Handiham World for August 10, 2020
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of August 10, 2020
This is a free weekly news & information update from the Courage Kenny Handiham Program, serving people with disabilities in Amateur Radio since 1967.
Our contact information is at the end.
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Welcome to Handiham World.
In this edition:
A note from the coordinator…
We had a great time last week at the first Handiham Virtual Get on the Air class! I was impressed with how both participants and instructors were able to quickly adapt to the virtual platform and keep the classes very interactive. The instructors provided interesting and informative content, and the participants contributed their experiences and asked questions to further their knowledge. We are already talking about when we will hold the next virtual Get on the Air class, so stay tuned!
The Handiham World E-letter list is moving from Freelists to Groups.io. Over the next week, you will get an invitation to the new list. All you have to do to subscribe is hit reply and send. You don’t have to type anything additional in the email to be subscribed to the new list. We are looking forward to the improved accessibility with Groups.io.
As we adjust to the changing times, we are offering new classes for Handiham Members, including a weekly Morse code class to begin in the fall of 2020. Class sessions will use Zoom and will be available via the internet or telephone. Sessions will also be recorded, so participants will have access to any sessions that cannot be attended live. If you are interested in participating, please ask Pemdy to place you on the list.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, we are not working from the office right now. We are still able to check our phone messages and return phone calls, and mail will be picked up as often as possible. Of course, the best way to get in touch with us during this time is via email.
Along with the release of the new On the Air magazine, the magazine for beginner-to-intermediate ham radio operators, the ARRL is also doing a monthly podcast to take a deeper look at some of the topics and projects included in the magazine. The latest episode of the On the Air podcast (Episode 7) focuses on how to properly solder a PL259 connector along with a discussion of courses that will help improve your public service skills. You can check it out at http://www.arrl.org/on-the-air-podcast.
If you are having trouble receiving your E-Letter, you can always go to https://handiham.org/wordpress1/weekly-e-letter/ to see the latest E-Letter. Additionally, you can go to https://handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 to listen to the current podcast. These links are updated each time a new E-Letter and podcast is released.
Pemdy and I will be working during our usual hours this week. Due to the class next week, however, I will be unavailable for routine requests. If you call the Handiham Program office, please leave a message, and we will return your call as soon as we are available. When you leave that message, don’t forget to leave your name, phone number, call sign, if you have one, and the reason for your call. Also, if you send an email, please include your name along with your call sign, and the reason for your email to speed up the response time. As always, if you need to update anything like your contact information, call sign, license class, membership, or members only log-in information, you can email us at handiham@....
In the E-Letter, there is an article about the new eSight 4, another article about a ham making history traveling to the ISS, and a new interview with two of the instructors from last week’s virtual Get on the Air class. Of course, you can also find the regular articles you see here each week.
Do you have a story to share about assistive technology or ham radio related activities? Please send your articles and stories via email to Lucinda.Moody@... or by calling me at 612-775-2290.
News in Assistive Technology
The eSight 4 is a wearable assistive technology device for individuals with low vision. It offers many features such as digital video magnification, color filters for reading, customizable scenes, and the ability to view streaming media. You can pair this device to the companion app to extend its functionality even further. To read more, check out the website at: https://esighteyewear.com
To watch a video review about the eSight 4, go to: https://youtu.be/SAhGsqyANz4
From the Mailbag
Dear Pemdy and Lucinda,
Nice Handiham letter. I liked Matt’s comments too. I have been busy sorting out my junk boxes and trying to keep the old-time radios working. I am also busy on the air with COVID-19 on the MARCO Net on Sunday mornings with grand rounds—when we do not have thunderstorms, that is. Thanks for the great newsletter and keep healthy,
Doctor Dave, KN0S
I’m writing to let you know about Aira as a free service. After you download the app, the first five minutes are free. If you need additional help, you can call back and get the same agent to finish your task. This is a great service. I just wanted to pass this on. To get the app, go to the App Store for IOS or the Google Play store for Android and search for “Aira.”
