Wednesday, January 29, 2014

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

Welcome to Handiham World.

Cartoon snowman holding handheld radio

Chill out!

Yes, it is a horrible winter here in Minnesota, and from what I have been hearing from most everyone else in North America, it is not much better where they live.  Icy roads in Birmingham, Alabama?  Frigid temperatures down to the Gulf of Mexico?  Freezing cold in Florida? 
Chill out, indeed.
Sometimes I think this kind of weather, especially when it is protracted and winter just keeps going on and on, can make people a little nutty.  The phrase "chill out" doesn't really mean to cool off in the sense of going outdoors in Minnesota to brave the polar wind and subzero temperatures.  It means that we should take a deep breath and think things through a bit before making some rash decision such as going nuts from cabin fever and snowshoeing to the nearest auto dealer to buy a red sports car with a convertible top.
Our ham radio avocation is not immune from those "chill out moments".  Last week there was talk about how one group had to move off an HF frequency because of interference from another group.  Later on a member of the "winning group" was overheard explaining how he had the technology to take over that frequency.  This sort of thing is - thankfully - not the normal sort of behavior we experience every day on the bands, though it is also not exactly unheard of.  Another one was on a repeater system connected to the VoIP systems.  One guy was telling another one off on the air for not identifying.  The "tellee" insisted that he had identified but that the I.D. probably didn't make it down through the VoIP system due to the nature of such things with their connectivity issues and delays.  I sat there listening and wondering if the cold weather was getting to people. 
Sometimes we get stressed out by things that really are not all that vital to our daily lives.  The best advice I have heard is, "Hey, it's only a hobby."  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Handiham World for 22 January 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

A guy studying from a Technician book

Shortcut to licensing with cram courses - Do they work? 

Recently I have been following a volunteer examiner mailing list and the topic has been centered around those so-called "cram courses" for the Technician license.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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

Welcome to Handiham World.

Ham station at WA0TDA.  IC-7200, LDG tuner, IC-706M2G, monitor showing IRB station
Photo:  Here's my station.  Sure, it doesn't look like much, but there's a lot "under the hood". 
What do you have in your ham shack?
Or, perhaps we should ask, "Do you even have a room or corner of a room, spot in the basement or garage, or any more or less permanent location where your radio equipment can be found?"

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

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

Welcome to Handiham World.

Here's a quick look at what's important this week:

Read/listen to the entire newsletter here.

  • has sent out an alert about sunspot AR1944.  If you can see this group on the website solar image, it is truly awesome in size - and it's rotated toward Earth. 

    "One of the largest sunspots in years, AR1944, has turned toward  Earth and it is crackling with strong flares.  So far on Jan. 7th, the active region has produced M7- and X1-class eruptions, and more appear to be in the offing.  As this alert is being issued, analysts are waiting for more data from solar observatories to clarify the possibility of CME impacts and geomagnetic storms in the days ahead." 

    For updates, stay tuned to  

    It is also worth noting that the solar weather widget from G4ILO on predicts HF blackouts.  Be that as it may, a single sunspot group's behavior does not determine the fate of the entire solar cycle.  We have been reading grumpy downer articles about how lousy cycle 24 is, but wait - there's a possibility that "24" will serve up a second peak thanks to a solar flux high:  Read about it on the ARRL website.
  • The CQ and Worldradio Online magazines for January have been released in digital format.  This follows the announcement by the CQ Newsroom that there will be a realignment of several CQ Communications, Inc. publications beginning in February.  At this point the Handiham Program is still planning to produce DAISY digital audio versions of both publications for our blind members.  CQ for December in print has not yet arrived, so the latest DAISY version is November 2013.

    "Effective with the February 2014 issue of CQ," said CQ Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA, "content from  the magazine's three sister publications, Popular Communications,  CQ VHF and WorldRadio Online, will be incorporated into CQ's digital edition as a supplement to be called CQ Plus."

    Is there interest in Popular Communications as a DAISY offering among our blind members?  As with the other publications, we would consider a "digest" version that includes several articles of interest.  If the publication is already offered in DAISY by the NLS, Library of Congress, we would not duplicate their efforts. 
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator