Posts Tagged ‘disbilities’
Welcome to Handiham World.
Net wrangler WA6DKS starts us out with a Field Day report:
A wonderful Field Day was had by all on the Handiham conference server on Saturday, June 23 and Sunday June 24, 2012 whether you were using Echolink, IRLP, ICQ, WIRES®, cell Phones, the internet, or plain old RF radios. During the two-day period, we had over 500 contacts which included over 12 countries and all 50 of the U.S. states.
The Handiham Field Day ran longer than the official ARRL event, but a good time was had by all whether it was net control operators, backups, check-ins, or just listeners.
Now, isn’t this what the ham radio hobby is all about? Contacts were made with stations from Azerbaijan to China, Nova Scotia to South Africa, and of course Canada and the United States. Wonderful discussions on many topics added to the fun during the two-day event. It was all about laughter, interaction, and fun times. A very special contact occurred with a station in the State of Florida that was “bicycle mobile” using one tenth of a watt of power! (Did I say QRP?!!)
Many of our Net Control Operators and Assistant Net control operators supported each other by recording all of the contacts with the names, callsigns and locations while at the same time making sure that the text box information was recorded during the day and the night. SouthCARS connected to Handiham Conference Server and the Van-IRLP throughout the two-day period after their own net sessions concluded.
This was our second Field Day, and the credit should be attributed to three individuals –Ken Schwartz (W6KHS), Pat Tice (WA0TDA), and Susi White (WA6DKS). The decision among these individuals was that there are lots of ham radio operators throughout the world who do not have an opportunity to attend an ARRL sanctioned Field Day. Therefore, an opportunity should be provided to those who would like to experience the event because (after all) there should never be a distinction made between “able-bodied” and people with challenges not being able to communicate.
All methods of communication were used so that we were assured of making as many state and country contacts by simply sending out e-mails, connecting to other conference servers through the internet, and having the help of Southcars and The Coffee Shop by using their e-mail membership lists and help in sending e-mails to those in that particular region and requesting contacts.
The Handiham organization wishes to thank everyone who participated in our successful 2012 Field Day event whether you were a net control operator, a backup, from Southcars, The Coffee Shop, The World, or any other conference we contacted . Without those of you helping in the background or even checking in, we could not have had a successful event without YOU. The success of the 2012 Handiham Field event is owed to each and every one who helped and we all look forward to next year.
Thank you to Susi, WA6DKS, for that report.
Email me at [email protected] with your questions & comments.
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Station Check at Camp Courage North
Bill, N0CIC, checks out the Kenwood TS-440 station that has been stored several years, since our last Courage North Radio Camp in late 2009. We were pleased to find that the rig worked perfectly and the G5RV and beam antennas were all operational. The rotator also worked and trees were still well clear of the antenna’s rotating radius. An Icom dual band FM rig did not work because of a faulty microphone, so that unit was packed up and brought back to the Twin Cities for assessment and possible repair by a volunteer. Bill and I (WA0TDA) opened the station at Courage North as part of a Veterans open house weekend. While there, I also gave remote base station W0EQO a once-over and found it to be in excellent condition. Our thanks to Bill for his help at Courage North. If you look carefully, on the top of the radio cabinet you will see Bill’s golf ball slingshot, used to launch antenna wires up into the trees. We didn’t have to use it, though.
Speaking of trees, several of you have asked if the tree we planted in memory of Dick Chrisman, AB7HW, is alive and well. Indeed it is, so here is a photo of me (WA0TDA) standing by the once tiny tree which now towers to over twice my height. I sure look like a doofus in this picture, but the tree looks great. We sure miss Dick and Scotty, the Wonder Guide Dog. This photo was taken last Saturday. The tree is just outside the main Dining Hall at Courage North.
Welcome to Handiham World.
Have you ever belonged to a book club or discussion group? Sometimes public libraries or local bookstores sponsor such activities. The idea is for everyone in the group to read a book and then come together to discuss it in a relaxed and cordial atmosphere.
