R is connected to the Handiham conference at node 494492, or *HANDIHAM*.  We will also be on IRLP 9008.  We hope to help our campers get some VHF net control experience as well as some quality time on the HF bands.  Many Handiham members have limited space or no space at all for HF antennas, so operating at camp with some efficient wire antennas set up Field Day style will be quite a treat.  We also have a triband beam on a 50 foot tower.
Camp week is really a busy time for us, and I know from experience that no matter how much I try to make time for a weekly e-letter, I just will not have time to get it done.  So beginning next week, the e-letter is taking two weeks off.  It will return the first week of September, then take the second week in September off.  The e-letter sounds like kind of a slacker with all that time off, but remember that we publish most weeks, month after month, with very few breaks.  Camp takes so many hours of preparation and time during camp week that these breaks are necessary to balance things out.  

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 06 August 2014

Listen to or read the entire story here.

It's summer and time to daydream a little.

Last week I reminisced about my short-wave listening days and how I wanted to learn more about radio. 
There were lots of distractions during high school.  The homework, the social activities, the extracurricular activities - all of it took a lot of time, so there was plenty to compete with radio and electronics.  I'd say that camera club won out.  I spent a lot of time learning how to take pictures, develop the film, and print black and white photos using chemicals in the darkroom.  I even built my own home darkroom and got quite good at photography. I joined the staff on the high school newspaper.  One good thing about photography was that it had sort of a built-in balance to it.  I didn't spend all my time cooped up in the darkroom because I loved to get out and take pictures.  That meant lots of hiking and biking.  Although I always kept up my short-wave listening, it wasn't until I started university that I started to think more seriously about ham radio and participating in actually being on the air instead of only listening. 
"Let's get our ham radio licenses", I suggested to my long-time childhood buddy Alan. 
But Alan was interested in other things, so I struck out on my own to learn more.  ARRL had a study guide, and I found a local ham - the father of one of my high school friends - who would administer the Novice exam.  I bought a code course on an LP record - the technology of the day.  I wish I still had it!  Anyway, the less structured college schedule allowed me more time to spend studying the Morse code so that I would be able to pass the 5 word per minute exam.  I started out by learning the easy letters and numbers and just added a letter or punctuation character regularly as I continued my studies.  When I knew all of the necessary characters, I worked on actual words and groups of letters and numbers, and then short sentences.  The problem with the LP record code course was that it was easy to guess what was coming next.  You can only get so much on an LP, and it wasn't enough material to prevent you from memorizing it after you heard the same thing over and over.
Nonetheless, I finally got good enough to take the exam, which I passed on the first try.  My Elmer, the fellow who had administered the exam, loaned me something much better for code study:  an Instructograph.  This mechanical device  had an electric motor to move a paper tape from one reel to another across a head that allowed contacts to be closed and a sound produced when a hole on the paper tape passed through.  It looked a little like a reel to reel tape recorder.  I considered myself pretty lucky to have the Instructograph, since it was obviously an expensive, highly specialized learning tool.  It came with several paper tapes, which pretty much took care of the memorization problem I had with the LP record.  You could adjust the speed, beginning slowly enough to copy, then challenging yourself by upping the speed to the point where you had to concentrate and really work to pull out the characters, words, and numbers. It was perfect for pushing my code speed up to the requisite 13 words per minute that I would need for General.
Back then - in 1967 - it was necessary to study your code and do so diligently.  The Novice license was good for only one year.  It was never intended to be anything but a "learner's permit" on the way to the regular license, which was the General Class.  The Instructograph worked great, and because it had headphones I didn't disturb other family members.  The license with my assigned callsign WN0TDA, came in the mail and I was ready to get on the air.
I should mention that I went to college locally so I was able to live at home, and my parents were supportive of my ham radio hobby.  I had lots of room on our city lot for antennas and could easily get wire antennas up for 80 through 10 meters.  Not only that, but there was a local radio club and the university had its own radio club.  Before I was even licensed, I'd found a brand-new Lafayette Radio short-wave receiver.  It did cover the ham bands, so I hunted up a used Knight-Kit T-60 transmitter to pair up with it to make a station.  The code key was a straight key that I had been also using for code practice.  One thing that new hams seldom think about today is how you will switch the antenna between the receiver and the transmitter.  Almost all of us have "transceivers" that incorporate the transmitter and receiver functions in one unit.  Transceivers have automatic antenna switching, so when you key the transmit function by sending code, the antenna is switched to the transmit side of the transceiver and the receive function is muted.  But back then, almost everyone had separate transmitters and receivers and you needed some way to switch the antenna between them.  If you had the money, you could buy a Dow-Key relay to add to the feedline, and it would switch automatically between the transmitter and receiver.  I was a poor college student and couldn't afford extravagances like an antenna relay.  Off to the hardware store I went, and the closest one was Sears.  I still remember the startled and worried look the nice lady clerk gave me when I asked for a "knife switch" in the electrical department. 
"I think those are illegal", she said, eyeing me like I was a young hoodlum in the making instead of the skinny bespectacled nerd that I was.
Obviously she thought I wanted to buy a switchblade knife.  But another clerk knew what I needed, and I went home with a double pole double throw knife switch, which was perfect for manually switching the antenna feedline from the receiver to the transmitter.
To be continued...

