Handiham World for August 24, 2020
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of August 24, 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…
The Handiham Radio Club is getting more radio-active! If you have not yet joined the club, please send an email to Pemdy to let her know you want in. The only membership requirement is that you are a current member of the Handiham Program. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 1st, at 5:30pm Pacific, 6:30pm Mountain, 7:30pm Central, and 8:30pm Eastern, on Zoom. You can access the meeting via your telephone or computer. The meeting invite will be sent via the new Handiham Radio Club email list.
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 beginning on September 28th. Class sessions will use Zoom and will be available via the internet or telephone. Each session will also be recorded, so participants will have access to any sessions that cannot be attended live. If you are interested in attending, 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 MyEye Pro, another article about the Hurricane Watch Net activation, and a new interview with another of the participants from the recent 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
OrCam MyEye Pro
The new OrCam MyEye Pro is a revolutionary voice activated device that attaches to virtually any glasses. It can instantly read text from a book, smartphone screen, or any other surface, recognize faces, help you shop on your own, work more efficiently, and live a more independent life. Features include color and object identification, barcode scanning, facial recognition, smart reading, orientation, and a new companion app. The OrCam MyEye Pro conveys visual information audibly, in real-time and offline. To read more, check out the website at: https://www.orcam.com/en/myeye2/
To watch a video review about the OrCam MyEye Pro from Sam at The Blind Life, go to: https://youtu.be/tqAN6hlnn4I
From the Mailbag
I think this new Handiham Radio Club email list is a fantastic idea. This is a place where we can post new ideas. If we have questions about a problem with ham radio equipment or questions about Echolink, we can ask them there. Maybe there is some new equipment you would like to tell everyone about. This is the place to do that.
I really enjoy the radio club, and I think adding this will be really helpful for all Handiham members. Also, it is a great way to keep in touch with one another. I am looking forward to getting more involved with it.
I also want to extend a special invitation to those who have never been to a Handiham Radio Club meeting. Please join us next Tuesday, September 1st, for the next meeting.
Linda Reeder, N7HVF
Interview of the Week
This week, we get to hear from Austin, KA3TTT. Austin was one of the participants in our recent virtual Get on the Air class and has found ways to keep active in the hobby, even though he lives in an apartment. Please join us for the first part of his interview.
LM: Hi Austin, how are you?
AS: All right.
LM: So, how did you originally get into ham radio?
AS: It started—honestly, one of my earliest memories is playing with a radio. I remember, I must have been around one year old or so. I remember hitting it, and it made this squealing sound. And it had buttons and knobs, and it really intrigued me. I remember being worried about getting in trouble, but I also thought it was really cool. So, I started playing with radios when I was young. And I was around them a lot when I was a kid.
AS: Then I remember my parents took me to the Franklin Institute here in Philadelphia. I would have been seven or eight years old. The Franklin Institute Science Museum here in Philly is a famous one, and at the time, they had a ham radio room. Unfortunately, they don’t now. I wish they could bring it back. But at the time, they did, and this would have been in the mid-80s.
AS: So, we went to the ham radio room, and that was just it. I was just hooked. I remember turning the big knobs, the VFO. I remember the iambic code keyer that just fascinated me. I remember on the trip home asking my Mom and Dad to please get me a ham radio. That’s what I want. Please get me a ham radio. And they said okay, you have to take your test and get a license. And I said, okay, that’s fine. You know, when you’re a kid, you’re always having to take tests, so you know, whatever.
AS: So, when I was ten, I started studying. Oh, my Granddad, who is no longer with us, flew sea planes in World War II in the Navy. And he made a Morse code chart, and my Mom—she was always doing these kinds of things for me—she made it on poster board with Elmer’s glue, so I could feel it. And I put it up over my bed, and that’s how I would go to sleep at night, I would just read the Morse code chart. That’s how I would go to sleep at night when I was a little kid.
LM: That’s great!
AS: Yeah! So, I started really studying when I was ten. I remember they had these tapes called Tune in the World. I don’t know if you remember that.
LM: Oh, yeah.
AS: Yeah, you remember them. I think they might have been through ARRL.
AS: I was a kid. I don’t know. I just know I ended up with them somehow. But I loved those, and I listened to those constantly. And I took my test when I was twelve, my Novice. And I passed my Novice. Then, I discovered Handiham at some point. I think someone else in the radio club that I was a member of may have also been a member. I guess that’s how it worked, looking back now. It must have been, because we went to one of the radio camps together. I went to the first radio camp—I went to one in California. And my family was going on vacation also, so we all made it work. But I didn’t pass. I was going for Tech, but I failed my Tech the first time.
AS: It’s funny, the clearest memory I have of the California, I guess it was the Malibu radio camp, was at some point they were having a meeting where they were discussing some more administrative stuff. And they were saying, we need to figure out why more Californians aren’t coming to California Radio Camp. And an older woman piped up, because we don’t listen to the part that says sunny. That’s my clearest memory, that and failing the Tech exam. But that’s how it goes. And I roomed with my buddy, Tom, N4TMD, and I’m getting him back into the hobby, so that’s good.