I started thinking about this idea of having a discussion group while I was listening to one of our Handiham nets. As luck would have it, I was also browsing through the e-mail from my local radio club and one of the messages in my inbox had a list of potential radio club program topics. The idea of the book club discussion group and the message about radio club program topics started to mix and merge in my brain. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a discussion topic on a regular basis during one of our nets, but make it related to a particular article about ham radio, much the same as a book club would discuss a particular novel. This would be different than the trivia net in that a roundtable discussion would be essential to make it work. The norm in many amateur radio nets is for the net control station to run the net in what I will call a “linear” format. In other words, the net control station opens the net with a preamble and then follows a pattern of calling for stations to check in with traffic or announcements or just to get on the station list for that day. Once checked into the net, a station operator need not feel obligated to check in a second or third time. In fact, if the net is run in this kind of linear format, the expectation is that permission will be requested from the net control station to “re-check” because it is assumed that once a station has checked in the net will move on to each new check-in in succession.
Of course this kind of linear format will not work in a discussion net. By its very nature, a discussion requires back-and-forth dialogue as ideas and concepts are presented and then commented on by the group. If you were sitting in a room at the library or bookstore with other book club members who have read the book of the month that has been assigned for discussion, how would you prefer that the chairs be arranged? My preference would be to put them in a circle rather than in a long line along one wall of the room. Having chairs in a circle promotes discussion, and what we want in a discussion group is the interchange of ideas. It is not an accident that this kind of ham radio net is called a “roundtable”. Sitting around the table encourages discussion.
So a linear format net is different in that very fundamental way from a roundtable discussion net. If you tune across the amateur radio bands and really get familiar with what is going on, you will soon learn that groups of friends meet at various places on the bands around the same time every day or evening. Most of these groups are really just informal roundtable sessions and did not have a specific net mission or formal structure. There are, however, some discussion nets that are more formal in that the discussion topic may be limited by the group to a particular interest area such as religion or aviation. What I would propose is something just a little bit different in that the discussion topic would change depending on which article is the assigned reading of the week. The net would discuss that particular article and then participants would be able to weigh in with their opinions and suggestions as well as comment on the opinions and suggestions of the other net participants.
One consideration with this kind of a targeted roundtable discussion group is that it tends to work best when there are not too many people trying to participate. If the group gets too large, this will hamper discussion because by the time everybody gets a chance to say their piece the allotted time for the net may be nearly over. As with any kind of a net, everything will run more smoothly when all of the participants know and follow the rules. Some of the basics are:
1. Always yield to the net control station.
2. Stick to the topic.
3. Be sure you have read the article before joining the net as a participant. If you have not read the article, don’t bother checking in but feel free to listen.
4. Try to be as brief and concise with your thoughts as possible so that everyone will have a chance to talk.
5. Play nice! Be respectful of everyone’s opinions.
6. Take notes during the discussion so that you can comment on what has been said while you are waiting for your turn.
7. Maintain good engineering standards for your station and computer system so that your audio is clean and easy to understand.
8. Be on time for the net. Remember, the discussion will begin right away so the expectation is that only the stations who are on time will participate in the discussion. Latecomers are welcome to listen to the discussion.
9. As the discussion comes to a close, be ready with ideas for the next week’s topic. At that point, the net control station can ask for other ideas and see if there is any consensus about the next article to be discussed. Sometimes this will not be possible to nail down, given the limited time available on the air. In that case, an e-mail message with a topic can be sent to the discussion group participants.
10. If the net decides that the topic will be carried over into the next week or that some other follow-up needs to be done, put that in your notes to make sure that you don’t forget to do whatever “homework” needs to be done before the next net session.
