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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

2015-07-29 Finally a nearby thunderstorm 11 hours ago
Lightning strikes today 2015-07-29
Lightning strikes counted today
Finally a thunderstorm passed our house today, and it got counted on the lightning strike detector!

The downside is that switching the light on in the shed a few times causes more 'hits'.

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2015-07-29 New country in amateur radio contact: Oman 18 hours ago
eQsl from A45XR Oman
eQsl card from A45XR Oman
I added a new country in amateur radio contacts: Oman.

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2015-07-28 (Company handles major security flaw as mainly a PR problem. In an industry that is not free of controversy...) 1 day ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Company handles major security flaw as mainly a PR problem. In an industry that is not free of controversy: what one calls 'protecting children' is 'censorship' to another.
Being open to reports of security flaws (a responsible disclosure policy) is important.
2015-07-26 Mapping amateur radio contacts 3 days ago
In a lot of the amateur radio contacts I have location information is exchanged. This is done in the Maidenhead Locator System which uses letters and digits to pinpoint locations with an increasing precision. I give out my home location as JO22NC.

In the contacts I make I also log all those locators and using the Linux version of gcmwin I plot these on great circle maps. The results: The difference in scale of the maps is because the digimode on HF map is scaled to my furthest contacts (Puerto Rico), the satellite map is scaled towards the theoretical maximum distance I can reach via the SO-50 satellite.

The difference in numbers is because it's a lot more work to make satellite contacts!

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2015-07-24 Less flash but still playable audio 5 days ago
I like to sometimes add audio to items here on my homepage. In a format accessible for anyone with both download and play in browser options. Until now this was done using a flash-based player but lately flash has not been the secure option.

With the latest browsers it is quite possible to have an html5 audio player, but to keep it accessible for every visitor I also want to keep the flash audio player available. So I looked up how to do that and found Using HTML5 audio and video.

The linked audio is also available as attachments to the homepage RSS feed which is the standard for podcast feeds but since the recordings of satellite passes don't have an audio explanation or introduction they are not very usable as a podcast feed.

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2015-07-23 (No. No. No. No. No. No. No. 272065 people can be wrong!) 6 days ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : No. No. No. No. No. No. No. 272065 people can be wrong!
2015-07-23 (According to google: "69% of the visits abandoned our page. These users neither went to the app store...) 6 days ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : According to google: "69% of the visits abandoned our page. These users neither went to the app store nor continued to our mobile website."
So stop doing that.
2015-07-22 A nice high pass of the SO-50 amateur satellite but no luck this time 1 week ago
I had a nice high pass of the SO-50 amateur satellite but no luck on making a contact. I heard several other active amateurs and noted their callsigns and locators: HB9OAB in JN46ME, MW0URC in IO82JB, DL3XAC in JO53GN and 9A5YY in JN75DH.

Silence in the recording is when I transmit. I still trip over new (to me) callsigns when trying to reproduce them, so I need the recording to get all the details right.
Read the rest of A nice high pass of the SO-50 amateur satellite but no luck this time
Listen to audio attachment:
MP3 media: SO-50 pass recorded at JO22nc by PD4KH 2015-07-22 (rightclick, select save-as to download)

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2015-07-19 Tried another SO-50 amateur satellite pass and kept my mouth shut 1 week ago
This evening there was another interesting pass of the SO-50 radio amateur satellite. The maximum elevation was only 68 degrees so there would not be too much time with the satellite high enough above the horizon to make contacts.

I heard the pass clearly but it was busy with other (very structured) contacts and some regulars helping a newcomer, so I decided to just listen.
Listen to audio attachment:
MP3 media: SO-50 pass recorded at JO22nc by PD4KH 2015-07-19 (rightclick, select save-as to download)

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2015-07-19 Received an image from ISS 1 week ago
ISS SSTV image received 2015-07-19 by PD4KH This weekend gave me another chance to receive slow-scan TV (SSTV) images from the International Space Station. These images were transmitted to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo-Soyuz Mission.

The usable passes from my home location were at a bit early times: 05:30, 07:10 and 08:43. And I really like to sleep out on Sunday, especially since I'm currently quite tired. So I opted to only go for the 08:43 pass and see what I could get. Timing of images was also bad: when I started to hear the ISS I heard the tones of the end of an image. But later a new image started and I managed to receive the whole image although some noise in the middle (some building in the way probably) made qsstv break the image in two parts, which I fixed using the gimp.

Used equipment: laptop with gpredict for calculating azimuth/elevation and frequency correction, a tripod, the Arrow antenna, the FT-857 radio. I recorded the audio on the laptop with audacity and did the decoding with qsstv later, which gave me the opportunity to try it a few times to get the best decode.

