News archive January 2015 - Koos van den Hout

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2015-01-31 Received an image from ISS
Image received from ISS SSTV callsign RS0ISS
Image received from ISS slow scan tv at location JO22NC 2015-01-31 starting 20:47
This chance of receiving images from ISS I took it and tried to recieve one. Not everything worked as planned: recording the audio while receiving the image with qsstv failed, someone tried to transmit on the downlink frequency to contact the ISS and the image is slanted which probably means I need to calibrate qsstv and/or the soundcard.

But, it worked! An image from the international space station!
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2015-01-31 World news in my amateur radio contacts
And sometimes world news gets into my amateur radio contacts, even when both sides don't really want that:
Pse QSL via LoTW,eQSLc .. please no bureau now. War here
This was in a contact with a radio amateur operator in the Donetsk region in Ukraine.

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2015-01-31 Interesting interference in the 10 meter amateur band
waterfall plot of interference I had the radio and computer running checking for PSK31 signals at 28.120 MHz, the standard frequency for PSK31 in the 10 meter band. Suddenly I saw lots of carriers 5 Hz apart and very precise. I checked the websdr in twente and saw the same signal.

So I tried to make a screengrab of it and it went away. To show up at 27.120 MHz exactly the same and annoying some 27 MHz CB users.

I'm not sure what it was, my first guess was over the horizon radar which is 'famous' for interfering on HF amateur bands. Moving 1 MHz down when the HF propagation maximum frequency is dropping is also a sign of something like over the horizon radar.

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2015-01-27 Please use PGP when sending me e-mail
PGP lock logo I updated my PGP key and the page describing my use of PGP so it is easier to find the right key when e-mailing me feedback about any page on my site.

It is clear PGP is needed for any serious on-line private communications. Please use it as much as possible.

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2015-01-26 Upgrading a desktop system to Ubuntu 14.04 (for newer amateur radio software!)
Recently I found out I wanted the latest and greatest in some amateur radio software used on the desktop system thompson at home. So I upgraded ubuntu again. This system has run Ubuntu versions 8.04, 10.04 and 12.04, so it does show all those upgrades work!
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2015-01-23 Amateur radio and geography
This evening when I had time to play with the radio the HF bands I can use were already going 'silent'. But I left the setup running om 14.070 MHz in fldigi in PSK31 mode. This is the recommended standard frequency for PSK31 in the 20 meter band, so a lot of people will try there first. I saw a CQ call from EA9BO and fldigi filled in the country as Ceuta & Melilla which I did not recognize.
Spanish autonomous cities Ceuta and Melilla
Map of Ceuta and Melilla, from Ceuta-melilla.png, Wikimedia Commons, Anarkangel
Which means one thing: a contact with a new country! I was able to answer his call after he had contacts with a few other stations and he got my signals and we had a short QSO. Afterwards I looked up Ceuta & Melilla which are the two autonomous Spanish cities that are within Morocco.

Again amateur radio learns me new things about geography! I already have looked up a number of interesting city names in eastern parts of Europe because of what I received as the cities of radio amateurs I had contacts with.

Oh and this is the first contact on the African continent.

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2015-01-21 (Interesting observations about the relationship between having time for radio and the chances of the...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : Interesting observations about the relationship between having time for radio and the chances of the bands being open...
2015-01-19 (First reports of QSO's with UT1FG/MM seen on twitter and on the Amsat mailing list. A rare opportunity...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : First reports of QSO's with UT1FG/MM seen on twitter and on the Amsat mailing list.
A rare opportunity to work otherwise impossible grids at sea!
2015-01-18 (When I started with amateur radio and read about contesting I thought that would not be interesting ...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : When I started with amateur radio and read about contesting I thought that would not be interesting for me.
But a perspective can change when you give it a try. I had a look in our club station when they were in the Sunday morning hours of the CQWW SSB contest last October and after some people convinced me to give it a try on 10 meters I spent the next hour or so with a headset and the logging program trying to get a few new calls in the log. And the previous weekend I tried some digimode operations and found out the UBA PSK63 prefix contest was going on. I checked my contest macros when I had time and made 10 QSOs and submitted the log. And this weekend the bands looked like and it made me consider working a bit on the setup at home so I can do voice on 20 meter (current 20 meter antenna is just right for digimodes but SWR gets too high on the voice part).
2015-01-17 Full amateur bands when a contest is going on
Websdr view with a contest active on 20m I like using the Wide-band WebSDR in JO32KF to check the actual conditions on the HF bands and to see if there are interesting voice contacts possible. Today I had a look at the 10 meter amateur band but it has no propagation at the moment. But the 20 meter band is doing fine and as visible in the waterfall display it is busy. A look at the HF contestkalender van PG7V op de Veron site (Dutch) confirms this: the HA-DX contest International Radioamateur Short Wave Contest organized by the Hungarian Radioamateur Society is active this weekend.

I decided not to participate on 20m voice: the SWR of my attic dipole gets to high in the voice part, triggering the SWR warning on my transciever.

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2015-01-13 (Just finished listening to this episode. I started having more time for podcasts recently, so I'm going...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : Just finished listening to this episode. I started having more time for podcasts recently, so I'm going to hear stuff less than 6 months old soon!
Anyway, enjoyed the episode. The repeated mentions of CQRLOG mean I really have to give it a try. Currently using fldigi but I'd like to keep track of which QSOs were confirmed through eqsl/hrdlog/paper qsl. And I'd like to do some more voice qso's, logging those in fldigi is a bit of a long way around.
2015-01-11 Playing in a radio contest
Yesterday I switched on the radio for a bit and when I responded to a PSK63 CQ I received a four-digit serial number. I assumed some contest was going on and responded with serial 1001 because some contests require 4 digit serials starting at 1001. After that I found out I was right, the UBA PSK63 Prefix Contest was going on. But we had other plans, so that was just one QSO.

