Monday, October 26, 2009

Courage Center Handiham System | Ham Radio & technology for people with disabilities

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 21 October 2009

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham System. Please do not reply to this message. Use the contact information at the end, or simply email

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Welcome to Handiham World!

Check out our YouTube video of the new station and office space at Camp Courage. It's sure not a professional video, since I made it with a hand-held Sony camera designed primarily for still photos, but it does capture standard definition video with sound.

Well, as we have been reporting, the Handiham headquarters station and offices are moving to Camp Courage. Most of the move has been completed, and now we begin the process of getting things organized. Most of our contact information remains the same. The website will be maintained and will have the latest news.

Thursday, October 15 was the "official" moving day, but as anyone who has ever moved an office or household knows, the movers get the boxes and furniture off the truck and into the new space, and then they leave and there you are with the feeling that the real work is about to begin.

And so it is: You have to get things situated, and with a ham station that means you have to plan for antennas and power. Fortunately, we already had a station and antenna in place at Camp Courage, and even though it is really not up to the standards we would like, it is a functional installation. When I arrived to meet the movers, I determined that the station would stay in its current location, near some windows with good lighting and proximity to antenna cabling and power outlets.

The antenna is a GAP vertical, and the station transceiver already in place was an old Kenwood TS-430. I quickly decided that a rig without a built-in voice module for our blind users was simply not acceptable. I unpacked and installed a Kenwood TS-570SAT and a Kenwood power supply in short order and situated it on a desktop immediately to the right of our station cabinet, one that is similar to those at Courage St. Croix and Courage North. The TS-570SAT tuned the GAP vertical immediately on 75 meters, which was quite a relief - after all, it was raining and around 45 degrees outside, and I didn't feel like stringing up another antenna!

My first contact from W0ZSW at Camp Courage was with Lyle Koehler, K0LR, who was net control for the popular regional net called "PICONET". The net meets mornings and afternoons on 3.925 MHz, and has a long history of collaboration with the Handiham System. Lyle, you may recall, is our volunteer engineer in charge of the remote base station at Courage North. Lyle might have been just a little generous in reporting an S-9 signal from W0ZSW, but at least we are able to get out on the GAP, so the station is usable.

There is no VHF/UHF antenna at Camp Courage, so that is definitely something that needs work. Our location at the Camp Courage Reception Center is a good one, because there is already a TV antenna mast on the building, and we could probably get an antenna on that mast without too much trouble. In the meantime, I was able to check in to the daily EchoLink net using a computer. Since Camp Courage is located about 40 miles west of the Twin Cities, the VHF/UHF situation is completely different than it was for us in the metro area.

There is also a working tribander for 20, 15, and 10 meters on a 50 foot tower. The rotor and coax leads are terminated in a different (but nearby) building.

I am a member of Handihams, and love it! For $10 a month, I get support for my Ham radio hobby, and someday, I hope to be able to afford to go to Radio Camp again. The staff are caring and professional, and very knowledgeable about how to adapt equipment, how to get help in your community, and provide info on the Web site to help you pass your exam. If you have a disability, and want to be prepared in an emergency, check out Handihams. You might just discover a great hobby, and new friends.

Posted via web from Dannis' Posterous From DanniStories

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