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2015-07-19 (The two received parts pasted together) 1 week ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : The two received parts pasted together
2015-07-19 (One usable pass of the ISS this weekend wasn't in the night. Not too high and chances of buildings/wet...) 1 week ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : One usable pass of the ISS this weekend wasn't in the night. Not too high and chances of buildings/wet plants disturbing the signal. I recorded it with gpredict for frequency correction, aiming by hand on a tripod, FT-857 radio, recording with audacity and decoding with qsstv.
Two partial decodes of the same image, qsstv decided a big noise dip was reason to split it.
2015-07-19 (One usable pass of the ISS this weekend wasn't in the night. Not too high and chances of buildings/wet...) 1 week ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : One usable pass of the ISS this weekend wasn't in the night. Not too high and chances of buildings/wet plants disturbing the signal. I recorded it with gpredict for frequency correction, aiming by hand on a tripod, FT-857 radio, recording with audacity and decoding with qsstv.
Two partial decodes of the same image, qsstv decided a big noise dip was reason to split it.
2015-07-18 (Amazing story. I would like to see the maps of areas where I lived in the 1980s. Another bit of cold...) 1 week ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Amazing story. I would like to see the maps of areas where I lived in the 1980s.
Another bit of cold war history.
2015-07-17 Success with the SO-50 amateur satellite again 1 week ago
HRDLOG qsl card from MW0HCC In checking the satellite predictions for usable ISS passes this weekend I noticed a nice pass of SO-50 this evening (high enough and at a time not clashing with other things). So I decided to give it a try with the FT-857 radio and dragged everything out: radio, cat cable, audio cable, laptop, satellite antenna, headphones, power supply. And looked up how it all should work together. My last successfull satellite QSO was almost a year ago in august 2014 so the skills were a bit rusty. It was good to have an idea of the data exchanged in a typical amateur radio satellite contact.

I listened, I answered a CQ from MW0HCC and he acknowledged me on the second try and we had a full valid QSO.

Right after that happened I felt some rain so I started to stop early.. and later in the recording I heard that DL3XAC also came back to me but I missed that. Better luck next time on getting back to that callsign!

It's clear 10 watts from the FT-857 works a lot better than 5 watts from the Wouxun, and someone told me the CTCSS from the Wouxun isn't as strong as it should be either.
Listen to audio attachment:
MP3 media: SO-50 pass recorded at JO22nc by PD4KH 2015-07-17 (rightclick, select save-as to download)

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2015-07-17 (De vlag halfstok, ter nagedachtenis aan MH17. Ook de universiteit mist mensen.) 1 week ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : De vlag halfstok, ter nagedachtenis aan MH17. Ook de universiteit mist mensen.
2015-07-15 (A new chance to receive SSTV images from the ISS. RS0ISS will transmit images in the weekend of 18 and...) 2 weeks ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : A new chance to receive SSTV images from the ISS. RS0ISS will transmit images in the weekend of 18 and 19 July to commemorate the Soyuz-Apollo docking in 1975.
I'm checking my ISS predictions now.
2015-07-13 Snelheidsverhoging aan de horizon 2 weeks ago
Ruim een jaar na de eerste plannen voor een nieuwe KPN kast achter ons huis lijkt het er toch op dat er een snelheidsverhoging aan zit te komen via vvdsl (Vectored VDSL).

Een planning site beweert dat er een snelheidsverhoging naar 100 mbit downstream inzit in het 4e kwartaal van 2015. Ik ga het zien... de Fritz!Box 7360 kan het aan. Misschien moet ik de firmware op de Fritz!Box upgraden voor maximale snelheid en stabiliteit. Waarbij dan bij 6.20 firmware de aanpak uit FritzBox 7390 - FW 6.20 - debug.cfg zurück bringen nodig heb om weer mijn setup met routing op de server werkend te krijgen.

Wat ik eigenlijk vooral hoop is dat er ook meer upstream snelheid komt. De downstream is al beperkt tot wat mijn abonnement aankan: 20 megabit. Maar als de upstream ook naar 20 megabit kan is het een serieuze vooruitgang.

