Koos van den Hout
Koos van den Hout - Latest news, thoughts, rants, projects and other things to write about.
2021-04-10 Cleanup of my gpg private key 1 day ago
I learned about changes in GPG needing some updates to private keys so I loaded the private key for 0x5BA9368BE6F334E4 in a backup keyring and tried to find out what needs to be done. The explanation at Fixing old SHA1-infested OpenPGP keys seems to have the important parts. Make sure the preferences are set correctly (no SHA1) and do a 'clear' on the key. I took the chance to change the expiry date to something a bit more in the future, set the e-mail address that I now use as primary and updated the weblink to my homepage to https://idefix.net/. I also updated the details on PGP - Koos van den Hout so these can be verified.
2021-04-08 Stopping with NTP servers at work 3 days ago
For almost 20 years I was involved with the running of NTP time servers at work. But the hardware aged and my job is no longer in systems administration and not in the department actually housing the timeservers. So, time to stop doing it. The pool ntp server has been retracted, DNS names removed and soon I will make one final trip to shut down hardware one last time and remove it from racks. The end for ntp.cs.uu.nl and others. I still run an NTP server at home which is available in the IPv6 NTP pool. That server also compared itself to one of the servers at work so it has been reconfigured. I added a few upstream servers and made sure all of them are reachable via IPv6. The log of NTP service at cs.uu.nl was kept, here is the final version:
Date Event 8 Apr 2021 DNS names for ntp service at cs.uu.nl removed 2 Apr 2021 Announcement posted to system administration mailing list that ntp service at cs.uu.nl will stop 24 Sep 2014 A second stratum-1 ntp appliance is brought on-line, galileo.cs.uu.nl 28 Nov 2011 Fixed the networking for stardate, the full time lab is up and running. 23 Nov 2011 The antenna cable connectors are soldered on which results in a working setup after a few tries. Stardate is better at reporting the state of the power to the GPS antenna, but has no working network. Huygens has working network and serves time to metronoom. 22 Nov 2011 The server ntp.cs.uu.nl is active at its new IP. Our own GPS reference doesn't work yet: we still need to solder the right connectors on the antenna cable. The server is added to the ntp pool and traffic starts to flow a few hours later. 15 Nov 2011 The ntp servers are moved to their new location 14 Nov 2011 The ntp servers are switched off 13 Nov 2011 We retract ntp.cs.uu.nl at its current address from the pool because the serverroom will move physically, the ntp equipment will move to a different location and the IP will change to deal with the traffic better 18 Sep 2011 Stats for doei.cs.uu.nl, five years after withdrawing it from the ntp pool 19 Sep 2010 Stats for doei.cs.uu.nl, four years after withdrawing it from the ntp pool 4 Mar 2010 The turkish adsl provider ttnet falls off the Internet for a few hours, traffic falls from 2000 packets/second to 100 packets/second in that time 22 Jan 2010 We volunteer ntp.cs.uu.nl for the turkish part of the ntp pool. Traffic explodes, peaks over 5000 packets/second 18 Sep 2009 Stats for doei.cs.uu.nl, three years after withdrawing it from the ntp pool 28 Jul 2009 ntp.cs.uu.nl back at full speed in the ntp pool, firewall configuration fixed 15 Jul 2009 rear doors of racks closed again 2 Jul 2009 10:00 serverroom airco has problems with high temperatures (28-30 C), we open rear doors of racks which makes the temperature go down a bit in the racks but the airco still has hard work Mar 2009 ntp.cs.uu.nl tuned down in the ntp pool to avoid firewall issue 18 Sep 2008 Stats for doei.cs.uu.nl, two years after withdrawing it from the ntp pool 17 Jan 2008 huygens.cs.uu.nl has a GPS reception failure, fixed with a software update 18 Sep 2007 Stats for doei.cs.uu.nl, a year after withdrawing it from the ntp pool 11 Mar 2007 airco failure serverroom 5 Mar 2007 all ntp servers moved to one rack close together for temperature stability 20 Jan 2007 airco failure serverroom 9 Jan 2007 huygens.cs.uu.nl added as stratum-1 23 Dec 2006 airco failure serverroom 29 Nov 2006 powerfailure in our building 1 Nov 2006 metronoom.dmz.cs.uu.nl takes over as ntp.cs.uu.nl and joins pool.ntp.org ~ 24 Oct 2006 antenna cable to stardate.cs.uu.nl reconnected ~ 6 Oct 2006 ntpd on stardate disabled: free running clock starts to differ too much from correct time ~ 25 Aug 2006 antenna cable from stardate.cs.uu.nl disconnected because of building and recabling activities 1 Aug 2006 doei.cs.uu.nl leaves pool.ntp.org 19 Aug 2003 doei.cs.uu.nl joins pool.ntp.org 10 Jan 1999 stardate.cs.uu.nl set up as stratum-1 with GPS time reference
2021-04-07 The NTP ham clock is ticking 4 days ago
Recently the parts for the NTP ham clock I saw in the Electron magazine arrived: an ESP32 module and a TFT display. It took a bit before I had time to actually do something with them but recently I put the modules on breadboard and started making the needed connections. There are not a lot of those, only 8 wires need to be connected between the ESP32 microcontroller and the TFT display. After some fiddling it worked and I managed to program it all with the settings I like, such as the right timezone rules for the Netherlands, 24 hour display on both clocks and it fetches the NTP time from the NTP server in the shed so it doesn't rely on outside connectivity. Now to find a case for it and wire it neatly.
2021-04-05 I participated in the EA RTTY contest 2021 6 days ago
Last weekend was the EA RTTY Contest 2021 edition. I decided to participate because I appreciate the contests organized by the Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles. Participation time was somewhat limited due to other things happening in the easter weekend. In the end I made 79 contacts and entered my log in the 'SINGLE ALL LOW POWER DX' category. As 'low power' is defined as 'below 100 watts' and my RF amplifier isn't working at the moment this is the fitting category.
