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Koos van den Hout

Welcome. This is my homepage where I write about my opinion, projects, things I note, things I try and other random stuff. Newsitems have tags for a bit of structure.

Latest news/thoughts/geeking/rants/notablog

2015-10-05 A new FM amateur satellite in the sky 19 hours ago
Recently nine (!!) small satellites were launched from China with one rocket. Six of these have each digital telemetry, CW beacon and a lineair transponder in the amateur bands (I really should make some time to practise making contacts on SSB), two only have telemetry downlinks and one has a beacon, APRS transponder and an FM transponder, which should be easy to work.

The one with the FM transponder is LilacSat-2 (or CAS-3H, 2015-049K). I created a preliminary transponder file 40908.trsp for gpredict with:
[FM V/U]
At this time untested.

The satellite has a schedule for operating the FM transponder (which probably has to do with power budget and other experiments on board):
LilacSat-2 is scheduled to switch on the FM transponder for 24 hours at about 2200 UT each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Now to find time to try this satellite transponder at the available times.

Links for more information:

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2015-10-04 I participated in the Russian WW digital contest.. and it was bad 1 day ago
For a few hours I participated in the Russian world wide digi contest and it was near-impossible to get through to others, unlike the previous CQ worldwide RTTY contest. I only tried PSK63 mode. I did have a look at my contest macros and I will reshuffle them and improve them. I did notice the FLDIGI Contest - How To handles 'Search & Pounce' mode as something that 'also happens', but the 'Run' mode is thought out better. In 'Search & Pounce' mode you search other calling stations and try to answer them, in 'Run' mode you do the calling.

With my modest station I'm almost all the time in 'Search & Pounce' mode so I need to optimize my macros for that mode first.

Results were awful: I made a total of 17 contacts in about 1.5 hours of trying. I'll enter it as a checklog: verifying the contacts others made with me but not entering the scoreboard. It seemed almost nobody was hearing me, especially not in Russia, where the points can be scored.

Preliminary score:
Total number of QSO in your log is 17, Including 0 QSO with errors, Valid QSO - 17
Band  QSOs Dupes Points Mults
160      0     0      0     0
80       0     0      0     0
40       0     0      0     0
20      17     0     51    12
15       0     0      0     0
10       0     0      0     0
Total   17     0     51    12
Claimed score is 612 points

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2015-10-03 (It's a GIF file, honest! So, why is flashblock awake and why don't I see an animation?) 2 days ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : It's a GIF file, honest!
So, why is flashblock awake and why don't I see an animation?
2015-10-02 Rise of telnet attempts, maybe due to Linux.Wifatch? 3 days ago
I noticed a sharp rise in the firewall log entries for telnet attempts:
dmesg | grep -c 'DPT=23 '
From all over the world. I was wondering until I read Is there an Internet-of-Things vigilante out there? - Symantec official blog.

From the article:
During our analysis we began to unveil some of Wifatch’s secrets. Most of Wifatch’s code is written in the Perl programming language and it targets several architectures and ships its own static Perl interpreter for each of them. Once a device is infected with the Wifatch, it connects to a peer-to-peer network that is used to distribute threat updates.

The further we dug into Wifatch’s code the more we had the feeling that there was something unusual about this threat. For all intents and purposes it appeared like the author was trying to secure infected devices instead of using them for malicious activities.
Entering some of the 'attacking' IP addresses into shodan.io gives me a report they are running vulnerable routersoftware such as 'Allegro RomPager'.

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2015-10-01 More misdirected mail for wi-fi use 4 days ago
Right from the inbox, two mails with:
The e-mail address (koos .....nl) was recently registered for a WiFi Plus account at Tim Hortons. In order to complete the registration process and fully activate your account, please click the link below: Activate my account. Account verification is mandatory. Completing the registration will also remove the restriction on your account. If you are unable to click the above link, copy and paste the following link into your web browser address bar:
I'm not going to visit the verification link, that will probably get me some spam. As it is, this is reasonable: nothing unless I verify that the e-mail address is valid for this purpose.

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2015-09-27 I participated in the CQ WW RTTY contest 1 week ago
Much of this weekend was filled up but I noticed really heavy RTTY activity on the radio bands Saturday evening. Looking at the PG7V contestcalendar showed me the CQ World Wide RTTY Contest 2015 was busy in full force.

