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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

2017-06-19 (The NSA has published several of their open source tools at https://nationalsecurityagency.github.io...) 4 days ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : The NSA has published several of their open source tools at https://nationalsecurityagency.github.io/ and one thing that I notice is that the style of naming of some of the tools is about the same as the style of naming in the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailored_Access_Operations . Names like Pressurewave, Redhawk, Walkoff, Waterslide and Grassmarlin fit right in with Foxacid, Quantumcookie and Eternalblue. Maybe it is time for a quiz: NSA open source tool or NSA tailored access tool?
2017-06-18 I participated in the Ukranian DX Classic RTTY Contest 2017 5 days ago
I participated in the Ukranian DX Classic RTTY Contest 2017 this weekend. I prepared the antenna and the contestmacros Friday evening, but I knew most of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning would be unavailable.

Local noise was bad, it seems interference from solar panels is on the rise and it was a quite sunny day.

On the other hand, there was a 10 meter band opening Sunday afternoon, giving me some new multipliers with 8 contacts on that band. But no serious DX in the whole contest, I just saw Eastern Europe and Asiatic Russia active, unlike when I participated in the Ukranian DX Classic RTTY contest 2016.

The end result is that I made 70 contacts in somewhat less than 6 hours of operating time. So I participated in the SINGLE-OP ALL 6-HOUR RTTY category.

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2017-06-18 Sunny interference 5 days ago

A good sunny day and the effect it has on the HF spectrum: extra interference from solar panels. I'm not sure whether to complain about all solar panels not regularly identifying with their callsign or complain about interference or just give up and find another location for amateur radio.

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2017-06-17 (Definitely not mine, but shared via the amsat-bb mailing list: one of the first voice (Codec2 downlink...) 6 days ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Definitely not mine, but shared via the amsat-bb mailing list: one of the first voice (Codec2 downlink) contacts on the LilacSat-1 satellite
2017-06-14 Controlling the SARK100 antenna analyzer from Linux 1 week ago
The SARK100 antenna analyzer I bought also has the option to be controlled over an USB interface (other versions even have bluetooth support). Over USB it is possible to automate the measurements and have the results returned to the controlling computer.

For Linux software is available: SARK100 Antenna Analyzer Linux Software also via github with updates coddingtonbear/sark-100-antenna-analyzer.

I cloned the git repository and guessed that the command to build a 32-bit version would be:
koos@thompson:~/radiowork/sark-100-antenna-analyzer$ mkdir build
koos@thompson:~/radiowork/sark-100-antenna-analyzer$ cd build
koos@thompson:~/radiowork/sark-100-antenna-analyzer/build$ qmake -spec linux-g++ -o Makefile ../analyzer/analyzer.pro
This indeed compiled into a working 32-bit binary. Needed because the 'main radio desktop' can't run a 64-bit linux. The laptop does not have this problem.

Attic dipole on 10 m analyzed by the Sark100 analyzer and linux software
The attic dipole on 10m analyzed with the Sark100 analyzer and linux software
Attic dipole on 20 m analyzed by the Sark100 analyzer and linux software
The attic dipole on 20m analyzed with the Sark100 analyzer and linux software
And after compiling the software comes using the software. It works nicely and does what it says on the packaging.

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2017-06-06 Testing a different antenna setup and having fun on the 10 meter band 2 weeks ago
Almost three years ago I started making PSK31 contacts on the 10 meter band which was my first experience with HF and propagation through the ionosphere as a novice amateur with callsign PD4KH. The 10 meter band is the amateur band from 28.0 MHz to 29.7 MHz.

But the propagation through the ionosphere depends on the solar cycle. Currently the cycle is going towards a solar minimum meaning the number of sunspots is very low. Due to the low number of sunspots the propagation of radio signals through the ionosphere back to earth is also very low. After I upgraded to a full license opportunities to use the 10 meter bands were very rare. Up until yesterday I had 5 contacts in the log for PE4KH on the 10 meter band.

