Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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

  • News in Assistive Technology

  • Interview of the Week

  • Ham Radio In the News

  • Win Some Handiham History Loot

  • Equipment Connection

  • Check into our nets!

  • ...And more!

A note from the coordinator...

It has been an especially busy week, leaving me little time to work on the E-Letter. Thankfully, Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, had an opening in his schedule and was able to participate in a last second interview today.

In the Handiham Program office, Nancy is almost caught up with the backlog of work from her vacation. The outcome of the contagious “upgrade fever,” something that spreads rapidly in the ham radio community in the winter, has left her recording a lot of license class changes. Congratulations to all the Handiham Program members who have new band privileges on the radio! Your hard work is to be commended! Remember, if you need to update anything like your contact information, call sign, license class, membership, or members only log-in information, you can email Nancy at Nancy.Meydell@allina.com.

Answer the Handiham History trivia question correctly to be eligible to win the prize, another mug this week! Winners will need to respond, confirming their contact information before we send out your prize. Please note: only current Handiham Members are eligible to win.

In the E-Letter this week there are some links shared by a long-time Handiham Program member and an interview with another long-time member and volunteer, in addition to all the usual stuff.

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@allina.com or by calling me at 612-775-2290.

News in Assistive Technology

Dick Garey, WA0CAF, contacted the Handiham Program this week to share the following links:

List of Commands to Launch Specific Settings Page Directly in Windows 10: https://www.askvg.com/list-of-commands-to-launch-specific-settings-page-...

Copy, Paste, General, File Explorer and Windows Logo Keyboard Shortcuts Available in Windows: http://www.majorgeeks.com/content/page/here_are_all_the_copypastegeneral...

Joseph Lee's recently-completed audio tutorial on NVDA is now available as a DAISY book, via this direct download link: http://www.josephsl.net/files/nvda18/DB-Welcome_to_NVDA_2018-by-Joseph_l...

Interview of the Week

Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, has been with the Handiham Program as a member since the 1980s and as a volunteer since the 1990s. Matt is a proponent of AM in addition to being an accomplished musician. Today, he is speaking with us from his home in Ellendale, Minnesota. While the interview airs in the podcast, an edited transcript is included below.

Matt, KA0PQW, at the Handiham Radio Camp in 2013.  He is sitting at a desk operating a Kenwood 590 radio using a handheld microphone” width=

LM: I want to welcome Matt, KA0PQW, to the Handiham World podcast today. Let’s get started. How many years have you been in ham radio?

MA: Well, 35 years.

LM: 35 years!

MA: Yep. 1983, I got started.

LM: That’s a long time! What got you into the hobby?

MA: Oh, I’d been on the CB band before that, for several years. And a bunch of friends had gotten into ham radio, and I decided I wanted to as well. I’d had a couple of opportunities to get started, and they had fell through. Finally, when I was 18, I went ahead a got it done. I started out with a little TenTec Century 21 rig from the Handiham Program that did CW only, and I had a vertical antenna for 80, 40, 15, and 10, because that is what we could operate at the time. And I learned the code and the study materials for the novice ticket. I got on the air in 1983 using strictly Morse code, and in 1984, I got my General. Then I started getting my own equipment, my own “junk,” things like a Heathkit DX-35, National NC 300 receiver—I still have the receiver—and other old junk along the way. Eventually, I got into VHF, UHF, weak signal and repeaters. I don’t know, I’ve kind of pretty much done it all at some point or another.

LM: Out of everything you have done in the hobby, what has been your favorite?

MA: I’ve had a lot of fun with the VHF/UHF weak signal stuff years ago, up until a few years ago when the activity level dropped off a little. I sort of worked about all you can work with my set-up, anyway. But that, and, of course, operating AM on HF has been a big bunch of fun the last few years. Operating vintage equipment down on 75 meters and other bands on HF has been a lot of fun recently. I guess I have generally enjoyed it all. You know, everything I have been involved with has had some good come out of it in some way or another.

LM: If you were speaking to someone who was thinking about getting into the hobby, what would you tell them?