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ham Radio Memories

IC-7200 tuned to 3.925 MHz and LDG AT-200Pro tuner

It's summer and time to daydream a little.

Sweet, sweet summertime.  Ever since I was a small kiddo growing up in southern Minnesota, I've cherished summer.  A lot of it had to do with getting out of school for summer vacation. I never had any problem keeping my grades up, and never had to serve a sentence in summer school.  So I had the summer free, and nothing was sweeter than collecting my stuff from the desk on the last day of school and walking home with my neighborhood friends knowing that the whole summer stretched before us!

But summer did have hot, humid days and sometimes during the heat of the day it was better to stay in the basement and work on some project, play board games, or read comic books. One of my projects was a Knight-Kit Span Master 4-band AM and short-wave radio.  Dad bought it for me and gave me some pointers on soldering, which I had never done before. When the Span Master was completed, it worked like a charm.  The simple circuit was pretty foolproof, and in spite of its simplicity it performed amazingly well.  The circuit was a regenerative design that could produce a lot of gain without a lot of parts.  I put the radio on the headboard shelf of my bed and ran a wire antenna out the nearby window of my second-floor room.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Planning for that next phase in life

View of condo apartments with balconies and lawn with trees and light standards.

Right now I'm looking at a photo of my mother-in-law's assisted living condo building and grounds.  There are balconies outside the second floor units and patios outside the ground floor units. A spacious lawn falls away gently to the right, punctuated by light standards and trees.  

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 09 July 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

The IC-7200 goes to the rig hospital

Three IC-7200 radios stacked up at Dayton.
Yes, it was another casualty of the Field Day lightning strike here at the WA0TDA station.  Between that and getting out of town for a long Independence Day holiday, I haven't had a lot of time to get on the air.  Luckily I do have an IC-706M2G radio to use while the IC-7200 gets fixed, but I'm probably going to be too busy to pick up the microphone anyway. 
That's summer for you!

Read or listen here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 02 July 2014

We were sitting down to dinner Saturday evening, when there was a flash of lightning and a crash of thunder.  

Notice that I didn't say, "followed by a crash of thunder", right?


That is never a good sign.  Since light travels at 300,000,000 meters per second and sound at only about 340 meters per second in air, we know that light from a lightning discharge will arrive at our location much more quickly than the sound of thunder.  That is why we usually see a flash of lightning and then wait several seconds for the inevitable clap of thunder caused by the discharge.  When the two are simultaneous, that means the lightning discharge is very close by.  This one was nearly simultaneous, so it was very nearby.  
But the power stayed on and we finished dinner.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Cartoon police guy with open hand up indicating stop