I participated for about two and a half hours on Sunday between other things and managed a nice 54 contacts. It is a quite busy contest with lots of stations participating. There are probably 'contest stations' that participate for the full 48 hours and make thousands and thousands of contacts. For me only 'search and pounce' mode worked, nobody came back to my calling attempts. This is probably related to my modest output power and antenna setup.

Getting the log accepted was a whole different problem and in hindsight it was the wrong decision to try to get that done late Sunday evening. The logging format for this contest is quite strict (and somewhat US-centric) and it took me a few iterations to get the log right to have it accepted for processing. According to the documentation fldigi does the cabrillo export right for the various contests but I noticed some problems with it. On further reading I notice I have to set up the contest macros before I start logging for a contest. Which means I have to prepare a bit more for a contest than the usual "Something is going on, let's jump in". The fldigi site has a document FLDIGI Contest - How To which I should read and use for the next contest!

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2015-09-26 ("You are here" Part of the Project Apollo Archive at https://www.flickr.com/photos/projectapolloarchive...) 1 week ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : "You are here"

Part of the Project Apollo Archive at https://www.flickr.com/photos/projectapolloarchive/albums .. 16 megapixel scans of the film magazines returned from the Apollo missions.
Awesome images, and you can download them.
I like this one as a powerful image of earth and the accomplishments of mankind.
2015-09-25 New records for me in amateur radio 1 week ago
This evening I hung the endfed antenna outside, in the hopes of being able to make a contact with a station in Algeria I saw calling. But the station went away, or the signal doesn't make it to my endfed while being ok on my attic antenna.

eQSL card from YB6HAI But I received a very interesting reply when I called CQ for new contacts: YB6HAI from Indonesia. New distance record: 9923 kilometer. And a new country.

The contact is already confirmed.

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2015-09-20 Better powersupply for the amateur radio setup 2 weeks ago
I got annoyed with the PC powersupply I used for the amateur radio setup, output power was dropping below reasonable values at any load. The PC power supply was supposed to be able to give me 40 Ampere at 12 Volts but I saw the 12 volts drop easily to below 10 Volts at a load of less than 10 Ampere. So, time for a better power supply. I kept an eye on any nice secondhand offers and found an Alan K205 powersupply for sale which would give me 13.8 Volts at a sustained maximum of 20 Ampere (22 Ampere peak). I made a reasonable offer which was accepted immediately and went to pick it up.

It's an old-fashioned transformer and regulator powersupply (not a switching mode powersupply), it's big and it weighs a lot. And it works like I want it, with voltage never dropping below 13 Volts even under heavy load.
Radio with new Alan K205 power supply - KvdHout on flickr
Radio with new Alan K205 power supply
This also makes the Yaesu FT-857 radio work better: under 12.5 volt it will lower the output power. I notice it now runs the output fan for longer periods after transmitting.

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2015-09-20 More QSL cards 2 weeks ago
Radio amateurs exchange QSL cards to confirm contacts. Recently I received a whole batch of new ones. I usually look at the 'backside' first since that has the details about the QSO, but some cards have really nice fronts too!
Incoming QSL cards - KvdHout on flickr
Incoming QSL cards
Incoming QSL card fronts - KvdHout on flickr
Incoming QSL card fronts

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2015-09-19 Radiocontesting can be simple and fun 2 weeks ago
I mentioned serious radiocontesting before where people invest serious time and money into getting the best scores. There is also a more laid-back approach of participating for a few hours in a radiocontest and just going for the fun. And maybe having a contact with a new country.

The Essex Hams did just that: they participated in the RSGB SSB Field Day and enjoyed themselves without breaking any records in scores, read the full report at RSGB SSB Field Day – Shoebury 2015 - Essex Ham. A nice article, and the main conclusion is that they had fun with amateur radio.

Found via Essex Hams try Contesting - Southgate Amateur Radio News.

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2015-09-14 Trying APRS by car and bicycle 3 weeks ago
Today I took the APRS setup with me. During the day by car (it was raining) and in the evening by recumbent bicycle to the radio club (it wasn't raining that hard in the evening). Both times I had APRSDroid, the Mobilinkd and the radio running for APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System).

Testing APRS, data received by network and presented by aprs.fi With the car the antenna was sticking up from the left rear window. Most beacons were received by a nearby APRS digipeater and made it into the APRS network.

With the bicycle the antenna was sticking up from the bag on the back. No beacons were received by an APRS digipeater. And I'm not too happy about a 5W transmitter right behind my head. Time to look at the setup.

