News archive January 2013 - Koos van den Hout

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2013-01-31 (#)
Wouxon KG-UVD1P hanging upside down
The Wouxon KG-UVD1P hanging upside down for optimal reception
I found a spot were I could receive PI3UTR reasonably fine on the ground floor, hanging the transceiver upside down from the curtain.

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2013-01-30 (#)
I was aware of contesting in hamradio, but today I came across people who take that very serious and put time and money into scoring high in those contests making the most confirmed connections with the most distant places. Some persons and teams take this quite serious and take big setups to locations with good radio propagation properties.

Some nice examples I found: Team PI9A contest groep Assen have a modified city bus, PG5D homepage, contest reports Remco PA3FYM and Richard PA7FA use the field of a farm and the field of the neighbour to set up a 160m beverage antenna.

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2013-01-29 (#)
The adobe acrobat pdf plugin almost understands it:
koos@machiavelli:~$ ls -l C*txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 koos koos 4008500 2013-01-29 16:36 C:\nppdf32Log\debuglog.txt

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2013-01-26 (#)
Nowadays our growing child likes sesame street a bit more so I record Dutch sesame street from dvb-t. But I noticed those don't always play right on the Netgear EVA 8000HD. Most of the time audio wasn't playing. Audio played fine when viewing them with mplayer on a linux system. So I looked into conversion options and ended up with mencoder. The mencoder commandline I use to convert the program stream from dvbstream to a file playable by the netgear:
koos@thompson:/scratch/sesamstraat$ for file in *sesamstraat*mpg ; do mencoder $file -ofps 25 -of avi -oac mp3lame -ovc lavc -lavcopts vbitrate=1000:aspect=2 -lameopts abr:br=128 -o ${file%.mpg}.avi; done
Gives a good enough quality and reduces the size of the files to about a third.

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2013-01-22 (#)
One of my favourite podcasts, Chub Creek switched to m4a audio files and those don't play on my iRiver ifp-795 mp3 player which means I don't get around to listening to them. Open source and some scripting to the rescue can fix this, I found some good hints at .m4a to .mp3 - Linuxquestions wiki and tried them.
koos@thompson:/scratch/mp3/podcast$ faad CC125.m4a 
CC125.m4a file info:

LC AAC  2934.618 secs, 2 ch, 44100 Hz

writer: Dave
title: CC125
artist: Dave
album: Chub Creek
tool: GarageBand 6.0.5
Decoding CC125.m4a took: 22.10 sec. 132.79x real-time.
And the next step is easy:
koos@thompson:/scratch/mp3/podcast$ lame -q 5 -b 128 --tt 'Chub Creek 125' --ta 'Dave' --tl 'Chub Creek' --add-id3v2 CC125.wav CC125.mp3
LAME 3.98.2 32bits (
CPU features: MMX (ASM used), SSE (ASM used), SSE2
Using polyphase lowpass filter, transition band: 16538 Hz - 17071 Hz
Encoding CC125.wav to CC125.mp3
Encoding as 44.1 kHz j-stereo MPEG-1 Layer III (11x) 128 kbps qval=5
    Frame          |  CPU time/estim | REAL time/estim | play/CPU |    ETA 
112452/112452(100%)|    2:55/    2:55|    2:55/    2:55|   16.785x|    0:00 
   kbps        LR    MS  %     long switch short %
  128.0        2.3  97.7        91.0   4.9   4.1
Writing LAME Tag...done
ReplayGain: -3.1dB
Good way to warm up the CPUs on the computer: I can see from the 'sensors' output on which core the calculations are running. With two cores, running two processes like these parallel works fine.

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2013-01-21 (#)
I just saw news that the PI3UTR repeater had to reduce output power from 16 watt ERP to 4 watt ERP. I have heard people working that repeater from the north side of Belgium, from Germany and from South-east England, so the reach was indeed more than 'regional'.

Via @pi4utr: PI3UTR terug in vermogen op last van AT: Op last van Agentschap telecom is de "Mega Repeater" Pi3UTR terug ... (Dutch article)
Remarkable is that an original announcement for PI3UTR lists 4 watt ERP as planned output power: PI3UTR word per 1 jan 2013 een Regio repeater - (Dutch)

Update 2013-01-24: Reception at home is more of a problem now. My Wouxon KG-UVD1P can receive it with lots of noise on the ground floor when I put the transceiver in just the right spot near the window. The Bearcat BC 120XLT scanner doesn't receive it at all. That same scanner has no problem receiving PI2NOS clearly, which is about the same distance from where we live, but with less buildings in the way. And 70cm has somewhat different properties than 2m.

Update 2013-01-27: Once again RF is magic: in the weekend the reception was somewhat easier on the ground floor. The receiver still has to be near the window. The interference I heard before on the first floor was gone now. Since that interference had a very regular pattern I guess it is some form of QRM (manmade interference).