Thanks and 73,
Dan Marshall, KG5WBO
Interview of the Week
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of interviewing John Glass, NU6P, and Tom Behler, KB8TYJ, two of our instructors for the virtual Get on the Air class last week. Please join us for our conversation.
LM: I wanted to record something today for Handiham World, and I figured you two would be good ones for that just to give people a little idea of what went on last week. And it’s kind of cool, because that was the first virtual event for the Handiham Program. So, you guys got to be a part of history!
JG: That’s great!
LM: I just figured we could go around and talk a little bit about what you noticed and what you liked. You were both instructors, and we’ve already gotten a lot of feedback from participants that they really enjoyed it. Why don’t we start out with Tom. You taught several classes over the first two days and the last day. Let’s hear your impressions of what happened last week.
TB: Okay. I taught the basic introductory sessions the first day, sort of on basic radio operations, just kind of going over some rules of the road, sort of reviewing basic procedures, and even sharing some funny stories about things like VOX, for example, and why you have to be careful with VOX. And I was really pleased because one of the things I was worried about during that session and all of the sessions was, would we be able to get as much participation from the class members as we wanted, and we did. I really think we did. I was pleasantly surprised.
TB: So, I taught the basic radio operations parts, and then I taught the net control sessions. We even simulated a net using Zoom. We had to change things around a little bit, but we managed to do it. Again, it wasn’t quite as nice as the real thing where you’re actually checking into a real net like we did last year with the Handiham net or the PICOnet, but still, I think it gave people an idea of how all that works.
TB: And then I did a little section on emergency communication, and then Friday, in the last sessions, I did an overview with logging. And again, I was really, really worried about that because I didn’t know how we could get the N3FJP logging software to play with Zoom. But it sort of did. I had to jury-rig things here and there, and I know it wasn’t probably very elegant, but at least it worked, and people got an idea of logging and the various logging possibilities, and how something like the N3FJP software works, and what you can do with it.
TB: So, overall, I think it was an absolutely excellent week. I really do, and I’m saying that honestly. And I think especially, since you consider that it was the first time we did anything like that. And we’ve all learned things, and now for the next time around, we’ll put those lessons into effect and make it even better.
LM: That’s the nice thing about looking back on what you do, and you can find out what went well, what do we want to continue, what do we want to improve. But I really thought the participants did a great job with the first event for the Program on Zoom, and they quickly got the hang of raising their hands and being able to participate in the sessions. And that’s one of the things I really liked about this platform is that it was truly interactive. People weren’t just listening, they were participating.
TB: Yep, yep.
LM: John, why don’t you share a bit about what you taught this last week?
JG: Well, I headed up two sessions this last week. The first one was on UHF and VHF simplex and repeaters, and that one was kind of fun for me because I went back and wrote up some notes of my memories when I first got on 2-meters back in 1975 after getting my General Class license. And I told people a little bit about the history of repeaters and how they were originally put together from surplus commercial equipment. Also, I mentioned to people that most operators back then were crystal-controlled, which meant that they had a limited number of channels in their radios.
JG: And then we moved on a little bit to more modern radios. We talked about what is necessary information to have in order to get your radio programmed up to operate on a local repeater. We discussed resources for finding local repeaters and had some really nice questions as a result of that presentation.
JG: The second one that I was involved with was digital communications modes for VHF and UHF that you can operate with a handheld or mobile radio. And we talked about Echolink, IRLP, and Allstar. Those are modes, of course, that can be used with your standard analog radio.
JG: And then we moved into some of the modes which require a digital radio, such as DMR. We talked about D-Star, and John Farina, W2QCY, gave a nice demonstration of that mode. We mentioned Yaesu System Fusion and APCO-25 and got some really nice questions about those modes. And people seemed to enjoy the presentation. I actually got some comments afterwards from people who would like us to delve a little deeper into some of those modes in future presentations. People had some questions about how you get your radio programmed up on the local repeater and select the local talkgroups and conference rooms to communicate through and that sort of thing. So, I’m hoping that in the future, we’ll have more time to spend on these modes.