FCC Plans $34.9 Million Fine

Well, that gets our attention. 
What we are talking about, in case you are a bit behind in your FCC news, is the FCC's plan to issue the largest fine in its history to a Chinese electronics manufacturer for allegedly marketing 285 models of signal jammers to U.S. consumers for more than two years. This was announced in an FCC press release on June 19 and the fact that a proposed forfeiture merited its own press release seemed notable to us.  It's pretty obvious that they take signal jamming seriously.  The press release explains:
Signal jamming devices or “jammers” are radio frequency transmitters that intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized communications, such as cellphone calls, GPS systems, Wi-Fi networks, and first responder communications.  It is a violation of federal law to market, sell, import, or use a signal jammer in the United States and its territories, except in very limited circumstances involving federal law enforcement.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Guy looking at study guide for license.
ARRL Field Day will be here before we know it. It's time quick look at some basic good operating practices. 
We begin today with a feature that usually comes later on in our weekly visit  the "dip in the pool" segment.  We typically pick out a question from one of the Amateur Radio question pools, read the question, then  see how many of us can pick the correct answer from the four possible choices.  Today we are heading to the General Class question pool and looking at not one but four - yes, four - questions that are related to good operating practice.  These questions are from section G2 and are consecutive.  We will go though all four before giving the correct answers and having a short discussion.
Let's begin with G2B04, which asks: "When selecting a CW transmitting frequency, what minimum frequency separation should you allow in order to minimize interference to stations on adjacent frequencies?"
Possible answers are:
A. 5 to 50 Hz
B. 150 to 500 Hz
C. 1 to 3 kHz
D. 3 to 6 kHz

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 11 June 2014

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Kenny Handiham System. Our contact information is at the end.
Get this podcast in iTunes:Subscribe to our audio podcast in iTunes

RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:

Welcome to Handiham World.