MA: Well, I’d tell them to definitely pursue it, you know. And learn the material as you are studying for your test. Don’t just memorize—try to actually learn the concepts. And start slow—don’t do like I’ve seen some guys do where they decide to set up some huge contest station. They go out and spend a huge amount of money putting up this huge station only to find it isn’t quite what they thought it would be for them. Always start out small and figure out what your niche is.

LM: That makes sense because there are so many different things you can do in the hobby. It’s hard to know what you are going to like until you try things.

MA: That’s right. And make sure what you want to try is realistic for you. Don’t decide you think you are going to do EME if you have a big antenna restriction problem.

LM: That would be kind of difficult.

MA: Don’t decide you are going to put up a repeater if you live in an apartment and have nowhere to put it.

LM: That would get really interesting! How did you get started as a volunteer for the Handiham Program?

MA: Well, let’s see. I had been to camps in the 80s as a student. And then Chris Peterson, KG0PB, worked for the Handiham Program at the time. He talked to me about it, and since I was getting involved with doing a lot of power line noise tracking, he thought that would be a good skill to teach. I talked to Pat Tice about it at the time, and he thought it would be a good idea. So I just kind of started with that and started going to camps and teaching whatever it is that I know to teach.

LM: What was your first year as a volunteer at camp?

MA: It was 97 or 98, maybe. I don’t remember exactly which year. I think I started with a Minnesota camp, and then I went to California. At that time we had Minnesota Camp up north at Camp Courage North.

LM: What was your favorite thing to teach at camp?

MA: I kind of enjoyed all of it. I’ve enjoyed teaching people how to get on the air and getting people to make contacts and stuff—especially when it’s on 2 meter sideband or some band that I am really interested in. It was fun to see new people get on and using it when we used to do that. My best part was getting people on the air. Otherwise, I was the always the one that had to run around making sure all the buttons weren’t getting pushed.

LM: That’s good. Somebody’s got to do that!

MA: That was always fun!

LM: It sounds like it was. What got you interested in noise hunting?

MA: Well, I didn’t have any choice. When I moved to Ellendale, I started setting up my ham radio station only to realize I had a huge noise problem. It was affecting all the bands, the AM broadcast band all the way up through 70 cm. And it was loud in every direction—20 over S9 at 70 cm in a 360 pattern. You couldn’t hear anything. So I started looking around and realized that it went away when the rain came. And when the rain quit and it dried out, it came back. I knew then it had to be power line noise. So I started looking using my old Icom 202 portable with a quarter wave whip antenna and a battery, and I started looking and finding it.

LM: Did you solve the power line noise problem?

MA: Pretty much. Every once in a while, things break. It seems like I’ve always got one or two that I am chasing that are intermittent or a little hard to find. Eventually you find them and get them fixed, and then another one comes along. Or a street light—a street light will do the same thing when they go bad. But, yeah, that’s what got me interested in noise hunting, just because I had to. I had to solve my problem so I could operate my station.

LM: Now I understand you’ve also done some work in emergency communications. Why don’t you tell us a little about that.

MA: I’ve been involved with Emergency Communications in Steele County off and on for the last twenty years. In 2007, I and some others from Steele County went over to Rushford, MN, where they had a major flood. The river had pretty much taken over the town. For the rest of the day, until the Nation Guard got there, I was the main communications resource in and out of Rushford to Winona through the 146.64 repeater, which barely worked. That was quite an experience being the only communications in and out of that town. It was very chaotic, but, in the end, everyone was happy and everything got done. I have helped do some damage assessment here in Steele County when we had a flood one year. Otherwise, I have mostly helped with drills and community events like parades. I think the Rushford incident was the biggest actual emergency I was ever involved in.

LM: How did you get started in emergency communications?

MA: I kind of stumbled into it like a lot of stuff and through the radio club. At that time, the city maintenance man was the emergency management director for the city of Ellendale. I kind of wanted to get ham radio back into it. In my county, ham radio had not really been active in emergencies for a number of years. When I was young, ham radio was involved with Skywarn and things, so I wanted to see that again. So I pushed for it, and the radio club, when it got back going again, pushed for it as well. It has been interesting working with them on the emergency management trailer and stuff like that that we have. It is good to be involved with that stuff and to have a good relationship with your county.

LM: What sort of advice would you give to someone who wants to get involved in emergency communications?