You can see that this is a whole different ballgame than the nets that we are used to. Most typical linear format nets require virtually no preparation and ask very little of participants. A discussion roundtable net requires a different level of commitment but at the same time can be a more rewarding experience because of the depth of your participation. Roundtable discussion nets are not for everyone, and no one need apologize if they are just not willing to commit the time and effort that this kind of net requires. I have often found myself tuning around the bands and listening to different roundtable conversations without actually participating. There is nothing wrong with doing a lot of listening – after all, you can learn a lot by listening. If a topic area seems beyond your understanding, listening is probably your best choice until you learn enough to join in. On the other hand, some people are adventuresome and jump off the highest diving board as soon as they get to the pool. “Learn by doing”, they will say, and they might just be right!
This morning I enjoyed listening on 3.930 MHz. “The Morning Group” is up here in Minnesota, but I’m sure you have similar groups located near you. Round table discussions need not be formalized with a net control station, nor do they have to have a scheduled topic. You may find this kind of informal net to be an interesting way to stay in touch with a small group of friends who share some of your interests. On the other hand, a directed net with a net control station can give a formal roundtable with a designated topic for the day just enough direction to make for a lively and fun conversation.
For Handiham World, I’m…
Patrick Tice, [email protected]
Welcome to Handiham World!
If there is any theme that runs through publicity about amateur radio these days, it is generally one about the reliability of our communications in an emergency situation. In story after story that I see ferreted out by Google News, ham radio operators tell the press and the public about the way amateur radio operators can stay on the air to provide vital communications when cellular phones are overloaded or down altogether and other communications infrastructure has failed. The training and volunteerism of amateur radio operators are also highlights of these articles, and the very best of these stories also include some human factor – a volunteer operator who has helped the community, a team of operators who have worked in tandem with emergency personnel to provide backup communications, and sometimes even a victim who owes a debt of gratitude to amateur radio. These are themes that the ARRL has taken a leadership role in promoting, and the evidence is that the strategy has worked. More new hams than ever joined the ranks of amateur radio here in the United States last year.
Quoting from a story on ARRL’s website, “A total of 30,144 new licenses were granted in 2009, an increase of almost 7.5 percent from 2008. In 2005, 16,368 new hams joined Amateur Radio’s ranks; just five years later, that number had increased by almost 14,000 — a whopping 84 percent! The ARRL VEC is one of 14 VECs who administer Amateur Radio license exams.”
Of the many reasons people become interested in amateur radio, the one I have heard most often in recent years is that new hams want to earn a license so that they will have the means to help in emergencies and to be of service to the community. This, among the other themes, has been expertly promoted by ARRL in special websites, publicity releases, articles, and videos. Taking on the erroneous image of ham radio as an “outdated technology” that has been all but replaced by the internet, ARRL answers the questions of why we are relevant in the 21st Century on its WordPress “We Do That Radio” and “emergency-radio” websites.
Well, with all of that in mind, we turn to the large cardboard envelope I received from Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, this week. Matt had told me he was sending me an article, but I was surprised and delighted to see that it read:
Honored by President Obama
Local ham radio hobbyist recognized
The story appeared in the February 18, 2010 edition of the Star-Eagle newspaper, and featured a photo of Matt, KA0PQW, in his well-equipped ham shack. In the article, staff writer Jody Wynnemer explained that when a letter arrived from the White House, Matt had learned that he had been selected to receive a President’s Volunteer Service Award.
“Congratulations on receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award, and thank you for helping to address the most pressing needs in your community and our country”, the letter began.
Matt was recognized for his work with the Community Emergency Response Team in Steele County, Minnesota. He recalled how he volunteered and handled communications during a flood in 2007. It had been nine hours until the National Guard could relieve him, and in the meantime he handled traffic in and out of the flood zone, passing messages to authorities in Winona.
Those of us who know Matt as a Handiham leader and volunteer understand what a great spokesman he is for amateur radio. To paraphrase a familiar saying about politics, all good ham radio work is local – at least that’s how it begins. Local ham radio classes, local Skywarn training, local ARES exercises, local club meetings and programs – and local news stories, just like the one that features Matt. Of course ham radio is worldwide by its nature, but getting the word out about the things we can do really does begin right at home.
Congratulations to Matt, KA0PQW, on this wonderful honor!
For Handiham World, I’m…
Patrick Tice, [email protected]