News archive May 2015 - Koos van den Hout

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2015-05-31 New amateur radio band activated and confirmed.
eQSL card from DL65DARC I recently built and tested a new lightweight HF antenna. It's an endfed for the 10, 20 and 40 meters amateur bands (28 MHz, 14 MHz and 7 MHz). With my current Novice license I don't have a lot of access to the 40 meter amateur band, only 7.050 MHz to 7.100 MHz. But during testing station DL65DARC was active and heard my reply and confirmed it via eQSL.

I had earlier contacts on 40 meter (while testing the same antenna) but this is the first confirmed one.

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2015-05-30 A joint experiment in amateur satellites
Recently a number of satellites was launched including some cubesats with amateur radio functions. One of the interesting ones is ParkinsonSat named after Bradkin Parkinson who is famous for his contributions to the GPS system.

PSAT has a very interesting transponder: uplink at 28.120 USB psk31 and downlink at 435.350 MHz FM with telemetry in PSK31 included. PSK31 has a very narrow bandwith at 31 Hz, so the entire downlink signal can include 30 distinct PSK31 signals.

With my setup I can transmit to the satellite on HF or try to recieve it with the arrow antenna, but actually making a QSO through it without a rotor to aim the antenna sounds impossible to me. But, there is enough to experiment with.
Read the rest of A joint experiment in amateur satellites

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2015-05-30 Incoming QSL cards too
Sending outgoing QSL cards also results in incoming cards:
I also received nice QSL cards - KvdHout on flickr
I also received nice QSL cards

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2015-05-29 Outgoing QSL cards ready to send
Finally some time to write outgoing QSL cards. 32 of them. Maybe I need to start ordering them, this was after I printed and cut a 'large' batch. Already all filled in and ready to get to the QSL bureau.
Outgoing QSL cards - Kvdhout on flickr
Outgoing QSL cards
The downside of ordering printed QSL cards is that custom starts at 1000 cards. And I know I want to start working on getting my full license (which will change my callsign) later this year so I don't think I will have 1000 QSOs that will result in cards (most don't, it's when the person at the other side requests one or I would appreciate one in return).

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2015-05-24 Playing in the EU-PSK-DX contest
I saw the EU-PSK-DX contest coming up in the PG7V contest calendar and decided to try. My results are nice for a beginning novice with background noise:

Total number of QSOs in your log is 41, Including 0 QSO with errors, Valid QSOs 41
Band  QSOs Dupes Points Mults
160      0     0      0     0
80       0     0      0     0
40       0     0      0     0
20      41     0     84    50
15       0     0      0     0
10       0     0      0     0
Total   41     0     84    50
Claimed score is 4200 points. I selected the SINGLE-OP 20M HIGH category. When I look at the EU-PSK-DX contest 2014 results I didn't do too bad for 25 watt power, in a noisy (residential) area and with only about 6 hours of actual 'radio' time.
Read the rest of Playing in the EU-PSK-DX contest

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2015-05-24 Easy tracking of spam/phishing
I just received a PayPal phish on an account I generated to access but never managed to order something, so I guess they had a databreach.

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2015-05-24 (More transponders in space. Eventually these satellites will drift apart giving us amateurs more U/V...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : More transponders in space. Eventually these satellites will drift apart giving us amateurs more U/V transponders to play with!
2015-05-21 A Linux-related radio interference problem
Recently I noticed serious interference very visible on 14.070 MHz. Where it annoyed me a lot since that is the regular frequency for 20 meter PSK31 where I make most of my contacts at the moment. I also saw some interference at 28.120 MHz, the PSK31 frequency in the 10 meter band.

Noise on 14.070 MHz
The noise in the fldigi waterfall, click for the full fldigi screen.
The interference showed as steady carriers about 58 Hz apart and sounded like a serious buzzing noise. The first conclusion was that one of the over the horizon radars decided to drop on that part of the 20 meter band.

But later on the interference stayed at exact the same frequency. And active over the horizon radar is also quite visible on the Utwente websdr as I noted before when I noticed interesting interference in the 10 meter amateur band. This specific interference wasn't visible there.

So I kept searching locally for the source. I was afraid a nearby neighbour was using a new interfering CFL or power supply which would make it hard to diagnose and fix.