AS: Then, in Minnesota, I went back to another radio camp. I think we landed in Bemidji? I remember taking this harrowing plane flight, and it scared me so much. I was a little kid, and that plane flight kind of scared me. And it was cold too, like you guys get real cold there.
LM: Yeah, we do.
AS: So, there was that going on, so there was no fun in the sun. Although we did have fun. I remember we went to the Mississippi River, and we took that boat around. But it was down to business, and I passed my Tech and my General and my Extra Class code.
AS: So, I made up for chillin’ in California in Minnesota. And it was a great time, so I have good memories of Radio Camp when I went as a kid. And then I got out of the hobby when I went off to college. Some people were kind of mean to me locally, and that can happen, unfortunately, when you’re a kid.
AS: So, I went off to college, and stuff happens. So, I got out of the hobby, and I wish I wouldn’t have, but that’s how life goes. And I think a lot of hams seem to follow this trajectory. I’ve been hearing that. And they get back into it later in life.
AS: And for me, what happened was that I started getting headaches and severe eye pain and having to deal with chronic pain and going on this whole healing journey and really getting back to my life purpose and figuring out exactly what that was and rebuilding myself because I crashed. And I realized at some point while going through this whole journey, I had to get my hobby back. And I realized that was one of the things that I had lost, and that was one of the reasons that I had burned out, because I didn’t have a hobby. I just kept working and burned out. I said, I’ve got to get my hobby back. I’ve got to get back into ham radio.
AS: But now the challenges. At the time, of course, I lived in the suburbs, so I could put an antenna up in trees and such. I had a doublet up in beautiful trees. I lived in Swarthmore, which won one of the TreeTown USA awards. They’re very proud of their trees in Swarthmore, and rightly so. And here I live in an apartment now because I wasn’t even thinking of ham radio. I probably wouldn’t have picked this place if I was because they don’t allow outdoor antennas. But I already lived here, so that’s how it went.
AS: So, I was like, whatever, I’m getting back on the air. So, I got a Kenwood TH-D74a. That’s a good talking HT for the blind. I got a better antenna. I got a J-pole, and I started checking into a local net. And I started listening a lot more. I noticed as an adult that I listen a lot more. So, I started checking into a net, and I joined a local club, the Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club, who are really awesome, great club. They do the WM3PEN event every year with the 13 Colonies. You might know them from that.
LM: Yep. I’ve worked it before.
AS: Yeah. Good. That’s them. I would have been on the other end, but we’ll get to that. Anyways, so I joined them, and I realized I wanted to get back on HF, really, because I just had so much fun on HF as a kid. There’s something about the sounds, on VHF and UHF too, but there’s something about the sounds, especially HF. I don’t know—there’s something about the sounds, the atmosphere, radio. There’s something about it that’s just always soothed me.
AS: So, I did a lot of research, and I put together a station. I have an Elecraft KX3, a wonderful QRP radio, and I have an Alpha Loop, a magnetic loop antenna, and that’s my main HF antenna. I’ve got a few loaded whips. I can also go up to the roof deck of my building, so sometimes I can go up there. So, I’m back on 80 through 10 meters, 2 and 440. I still have to get 6. Once I get 6, I’ll be all bands, so I’m really happy. I just got back on 80 meters, which I’m super happy about. Yeah, I’m back, and I super happy about it, even from my apartment and even with all the challenges and the high noise and all the issues and the RFI and all that. It’s all worth it. It’s part of the challenge. No matter where you are, you’ll have challenges.
LM: It’s part of the fun of being a ham, the fact that you can do more than just plug and play.
AS: No. You’re right, and one of the hams from my local club said that too. He said, if it were easy, it wouldn’t be fun. I said, you know, you’re absolutely right about that. Oh, and let’s not forget the low solar conditions as well.
LM: Yeah, this cycle has left a lot to be desired.
AS: Yeah, this is when I’m getting into it. But I thought it was cool. I’m glad I’m getting into it at the worst possible time. It’s like buying a house in the rain. If I build my station now, I know what it’s capable of.
LM: That’s it!
Stay tuned for the next part of our interview with Austin airing next week.
Ham Radio in the News
Hurricane Watch Net Activated for Marco and Laura
The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) activated for Hurricane Marco on Sunday. Marco is forecast to make landfall on Monday afternoon. According to Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, HWN Manager, this activation will line up reporting stations for both Marco and Laura, which is expected to impact this same region later in the week. According to Jim Coleman, AI5B, Louisiana Section Emergency Coordinator, Louisiana ARES is on alert status in preparation for the storms. Additionally, emergency communications kits from ARRL Headquarters have been staged in Louisiana to be ready for use. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/hurricane-watch-net-to-activate-as-louisiana-braces-for-marco-and-laura
A Dip in the Pool