Picking a DAISY
NLS Player and cartridge with mailer
Photo:  The NLS DAISY player and cartridge with mailer.
No, we are not picking flowers.  DAISY refers to "Digital Accessible Information SYstem", the worldwide standard for accessible talking books. 
The current National Library Service (NLS) player has reached about as close to 100% penetration in the United States as it's going to, and the few remaining 4-track cassette tape players are no longer actively supported.  I have to admit that I don't miss a lot of stuff about the old tape system:  The tangled or broken tapes, the shoebox full of cassettes for really long books, the way the tapes would get out of order and mess up your reading, the hassle with the high-speed duplicating machines that took lots of TLC to keep them running, and of course the way it was darned near impossible to find your place in a long tape book if you wanted to go back and check out a specific reference. 
DAISY takes care of that stuff nicely.  With no moving parts in a DAISY digital cartridge, there is no tape to stretch, break, or wrap itself around a capstan. A single cartridge can hold many books, so you can safely throw those old shoeboxes in the recycling bin. And of course it's easy to locate specific parts of a book using the NLS player's talking navigation system.
So what's not to like?
Well, the truth of the matter is that every technology comes with its problems.  The well-understood analog cassette tape system had lots of mechanical failure points, both in recording and playback. If a tape broke, it was pretty obvious.  The same was true if a tape ran short and some of the material was missed.  Diagnosis of problems was straightforward. 
But DAISY is different. It's much more complex, depending on firmware - computer code - to control the NLS player functions.  The cartridges contain digitally-produced books.  How many thousands and thousands of lines of computer code must execute perfectly to make the sound come out of the speaker?  Plenty, that's how many!    And the thing with DAISY digital talking book audio is that for all its complexity, it is highly reliable - but like other digital media, it generally either works perfectly or it does not work at all.  There is not a lot of in-between with digital!
When we decided to finally take the plunge into DAISY with all of our Handiham audio, it was only the beginning of a long process.  Even though we've had several years of DAISY production experience, there are still audio files that remain unconverted to the new format.  Partly it is a matter of time and whether or not the files are readily available to our members in another format.  MP3 audio, for example, is perfectly fine in most circumstances.  DAISY players can play it, and there may not even be any real advantage in doing a conversion.  On the other hand, I've learned a lot about audio production over the years and by placing myself into the role of a consumer of audio rather than only a producer, I've gotten some insight as to what could be done better.  There are two ways I've done this kind of learning:
  1. Listening to what our members tell me, and...
  2. Using our own website long after I've posted the audio, only to find out that the way I arranged it or described what it's about is confusing!
The first method is essential since I don't have an NLS player myself and have to learn from actual users about their experience with our Handiham DAISY books.  The second is both amusing and a bit humbling since it reveals that at some point in the past I laid something out on the website that was complicated and confusing or just plain wrong.  In any case, corrections must be made. 
Often I find out about problems from users.  That has been the case lately when a number of NLS cartridge users have reported missing books or cartridge errors.  Now, this is where the digital system has its weak point: brittleness due to its complexity.  A problem shows up, and not everyone reports the same result, but I know something must be up.  Where to look? Software?  Hardware? User error?  Production error? 
With a cassette tape that failed, it was usually obvious what had happened.  Pretty much anyone could tell when the tape tangled up or broke.  This is not the case with digital.  It could be any of many things, and because it's complex, the cause is usually not obvious. 
Pat with NLS cartridge
Photo:  Yes, I'm smiling while looking at this NLS cartridge.  Nothing in the way it looks can tell me a thing about what's wrong inside, though.
The detective work begins.
Okay, so here is what I knew: 
  1. Some users reported "cartridge errors".
  2. Some users could read all books up to a certain book, but then couldn't read further.
  3. Most times there were no reports of problems at all.
  4. The June 2014 DAISY digest produced more error reports than others.  One user reported that QST was "blank".
The possibilities I had to consider were defective hardware, user error, or production problems.  I know that the NLS players can sometimes return cartridge errors for a variety of reasons, including user errors or incompatible USB memory.  I found these things out by researching on the web.  User error seemed unlikely when it was happening to multiple users, since after all the players are designed to be easy to use in the first place and most of our Handiham members are smarter than the average user about technology.  Incompatibility didn't seem likely because we are talking about NLS cartridges here, not just any old USB sticks.  It would be inconceivable that a vendor of NLS cartridges would choose incompatible USB memory to use in the NLS cartridge format.  Of course hardware can fail and become incompatible, but since solid-state memory has no moving parts, it is generally quite reliable and the odds of multiple failures in the same month seem vanishingly tiny.
That left production problems, and I'd been suspicious about this as a possible cause for several months when unexplained errors cropped up.  But what could be the cause?  Was it my production tool, Obi?  Was it the DAISY format I chose?  What else could it possibly be?  I had tested all of the books in AMIS, the open-source DAISY reader for Windows, and everything worked fine.  It was a real "head-scratcher"!
A break came when I decided to try producing DAISY 2.02 format books instead of DAISY 3.0 using Obi.  My thinking was that maybe the 3.0 format was not compatible with the firmware version of some of the NLS players.  (See how complicated this gets?)  But when the June digest went out, the error messages still appeared. It wasn't the DAISY version, so I had to continue looking.  When one of the users reported that QST was "blank", I decided to examine the DAISY files for that book.  Another member had told me his cartridge didn't work and he'd returned it promptly, so I took a look at the files on it.  The file structure looked good and the cartridge was totally readable in Windows Explorer.  AMIS played the files without a hitch.  Even the QST digest files played fine, but then I got a hunch:
What about the file names? 
Somewhere in my research I'd recalled reading about filename compatibility.  I had not, in spite of many searches, been able to locate a specific file naming standard, though.  But one thing for sure about the directories containing the defective books was that they all seemed to have at least one really long file name.  Perhaps the problem lay in the long file names, which somehow could not be handled by the NLS player but which might be handled by other hardware or software. Or maybe there were "illegal" characters in the filenames that halted playback.  I was reading on the Daisypedia website and found an article about using the DAISY Pipeline.  A function available in the Pipeline is "Fileset Renamer", which turned out to be a feature that could rename the files in a DAISY book to assure that there were no illegal characters and - get this - limit the filename to 60 characters! 
Bingo.  That might just be the problem.  It is difficult to estimate filename lengths by eyeballing them in a Windows directory, so I got my reading glasses and a scrap of paper with a straight edge so that I could count off the filename characters in the longest file character by character.  Sure enough, I got to 60 and there were still 20 plus to go.
So some of the filenames were too long. My next step is to shorten them up and resend the cartridge to a couple of users for confirmation that the files are readable.  If the filenames did indeed cause the problem, we will know better next time and produce a more reliable DAISY digest. 
What's the takeaway from this? 
For me, it really brings home the downside of complex systems.  They may be necessary to do what we demand of our technology today, but when things go awry finding the problem can be one of those "needle in the haystack" deals.  A big thank you to WA0CAF for helping me diagnose the problem!
For Handiham World, I'm...
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator


July QST is out:

The July 2014 QST, the ARRL Centennial Issue, has been published on line for ARRL members. Information on QST and ARRL membership is at:

ARRL:  FCC Okays Changes to Amateur Radio Exam Credit, Test Administration, Emission Type Rules  

In a wide-ranging Report and Order (R&O) released June 9 that takes various proceedings into consideration, the FCC has revised the Amateur Service Part 97 rules to grant credit for written examination elements 3 (General) and 4 (Amateur Extra) to holders of "expired licenses that required passage of those elements." The FCC will require former licensees - those falling outside the 2-year grace period - to pass Element 2 (Technician) in order to be relicensed, however. The Commission declined to give examination credit to the holder of an expired Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) or to extend its validity to the holder's lifetime.   The Report and Order may be found on the web in PDF format at,

NASA Science News for June 10, 2014 - NASA and NOAA agree: Solar Max has arrived, but this "mini Max" is not like any other solar maximum of the Space Age.  

2014 Radio Camp (Saturday, August 16 through Saturday August 23, 2014)

The Equipment Program will be at Radio Camp.  Campers will be able to take home equipment, provided that the Equipment Program has it available.  Campers should let us know what they need to get on the air. Categories of equipment that can be made available for you to take home from camp are:
Morse Code training compact discs 
VHF/UHF radios
HF radios
Accessories like speakers and tuners
Morse code accessories
Other accessories - Please let me know what you need.

A dip in the pool

It's time for a dip in the Extra Class pool.  E6A17 asks, "What are the names of the three terminals of a field-effect transistor?"
Possible answers are:
A. Gate 1, gate 2, drain
B. Emitter, base, collector
C. Emitter, base 1, base 2
D. Gate, drain, source
This is one of those questions that offers a bit of a teaching moment.  The traditional bipolar transistor's three terminals are emitter, base, collector. When the base-emitter junction is forward-biased, collector current will be larger than current through the base, and you can make the larger collector current flow in proportion to the smaller current flow on the base. signal in = big signal out!  The FET, or field-effect transistor, is a bit different.  Its terminals are called gate, drain, and source - so answer D is the correct one.  Instead of being controlled by current, a "field effect" of voltage controls the device.  Charge carriers enter through the source and leave through the drain.  In between, they are controlled by a resistance that depends on the charge of the gate.  Thus, you can put a signal (voltage) on the gate and have it control the flow of electrons through the device.  A FET has a high input impedance compared to a traditional bipolar transistor. 

Traveling by air? How does cabin air pressure in flight compare to being at different ground elevations?

Recently I spoke with another ham radio operator who occasionally used supplemental oxygen because of a health condition.  We were both wondering what the equivalent cabin pressure in a jetliner might be when flying at altitude since this could make less oxygen available in the reduced pressure of the cabin during a long flight.  I found the World Health Organization website resource that answers this very question.  It is at:
Of course you should always check with your doctor for advice if you do plan to travel and use oxygen.

Practical Radio

pliers and wire

Morse code?  Maybe it's time.

