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Access to Amateur Radio for the Disabled


Accessibility to ham radio is largely hit or miss--excellent products come and go.  Even when good products are available, it may be necessary to modify existing equipment.


Amateur Radio Disability Access by Steve Appleyard G3PND.

Gary Gordon K6KV describes hands free CW operating with Build a Puff-and-Sip Key.

Articles for the Sight Impaired

  • Meet the Swailer!   QST January 1986, pp. 37-39
    A simple device that enables sight impaired hams to "read" an SWR meter by adjusting the transmitter/antenna tuner controls while comparing the pitch of two consecutive audio tones until they are as close as possible.
    Click here for accessible version
  • The Squawker: A Light Detector  QST July 1987, pp. 35-37
    Technical Correspondence, QST December 1987, p.44: Squawker Checks Coax
    This simple device is an aid for a blind amateur. Sighted amateurs, however, are sure to find at least one of the applications mentioned here suited to their purpose.
    Click here for accessible version
  • A Talking Wattmeter  QST July 1988, pp. 15-20
    Listen! Your wattmeter's talking to you -- if you've got the Orator hooked up to it, that is!
    Click here for accessible version
  • The "Beeper": An Audible Frequency Readout for the Blind Amateur QST Sep 1983, pp. 19-24
    Feedback, QST Jan 1984, p, 49
    A BCD-output frequency counter, a decoder and an oscillator produce a tone to tell you when your transceiver is tuned to a predetermined frequency.
    Click here for accessible version
  • The SHARC Audible Current Meter  QST April 1979, pp. 22-27
    When Raymond Andrews, K0LZR, president of the Sand Hills ARC, suggested that club members design a special radio aid for blind amateurs, he got results.
    Click here for accessible version
  • An Audio Tone-Shift Power/SWR Meter  QST September 1979, pp. 28-29
    Adjusting a pi network or an antenna-matching system requires visually handicapped amateurs to have a "third hand." This modified SWR indicator is an answer to that need.
    Click here for accessible version
  • A Morse Readout for Your Digital Dial  QST November 1979, pp. 33-37
    Modern instrumentation has introduced new problems for the visually handicapped. What to do about dials, frequency counters or multimeters that have digital readouts? For sightless radio amateurs, William H Alliston, W3ICB offers this practical solution.
    Click here for accessible version
  • A Relative-Indication Audible Meter Reader  QST March 1997, pp. 36-39
    This simple circuit allows blind - and sighted - hams to identify meter readings audibly.
    Click here for accessible version
  • FREQ-Mite-A Programmable Morse Code Frequency Readout
    QST December 1998, pp. 34-36
    This simple, one-evening project delivers a rig's frequency with dots and dashes
    Click here for accessible version

Web Links

  • Live YouTube demo of QLog (By W2JDB) and WSJT-X for the Visually Impaired HAM
  • Courage Center's  Handi-Ham blog
    Technology for people with physical disabilities - Amateur Radio - Shortwave Listening - Computing - Ham Radio Education -- Camps
  • Oscilloscope for the Blind
    The vOICe Learning Edition can be used in combination with a regular oscilloscope, allowing blind users to hear any oscilloscope trace.


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