And yesterday that changed. I was testing with a borrowed fiberglass pole since I want to use that to help me tune the linked dipole kit I bought. I set up the fiberglass pole in the back of our garden using the fence for support and raised it to the full 10 meters with the endfed spiralled around it. At the end I had some wire left to the transformer so I just hung the transformer in the back garden. It took a lot of cable to get from my radio to the antenna far away, but I really wanted to do that experiment, especially to get an idea of the influence on the local interference. On the 20 meter band the interference was about the same, on 40 meters it was a bit less but on 10 meters it was almost gone.

And at the same time there was interesting propagation on the 10 meter band. I made several contacts with stations in Poland, Austria, Italy, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Most of those contacts would not have been possible with the noise levels I am used to.

An interesting experiment in radio. My first thought was that this antenna setup might be interesting for contesting, but I realised that I really need to keep an eye on the power levels since there is a small footpath right behind our garden for our neighbours. I can't ask them not to use that footpath for an entire contest weekend.

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2017-06-04 (Cor Moerman vertelt anekdotes over zijn werk bij de radio controle dienst. Een prachtig stukje geschiedenis...) 2 weeks ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Cor Moerman vertelt anekdotes over zijn werk bij de radio controle dienst. Een prachtig stukje geschiedenis, een tijdsbeeld over radiopiraterij en over handhaving door de politie in de jaren 80 in het algemeen.

Gevonden via https://www.hamnieuws.nl/cor-moerman-over-zijn-werk-bij-de-rcd/

2017-06-02 Upgraded the BIOS on the Alix 1.c box 2 weeks ago
I finally had some time to upgrade the BIOS on the Alix 1.c box (ritchie). It was a lot easier to do this with the flashrom utility than to do this with DOS boot floppies!

I just made sure again I checked the old bios version, which turned out to be alixbio3, and upgraded to alixbio8 from the PC Engines Alix 1.c page.

Now the machine boots without a screen attached. I also swapped the mainboard battery as it kept forgetting the current time.

Writing a bios file with flashrom is just changing the -r to a -w from the reading the flashrom command.

But this does not help the serial ports: those seem to be dead for good.

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2017-06-02 MrKortingscode spam 3 weeks ago
Je ontvangt deze e-mail omdat je meedoet aan MrKortingscode.
Regel 1 over spammers: spammers liegen. Ik heb nergens een e-mail adres opgegeven. Maar blijkbaar kon een ander wel mijn adres verzinnen en kreeg ik deze mail.

Die pas na twee keer goed lezen een verificatiemail bleek te zijn en niet een 'we gaan je maar spammen' mail. Tijd om je tekst aan te passen naar iets wat meer rekening houdt met de optie dat het verkeerde e-mail adres opgegeven wordt.

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2017-06-02 Radio Caroline back on AM 3 weeks ago
Radio Caroline will be awarded a license to transmit on 648 kHz AM. From the Radio Caroline website where I can't deeplink to the right article (Home - Am Licence):

We are pleased to announce that Ofcom have informed us that our application for an AM licence has been approved and that a licence will be awarded.

The basis of our application was that our traditional heartland was Essex and Suffolk, where the signal from our ships made first landfall and that we wished to entertain on AM, an audience that we have not been able to serve in this way since 1990.

We said that this audience may hear music radio of a style they remember and in some cases presented by the same people they remember.

That in essence is what we intend to do.

We can now announce that our AM frequency will be 648 kHz with a power of 1000 watts. This is ERP or simply the power radiated by the aerial.

A transmitter was imported from the Continent a few days ago and is now being modified to suit the frequency. There are further hurdles, but as you can see progress is being made.
The frequency (648 kHz, once BBC 648 / BBC Europe / BBC world service) isn't very good for local community radio (needs big antennas) so one 'big' station is a better idea. I think reception in the Netherlands will be possible when local interference is minimal.

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2017-05-24 (Vier keer een nl-alert bericht maar alleen via Vodafone. Het blijft een niet zo betrouwbare manier om...) 4 weeks ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Vier keer een nl-alert bericht maar alleen via Vodafone. Het blijft een niet zo betrouwbare manier om berichten af te leveren. 

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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.

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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.
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