Recently I found out I wanted the latest and greatest in some amateur radio software used on the desktop system thompson at home. So I upgraded ubuntu again. This system has run Ubuntu versions 8.04, 10.04 and 12.04, so it does show all those upgrades work!Read the rest of Upgrading a desktop system to Ubuntu 14.04 (for newer amateur radio software!)
This evening when I had time to play with the radio the HF bands I can use were already 'silent'. But I left the setup running om 14.070 MHz in fldigi in PSK31 mode. This is the recommended standard frequency for PSK31 in the 20 meter band, so a lot of people will try there first. I saw a CQ call from EA9BO and fldigi filled in the country as Ceuta & Melilla which I did not recognize. Which means one thing: a contact with a new country! I was able to answer his call after he had contacts with a few other stations and he got my signals and we had a short QSO. Afterwards I looked up Ceuta & Melilla which are the two autonomous Spanish cities that are within Morocco. Again amateur radio learns me new things about geography! I already have looked up a number of interesting city names in eastern parts of Europe because of what I received as the cities of radio amateurs I had contacts with. Oh and this is the first contact on the African continent.
: Interesting observations about the relationship between having time for radio and the chances of the bands being open...
: First reports of QSO's with UT1FG/MM seen on twitter and on the Amsat mailing list.
A rare opportunity to work otherwise impossible grids at sea!
: When I started with amateur radio and read about contesting I thought that would not be interesting for me.
But a perspective can change when you give it a try. I had a look in our club station when they were in the Sunday morning hours of the CQWW SSB contest last October and after some people convinced me to give it a try on 10 meters I spent the next hour or so with a headset and the logging program trying to get a few new calls in the log. And the previous weekend I tried some digimode operations and found out the UBA PSK63 prefix contest was going on. I checked my contest macros when I had time and made 10 QSOs and submitted the log. And this weekend the bands looked like http://idefix.net/~koos/newsitem.cgi/1421505951 and it made me consider working a bit on the setup at home so I can do voice on 20 meter (current 20 meter antenna is just right for digimodes but SWR gets too high on the voice part).
I like using the Wide-band WebSDR in JO32KF to check the actual conditions on the HF bands and to see if there are interesting voice contacts possible. Today I had a look at the 10 meter amateur band but it has no propagation at the moment. But the 20 meter band is doing fine and as visible in the waterfall display it is busy. A look at the HF contestkalender van PG7V op de Veron site (Dutch) confirms this: the HA-DX contest International Radioamateur Short Wave Contest organized by the Hungarian Radioamateur Society is active this weekend. I decided not to participate on 20m voice: the SWR of my attic dipole gets to high in the voice part, triggering the SWR warning on my transciever.
: Just finished listening to this episode. I started having more time for podcasts recently, so I'm going to hear stuff less than 6 months old soon!
Anyway, enjoyed the episode. The repeated mentions of CQRLOG mean I really have to give it a try. Currently using fldigi but I'd like to keep track of which QSOs were confirmed through eqsl/hrdlog/paper qsl. And I'd like to do some more voice qso's, logging those in fldigi is a bit of a long way around.
Yesterday I switched on the radio for a bit and when I responded to a PSK63 CQ I received a four-digit serial number. I assumed some contest was going on and responded with serial 1001 because some contests require 4 digit serials starting at 1001. After that I found out I was right, the UBA PSK63 Prefix Contest was going on. But we had other plans, so that was just one QSO. Today I had some more time before 12:00 UTC to play with the radio, changed the contest macros a bit for this contest and tried making more contacts. In total I made 10 contacts so it's just a checklog for the others. Contesting is more fun than I expected when I first heard about it. And contesting in digimodes has its interesting things. I made all contacts in the 10 meter band, this is becoming my favourite HF band at the moment.
I wanted to track a ride I made on my recumbent bicycle, but without uploading the track details to some cloud service. The trackdata does include where I was at what time and that's not something I want to share. The solution is available and simple: use a local GPS tracker which saves a GPX file. I found one for android: Open GPS Tracker which gives me a file in the end which I can process myself. This application can also display the track on a google map/openstreetmap/opencyclemap (when available). The colour scale is the speed, you can see the influence of the heavy wind last Friday. Cycling on my recumbent on the dike of the Lek river is great.
: Always keeping an eye on pskreporter when I'm working in PSK31 or other digimodes
A problem I did not expect to see: a harddisk getting close to being too cold. This disk in the weather station computer in the shed is a laptop harddisk and according to the specs the minimum operating temperature is 5 degrees Celcius, which was reached last week when the shed dropped just below 2 degrees Celcius.
