Handiham World for August 17, 2020
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of August 17, 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…
Thanks to the success of the 2020 Virtual Get on the Air class, we are already working on plans for the next Get on the Air session, likely in January of 2021. If you want to be placed on the list to receive an application, please contact Pemdy.
The Handiham World E-letter list along with Handiham Notify and the Handiham Radio Club lists are moving to Groups.io. Please keep watching for invitations to the new lists. 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 lists. Please note, while Handiham World is available to everyone, only current members of the Handiham Program are eligible to join Handiham Notify and the Handiham Radio Club lists. 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 on September 28th. 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 send you an application.
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 8) has more information about the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative, which is not just for college students. 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 OrCam Read, another article about a new IARU working group to address HF digital mode congestion, and a new interview with one of the participants 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 new OrCam Read helps people who are blind or visually impaired to read printed material. This device also works for anyone who has a reading impairment including dyslexia. The OrCam Read has physical, tactile buttons, improving accessibility. It also has two modes, a full-page scanning mode and a section mode. In the section mode, it will read only the part that the device is pointed at rather than the entire page. The smart reading setting helps you find specific information rather than having to read an entire page to find what you are looking for. To read more, check out the website at: https://www.orcam.com/en/read/
To watch a video review about the OrCam Read, go to: https://youtu.be/q9zCNwA4xbc
From the Mailbag
That dip in the pool question made me think that there are a good number of hams who have never adjusted a squelch knob. I don’t think you use that on a DMR or other digital radio, and there is no such knob on a Baofeng or similar FM handheld. You can press a side button to open the receiver, and there is a software setting to determine how tight the squelch is set.
I discovered the “CQ Ham Radio” podcast. They also put the podcasts on YouTube, so you can search for CQ Blind Hams as well.
After many tries, I got a registered DMR code from http://radioid.net. Some pitfalls include setting a complicated password and having the password field change to green. I had to borrow my wife’s eyes for that. Then I had to upload a copy of my license to the site. Once that was accomplished, I got the code in under an hour.
73 for now,
Mark Senk, WB3CAI
Interview of the Week
Lifetime Handiham Program member, Johnny Ott, WA8WFH, joined me for an interview over the weekend to talk about his experience at the recent Get on the Air class. Please join me for the conversation.
LM: So, today we’ve got Johnny Ott. He was one of the attendees for the recent Get on the Air class that we had. And welcome, Johnny! Why don’t you start out with a little bit of your impressions about the class.
JO: Well, it’s a completely different experience, and I had to do it—I don’t know about the rest—but I probably the only one that I’m aware of that had to do it completely on the phone because my computer is not acting like it should. That was completely different as well. I enjoyed it, though. Now, of course, you got to remember that me being in an assisted living place, there was always interruptions between physical therapies and taking temperatures and oxygen and blood pressure and who knows what all.
JO: So, a lot of it, I had to be in and out, I guess you would say. I had everything left on, but I was in and out. So, I don’t know if anybody was looking for me any time that I wasn’t around, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hated to see it come to an end. I can’t wait for the next class to take place, which I guess will be another phone session as far as I know, the way things are going now. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was just wonderful.
LM: Well, I’m really glad you enjoyed it, Johnny, and yeah, for the time being right now, we are going to have to do Zoom sessions until we can safely do in-person stuff again. And I really think we are going to just continue doing Zoom stuff anyway, even when we can do in-person stuff again. So, you’ll just have more stuff you can attend.
JO: Yeah, we just Zoomed right in and out, didn’t we!
LM: Oh, Johnny!
JO: Ah, that’s one thing I missed that you get to do at camp, like I said at the end of the last session. See, at camp we get to do one-liners and quotas, stuff like that. Here, it was a little bit more subdued, but it was all right.
LM: Yeah, we did have to keep things a bit more subdued just because you have so many different people, and with getting people’s mics open and muted and that kind of stuff, it does limit some of the free-form activity that takes place at camp.
JO: That’s true. And I like the way you broke up each session. You had 45 minutes with a 15-minute break. Then you had another 45, with a two-hour break for lunch. Then another 45 session with a 15-minute break, and then the last one would be another 45-minute session. And on that last session on the last day, there was not a dry plastic eye in the place. Everybody hated to see it end.