2021-04-04 New country in the logs: South Korea 1 week ago
Another case of having luck and being at the radio at the right time and frequency: I saw a few stations from South Korea show up in FT8. Tried making contact with more than one of them and the second or third station became stronger after a few minutes and with some trying the contact was made with HL5BLI. It was a really short opening, five minutes later I saw no traces of stations from South Korea. Update 2021-04-05: And the contact is confirmed on Logbook of the World too.
2021-03-29 A serious recumbent bicyle ride 1 week ago
I recently wanted to do some serious cycling to improve my mood and raise my maximum distance per day again. So I found a day off and set a goal of riding more than 100 kilometers. With a bit of planning on the map I decided that Utrecht - Hilversum - Bussum - Almere - Nijkerk - Utrecht was a good way to get about 105 kilometers cycling. In the end the odometer stopped at 112.53 kilometers. And I do feel better.
2021-03-28 Chasing awards: the full set of SX1A .. SX9A in the log 2 weeks ago
With some alerts set to get the last of the Special Event Station series to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Hellenic War of Independence against Ottoman Turks in the log I now have the full set: at least one contact with each of the special event stations. Which means the website will generate a nice digital certificate for me which I could print out and hang on the door of the room where I have my radio setup. But that door is already filled so I'll just keep the digital certificate and leave it at that. It was fun chasing them! My thanks to the organization behind this.
2021-03-27 The paddle works on the radio too! 2 weeks ago
Making a video about my new paddle is one thing, actually using it with the radio is another. I have seen radio amateurs buy expensive morse gear and finding out that learning morse is hard. I connected the paddle to the radio via the nanokeyer I built and called CQ in a part of the 20 meter band where I expect other users with slow speed. After one CQ I got an answer from PA5ABW Ab. The same person who taught me morse code!
2021-03-27 I bought a secondhand morse paddle and made a video about it 2 weeks ago
For a while I had a notification set for someone selling a morse paddle. Finally one came along at a reasonable price so I bought it. And.. I mentioned this detail to some people at work. Who had an idea of what a morse key is, but didn't know about morse paddles. So with my big mouth I said "I'll make a video about it". This was triggered by the fact that I recently learned about OpenShot non-linear video editor which is available for Linux too. So I created a video. And found out making a video of 30 seconds is a lot more work than 30 seconds. I watched some tutorial videos about OpenShot first and thought about what I wanted to show. I haven't added spoken comments because I didn't feel like doing those too. The video isn't great, I can see several beginner mistakes. But I get the point across of what a paddle does. There is a continuity problem because I used sunlight. Which isn't very constant. And I made several clips because I didn't think I would get everything I wanted to show right. But now there are changes in light and a bit in camera angle, even with using a tripod. And our neighbours were busy hammering indoors, so that can be heard too.
2021-03-24 New country in the logs: Hong Kong 2 weeks ago
It is always good to have a bit of luck and get a contact with a new country. This evening I saw a call from Hong Kong pop up on my screen with FT8 traffic and made the contact with a bit of a hickup since it was hard for me to receive the transmissions. The signal report showed that my signal made it across easier, so I had confidence and the contact was made. After that I saw a station from Ghana, which had more trouble decoding my signals, but after a few tries that contact was valid too. Ghana is not a completely new country for me, but it was new on the 40 meter band. Now to wait for digital confirmation (both show they use Logbook Of The World) and see if I can get a QSL card. Update: I just noticed I didn't write about a few new entities from recent months. In February I also got Anguilla in the log (an island in the Carribean) and confirmed. This was a case of turning on the radio on a non-standard time and seeing a new country and getting the contact. In March I saw notifications for activity from the UK bases on Cyprus (which are two British overseas territories housing military bases because of the strategic location of Cyprus) which I have been chasing for a while and the contact was made. Update: All contacts mentioned above confirmed.
2021-03-17 Upgraded another system at home, now serving webpages with TLSv1.3 3 weeks ago
After the recent work on updating the TLS settings for the webservers at home there was one element missing: TLSv1.3 support. This needed an upgrade of openssl and the 'easy' way to get there was a full upgrade of the server running the external facing proxy. So I took that step yesterday evening. Made a snapshot first and started upgrading devuan ascii to beowulf. After the update a lot of things were broken: I defined a non-standard location for bind9 logging and AppArmor disagreed. Without a working nameserver a lot of stuff breaks internally! So after managing to get on the upgraded system with console I changed the AppArmor rules to allow it. After that things started again. For the next time I manage to break the resolving nameserver: I should remember that avahi/multicast dns works on most systems even when DNS resolving fails. I checked and I can use .local names to get to the right equipment. After checking how everything is running for about a day I threw out the old snapshot.
2021-03-14 I participated in the EA PSK63 Contest 2021 4 weeks agoNews archive by year: 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021
As a number of years before I participated in the EA PSK63 Contest 2021. This is a contest organized by the Spanish Amateur Radio Club Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles and I appreciate their work in this and other contests. Contacts were made Saturday afternoon/evening and Sunday morning. I decided to go for both 20 and 40 meter band to improve my contest results. In the end I made 148 contacts, 58 on the 20 meter band and 90 on the 40 meter band. To my surprise when I started Sunday morning there was very little activity on the 20 meter band, but the 40 meter band was already filled with noise, probably from nearby solar power installations. With a bit of timing and luck I could work around the noise peaks and make contacts with the stronger stations. Later in the morning there was a lot more activity on the 20 meter band and new stations rolled in. It was good to see a lot of to me new Spanish callsigns in this contest. I guess amateur radio in general and contesting has grown in Spain.