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2015-07-09 (Your videos are a good reason to watch youtube videos on a big screen. Awesome! Thanks for sharing.) 2 weeks ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Your videos are a good reason to watch youtube videos on a big screen. Awesome! Thanks for sharing.
2015-07-05 Moving the lightning detector to the shed and testing 3 weeks ago
A year in lightning strikes and activity on 20M PSK31
The last year in counted lightning strikes, showing clearly that I got active on 20meter psk31 in October 2014. The 'blips' before that are real thunderstorms.
I thought of this ages ago: Moving the lightning strike detector to the shed but only today got around to it because we had some serious chances of a thunderstorm earlier today which showed up on the lightning strike detector but the graph was completely screwed up again after I tried some psk31 digital mode transmissions on the 20 meter amateur band (14.000 to 14.250 MHz for me).

So now it is in the shed. Moving it to a lower position does mean I will not get readings for thunderstorms as far away as I used to but I'd rather have usable readings at this moment. First tests with transmitting psk31/psk63 on 20 the meter amateur band after I changed it look like it doesn't count the transmissions anymore. Now to wait for the next good thunderstorm to see how that gets counted. Some blips are showing up.

Update 2015-07-14: The first result seems to be that using the lights in the shed (tubelights with starters) shows up clearly. Using the radio still has no effect. I now await the first thunderstorm for more results.

Update 2015-07-28: No thunderstorm has been reported by the KNMI weather institute thunderstorm archive within a short distance of my sensor. I guess the maximum range is quite limited now.

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2015-07-05 (Tour de France 3 streets from our house, passage of the advertising cars.) 3 weeks ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Tour de France 3 streets from our house, passage of the advertising cars.
2015-07-03 (Every time I'm reminded by how much I hate time as a programmer, I need to remember this chart showing...) 3 weeks ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : And you thought current timezones were a mess. Ha!
I love the 'by an easy calculation' bit.

Via +Irreverent Monk 
2015-07-01 And the leap second leaped fine 4 weeks ago
The world did not fall apart at the leap second...
Jul  1 01:59:59 greenblatt kernel: [5562265.176016] Clock: inserting leap second 23:59:60 UTC
Jul  1 01:37:53 ritchie ntpd[14950]: local_clock: ntp_loopfilter.c line 688: kernel reports positive leap second warning state
Jul  1 01:59:59 ritchie kernel: [5807507.207473] Clock: inserting leap second 23:59:60 UTC
Jul  1 02:13:11 ritchie ntpd[14950]: local_clock: ntp_loopfilter.c line 688: kernel reports leap second has occured

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2015-06-30 Typical SO-50 amateur satellite exchange 4 weeks ago
I thought I heard short exchanges with locators and callsigns when I made the last recording of an SO-50 pass. But since this is all NATO spelling and without any indication which part was what it wasn't completely clear to me what I was hearing. So I asked on the Amsat-bb mailing list about the typical SO-50 exchange and got an elaborate explanation:
  • Europe: callsign / signal report (normally 59) / 6-character grid locator.
  • In other parts of the world like North America and Australia, signal reports are not normally given.
  • The 6-character grid locator is useful in Europe, where we in North America usually just go with 4-character grid locators.
  • In Australia, call signs and general descriptions of your signals (loud/clear, for example) are all that they exchanged. No 59, no grid locator.
So I would answer with: callsign de Pappa Delta Four Kilo Hotel, Five Nine in Juliet Oscar Two Two November Charlie, QSL? With: Pappa Delta Four Kilo Hotel PD4KH my callsign, Five Nine the signal report (audio quality 5 and signal level 9), Juliet Oscar Two Two November Charlie the Maidenhead Locator for where I usually operate and QSL? the Q code for Can you acknowledge receipt?.

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2015-06-30 Incoming leap second... 4 weeks ago
Previous there was just an announcement:
associd=0 status=0119 leap_none, sync_pps, 1 event, leap_armed
But the current state is that it's less than 24 hours until the leap second:
ntpq -nc readvar
associd=0 status=4619 leap_add_sec, sync_ntp, 1 event, leap_armed,
version="ntpd 4.2.6p3@1.2290-o Mon Apr 13 13:41:30 UTC 2015 (1)",
processor="x86_64", system="Linux/3.2.0-80-generic", leap=01, stratum=2,
precision=-20, rootdelay=21.302, rootdisp=962.377, refid=131.211.8.244,
reftime=d93ccb6a.5bf9c564  Tue, Jun 30 2015 10:01:46.359,
clock=d93ccb70.10208b70  Tue, Jun 30 2015 10:01:52.062, peer=21283, tc=6,
mintc=3, offset=-23.354, frequency=7.280, sys_jitter=0.205,
clk_jitter=8.257, clk_wander=0.087, tai=35, leapsec=201507010000,

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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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Koos van den Hout, reachable as koos+website@idefix.net. PGP encrypted e-mail preferred.

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