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2013-01-21 (#)
Interesting story: Ahmed Al-Khabaz expelled from Dawson College after finding security flaw - National Post Canada. I can fully imagine the kind of thinking behind his actions "if I find this bug this simple, what can I find when I try it with security scanning software". I think some people at the software company / Dawson college overreacted.

From what I can see with a simple websearch there are hosts for several institutes in Canada, each with an IP at the institute, so it's not a centrally hosted application which makes the remarks by Edouard Taza, the president of Skytech confusing:
He said that this was the second time they had seen me in their logs, and what I was doing was a cyber attack
My sarcastic self wonders whether they report the attacks they get from abroad daily to the police with the same energy.

Update 2013-01-24: Lots of new details on this story, and I can imagine there being a lot more to this story than what is published. One interesting opinion set of opinions at: Student’s Expulsion Exposes Computer Science Culture Gap - Security Ledger where Chris Wysopal who learned security testing at L0pth Heavy Industries and Simonelis, Computer Science professor from Dawson college react with interesting points.

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2013-01-20 (#)
During some cleanup work today I accidentally bumped a cable of the 1-wire network out of its socket, leading to some missing temperature measurements. After I was finished for the day with the cleanup project I decided to improve the fetchdigitemp script which fetches the data from digitemp. The script fetchdigitemp now checks whether listed sensors have reported data. Just to be sure I also added the option for the sensor to be listed but disabled.

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2013-01-18 (#)
Interesting side-effect of continued energy monitoring and on-line access to the results: Busting Teenage Partying with a Fluksometer - Rowetel.

Mentioned in Anti-Drone Camouflage: What to Wear in Total Surveillance -
I recently saw Law & Order LA episode S01E16 "Big Rock Mesa" in which the police as part of investigations accessed data from smart meters without much trouble.

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2013-01-16 (#)
Kudos voor de #gvu chauffeurs: bussen rijden prima door de sneeuw heen
2013-01-16 (#)
New and interesting linux problem today: the opensuse installer reporting Your system states that it requires an EFI boot setup and stating that the only way to install opensuse linux is to throw all msdos partitions away (including an already installed Windows 7) and start with GPT partitions. Windows 7 was installed with msdos style partitions and the plan was to create a multiboot setup without EFI boot (since we have some bad experiences with multiboot and EFI).

So the solution suggested by the opensuse installer was a bad choice. We decided to find out where the installer got the idea that the system stated something and changed the boot order in the BIOS to prefer legacy boot from network/cd/harddisk, disabling EFI boot options completely.

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2013-01-15 (#)
Stevig nieuws over de te verwachten landelijke commerciële nederlandse DAB+ multiplex vandaag: Landelijke commerciële stations zetten schouders onder DAB+ -

Veel goede voornemens in het artikel. Technische details (en de operatorkeuze) ontbreken nog, maar ik krijg er wel een gevoel bij dat de commerciële zenders gekeken hebben naar hoe het gaat in Duitsland en nu DAB+ zien als manier om echt landelijke dekking te krijgen in plaats van door een lappendeken van FM frequenties met kleinere en grotere dekkingsgebieden. En op de DAB+ multiplex komen naast de 9 radiostations (Sky Radio, Radio Veronica, 538, Slam FM, 100%NL, BNR, Q-music en Sublime FM plus de toekomstige eigenaar van FM kavel A7) ook maximaal 9 extra diensten.

Volgens het artikel zal ook 'ruim' de 40% dekking per 1 september 2013 gehaald worden. Wat de precieze planning is en vooral waar is nog niet vermeld. De 40% halen is natuurlijk relatief makkelijk in de Randstad, maar wie weet is de keuze juist (ook) om de gebieden te bedienen waar de commerciële zenders nu niet (goed) te ontvangen zijn.

Waar ze zeker tegenaan zullen lopen is het tekort aan DAB+ ontvangers, dus ik verwacht veel acties waarbij je een DAB+ radio kan winnen op de diverse commerciële radiostations.

Aanvullend: volgens Radio en TV zenders Nederland verwacht de VCR (Vereniging voor Commerciële Radio) eind januari/begin februari te kunnen melden wat de zenderoperator gaat worden en wat de uitrolplanning is.

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2013-01-15 (#)
A new strain of the 'renew your domain with us for a very high price' scam in my inbox today. Interesting twist: the 'registration period' was to be Jan 15, 2013 - Jan 15, 2014 and the mail opened with 'Expiration Notice' but the domain listed wont expire until 16 Februari 2014. Notice the mail suggests the domain will expire soon, but never states this explicitly. View of the domain renewal scam mail

Names linked to this seem to be and monikerdns which doesn't seem related to Also seen with other securetransXXXXX names.

