Wednesday, February 26, 2014

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

Welcome to Handiham World.

Read or listen to the entire Newsletter here.

Safety Last... But only in the Question Pool

Worker on tower fixing triband beam antenna
Photo:  Volunteer K0CJ does work on the Handiham tower a number of years ago.  "CJ" is decked out with a hard hat and a safety belt. 
The fiberglas antenna, destroyed by being blown apart in a lightning strike.
Photo:  This is what CJ was replacing - a fiberglass antenna literally blown apart in a lightning strike.  
I am almost finished preparing the Extra Class lecture series.  It's been a long haul to be sure.  When we finally tie the ribbons on the series, it will be over 60 audio lectures, some of them well over an hour long. Next week we begin the final study topic, which is on safety.  Maybe it's a good thing this subject comes last, because if people saw all of the different ways one could get injured working with radio, they might think twice about it and take up stamp collecting!

Read or listen to the entire Newsletter here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

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

To key or not to key?

That is a question for many new hams who have entered Amateur Radio via the no-code licensing structure.  Beginning with the Technician, there are automatic Morse Code privileges, since you can get on bands like 80 meters - bands that many new hams don't even associate with their class of license.  But check it out:  Technicians have CW privileges between 3.525 and 3.600 MHz, and can even use up to 200 watts! 
New hams with fresh Tech licenses usually head straight for FM repeater operation, which is understandable.  They can get started in ham radio with a minimal outlay for equipment, and VHF/UHF antennas are much easier to install than HF antennas.  Mobile and portable operation is easier on VHF FM, too.  Some will have entered the hobby because of an interest in public service communications.  Others will simply be interested in having a ready alternative means of portable communication.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

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

Welcome to Handiham World.

145.45 MHz in the display of an IC-706M2G transceiver

In praise of reliability

Today I want to give a shout out to a very special class of people: those in the amateur radio community who provide services for the rest of us to use and who do so consistently and reliably year after year after year. These are the people who operate repeater systems that the rest of us use. Think about it; how many times have you used your mobile radio or handheld radio without much of a thought as to the technology that supports it: the repeater system? That's the reason for the photo of the ICOM IC 706 Mark 2G showing the 145.45 MHz frequency on the display. Don Rice, N0BVE, operates the wide-area N0BVE repeater system on that frequency here in the Twin Cities that is one of our best resources for consistent, reliable VHF communications year in and year out. Don volunteers with us and supports the VoIP connectivity that makes the daily Handiham net possible. More to the point, Don keeps his equipment in good working order so that it does remain in service and is ready to use when any of us pushes that push to talk button on the microphone. That's why I think we need to give Don and repeater owners like him a big thank you. You guys are keeping us connected!
Of course there are plenty of other people maintaining amateur radio infrastructure. These days, we are talking about the Internet connectivity we enjoy through Echolink, IRLP, WIRES, and other VoIP systems. Often times the effort and resources that go into maintaining such services may go unnoticed and unheralded, simply because their seamless integration into the interconnected repeater systems lies somewhat beneath the surface. Nonetheless, behind all of this stuff there are dedicated amateur radio operators working tirelessly to advance the science and art of Amateur Radio. Be assured that we appreciate and thank all of you!

Make the best use of your repeater system

One of the things that we can do to promote best practices in amateur radio is to lead by showing good example. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

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

Read or Listen to the entire issue here.


Welcome to Handiham World.

Ice on 450 Ohm ladderline

February mid-winter sanity check!

I see from the DX Cluster that the bands are in good shape.  Some of my friends are working the ARRL Centennial QSO Party stations and the rare DX like Amsterdam Island.  Hopefully you are able to use your radios to have fun on the air as we continue to slog and trudge through winter.  Aside from keeping ice off the ladderline, there isn't much one can do up here on the frozen tundra with outdoor ham radio activities, but fortunately there is plenty to do indoors when the HF bands are this good.
Are you an HF newbie?  If so, you'll want to learn which bands are open and when.  Why not start by paying a visit to the "What to expect from the HF bands" page?  It gives a concise band by band explanation of what to expect. Learn about HF nets by participating in them.  The way to begin is by listening.  Tune across the bands and find nets that way, which can add to the fun of discovery.  Remember that some bands are most active in the hours of darkness while others are likely to be open by day. 
Some HF nets have supporting websites that share information about net hours, frequencies, net control stations, and net purpose or mission.  One of my favorite nets is the PICONET, which is a 75 meter semi-formal net that is mostly just a social net but that also occasionally handles formal NTS message traffic.  Because it is on 3.925 MHz, it is considered a "regional" net.  You need to be in the vicinity of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas to reliably participate.  Fortunately you can do so via the two Handiham remote base HF stations if you have station control op credentials. 

Read or Listen to the entire issue here.