Active Elements

Welcome To The Active Elements Amateur Radio Website

This site has been created by radio hams for radio hams. We are striving to ensure it is an informative and useful resource for radio amateurs with disabilities. You might be surprised to discover how accessible amateur radio equipment can be, even for totally blind operators!

Equipment Evaluations for Blind and Disabled Radio Amateurs

We are continually working on extending our range of accessibility reviews and evaluations.
If you’re operating amateur radio equipment and you think your experience is of interest, why not write a review or comment for this site and share it with hams with disability.
Read more about our accessibility reviews…

Recordings for Blind Radio Amateurs

We are increasing our library of MP3 recordings of amateur manuals for the blind and print disabled, and if you have an audio manual not listed on the site, please let us know and we will seek permission to host it.
Read more about recordings…

Operating for Radio Amateurs with Disability

Amateurs with disabilities overcome major challenges every day, and here you can find experiences and practical solutions.
Read more about Operating with disabilities…

Active Elements Blog

We are continually adding content to the Active Elements site, and every article, review, and recording gets automatically added to the Active Elements Blog page.
Read the complete Blog.

Staying in touch

M0AID runs two HF nets each week for amateurs with disability on either 40M or 80m, depending on radio conditions. The nominal frequencies are 7.103 and 3.743, but we move up or down a few kilohertz if the frequency is in use.
Times for HF nets are UK local

Wednesday 14:00 and Friday 19:30.
DJ0HF runs an international Peanut/DMR/D-Star net on Mondays at 20:00 UTC. Peanut and D-Star Reflector XRF299S, DMR Talk Group 53085,. This is an experimental Peanut reflector allowing users of different modes to communicate. Tests have been positive, and I would encourage installation of Peanut if D-Star or DMR reception is flaky. You can get more info at:


At the foot of this page, you can click the link and receive notification of new articles via email.
We also run a traditional email group. Just send a blank message to

Navigating Active Elements with a screen reader

We have placed direct links bto every review and demonstration on the Accessible Evaluations page. Each section is marked with a Heading.
The Blog page shows every article submitted to Active Elements, starting with the most recent.
The Search field at the top of every page can be used to search for any text within an article.
Reviews have been placed into categories such as Rig Evaluations. These categories are shown following the text of each article.
If you wish to see all Categories, go to the Blog page, and find the Categories Combo Box.

Useful links for Radio Amateurs with Disability

Active Elements – working to improve accessibility for radio amateurs with disabilities. For accessibility evaluations of amateur equipment and MP3 manuals.
RAIBC The Charity Working for Radio Amateurs with Disabilities. For the loan of amateur radio equipment in the UK, and recordings of monthly magazines and training handbooks.
Hampod for high tech stand-alone talking accessories.
G0MDO Software for White Stick Log and White Stick Rotor.
Ham Radio and Vision for practical information and advice on all aspects of amateur radio for the low vision amateur.
I Can Work This Thing For amateur radio equipment manuals and quick guides.
Courage Kenny Handiham Program
For Technician, General, and Extra Class audio lecture courses, downloadable in DAISY audio, MP3, or streamed from the website as a member service. $12 US annual membership, $120 US Lifetime membership, DX membership free. Hosting remote base HF stations available to members for transmit and receive. They have voice guide modules and are online 24/7 except for service or weather related outages. The members only website contains a manuals and tutorials section, including a collection of rig tutorials in audio format, usually taught by blind users. (Check the Active Elements recordings pages for highlights.) The Program holds a week-long radio camp and shorter amateur radio and assistive technology conferences, offering hands on training in amateur radio operating skills and assistive technology along with in-seat license classes. The weekly e-letter, which is also available as an MP3 download, is free. Members can request a monthly digest of amateur radio magazines in DAISY format on NLS cartridges. Membership in the Handiham Radio Club is available to all Handiham Program members. The Handiham Radio Club hosts a daily net available worldwide:
The new equipment connection program connects people with equipment to donate with those who have requested equipment. Contact the Program at

E-mail groups

To Join he Active Elements email group, just send a blank message to
To join the BlindHam email group, send a message to

Contact the Active Elements Team

please feel free to get in touch with us via our contact page.

6 thoughts on “Active Elements

  1. I would like to state something of import here. Its about the lack of accessibility with most radio programming software. Almost all that are made for most of the radios out there can’t be used by the blind at all. One project that does show some usefulness is Chirp. However, it is only minimally accessible (a lot of controls on the interface are not labeled and can only really be used by us blind hams in Linux only).

    What disturbs me is that the primary developer has pretty much ignored my feature request to make the interface easier to use. I have suggested the use of specific tools from to aid in making his package more usable across all the platforms that it supports. ABout all I have received from him is silence. One of the other users on that mailing list (chirp users) has pretty much stated that they shouldn’t have to cater to such a small population demographic. He further stated that blind hams were so rare that making these changes could not be justified.

    we seriously need to get as many blind hams on that list as possible in order to prove that we are more common than he )or list followers) currently believe. A show of force would certainly drive the point home.

  2. Hello All,

    What a useful resource. Thanks to all who contribute.

    About accessible software. Isn’t Ham Radio Delux still available? As far as persuading a developer to include access. It would be better to support the developer by positive
    encouragement. Developers are creative people and the first step of a software project is to identify the problem and who would be potential users. If that particular problem was solved. Better accessibility usually creates a better environment for all users. Makes demonstrations and help documentation easier.

    Let’s encourage their creativity
    and thank them for their support to the ham community.

    Gena M0EBP

  3. I have been involved with. The active-elements/RAIBC and enjoyed every moment.
    G0MAS, Alan / GOMAS to His Friends

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