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2013-01-14 (#)
RT @kevinmitnick: Good article about Aaron Swartz
2013-01-14 (#)
Dear phishers: abuse@<domain to be phished> is a nice choice for the return address, it alerts the right people to the phishing run a lot faster.

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2013-01-14 (#)
Frost on my recumbent bicycle speedometer
This morning it was cold on my recumbent bicycle, frost formed on the speedometer. Brrrr!

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2013-01-11 (#)
I'm proud of this picture:
2013-01-11 (#)
@alyankovic with all the versions out there the bar is quite high for any other version...
2013-01-11 (#)
I listened to the PI3UTR repeater this morning on the way to work and I noticed the reception started dropping out when I was cycling 'behind' the elevated railway lines Utrecht → Amersfoort as seen from the repeater. There were some radio amateurs active on the repeater.

Yesterday afternoon I did notice several people active on the repeater clearly while driving home, mentioning traffic and delays. The peak of activity was earlier than my normal commute time, people clearly try to avoid traffic jams. At the peak there was something like an informal net going on.

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2013-01-11 (#)
@beer_gin huhwhat? I guess someone has a twitter handle close to mine?
2013-01-09 (So our 'national secure identifier' that you can use to log in to file your taxes or request a building...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : So our 'national secure identifier' that you can use to log in to file your taxes or request a building permit is now offline until the ruby-on-rails bug can be fixed.
2013-01-07 (My new years resolution: The date and time for...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : My new years resolution:
The date and time for the next amateur radio license exam in the Netherlands. I'm going to do the N (novice) exam.
2013-01-06 (#)
RT @SilentUK: Behold, the best video you will watch all day. Finally, after many years we have finally found a use for the GoPro - http: ...
2013-01-05 (#)
MTVNL keeps changing their multiplex, just like the changes to the MTVNL multiplex in December. I noticed a test (this time no capitals) audio service again, with audio from a TV program.

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2013-01-04 Programming the Wouxun KG-UVD1P with Chirp
CHIRP screengrab After trying owx to talk to my Wouxun KG-UVD1P transceiver a co-worker who is a licensed radio amateur showed me CHIRP: an open source programming tool for amateur radio which does the programming of memory channels for different types of amateur radio sets with a friendly and easier to understand user-interface. For example I can select a set of channels from another channel list and paste them in my list.

Installing it on my laptop with Ubuntu was easy since chirp is available via the ubuntu-hams-updates ppa.

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2013-01-03 (#)
Today I programmed my scanner to listen to the local repeaters PI3UTR and PI2NOS. It was clear both are available since January 1st 2013, it was quite busy with voice traffic on those frequencies. Interesting to hear reports of the possible range of those repeaters, the high mounting points of the antennas clearly help.

This is one point where updates to repeaterlists are needed. The official websites for both repeaters are up to date, but the Veron repeater list (Dutch) doesn't have a listing for PI3UTR data yet (I notified the Veron webmaster about this: constructive criticism works a lot better than just complaining). The repeater overview as part of the article at the Dutch wikipedia: Relaiszender (Dutch) has been updated with the latest. In contrast the 'official' overview by the regulator Agentschap Telecom at Onbemand frequentiegebruik (Dutch) hasn't been updated since August 2012.

Update 2012-01-05: The Veron repeaterlist is now updated (within 24 hours of my notification). Good work by the Veron webmaster team.

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2013-01-03 (#)
@sandrogauci still at it? I noticed that going on 2 months ago. Still the same name behind it.
2013-01-02 (#)
@UnixToolTip timezone conversion: (GNU) date --date=20:00\ CST outputs 20:00 CST in your local timezone
2013-01-02 (#)
GNU date can display different times than the current time, with the -d or --date parameter:
  -d, --date=STRING         display time described by STRING, not `now'
But with a bit of experimenting I found out I can use this for calculating times in other timezones too:
koos@greenblatt:~$ date --date=20:00\ UTC
Wed Jan  2 21:00:00 CET 2013
koos@greenblatt:~$ date --date=20:00\ US/Central
date: invalid date `20:00 US/Central'
koos@greenblatt:~$ date --date=20:00\ CST
Thu Jan  3 03:00:00 CET 2013
So you can use the short timezone name, but not the long version.

Or, for day calculations:
koos@greenblatt:~$ date --date="396 days"
Fri Feb 28 15:36:15 CET 2014

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2013-01-01 (#)
@Wilboard er was veel nieuws over een UFO...

IPv6 check

Running test...
, reachable as PGP encrypted e-mail preferred. PGP key 5BA9 368B E6F3 34E4 local copy PGP key 5BA9 368B E6F3 34E4 via keyservers

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.
Other webprojects: Camp Wireless, wireless Internet access at campsites, The Virtual Bookcase, book reviews
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