JG: And you know, I just have to honestly say that it was a wonderful experience for me being an instructor because not only was I able to talk about some things that I know a little bit about, but I also learned a lot too. And some things that I learned about were the digital mode, FT-8. I really enjoyed the presentations on logging. Matt Arthur’s presentation on weak signal work on VHF and UHF gave me some tips on things that I want to try in the future.
JG: And I think it was really just a nice opportunity to get to know the other instructors and many of the participants a little better. And so I really had an enjoyable time, and like Tom said, it was a great week, and I’m really looking forward to the next time that we’re able to put something like this on because I always come away feeling like I have learned a lot and met some really nice people whenever I’ve attended a Handiham event. I’m very excited about continuing this and really look forward to the next time that we’re able to get together.
LM: Thanks, John. This is actually your third event that you’ve done since the Handiham Program got back going in 2017. You’ve been at all three of them, and Tom’s been at two of the three, so you’ve gotten to see how the Program is progressing. And, of course, we didn’t think this was the direction that the Program was going in this year, but with circumstances the way they are in 2020, our hand was forced in a different direction. But I think in the end, this is actually going to be good for the program because this is a way we can reach even more people. Yes, we’re still going to bring back in-person events when it is safe to do so, but this gives us a way to reach people that can’t come to the in-person events and be able to have them participate and learn and grow and be able to develop their skills in the amateur radio hobby.
LM: And the next thing, coming up just around the corner, we are getting a Morse code class going this fall. And then, after this event went so well, we’re going to be planning the next virtual Get on the Air class, so there’s lots of good stuff to come.
JG: And a big thank you to you, Lucinda, for pulling it all together. You did a great job.
TB: I want to echo that too. You really did, Lucinda, and I think other people have recognized that. And I look back at the schedule, and I look back at what John said, and what I said in the beginning—we have in Handihams an incredible number and variety of very talented people that represent, and I think it’s going to be even more true in the future, a cross section of amateur radio and all the various aspects of it.
TB: I know I have a few suggestions for future sessions, and I think you said there’s going to be a survey coming out where I can put it down in writing, but we have an incredible group of people here. And it’s just absolutely amazing to see it all come together virtually, which was no small feat, really. And I think, Lucinda, you headed it all up, so you’re definitely to be commended.
LM: Well, thanks, Tom and John. You know, it’s interesting the amount of talent that is in the Handiham Program. You realize that all but one of the instructors are also members of the Program. So, we aren’t bringing in outside people to teach this, we’re doing it from within, and I think that’s pretty amazing.
JG: Yeah, that really is nice. And, like Tom, I have a number of ideas for future sessions that I’ve been compiling, and I’ve actually been writing them down, so I won’t forget them. And some of these suggestions were made during the question and answer sessions that we had this last week. And also, a couple of them are ideas that I’ve come up with. I think there’s going to be no shortage of material. There are plenty of topics that we can cover for amateur radio that will keep us going well out into the future.
LM: Oh, definitely. I think this expansion of the Handiham Program is going to be a good thing for everybody involved where people can learn and grow. And what I’m interested to see, is next time we have an in-person event, I’m interested to see how this impacts that, because I think if people come in with more knowledge and more training ahead of time and more experience, it’s just going to make the in-person events even more special because it gives us a chance to really focus on the hands-on activities because we’ve done all the other stuff ahead of time, virtually.
TB: Yep, absolutely.
LM: I really appreciate you guys teaching this last week and all the work you put into this and the help and support because running a Program with two people—we couldn’t do a whole lot if it wasn’t for all the volunteers, so it means a lot.
JG: Thanks for having us.
TB: Thank you.
Stay tuned for a new interview airing next week.
Ham Radio in the News
Radio Amateur Takes Part in Historic First Commercial Human Spaceflight to ISS
Over the years, amateur radio has played a significant role in space flight, and this latest mission was no exception. Bob, KE5GGX, was one of two NASA astronauts who made history when they were part of the first commercial human flight into space. This was the first spaceflight to carry humans from the US in nearly ten years, following the retirement of the space shuttle program. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/radio-amateur-takes-part-in-historic-first-commercial-human-spaceflight-to-iss
A Dip in the Pool