My own equipment was also a serious suspect. One piece of hardware that recently changed near the antenna was the monitor for the server. The monitor changed from an old CRT to a less-old LCD screen. The power supply wasn't the culprit, but searching further it turned out the video signal to the monitor was! And then I saw what else changed: after upgrading the homeserver to Ubuntu 10.04 and upgrading the homeserver to Ubuntu 12.04 it started coming up in framebuffer mode. Which has a different video frequency from the 80x50 textmode I used earlier.

The problem goes away completely when I unplug the video cable from the computer. I had an extension cable without ferrite cores because an earlier monitor needed the extra length. Removing the extension cable makes the level of interference drop a lot but it's not away completely. So the solution is to unplug the monitor cable from the computer.

Then things are back to the 'normal' noise level on 20 meters and 10 meters. It's still a city environment.
Listen to audio attachment:
MP3 media: Noise on 14.070 MHz (rightclick, select save-as to download)

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2015-05-20 Eindelijk kan ik 'm aan het haakje hangen
Op sommige repeaters hoor ik mensen wel eens roepen dat ze "'m aan het haakje gaan hangen" als ze willen stoppen met meepraten. Dat verwijst naar het haakje of clipje waaraan de handmicrofoon opgehangen kan worden.

Handmicrofoon aan het ophang haakje Ik had van een stukje koperdraad een simpel haakje gebogen maar dat was niet echt handig en viel wel eens van de plank af. Dus toch maar eens uitgekeken naar een echt goed beugeltje. Op de beurs in Rosmalen kon ik geen aanbieder vinden. On-line even gekeken en terecht gekomen bij Microphone Hang Up Clip for KMC-30,KMC-32,KMC-35,KMC-36 en nu kan ik 'm dus ook aan het haakje hangen!

Het is een hele nette microfoonhouder, die ook in een auto of boot zou werken, er zit een veer achter die de microfoon vasthoudt.

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2015-05-11 (Awesome! Thanks for sharing this. I'm a bit jealous: the usual 'zoo' on SO-50 in Europe wouldn't make...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : Awesome! Thanks for sharing this.
I'm a bit jealous: the usual 'zoo' on SO-50 in Europe wouldn't make a qso like this possible, usually it's just possible to exchange callsigns and a grid locator.
2015-05-09 (Another bad Mozilla decision.)
Google+Koos van den Hout : The thing about the web I always liked was that 'publishing something for the world to find' was almost free. I run several sites at home using free software. To keep doing that in a future with https-only I'd need to pay for certificates and adding a small site means changing/updating certificates. I hope works and is up and running in time.
2015-05-07 Minder random VDSL downstream snelheid
VDSL downstream speed dropping Sinds begin februari zit er een neergaande lijn in de VDSL downstream snelheid. Nu de haalbare snelheid gelijk is geworden aan de ingeregelde snelheid (23008 kbits) is de daling gestopt, maar ik denk eerder dat dan vanaf nu het aantal fouten kan toenemen tot er een langzamer profiel gekozen wordt. Of er moet weer verbetering komen.

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2015-05-06 (This sounds like an interesting upcoming satellite to be launched soon. APRS on 145.825 MHz and PSK31...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : This sounds like an interesting upcoming satellite to be launched soon. APRS on 145.825 MHz and PSK31 with 10m uplink and 70cm downlink.
2015-05-04 Keeping PHP to a minimum
I noticed the recent upgrades left some PHP scripts non-working. The default is now to disable PHP in userdirs, via:
    # To re-enable php in user directories comment the following lines
    # (from  to .) Do NOT set it to On as it
    # prevents .htaccess files from disabling it.
    <IfModule mod_userdir.c>
        <Directory /home/*/public_html>
            php_admin_value engine Off
I decided I want some PHP in userdirs, but while I was working on this configuration I want to turn the default around: disable the PHP engine in the global configuration and only enable it on those sites where I need it for the site. So now /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini has:
; Enable the PHP scripting language engine under Apache.
engine = Off
And some sites that need it have in the VirtualHost config:
# enable php
    php_flag engine 1
    <FilesMatch "\.ph(p3?|tml)$">
        SetHandler application/x-httpd-php

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IPv6 check

Running test...
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