Promptly after fixing the previus leapsecond file I get the IERS Bulletin C number 49 today which states:UTC TIME STEP on the 1st of July 2015 A positive leap second will be introduced at the end of June 2015. The sequence of dates of the UTC second markers will be: 2015 June 30, 23h 59m 59s 2015 June 30, 23h 59m 60s 2015 July 1, 0h 0m 0sAnd I notice the IETF seems to update the canonical leap-seconds file about two months after the decision is made by the IERS. It's a good thing ntpd starts complaining when the file is about to expire. Update 2015-01-06: An update was available from ftp://time.nist.gov/ but only when I connected over IPv6. An interesting form of IPv6 promotion. Notice the difference in messages between the old file and the new file loading:Jan 5 13:54:33 ritchie ntpd: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3644438400'): good hash signature Jan 5 13:54:33 ritchie ntpd: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3644438400'): loaded, expire=2015-06-28T00:00Z ofs=35 (no entries after build date)Jan 6 10:14:17 ritchie ntpd: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3629404800'): good hash signature Jan 6 10:14:17 ritchie ntpd: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3629404800'): loaded, expire=2015-12-28T00:00Z last=2015-07-01T00:00Z ofs=36
: Probably illegal in several countries: filming fireworks with a drone.
But it gives an awesome result!
Found via https://mancave.conrad.nl/vuurwerk-quadrocopter-indrukwekkende-beelden/ (Dutch)
: Seen in the Amateur radio community, but also interesting here!
: Roads? Were we are going, we don't need roads. A good 2015, and drive safely while we wait for those flying cars.
The current numbers from the third battery in my Dell Latitude D630 laptop:koos@machiavelli:~$ acpi -V Battery 0: Discharging, 100%, 04:21:53 remaining Battery 0: design capacity 7800 mAh, last full capacity 4544 mAh = 58%A laptop battery is a part which wears out, so this is not unexpected after a few years.
After a lot of digital mode contacts (QSOs) I actually talked to someone today on HF radio. I heard UR5QW calling CQ on 10 meters HF in SSB (single side band). I was trying to find interesting stations via the Websdr in Twente but I actually heard UR5QW via the radio first and answered and we had a short but understandable QSO. Searching for interesting signals via the websdr in Twente can be frustrating: it has less local noise than I have at home, so it can be I can understand a station via the websdr but not at home.
I recently upgraded ntpd due to the vulnerabilities found in ntpd prior to version 4.2.8. This version is also a bit better in error logging, and I started seeing in the logs:Dec 21 20:53:06 ritchie ntpd: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3535228800'): loaded, expire=2014-12-28T00:00Z ofs=35 (no entries after build date) Dec 21 20:53:06 ritchie ntpd: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3535228800'): will expire in less than 7 days Dec 22 20:53:06 ritchie ntpd: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3535228800'): will expire in less than 6 days Dec 23 20:53:06 ritchie ntpd: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3535228800'): will expire in less than 5 days Dec 28 00:53:06 ritchie ntpd: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3535228800'): will expire in less than one daySo I followed the documentation in ConfiguringNTP: 6.14. Using the NIST Leap Second File and upgraded to leap-seconds.3644438400 which now loads fine:Dec 29 11:25:29 ritchie ntpd: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3644438400'): good hash signature Dec 29 11:25:29 ritchie ntpd: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3644438400'): loaded, expire=2015-06-28T00:00Z ofs=35 (no entries after build date)
I was looking for something else on AliExpres and found this interesting gem: 1PC FT-897 /FT817/857 / PTT/headset/CAT adapter. On the original manufacturer website: FT-8x7 Headset/PTT/CAT Adapter - Windcamp Creative Technology. Although I am not that busy with voice communications, it did look to me like this might enable me to hook up a cheaper PC headset to the radio. I was wondering why it includes a CAT (computer assisted tuning) interface. A browse of the FT-857 manual for the pinout of the 8-pin microphone connector did not give any information. The menu setting 059 'MIC SEL' has the options NOR for the normal hand microphone, RMT for the MH-59a8j remote microphone which I have and CAT for a CAT connector. The missing clue was found after some searching in Using the FT-857 Microphone Jack for Serial Control (CAT) by Bob Wolbert K6XX which lists the pinout of the 8-pin RJ45 microphone connector of the FT-857(D) in different menu 059 modes. I created a short RJ45 cable to connect the interface to the radio. I still need to create a footswitch to act as transmit switch.