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2015-09-12 Electrisch energieverbruik en gewoontes meten 3 weeks ago
In mijn 1-wire projecten was ook nog het plan om de watt-uur pulsen van de electricteitsmeter te gaan tellen. Met een schakeling met lichtgevoelige leds en een teller is het me nooit gelukt de pulsen betrouwbaar te tellen.

Ik ontdekte de YouLess die het tellen van zo'n ledje of van een draaischijfmeter terdege opgelost heeft en die niet begint met de data naar een externe dienst te sturen voor ik er naar kan kijken. Er is gewoon een simpele interface waarmee de tellingen van de YouLess via het netwerk uit te lezen zijn en die gebruik ik natuurlijk en maak er interne statistieken van.

YouLess stroomgebruik per kwartier
Gemeten electriciteitsgebruik per kwartier
Van die statistieken maak ik ook een grafiek met een nauwkeurigheid per kwartier. Die keuze is omdat de 'slimme meter' per kwartier uitgelezen kan worden en ik wil wel eens weten wat je er dan uit kan halen. Heel veel dus! Uit de kwartierwaarden is een hoop te halen over onze dagelijkse gewoonten, zeker als je ze over een lange termijn beschikbaar hebt. Voor de meeste pieken kan ik een verklaring bedenken en als eenmaal bekend is welke actie welke hoeveelheid energie gebruikt kan je daarna andere pieken ook weer uitleggen. Opvallend is dat zelfs bij de resolutie van 15 minuten een kort maar duidelijk gebruik zoals de waterkoker of een lange termijn wijziging zoals het licht aan of uit schakelen prima te zien is.
Read the rest of Electrisch energieverbruik en gewoontes meten

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2015-09-11 (A good tip. For some reason a lot of amateur radio related websites are quite bad. Make your club website...) 3 weeks ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : A good tip. For some reason a lot of amateur radio related websites are quite bad. Make your club website friendly to all visitors, not just other radio amateurs.
2015-09-11 Microsoft support scammers are back, or never went away 3 weeks ago
Today a missed call from +99994723523. There is no country code +999 so this is as fake as it can be for a caller-id.

And still caller-id is treated as very valuable evidence by the police, but that is a different rant.

A google search for the number suggests this is a number used by the Microsoft support scam. Nobody was available to be scammed.

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2015-09-11 Meer spam voor een Belg 3 weeks ago
Ruim 3 jaar later is er de laatste weken weer een opmerkelijke stijging van spam die denkt dat ik een bedrijf in België ben. Dezelfde bedrijfsnaam en e-mail adres die ik eerder zag in spam die veroorzaakt werd door adreslijsten van Email-Packs.

Recente bedrijven die de fout maken deze frauduleuze en waardeloze lijsten aan te schaffen en te gebruiken voor het illegaal benaderen van mensen:

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2015-09-08 (The whole industry of automatically sending legal threats versus the better research at +2600 The Hacker...) 3 weeks ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : The whole industry of automatically sending legal threats versus the better research at +2600 The Hacker Quarterly magazine...
2015-09-06 Participated in the Russian "Radio" WW RTTY Contest 4 weeks ago
On Saturday I participated in the Russian "Radio" WW RTTY Contest. I used the end-fed antenna outside to give me somewhat better reception. The contest is the whole of Saturday (UTC) but I only participated in the local evening time due to other things that happen on a Saturday.

The preliminary results:
Total number of QSO in your log is 41, Including 0 QSO with errors, Valid QSO - 41
Band  QSOs Dupes Points Mults
160      0     0      0     0
80       0     0      0     0
40       0     0      0     0
20      41     0    220    31
15       0     0      0     0
10       0     0      0     0
Total   41     0    220    31
Claimed score is 6820 points

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The person

Father, cat owned/owner, Unix/Linux fan, Internet user, reader, recumbent byciclist, snowboarder, ipv6 fan. For those who don't speak Dutch: how to pronounce Koos van den Hout.

The job

Specialist information security at Utrecht University with a modern Profile page.

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Meningen zijn die van mezelf, wat ik schrijf is beschermd door auteursrecht. Sommige publicaties bevatten een expliciete vermelding dat ze ongevraagd gedeeld mogen worden.
My opinions are my own, what I write is protected by copyrights. Some publications contain an explicit license statement which allows sharing without asking permission.
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