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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

2014-07-28 (#) 8 hours ago
Somebody at was trying at a very high speed to brute-force /wp-login.php for one site on my server. The downside was that there was no /wp-login.php or any part of wordpress to brute-force, but that did not seem to deter the attacker. A temporary firewall rule now rejects all attempts.

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2014-07-27 (#) 1 day ago
This evening I tried another pass of the SO-50 amateur radio satellite. It wasn't as high as the afternoon pass, only 66⁰ maximum elevation. The experiences from the afternoon pass learned me to search around a bit for the downlink signal. I did not hear a lot of activity, it almost sounded to me like the transponder wasn't "armed" with the 74.4 Hz ctcss tone. This tone activates the transponder for 10 minutes, but to actually use the transponder you need to use a 67.0 Hz ctcss tone. Switching tones on the fly isn't easy when the FT-857 is controlled by gpredict, so I'll either have to control that via the computer assisted tuning (CAT) interface and rigctld or temporary switch to manual and use the memory in the FT-857 which has the different ctcss tone.

Browsing the rigtctl(1) manpage suggests a script which can set ctcss tones is quite doable.

Update: Indeed, it can be done. Hamlib can't read the current ctcss tone, but it can set it on this radio. Model 2 in rigctl is the connection to a running rigctld on localhost.
koos@machiavelli:~$ rigctl -m 2 -h
Usage: rigctl [OPTION]... [COMMAND]...
Send COMMANDs to a connected radio transceiver or receiver.
Commands (some may not be available for this rig):
C: set_ctcss_tone  (CTCSS Tone)        c: get_ctcss_tone  ()
D: set_dcs_code    (DCS Code)          d: get_dcs_code    ()
?: set_ctcss_sql   (CTCSS Sql)         ?: get_ctcss_sql   ()
?: set_dcs_sql     (DCS Sql)           ?: get_dcs_sql     ()
and it works:
koos@machiavelli:~$ rigctl -m 2 C 744
koos@machiavelli:~$ rigctl -m 2 C 670
And the ctcss frequency on the radio indeed changes with what I set. And I can do this while gpredict is tuning the radio.

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2014-07-27 (New radio for me: a secondhand Yaesu FT-857, selected with satellite work and expansion to HF in mind...) 1 day ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : New radio for me: a secondhand Yaesu FT-857, selected with satellite work and expansion to HF in mind. In the first tries with listening to SO-50 I learned:
- Use a headphone, so I soldered a cable to connect a stereo headphone to the mono headphone output on the radio
- The SO-50 output frequency has shifted, so when I let gpredict control the radio I had to tune around a bit to find the signal. An enormous plus for gpredict here is that it will accept the change in frequency and will continue working and applying doppler shift from there.
The picture is from the first attempt, sitting in the backyard with everything ready and enjoying myself. Radio, antenna, laptop with gpredict. The radio is powered by a PC power supply at the moment, but I also have batteries.
2014-07-27 (#) 1 day ago
I soldered the cable for a stereo headphone on the mono phone output on the FT-857 this morning and went to listen for the SO-50 pass with tuning done by gpredict.

And I missed half of the satellite pass because gpredict has the 'preprogrammed' frequency and the satellite downlink frequency seems to be drifting away from this frequency, far enough to fall out of the FM receiver passband. I kept hearing nothing so I switched back to manual frequency control with the doppler-shifted frequencies preprogrammed in the radio and I found it again, somewhat shifted. I switched back to letting gpredict control the frequency but used the tuning dial on the radio to find the right spot, after which gpredict kept track of what I did. I still find this an awesome feature in gpredict, the two-way tracking of frequencies.

It was as busy as could be expected on an FM satellite on a Sunday afternoon pass with nice weather, so I could not find a 'hole' in which to call CQ or answer some call I heard. The headphones do help with hearing the audio from the radio, so a good thing I made that cable.

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2014-07-26 (#) 1 day ago
I also managed to get CHIRP working with the Yaesu FT-857 radio. I had to RTFM: CHIRP does not use the normal CAT commands, it uses the clone mode of the radio.