Today I had some more time before 12:00 UTC to play with the radio, changed the contest macros a bit for this contest and tried making more contacts. In total I made 10 contacts so it's just a checklog for the others. But I entered it 'for real' in the 10 meter single operator category.

Contesting is more fun than I expected when I first heard about it. And contesting in digimodes has its interesting things. I made all contacts in the 10 meter band, this is becoming my favourite HF band at the moment.
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2015-01-10 Privacy van mijn kind en digiDUIF
Als ouder van een kind wat ondertussen op de basisschool zit krijg ik ook te maken met een aanwas van nieuwe plekken waar gegevens over dat kind opgeslagen worden. Tegelijkertijd ben in mijn werk uiterst kritisch over contracten die afgesloten worden met bedrijven die gegevens van mijn werkgever verwerken. De recente privacy-rel rond basispoort geeft ook aan dat dit nieuw terrein is waar nog grote fouten gemaakt kunnen worden.

Recent kreeg ik een uitnodiging om een account aan te maken op digiDUIF met als omschrijving van de school
Communicatie tussen u en ons vinden wij belangrijk. Daarbij is ons doel u zo goed mogelijk te informeren over de verschillende activiteiten van onze organisatie. Om dit te realiseren, maken wij gebruik van digiDUIF waarmee wij u via e-mail, SMS en pushberichten (via de youConnect apps) snel, direct en betrouwbaar kunnen bereiken.
En daarbij een uitleg hoe aan te melden bij digiDUIF.
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2015-01-10 Tracking GPS without sharing the track details with someone else
I wanted to track a ride I made on my recumbent bicycle, but without uploading the track details to some cloud service. The trackdata does include where I was at what time and that's not something I want to share.

Cycling visualisation 2015-01-09 The solution is available and simple: use a local GPS tracker which saves a GPX file. I found one for android: Open GPS Tracker which gives me a file in the end which I can process myself. This application can also display the track on a google map/openstreetmap/opencyclemap (when available).

The colour scale is the speed, you can see the influence of the heavy wind last Friday. Cycling on my recumbent on the dike of the Lek river is great.

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2015-01-09 (Always keeping an eye on pskreporter when I'm working in PSK31 or other digimodes)
Google+Koos van den Hout : Always keeping an eye on pskreporter when I'm working in PSK31 or other digimodes
2015-01-05 (More 'how do I convert to' choices from google #newreligions)
Google+Koos van den Hout : More 'how do I convert to' choices from google #newreligions
2015-01-05 A too cold harddisk
A problem I did not expect to see: a harddisk getting close to being too cold. Last month of harddisk temperatures This disk in the weather station computer in the shed is a laptop harddisk and according to the specs the minimum operating temperature is 5 degrees Celcius, which was reached last week when the shed dropped just below 2 degrees Celcius.

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2015-01-05 Leap second announcement
Promptly after fixing the previus leapsecond file I get the IERS Bulletin C number 49 today which states:
                                   UTC TIME STEP
                            on the 1st of July 2015

 A positive leap second will be introduced at the end of June 2015.
 The sequence of dates of the UTC second markers will be:

                          2015 June 30,     23h 59m 59s
                          2015 June 30,     23h 59m 60s
                          2015 July  1,      0h  0m  0s
And I notice the IETF seems to update the canonical leap-seconds file about two months after the decision is made by the IERS.

It's a good thing ntpd starts complaining when the file is about to expire.

Update 2015-01-06: An update was available from but only when I connected over IPv6. An interesting form of IPv6 promotion. Notice the difference in messages between the old file and the new file loading:
Jan  5 13:54:33 ritchie ntpd[13710]: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3644438400'): good hash signature
Jan  5 13:54:33 ritchie ntpd[13710]: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3644438400'): loaded, expire=2015-06-28T00:00Z ofs=35 (no entries after build date)
Jan  6 10:14:17 ritchie ntpd[26348]: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3629404800'): good hash signature
Jan  6 10:14:17 ritchie ntpd[26348]: leapsecond file ('/etc/ntp/leap-seconds.3629404800'): loaded, expire=2015-12-28T00:00Z last=2015-07-01T00:00Z ofs=36

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2015-01-04 (Probably illegal in several countries: filming fireworks with a drone. But it gives an awesome result...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : Probably illegal in several countries: filming fireworks with a drone.
But it gives an awesome result!

Found via (Dutch)
2015-01-02 (The mechanical portion of my 3d printed rotator for the arrow antenna is nearly complete!)
Google+Koos van den Hout : Seen in the Amateur radio community, but also interesting here!
2015-01-02 (Happy new year. Now where’s my flying car?)
Google+Koos van den Hout : Roads? Were we are going, we don't need roads. A good 2015, and drive safely while we wait for those flying cars.
2015-01-01 Numbers from an aged laptop battery
The current numbers from the third battery in my Dell Latitude D630 laptop:
koos@machiavelli:~$ acpi -V
Battery 0: Discharging, 100%, 04:21:53 remaining
Battery 0: design capacity 7800 mAh, last full capacity 4544 mAh = 58%
A laptop battery is a part which wears out, so this is not unexpected after a few years.

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IPv6 check

Running test...
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