PICONET History


Home
History

Courage Handi-Ham System was "born" in Rochester Minnesota in 1967; the idea of Ned Carman, W0ZSW. Ned worked for a clinic, and, in the course of his work, would visit people with severe physical disabilities. As he spoke with his clients, who often had few opportunities to leave their homes, he realized that Amateur Radio would be the perfect hobby for them. Here was a hobby that could open a window to the world! A person with the most severe disabilities could stand as an equal with fellow hams in the world of Amateur Radio.

Ned enlisted the help of a group of local nuns, the Sisters of St. Francis, on April 30, 1967. Although their first action was as weather watchers during a thunderstorm that passed through Rochester that day, the Sisters were committed to helping Ned with his new project, and several received their licenses. Among them was Sister Alverna O'Laughlin, WA0SGJ, the former Educational Coordinator for the Handi-Ham system, now retired.

The first Handi-Ham was Edna (Eddy) Thorson, N0YL (former WA0RRA), who took her General Class license exam in December, 1967.

Very soon the Rochester Amateur Radio Club and a little later the PICONET of South Eastern Minnesota took up the torch of service that Ned had lighted. Word of the Handi-Ham System spread rapidly throughout southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.


Pat Tice - WA0TDA@arrl.net