Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

What do you do when the HF band conditions are lousy? 

I can tell you what NOT to do:  Fret about it and moan and groan about how hard it is to make HF contacts, and then keep trying to make HF contacts in exactly the same way without much success.
One of my favorite daily activities is to check into 75 meter nets.  I'm also not a very nocturnal creature, which means that I'm awake during the daylight hours and asleep at night.  This has caused me to to be pretty unsuccessful at another of my interests, amateur astronomy.  Well, 75 meters is subject to lots of D layer ionospheric absorption during daylight hours, and there are LOTS of daylight hours in the summer.  A little over three weeks from now we will have our longest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means that 75 meter contacts will be really hard to make - at least for guys like me who like to be active on the air during the day. 
So what do I do to stay active in ham radio?  In a word, strategize.

My strategy is to stay active on 75 meters, but to do so early in the day before the sun's power has energized the D layer enough to completely kill regional HF propagation.  In high summer, by 10:00 AM you might as well forget about it, but shortly after sunrise the band can still be alive with stations.  After 75 meters closes up shop for the day, I can move to other bands that remain open - higher frequency bands like 14 or 21 MHz.  Since my Icom IC-7200 also covers the 6 meter band, I might also begin to get serious about monitoring 50.125 MHz upper sideband. That is the 6 meter calling frequency in the United States, and you could just hear a CQ from a station hundreds of miles away, even though 50 MHz is considered VHF and we normally think of VHF in terms of line of sight propagation as we use FM repeaters.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Our grateful thanks to DARA and Hamvention® for their generous support and for all of their time and effort in making this gathering of Amateur Radio operators possible.  It's a community that comes together at Dayton because DARA makes it possible, and there is strength and purpose in community.  This year's "makers" theme cultivates the creativity and initiative we need to move the art and science of radio forward.  Thank you, DARA!

The brains behind the Handiham booth effort were those of volunteer John Hoenshell, N0BFJ.  John and his daughter Kathy, KA0YDQ, volunteered at the booth, and John managed the planning and execution of the entire booth and lodging process.  Kathy had volunteered at the booth in 2012, too.
We'll see how the numbers come out, but my sense is that this year's show was bigger than the last one.  In our part of the HARA complex the aisles were packed from time to time as a cold rain and even a passing sleet storm drove attendees indoors.  Nonetheless, there were definitely more spaces filled in the outdoor flea market than last year and inside it sure seemed like business was booming.  This was the first year in recent memory when we were so busy at the booth that I wasn't able to attend a single seminar.  ARRL was celebrating 100 years, so several trips to the ARRL area were in order.  I bought a new ARRL Antenna Book, thinking it just might be time for an update.  My old Antenna Book was a 1982 model.  No sense rushing into things, right?  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

We are at Hamvention® this week!

Yes, it's time to make the annual pilgrimage to Dayton, OH and the biggest Amateur Radio get-together in the world.  The Handiham booth will be in the Silver Arena, not far from the meeting rooms.  When you head over to attend a presentation, take a short detour to booth SA #330 and say hello to us.  If you have a service dog or use a wheelchair, no problem - we always place our display at the back of the booth area to allow you plenty of room to relax out of the aisles.  

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 07 May 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

Suddenly my station is out of date.  How did that happen?

That station you put together was state of the art, or at least pretty darned close to it.  Now it's yesterday's mashed potatoes.