"UR RST 579 IN TX".  That's what I copied right off the bat after tuning from the nearly-dead phone portion of the 20 meter band down to the relatively active CW portion.  That particular QSO was happening on 14.030 MHz. It reminds me that the code, although no longer a requirement for licensing, is still an active mode, and a good one that can net you a lot of contacts.  Although it use to be said that code would get through when no other mode could, that is no longer the case as robust digital modes have come into use.  Still, code does indeed best SSB easily when the bands are crowded or conditions are marginal.  CW - continuous wave - is also used as a term that is almost interchangeable with Morse code.  CW requires nothing more than a code key plugged into your transceiver, unlike digital modes that require computers and keyboards.  There is nothing quite like a tiny, complete, battery-operated station with a built-in CW keyer and a code key to provide you with HF capability that is so portable that you can put everything into a backpack! 
It's a well-known fact that working DX - distant stations typically outside your country's borders - is often easier using CW than SSB.  If you want to be a competitive DXer, a knowledge of Morse code is a must.
Even if you don't plan to be that competitive, wouldn't it be nice to know what those Morse code announcements on local repeater systems are saying?  And wouldn't it be fun to learn the code and participate in a slow-speed net once in a while?
Sure, it would!  And you can do it.
Recently we were contacted by the FISTS Morse Code club with a proposal.  As a way to help boost Morse code participation among Handiham members, a FISTS membership would be made available to Handiham members as long as they kept their Handiham membership current.  In addition, FISTS provided us with a compact disc Morse code course by K7QO, which we are pleased to be able to offer to our radio campers this summer.  We think this is a really good deal, and a great way to promote a healthy learning activity among our members.  If you are a Handiham member and are interested, please contact Nancy in our office and get on the list.  We are working on a process to share membership status.  Only Handiham  members who request to participate will be considered for a FISTS membership. To protect your privacy, you must have a written release on file with us. 
This is practical radio - Let's learn some code this summer!

Handiham Nets are on the air daily. 

Summertime is a busy season for everyone, and that means our net control volunteers as well.  If we cannot fill a net control position this summer, please feel free to just start a roundtable conversation.  Just this week I heard from a prospective new member who heard the Sunday roundtable!  She said that getting in to the weekday net was not practical because of work.   I think that is true of a lot of us who may be working weekdays and might find the evening and weekend sessions to be easier to join.
Listen for the Handiham Wednesday evening net tonight and try to answer the N6NFF trivia question during the first half hour.  Check in later just to get in the log and say hello.  The trivia question answer is revealed shortly after the first half hour.  If you are up to a challenge, see if you can correctly answer this week's question.
We are scheduled to be on the air daily at 11:00 USA Central Time, plus Wednesday & Thursday evenings at 19:00 USA Central Time.  A big THANK YOU to all of our net control stations! 
We maintain our nets at 11:00 hours daily relative to Minnesota time.  Since the nets remain true to Minnesota time, the difference between Minnesota Daylight Saving time and GMT is -5 hours and the net is on the air at 16:00 hours GMT.  
The two evening sessions are at 00:00 GMT Thursday and Friday.  Here in Minnesota that translates to 7:00 PM Wednesday and Thursday. 
The official and most current net news may be found at:

This week @ HQ

Cartoon robot with pencil

Reading online? You'll find the weekly e-letter online to be mobile-friendly if you use the following link:

Email has changed.

Our new addresses are:

Toll-Free number is working:

A brief outage of our toll-free number has been fixed.  The number goes to Nancy's extension.  We do ask that you call 612-775-2291 instead of the toll-free, which is 866-426-3442, if you possibly can, since we do have to pay charges on the toll-free calls.

Digests & Lectures

A reminder:  You may hear the old contact information, including email addresses and phone numbers, in previously recorded audio lectures or digests.  Please disregard old contact information and use our new email addresses and phone numbers.  Similarly, old audio podcasts and HTML e-letters will have outdated information.  Disregard it and use the latest email addresses and phone numbers.
June 2014 production news: The June NLS cartridges are in the mail. I've heard from several NLS cartridge users that our June digest had a "cartridge error".  We are now confident of the cause, a file naming problem. The QST DAISY book had the problem and may either not play at all or lock the player so you have to remove the cartridge.  For those who could not play the June issue, you can either get QST from the Library of Congress version or wait until we send out the July digest, which will have a new working copy of the June QST digest.
The June 2014 QST Digest in DAISY for our blind members has been re-done.  It is available in the members section as a downloadable DAISY zip file, created this morning with compliant file names. If you have downloaded the file before, delete it and redownload the new file, which should work just fine.  We apologize for the inconvenience.
Jim, KJ3P, has completed the May 2014 CQ digest this week for our blind members.  This is the issue that has gone out with the June NLS cartridge.  Meanwhile, QCWA Digest for June 2014 is also now available.
The new Technician 2014 - 2018 Question Pool with only correct answers has been read by Jim Perry, KJ3P.  Remember that this new pool is only for testing on or after July 1, 2014. 
I have started a recording project for Operating Skills, based on the ARRL book, "Internet Linking for Radio Amateurs" by K1RFD. The goal is to make more information on VoIP available to our blind members.  There has been no time to read for several weeks due to Dayton, Memorial Day, and the telephone.  I hope to do more soon.
Jim Perry, KJ3P, Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and Ken Padgitt, W9MJY do the volunteer digest recording.  Thanks, guys!

Secure, blind-friendly Handiham website login:

Remote Base News

I would like to hear from blind Ham Radio Deluxe users!  If you are blind or have another disability such as a motor impairment  and use HRD, I'd like to hear how it is working for you.  We may consider HRD as a replacement for the W4MQ software, so internet remote trials will eventually be scheduled if we find interested testers. If you know how to use HRD and want to be a tester, please drop me a line at
You can download the latest free version of Ham Radio Deluxe 5.2 on the IW5EDI website.  Thanks to Ken, KB3LLA, for reminding me to post the link.  By the way, Ken also reports that so far as his initial tests go the menu system in HRD version 5 is JAWS-accessible.
W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.
Handiham Remote Base internet station W0ZSW is on line for your use 24/7.   W0EQO has an internet firewall issue and can only be operated by administrators at this time.  We apologize for the inconvenience.
  • If you use Skype for audio, please connect and disconnect the Skype call to the remote base manually.  The automatic calling and hang up is no longer supported in Skype.
  • 200 watt operation is restored on 160, 80, and 40 meters for Extra and Advanced Class users on W0ZSW.
  • Outages: Outages are reported on

Digital Cartridges now Stocked at Handiham HQ:

Nancy now has the NLS 4GB digital cartridges and mailers available at our cost.  She says:
We now have a supply of digital Talking Book cartridges and mailers available for purchase for our Handiham members.  The total cost for a set is $15.50.  We will download any digital study materials from the Members Only section of our website onto your cartridge at no additional cost.  Minnesota residents please add $1.13 MN Sales Tax. 
Pat holding up NLS digital cartridge and mailer 

Want to log in instead?  Let's go:

Secure, blind-friendly Handiham website login:

Stay in touch

Cartoon robot with cordless phone
Be sure to send Nancy your changes of address, phone number changes, or email address changes so that we can continue to stay in touch with you. You may either email Nancy at or call her at 612-775-2291. If you need to use the toll-free number, call 1-866-426-3442
Nancy Meydell, Handiham Secretary: 612-775-2291 (General information about the Handiham program, membership renewals)
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA: 612-775-2290 (Program Coordinator, technical questions, remote base requests, questions about licensing)
Mornings Monday through Thursday are the best time to contact us. 
The Courage Kenny Handiham Program depends on the support of people like you, who want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help us provide services to people with disabilities. 
Call 1-866-426-3442 toll-free. -- Help us get new hams on the air.
Get the Handiham E-Letter by email every Wednesday, and stay up-to-date with ham radio news. 
You may listen in audio to the E-Letter at Handiham Weekly E-Letter in MP3 format
Email us to subscribe:
That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Kenny Handihams!
Coordinator, Courage Kenny Handiham Program
Reach me by email at:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:
Courage Kenny Handiham Program
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422

ARRL is the premier organization supporting Amateur Radio worldwide. Please contact Handihams for help joining the ARRL. We will be happy to help you fill out the paperwork!
ARRL diamond-shaped logo
The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is available to everyone free of charge. Please email  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.

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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Handiham Program
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Golden Valley, MN  55422

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