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2014-07-26 (#) 2 days ago
First thing to try with the new Yaesu FT-857 amateur radio: get it working with gpredict for amateur satellites. What gpredict can do is control the radio via rigctld, part of Hamlib to set downlink (receive) and uplink (transmit) frequencies automatically to the doppler-shift correct frequency. I bought a CT-62 USB cable for this which is the cable for the Computer Aided Tuning (CAT) interface on this range of radios with a FTDI based serial interface on the side of the computer. I added a new radio in gpredict with:
  • Radio type: FT817/857/897 (auto)
  • PTT status: Read PTT
  • VFO Up/Down: Not applicable

So I installed libhamlib-utils and tried to get rigctld working. At first it gave errors on communicating:
$ rigctld -m 122 -r /dev/ttyUSB0  -v -v
Opened rig model 122, 'FT-857'
ft857: error reading ack
ft857: error reading ack
And I found out the default baudrate of rigctld is 38400 bps and the FT-857 was set to 4800 bps. I tested first with 4800 bps and later changed the rate on the radio to 38400 bps and tested again. Now running:
$ rigctld -m 122 -r /dev/ttyUSB0 --set-conf=serial_speed=38400  -v -v
Opened rig model 122, 'FT-857'
The radio needs to be in 'split' mode so VFOa and VFOb can be set sepately and receiving is on the VFOa frequency and transmitting on VFOb.

Gpredict radio control set up for the FT-857 The good part, especially for SSB satellite work is that gpredict will follow frequency adjustments on the transciever and will track from the adjusted frequency. With the 'lock' function enabled (L button) this will also make the uplink frequency follow downlink changes. Change the (receiving) frequency on the transciever and the transmitting frequency will be updated accordingly. This should make SSB satellite work with one simplex transciever easier.

Sofar in tests without actual satellite communication things seem to work. Next is a test with SO-50 in FM mode, probably on the high pass I see coming Sunday afternoon. A test with an SSB satellite (first trying to receive) will probably be possible later this week with the Funcube-1 (AO-73). I found a gpredict trsp file for FUNCUBE from G0HWW.

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2014-07-25 (#) 2 days ago
For a while I have been considering my wishes for a more elaborate amateur radio. What I want to do with it is continue and expand the use of amateur satellites, and try to get into PSK31 on HF, starting on the 20m band. So a list of must haves and should haves arose: all-mode, portable, computer assisted tuning, HF support, 2 meter and 70 centimeter and an increas of power from 5W.

Adding it all up and looking for a reasonable price I ended up considering the Yaesu FT-857(D). It's in the middle between the FT-817 (too low power, still 5 watts) and the FT-897 (too heavy: 3.9 kilograms). And a reasonable pricetag, were other amateur radio brands have nothing comparable or at a much higher pricetag. I went looking for a second-hand one and when we got back from holiday a nice one (FT-857 with DSP and installed filter, and a remote control+DTMF hand microphone) showed up from Communicatie Centrum Venhorst - Hilversum and I bought it. Picked it up this week, and I am learning using it. I listened to SO-50 this evening using this radio with a lot of wires on the table in the backyard.
Radio setup
Radio setup - FT-857, PC power supply for 12V, laptop, Arrow antenna: ready for amateur satellites
It was clear I also need headphones to listen to amateur satellites on this radio so I'll get the parts to connect a headphone soon. Cables for computer assisted tuning and interfacing to a computer sound card are already ordered.

This radio also allows me to access SSB satellites, so I'll have to learn how to do that.

The good news about the SO-50 pass: there were QSOs going on, the person just calling CQ and never listening to the answers was missing.

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2014-07-25 (#) 3 days ago
A clear sign this week I am not a system administrator anymore: I had no easy answer to "where can we find some Torx screwdrivers to open the dishwasher".

Using contacts that were from when I was a system administrator helped find the right screwdrivers and the dishwasher was opened and repaired.

