The Radiometer Waits for a Sunny Day


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The Handiham Program

Pat behind Handiham booth display at Dayton Hamvention.
Representing the Handihams at Dayton has always been fun.






Visit the Handiham Site

The Courage Kenny Handiham Program provides tools for people with disabilities to learn Amateur Radio and technology skills, and to earn their Amateur Radio licenses.

This sounds pretty simple and straightforward, but what is really happening behind the scenes is that people with disabilities who join our program are going to quickly learn about new technologies, including assistive technologies that will help them in other aspects of their lives, not just amateur radio.

By working through the process of earning an amateur radio license, Handiham members become familiar with setting goals and following a plan to achieve them. Handiham members also become part of a worldwide community of amateur radio operators.

This community is alive with opportunities for all sorts of life enhancing activities. One can make friends on the air, stay in touch with other Handiham members who might use similar assistive technology such as blind-friendly computing systems and radios, take part in competitions throughout the year thanks to the many awards and contests going on nearly all the time, and learn more about “STEM”, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

An important aspect of amateur radio has always been to offer assistance to one’s community and to one’s fellow amateur radio operators. The Handiham program emphasizes these values and encourages our members with disabilities to “give back” by participating in public service through their local amateur radio clubs and to volunteer to help others.

The mission of our parent organization, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, is “To empower people with disabilities to reach their full potential in every aspect of life.” The Handiham program takes its members through a process that builds confidence, achievement, planning, friendships, and volunteerism in service to others. While these values have always been a part of amateur radio, we realize that they transfer to all aspects of a successful and happy life.

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Teaching a Ham Radio Class

Pat reads ARRL Extra Class book
Teaching an Extra Class ham radio license course requires lots of reading.

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Talking Banknote Identifier

As part of the U.S. government’s meaningful access initiative, the Bureau of Engraving And Printing (BEP) will provide an iBill® Talking Banknote Identifier at no cost to all eligible blind or visually impaired persons who request one.

Beginning September 2, 2014, in partnership with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, the BEP will begin a pilot program where NLS patrons can pre-order an iBill® currency reader.  Currency readers will be widely available to eligible others beginning January 2, 2015. NLS patrons or folks who want to become an NLS patron can call 1-888-657-7323 to pre-register to get a currency reader when the National program rolls out in January 2015.  Once you register in September, you will be on the list for the first shipment of readers to go out in January, or you can wait and sign up in January when the program is opened up to all blind and low vision folks. If you have questions prior to September 2, 2014, you can call The Bureau of Engraving and Printing at 844-815-9388.

iBill® is a currency reader device that provides a convenient means for blind or visually impaired individuals to identify Federal Reserve notes (U.S. currency).  Its compact “key-fob” design allows it to be carried in a pocket or purse, clipped to a belt, or attached to a keychain or lanyard.

The iBill® is a fast and accurate means to identify all Federal Reserve notes in circulation – $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. It is convenient and easy to use. Just insert a Federal Reserve note into the device, press the button on the side, and the denomination is identified. The denomination is announced in one of three ways: a clear natural voice, a pattern of tones, or a pattern of vibrations for privacy. The vibration mode also assists people who are deaf and blind. The iBill® operates on a single, AAA battery which typically lasts for more than a year. The initial battery is included. The iBill® does not identify counterfeit banknotes. Banknotes in poor physical condition are indicated as un- identifiable and are not read.

In addition to distributing currency readers, the BEP will also add a raised tactile feature and continue to add large, high-contrast numerals and different colors to each denomination that it is permitted by law to alter.

For more information about the U.S. Currency Reader Program please go to

Identify U.S. Currency with Your Mobile Device

EyeNote® App

EyeNote® is a free mobile device application developed by BEP for people who are blind or visually impaired. It is built for the Apple iOS platform and allows users to scan Federal Reserve notes and communicate its values back to the user.  The app is available as a free download on the Apple App Store℠.

The IDEAL® Currency Identifier

BEP assisted in the development of another app that operates on the Android platform.  The IDEAL® Currency Identifier is available as a free download on Google Play.





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Linden tree attacks buried coaxial cable!


tree root pushes buried coaxial cable up to the surface
This once-buried coaxial cable was actually pushed right up to the surface, where it could be seen in the grass. The root had to be cut through and a section removed to allow the coax to be reburied.


coaxial cable pulled taut by root
You can see how the upward pressure from this root has stretched the coaxial cable so tight that it is deforming. The cable’s dielectric would have failed eventually.



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Dog with tennis ball
Please play with me!

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WA0TDA Remote Base HF Station

The WAwa0tda remote control screenshot0TDA HF Remote Base station is offline due to the lack of an IP address.

The station is an Icom IC-7200 running 100 watts to a 200 foot wire antenna, center fed with 450 ohm line and a current balun. The LDG AT-200 Pro antenna tuner allows operation on 160 through 6 meters.  The rig control software is the free W4MQ client by Stan Schretter, W4MQ.  The software is currently hosted at, where you can download the software and read about how to install and use it. The host software is also available for download – everything is free.  You don’t need the host software unless you are planning to operate your own remote base station.

Audio for this station is ported through Skype.

Other remote base stations allow access through Echolink for receive only.  Check out W0ZSW-L and W0EQO-L HF remotes, which are both Kenwood TS-480 stations.  Use your Echolink search function to find the stations in your station list.  Connecting to them is easy – and you can control the frequency via the text box in Echolink. The WA0TDA station does not have this feature at this time, but you are welcome to use the other remotes to receive via Echolink.

Transmit privileges on W0ZSW & W0EQO are available to Handiham members.  Both stations are equipped with speech frequency readout for blind users.  USA licensed amateurs whose living situation does not allow for antennas may be considered for operator privileges on WA0TDA.  Please email



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Snow helmet

Helmet formed by snow covers a boulder in Woodbury, MN park near Wilmes Lake.
It pays to be prepared! This boulder wears a helmet made of snow near the trail by Wilmes Lake, Woodbury, MN. Since it is 21 December 2012, obviously it is an “end-of-the-world helmet.

This rock wears a snow helmet on end-of-the-world day, 21 December 2012.

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Two ways to look at a remote base station

Here we see the remote base station behind the scenes. There are two switching power supplies feeding the Kenwood TS-480HX radio.
Here we see the remote base station behind the scenes. There are two switching power supplies feeding the Kenwood TS-480HX radio.
USB microphone and LCD monitor show remote base software interface.
USB microphone and LCD monitor show remote base software interface.

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