LM: Yep. We had some really delightful comments that people shared on that last day talking about how much fun they had throughout the week. I know the instructors really enjoyed it too, so it was kind of a good time had by all. But, Johnny, you have a unique perspective because you’ve attended a lot of radio camps over the years, and now you’ve attended our first Zoom event. So, what do you think, and how do the events compare?
JO: Oh, that’s a good question. Well, with camp, you had a lot of preparation, and then you had to worry about being dedicated unto being medicated—you had to make sure you had all your stuff with you, make sure you had all your pills and stuff just in case. And then, of course, you had a lot of the other activities as well. You had the entertainment and the bon fires and the s’mores, and you thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, you sometimes wondered if you were in a bug-infested jungle or something, but you had a chance to learn how to play with different pieces of equipment.
JO: And, in my case, and I know with some other people as well, you got to do things for one solid week that you knew you wouldn’t be able to do until the next year. And for some people, that was their, not only their event of the week, but their event of the year—something you could really look forward to. There was more action, more things going on. And, of course, you had your class sessions, and then you had test day, and you got to be involved with that, especially if you were a VE. It was one kind of experience, and I think you had more people attending camp if you included everybody than you would with this online or on-the-phone adventure. And you got to learn, and you picked up new skills. You learned new things.
JO: With the Zoom sessions, they were okay, but they were completely different. There was a lot of things that you missed by not being at camp. And then some people had to worry about time differences. Now, for people like you and I, it was no problem because we’re all in the same time zone. And the part that I really liked was when you and especially your fellow Michigan instructor started to talk about stuff. And when you mentioned different places and things, I followed you exactly. I knew exactly what you all were talking about, and boy does that bring back memories.
JO: So, I think it’s like apples and oranges, two different ways of doing things, two different experiences. And then, of course, you begin to wonder if we’re going to return to camping next year or whether we will be confined to doing it the way we did it this time and the way we’ll do it for the next class. If you were to ask me, which did you like better, that’s a hard question to ask because you’re talking about two completely different worlds or universes. You really—it’s hard to compare the two because they are all different things.
LM: That makes sense.
JO: So, that’s about the best I can do.
LM: That makes a lot of sense, and from listening to you talk just now, I get the feeling that you like both of them, and you’d like to do both.
JO: I did like them both, yes. I liked each and every one of them. That’s all right.
LM: Well, we sure enjoyed having you join us last week, and you asked some good questions in the classes and were able to participate. And even though you were only able to connect via phone because of computer issues, you were quickly able to master the skill of raising your hand virtually and navigate all of that, so I thought it worked really well.
JO: Yep, that’s very true. And I liked the way we tried to do a virtual net. That was very interesting as well.
JO: The other thing, though, at the camp, we could devote—like we did one day to emergency and public service. And we actually simulated an emergency. We weren’t really able to do that while Zooming away, like we would at camp, but I still enjoyed it. I enjoyed both, and I’m looking forward to the next session. That’s going to be very interesting too, how we’re going to do that one, and especially how I’m going to be able to do it, because I do want to maintain my code speed, and I’d like to, although I guess I don’t really need it—it’s a skill that you acquired over the years, and you do want to hang onto it.
LM: Oh, yeah.
JO: Because you never know when you might need it, even though it’s no longer a legal requirement.
JO: You do it because you want to and you enjoy it and you want to be able to improve it and never let it go.
LM: Most definitely. Well, thank you so much for taking the time, Johnny, to do this little interview and let us know about your experience. Again, it has some special meaning because you’ve been to lots of radio camps and now this event.
JO: And I’ve enjoyed both, and I want to continue. And that, by the way, is why I am a life member. It’s a great investment!
LM: That’s right, Johnny. Well, thank you so much for doing this, and I hope you have a great week this week.
Stay tuned for a new interview airing next week.
Ham Radio in the News
IARU Announces HF Digital Mode Band Plan Review
To reduce congestion from increasingly popular HF digital modes, an International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) working group has been formed to create solutions that prevent interference from incompatible modes as much as possible. In this history-making effort, representatives of all three regional band-planning committees are working together to accomplish this goal. This is the first time all IARU regions have directly joined in coordinating band planning. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/iaru-announces-hf-digital-mode-band-plan-review
A Dip in the Pool