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2014-07-24 (#) 4 days ago
Yesterday evening I gave it another try to make a contact via the SO-50 satellite. It was hard since someone was trying very hard to work the satellite with 95% transmitting and at most 5% not transmitting which did not leave much room for an answer. I heard that person loud and clear with a repeated and somewhat bored "CQ satellite" and testing noises like whistling, but I never heard a callsign! Pass for SO-50 over my home location JO22NC

Trying to answer that person didn't work (clearly he had a reception problem somehow) so I just started calling CQ on my own when he left a gap. Someone answered but I had a hard time understanding the callsign, I think it started with a D (German callsign) and I am sure it ended with BBE (Bravo Bravo Echo). Looking up the callsign options on QRZ showed me the most likely candidate is DG0BBE so I e-mailed him to confirm.

During our holiday in Denmark I also tried to work a few SO-50 passes. Being on a campsite with a wide open view in all surrounding directions should make things easier for lower passes which I skip at home. I tried a pass with a 55⁰ elevation and one with a 62⁰ degree elevation and I heard the satellite loud and clear. The downside was someone was whistling and calling 'o la', probably the same person as I heard here at home. And another downside is that with lower passes the distance is a lot higher and therefore my 5 watts on VHF don't make it across the FM receiver on the satellite.

I also had a look at possible LituanicaSAT-1 passes but in Denmark those all stayed low to the Southern horizon.

Update 2014-07-25: DG0BBE mailed me back, I was right I heard him, but he made a very valid point the QSO was not valid: in a QSO at least call signs and a signal report need to be exchanged. In amateur satellite work a locator is also good to have.

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2014-07-23 (Recording of traffic to the ISS on ARRL field day recently. Astronaut Reid Wiseman answers US radio ...) 4 days ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Recording of traffic to the ISS on ARRL field day recently. Astronaut Reid Wiseman answers US radio amateurs calling CQ using the NA1SS call.
2014-07-23 (#) 4 days ago
I am active on LinkedIn so I thought I would have a look at the LinkedIn application for android phones.

I was a bit wary of the rights LinkedIn wanted, since it keeps asking me for my e-mail username and password so it can scan my mailbox for interesting contacts. So I checked the rights for the official LinkedIn application in the play store:
This app has access to:
  • Identity
    • find accounts on the device
    • read your own contact card
    • add or remove accounts
  • Contacts/Calendar
    • read your contacts
    • modify your contacts
    • read calendar events plus confidential information
  • Location
    • precise location (GPS and network-based)
  • Phone
    • write call log
    • read call log
  • Photos/Media/Files
    • test access to protected storage
    • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
  • Device ID & call information
    • read phone status and identity
  • Other
    • receive data from Internet
    • read sync statistics
    • create accounts and set passwords
    • toggle sync on and off
    • full network access
    • read sync settings
    • control vibration
    • send sticky broadcast
    • prevent device from sleeping
    • view network connections
So all kinds of access so it can view personal data on the phone. I am going to skip LinkedIn on the smartphone and I'll keep using it with webbrowsers.

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2014-07-22 (#) 6 days ago
And the SSH probes continue and continue:
2014-07-13 07:47:18,122 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-13 09:20:07,562 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-13 09:41:01,783 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-13 11:43:10,043 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-13 17:20:16,882 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-14 02:54:58,622 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-14 05:05:52,832 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-14 07:54:18,092 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-14 13:45:12,782 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-15 09:22:01,502 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-15 19:23:42,842 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-16 10:17:39,692 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-16 13:05:21,982 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-17 00:51:48,652 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-19 03:12:20,776 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-19 04:53:51,005 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-19 05:13:03,234 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-19 07:37:06,476 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-19 09:53:11,715 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-19 10:08:58,916 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-19 13:21:00,134 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-19 22:47:38,414 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-19 23:06:44,675 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-20 10:42:04,344 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-20 15:06:40,684 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-20 15:32:57,054 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-20 18:10:09,264 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-20 22:15:55,615 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-20 23:43:12,894 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-21 10:45:26,294 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-21 13:57:00,675 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-21 16:44:57,894 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-21 18:01:31,085 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
2014-07-22 07:40:48,284 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [ssh] Ban
Noted before a month ago: An interesting pattern in ssh attempts showing up from China.

