Handiham World for 01 December 2010

Welcome to Handiham World!

View of IC-7200 and other gear on the WA0TDA operating deskYes, this morning’s web cam photo reveals that the WA0TDA ham shack is still not as tidy as it might be.

The magazines on the left are ones I use for researching equipment and recording for our blind members, the IC-7200 is in the center and an LDG AT-200PRO tuner sits on top of the rig and takes care of touching up the SWR on the Windom and vertical antennas. Mounted below the cabinet to the left of the Icom is a Yaesu FT-2800M, a 2 meter radio that’s just plain reliable and easy to use. If you have sharp eyes, you might be able to make out the NHK World coffee mug my son Will, KC0LJL, brought back from Tokyo for me. The IC-706M2G is out of sight below the edge of the desk. Tidying up the ham shack is always something that needs doing, but is generally scheduled for “tomorrow”. Now that the new year is so close, I can make it a new year’s resolution. That’s called creative procrastination!

December already.

It hardly seems possible that we are nearly at the end of 2010. When I think back on all of the things I had planned to do this year, it seems that many of them are still on the “to do” list, especially the work I knew needed to be done to bring my ham shack up to par. The one big thing I did manage was acquiring and installing the new ICOM IC-7200 transceiver, a vast improvement over my aging and cranky Yaesu FT-747GX. The main ham shack computer was also replaced and both ham shack computers were outfitted with Windows 7, bringing much-needed updates to the operating systems. Left undone were all but the most essential antenna maintenance, and this leaves me with antennas that really should be upgraded or replaced altogether. Well, it’s 15°F with a stiff wind and snow out there in the backyard right now, so the chances of getting the motivation to do antenna work seem pretty slim. I miss having my EchoLink node operational, but have simply not had the time to set it up and put it on the air. The node had been working just fine, but when I replaced the ham shack computer that ran the node, I ran into some configuration problems with the new machine and with many other things clamoring for my attention, the node simply had to go silent. On the positive side I was able to configure Ham Radio Deluxe to control two rigs at the same time to simplify logging. Now that I have written all of this stuff down, maybe I didn’t do so badly this year after all.

Meanwhile, back at the office…

Scissors cutting a dollar bill - budget cuttingHandiham World Screenshot

2010 has been a challenging year economically for nonprofit programs like ours. Still, when I think back to what we accomplished during 2010, we managed pretty well. We completed the office move to Camp Courage, which was no small accomplishment. Thanks to help from volunteers, we were able to get an excellent wire antenna strung up so that remote base station W0ZSW could be on the air from Camp Courage. Remote base station W0EQO was maintained in working order throughout the year and remains an excellent resource at Courage North. We managed to run a successful Minnesota Radio Camp at Camp Courage, the first radio camp in many years to return to that location after a long run of successful sessions at Courage North. We maintained and even expanded the online audio offerings available to our members any time from the Handiham website. Again, thanks to volunteer assistance, we were able to maintain the audio cassette tape availability to our members who still do not have access to computers. We were able to publish the Handiham World Weekly E-Letter all year long with very few interruptions in all of its various formats including the weekly podcast. A summer print edition of Handiham World with a giving envelope was also published and distributed.

In your mailbox soon…

Now, as we approach the end of the year, a new print edition of Handiham World will soon be arriving in your mailbox. It has Handiham news, but it also contains that all-important giving envelope. Please consider using the giving envelope to send your tax-deductible gift in support of the Handiham System again this year. As I said, it has been a challenging year for nonprofits. Our parent organization, Courage Center, has worked hard to be as efficient as possible, and all of us have had to work very hard to provide a high standard of service. That includes the Handiham program, which has seen its share of belt-tightening over the past year. If you support what we do it really is critical to step up to the plate at this time of year and use that giving envelope.

We really appreciate it, and thank all of our members, volunteers, and supporters.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham System Manager

Pat Tice, WA0TDA, is the manager of HANDI-HAM and a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].

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