Handiham World for October 5, 2020
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of October 5, 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 our first session of the 2020 Morse Code Class last week, and the instructors and students quickly got the hang of using the virtual platform. Tom, KB8TYJ, did
an excellent job as our first week’s instructor. This week, Jim, KE5AL, another member of the instructor team, is teaching. In addition to a recording of the class session, students also got another recording with more practice to help solidify what they learned
last week. If this class sounds like something you would like to participate in, you can ask Pemdy to put you on the list for the next class in 2021.
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 in February 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. Invitations have gone out to everyone on the old Handiham E-letter and Handiham Notify lists. If you haven’t received one, please contact Pemdy for assistance. Once you are subscribed to the new lists at Groups.io, you will be unsubscribed from the old lists. All you have to do to subscribe is reply and send when you receive the invitation. You don’t have to type anything additional in the email to be subscribed to the new lists. Just like with the old Handiham World E-letter and Handiham Notify lists, you can’t post emails to the new lists. The lists are only for receiving notifications and E-Letters from the Handiham Program. 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 enjoying the improved accessibility with Groups.io.
The new Handiham Radio Club email list is the place where members can post, ask questions, and share their experiences with amateur radio and assistive technology. We have so many talented and highly experienced members in the Handiham Radio Club, making this an invaluable resource for information. If you are a Handiham Program member and would like to join the Handiham Radio Club email list, please contact Pemdy.
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 9) has more information about properly tuning signals on the HF bands along with some information on transceiver tools that will improve your listening. 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. 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 Dot Mini smart device, another article about slow-scan television being transmitted from the ISS, and the next part of a new interview with Diane, KK6LOE, our new Handiham Radio Club Net Manager. 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
Dot Mini: Smart Device for the Visually Impaired
The Dot Mini allows people who are blind or visually impaired to access books and audio with ease. Content can be loaded from an SD card or via USB. Dot Mini has a 16 cell braille display, and, using the integrated translator engine, Dot Mini can provide access to millions of e-books in braille. Not just a braille device, the integrated audio gives the user more options. The device is lightweight and compact, making it convenient to carry, yet it has 8 GB of internal storage. Because Dot Mini uses open source technology, capabilities will expand over time. You can learn more by going to their website at: https://www.dotincorp.com/dot-mini
From the Mailbag
Lucinda and all,
I was pleasantly surprised to read about myself in the September 28 issue of Handiham World! Thank you for your kind words. I actually included a sentence in my bio for the ARRL article that mentioned my involvement with Handiham, but unfortunately it was omitted.
Let’s hope that next year can bring about an in-person Radio Camp!
Hi Lucinda and all,
In my hands I am holding a braille book, but this book is a first. It’s an antenna book! It’s called Small Antennas for Small Spaces, and it’s by Steve Ford, WB8IMY. I bought the print copy from ARRL and then sent it to Midwestern Braille Volunteers. They are a non-profit organization providing braille transcription of printed material. They also provide embossing services for material already transcribed into braille. They can work from several computer file formats or from print copies. Their website is www.mbvol.org.
So, now I am reading this excellent antenna book. It’s in six volumes, and it was under $200 to get it brailled. So, if you want to read that book, they have the file and will braille it on request. In my opinion, you should go for it. I think you’ll love the book. I couldn’t put it down. I read two volumes in just the last 24 hours!
Interview of the Week
This week, we hear more from Diane Fisher, KK6LOE, our new Handiham Radio Club Net Manager. Diane possesses both a love for the hobby and excellent interpersonal skills, making her an obvious choice for net manager. Please join me in welcoming Diane back for the next part of this interview.
LM: So, you ended up with a membership in the Handiham Program, and right away, you got a job in the Handiham Radio Club. What’s next for you?
DF: I guess the sky’s the limit. In fact, one of the things that’s really cool is that tomorrow night on one of the team talk chat servers in the blind community called, Out of Sight, I’m doing an event, and it turns out perfect because what we’re going to talk about is technology, the new technology that ham radio has to offer and its accessibility to blind people.
DF: And just this morning, I was made aware, and I haven’t had a chance to listen to the latest Amateur Radio Newsline report, but there’s a blind net now on Echolink, so, how timely!
LM: That’s great! And one of the things that happened after the Handiham Program got up and going again after we had about a year and a half where the Program was kind of in limbo when Pat Tice had retired and before I came on board, one of the things that happened was that we moved from being under the Sports and Rec Department in what used to be Courage Center, now it’s Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute—we ended up moved to under the Assistive Technology Department. And it has been such an interesting and, I think, very well fitting move because now we are in a department that focused on what can be done to make things work for people with all kinds of disabilities, and it just fits so well with what this Program does.