Update 2014-07-25:
It's also notable the attackers compensate for fail2ban. IPs that are blocked by fail2ban need only a few syn packets to find out.
# iptables -L fail2ban-SSH -nvx | grep 61.174.5
       3      144 DROP       all  --  *      *
       3      144 DROP       all  --  *      *
       8      320 DROP       all  --  *      *
       4      184 DROP       all  --  *      *
       1       40 DROP       all  --  *      *
       4      184 DROP       all  --  *      *
       0        0 DROP       all  --  *      *
       5      224 DROP       all  --  *      *
       3      144 DROP       all  --  *      *

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2014-07-21 (#) 1 week ago
Wat krijg je als je besluit je facturen voortaan digitaal te versturen terwijl je daarvoor nooit de e-mail adressen geverifieerd hebt die klanten geven? Juist, dan krijg ik de factuur voor iemand die een voor de hand liggend e-mail adres van mij ooit opgegeven heeft...
Bijgaand ontvangt u de factuur 2014-0157. Het is een digitale factuur die u kunt bekijken en afdrukken door op deze link te klikken.

Sinds dit jaar versturen wij alle facturen digitaal. Indien jullie de factuur graag per post willen ontvangen laat het ons weten.
Ik heb het bedrijf maar even op de hoogte gesteld van deze misser en dat ze digitaal factureren maar beter pas kunnen doen na een terdege controle van de adressen.

Ze reageren redelijk snel dat er een klein foutje in een adres geslopen is en dat het verder allemaal prima gaat.

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2014-07-19 (#) 1 week ago
Terug van vakantie: we zijn 3 weken in Denemarken geweest. Gekampeerd met onze grote tent op drie verschillende campings. Erg leuk geweest, uit kunnen rusten en genoten van alles wat we beleefd hebben. Onder andere hebben we Legoland bezocht maar ook de kliffen op het eiland Møn. Daar hebben we in 2008 ook gefietst dus het was leuk om wat dingen weer terug te zien.

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2014-07-19 (#) 1 week ago
The heat is on: the Weather station Utrecht Overvecht in our backyard is showing a temperature of 36.0 °C at the moment.

Compared to official observations like the ones published at Actuele waarnemingen KNMI the temperature at my weather station is a few degrees too high. This can be explained by the fact that the sensor in the backyard is in an area between houses and the fact that we live in an area with a definite 'urban heat island' where temperatures are higher than the surrounding open country.

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2014-07-18 (#) 1 week ago
Wardriving results 4 January 2014 - 11 July 2014: 14481 new networks with GPS locations according to WiGLE.

I don't "wardrive" on purpose now, but I leave an android device running the wigle android app on trips that can be interesting such as during holidays.

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2014-07-11 (Over de betrouwbaarheid en (historische) onafhankelijkheid van het voedingscentrum Onlangs publiceerde...) 2 weeks ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Ik erger me alleen maar aan de reclames van het voedingscentrum inclusief onsmakelijke geluiden. Bert komt met een goed stuk van iemand die er eens goed ingedoken is met goede aanvullingen.
2014-06-29 (Trying SO-50 in portable mode, waving the Arrow antenna in the backyard and with a 5w radio. Someone...) 4 weeks ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Trying SO-50 in portable mode, waving the Arrow antenna in the backyard and with a 5w radio. Someone has heard himself very clear and long over the satellite calling 'oh la' and for the rest it was very hard to understand callsigns and nobody responded to my CQs.
I don't see the point in just pointing high power at this satellite and making it nearly unusable for other amateur radio operators.

Sorry for ranting a bit, most here are probably aware of this and use SSB satellites, but I had to get this of my chest. Other times I had more luck, so it's not impossible to work SO-50 portable.
#amateursatellite #pileup 

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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.

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

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Koos van den Hout, reachable as koos+website@koos.idefix.net. PGP key DSS/1024 2C66 3B5D F0D7 C263 via keyservers PGP key DSS/1024 2C66 3B5D F0D7 C263 local copy pgp key statistics for 0x2C663B5DF0D7C263 Koos van den Hout
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