MA: Make sure you are kind of yourself. Don’t push your way in, but just learn the ropes little by little, showing them that you can handle emergency situations. They kind of put me in charge because they knew my skills as a net control station.

LM: So you proved yourself in other areas, and then you were able to move into emergency communications.

MA: Exactly. That’s the reality of it.

LM: I appreciate your taking the time to talk with us today. We will have to do this again some time.

MA: 73 to everybody then, and I hope to hear everybody on the air.

LM: Thanks so much.

Ham Radio in the News

National Hurricane Conference in Late March to Include Amateur Radio Session

Logo for the National Hurricane Conference with a red hurricane signal flag” width=

The yearly National Hurricane Conference theme is “Improving Hurricane Preparedness.” Not surprisingly, an Amateur Radio session will take place during the conference, and the impact of ham radio in the response to hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria will be addressed. You can read the entire article at the following link: http://www.arrl.org/news/national-hurricane-conference-in-late-march-to-...

Win Some Handiham History Loot

Here is your chance to own a piece of Handiham Program history! This week, we are offering a Handiham mug. This isn’t just any mug, however. This mug is old enough to say Handiham System rather than Handiham Program! If you want a chance to win this mug, make sure your membership is current and answer the following question:

Cream-colored mug with Handiham System Handihams since 1967 printed in blue and red on the front” width=

What award did Ned Carman receive on May 6, 1972? (Hint: Check out past E-Letters from 2017 if you are not sure of the answers to these questions.)

You can send your answer via email to Nancy.Meydell@allina.com or call 612-775-2291. Make sure to include your name, call sign, license class, and current contact information. We will pick the winner on Tuesday, February 27.

Equipment Connection

photo of Icom IC-7200 with LDG auto-tuner and power supply.” width=

I will be contacting people who are already on the equipment request list, starting this week. I will begin with people who have been on the list the longest. While we are not soliciting new equipment requests at this time, I will make an announcement when we are ready to open up the list to new requests.

Many thanks to the numerous people who have offered equipment for Handiham Members since the announcement of our new and improved Handiham Equipment Connection. If you have equipment that you would like to donate to a Handiham Program member, please email Lucinda at Lucinda.Moody@allina.com or call 1-612-775-2290.

Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome! 

How to find the Handiham Net: 

  • The Handiham EchoLink conference is 494492.  Connect via your iPhone, Android phone, PC, or on a connected simplex node or repeater system in your area.

  • The Handiham Net will be on the air daily. If there is no net control station on any scheduled net day, we will have a roundtable on the air get-together.  

    Cartoon multicolored stickman family holding hands, one wheelchair user among them.

Our daily Echolink net continues to operate for anyone and everyone who wishes to participate at 11:00 hours CDT (Noon Eastern and 09:00 Pacific), as well as Wednesday evenings at 19:00 hours CDT (7 PM).  If you calculate GMT, the time difference is that GMT is six hours ahead of Minnesota time during the winter.

Doug, N6NFF, poses a trivia question in the first half of the Wednesday evening session, so check in early if you want to take a guess. The answer to the trivia question is generally given shortly after the half-hour mark. A big THANK YOU to all of our net control stations and to Michael, VE7KI, the Handiham Radio Club Net Manager.


  • You can pay your Handiham dues and certain other program fees on line. Simply follow the link to our secure payment site, then enter your information and submit the payment. 

    • Handiham annual membership dues are $12.00.  The lifetime membership rate is $120.00.

    • If you want to donate to the Handiham Program, please use our donation website.  The instructions are at the following link:

  • As always, while our other services require that you have a current Handiham Program membership, you do not have to be a member to receive the Handiham World E-Letter.

How to contact us

There are several ways to contact us.

Postal Mail:

Courage Kenny Handiham Program
3915 Golden Valley Road MR#78446
Golden Valley, MN 55422


Preferred telephone: 1-612-775-2291
Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442)

Note: Mondays through Thursdays between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM United States Central Time are the best times to contact us.

You may also call Handiham Program Coordinator Lucinda Moody, AB8WF, at: 612-775-2290.

73, and I hope to hear you on the air soon! 

For Handiham World, this is Lucinda Moody, AB8WF

The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is available to everyone free of charge. Please email Nancy.Meydell@allina.com  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.

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