DF: Wow. That is awesome. You guys have done so much—Handiham has done so much for disabled hams, not just the blind. You have people with varying differences in disabilities as well as varying degrees of disability. And it’s so neat that there is an organization available to them, or to us—to all of us—and it’s just a really refreshing thing to know.
LM: It’s kind of neat because we are unique. There’s no other organization in amateur radio that is specifically focused on serving people with disabilities. And the Program is also unique, considering this year we celebrated our 53rd anniversary. Non-profit programs don’t usually get to celebrate anniversaries that far along. And we’re just growing. The Program is getting busier with more members and more people getting more active, which is a great problem to have.
DF: Oh, yes. Absolutely.
LM: It is really neat to see all that is happening and changing and growing, even in the middle of a pandemic. We were uniquely suited to grow things a little differently. We had to limit our in-person activities for this year because of that, but we started implementing other activities which were virtual-based, and so the Program just continues to grow and get bigger.
LM: And the radio club is now getting more active. For people who don’t know, the Handiham Radio Club didn’t used to do a whole lot. They met once a year at Radio Camp, and that didn’t leave a whole lot of options for activity. And, when I became Radio Club president, this was a number of years ago, I suggested that we ought to be more like a typical club and have regular meetings.
LM: And so, we started working on that, and we had quarterly meetings for a few years using a program that allowed people to dial in to one number and talk to each other. But technology wasn’t the greatest. And it meant that often people were not able to hear, or they were trying to talk, and it wasn’t picking them up. So, then when I got this job, I, of course, had to resign from my position as president, and so it went to the vice president, which was Linda, N7HVF.
LM: And then last year at Radio Camp, Linda was reelected as president. And she has been president at different times throughout the years, so she comes to the position with a lot of experience, which is nice because we have a couple of new people. Tom Behler, KB8TYJ, who is vice president, and John Glass, NU6P, who is secretary are both new to the Radio Club. So, Linda comes in with all kinds of experience, and the other guys come in with a whole lot of life experience that can support Linda, so it’s kind of a really good mix.
LM: One of the things I realized this summer when we got our Zoom account was that we could go back to holding regular Radio Club meetings via Zoom. While it still got a little bit crazy just because of how many people were there, we were able to use the Zoom controls to start muting people, so others could still hear what was going on and communicate with each other. And I think as we do more of those meetings, we are going to get better at it.
DF: Oh, absolutely.
LM: It’s just neat to be able to offer more regular club meetings and having the club get more active. And moving the club mailing list—we had an old email list that wasn’t that convenient, and moving the list to Groups.io is another way of helping the club become more active, letting club members support each other. We have really talented people in the Handiham Program membership. There’s just a lot of really talented people.
DF: Yeah, you’ve got musicians, you’ve got all kinds of people—and tech savvy people. I like to think of myself as tech savvy, and I’m noticing there are a lot of talented people as well.
LM: And the more we can let members know that they can ask their questions directly on the Radio Club email list, the better. Instead of getting just one opinion from me, they can get input from multiple different people with different disabilities. Or maybe they can even get an opinion from somebody who has the same disability they have, which means even more.
LM: So, there’s some pretty neat stuff coming along here as things change, and again because of kind of being forced a little bit. Originally, we were planning to have Radio Camp, but then we couldn’t. We realized that things have to change right now, and we had to look at ways we could still make things happen and have it be good.
DF: It goes along with that old saying: If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And I think there’s a lot of lemonade going around.
LM: Oh, yeah! There’s a lot of lemonade being made in the Handiham Program, and it’s really good.
Stay tuned for the next part of our interview with Diane airing next week.
Ham Radio in the News
An ARISS Slow-Scan TV Event from the ISS is Scheduled
An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) slow-scan television (SSTV) event from the ISS began on October 4th and is scheduled to run through October 8. Of course, the dates and times are subject to change if necessary due to priorities on the ISS. The main theme in the images transmitted will be satellites. Hams who participate in the event can post and view images on the ARISS SSTV Gallery. Additionally, after your image is posted, you can get a special award by following the instructions provided. To learn more, go to: http://www.arrl.org/news/an-ariss-slow-scan-tv-event-from-the-iss-is-scheduled
A Dip in the Pool