News archive September 2015 - Koos van den Hout

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2015-09-27 I participated in the CQ WW RTTY contest
Much of this weekend was filled up but I noticed really heavy RTTY activity on the radio bands Saturday evening. Looking at the PG7V contestcalendar showed me the CQ World Wide RTTY Contest 2015 was busy in full force.

I participated for about two and a half hours on Sunday between other things and managed a nice 54 contacts. It is a quite busy contest with lots of stations participating. There are probably 'contest stations' that participate for the full 48 hours and make thousands and thousands of contacts. For me only 'search and pounce' mode worked, nobody came back to my calling attempts. This is probably related to my modest output power and antenna setup.

Getting the log accepted was a whole different problem and in hindsight it was the wrong decision to try to get that done late Sunday evening. The logging format for this contest is quite strict (and somewhat US-centric) and it took me a few iterations to get the log right to have it accepted for processing. According to the documentation fldigi does the cabrillo export right for the various contests but I noticed some problems with it. On further reading I notice I have to set up the contest macros before I start logging for a contest. Which means I have to prepare a bit more for a contest than the usual "Something is going on, let's jump in". The fldigi site has a document FLDIGI Contest - How To which I should read and use for the next contest!

Update 2016-07-17: From time to time I checked the CQ World Wide RTTY contest results but it took a while. The results were published in May 2016. In total 52 contacts accepted, 6 zones, 22 countries, 4 contacts in USA/Canada.

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2015-09-26 ("You are here" Part of the Project Apollo Archive at
Google+Koos van den Hout : "You are here"

Part of the Project Apollo Archive at .. 16 megapixel scans of the film magazines returned from the Apollo missions.
Awesome images, and you can download them.
I like this one as a powerful image of earth and the accomplishments of mankind.
2015-09-25 New records for me in amateur radio
This evening I hung the endfed antenna outside, in the hopes of being able to make a contact with a station in Algeria I saw calling. But the station went away, or the signal doesn't make it to my endfed while being ok on my attic antenna.

eQSL card from YB6HAI But I received a very interesting reply when I called CQ for new contacts: YB6HAI from Indonesia. New distance record: 9923 kilometer. And a new country.

The contact is already confirmed.

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2015-09-20 Better powersupply for the amateur radio setup
I got annoyed with the PC powersupply I used for the amateur radio setup, output power was dropping below reasonable values at any load. The PC power supply was supposed to be able to give me 40 Ampere at 12 Volts but I saw the 12 volts drop easily to below 10 Volts at a load of less than 10 Ampere. So, time for a better power supply. I kept an eye on any nice secondhand offers and found an Alan K205 powersupply for sale which would give me 13.8 Volts at a sustained maximum of 20 Ampere (22 Ampere peak). I made a reasonable offer which was accepted immediately and went to pick it up.

It's an old-fashioned transformer and regulator powersupply (not a switching mode powersupply), it's big and it weighs a lot. And it works like I want it, with voltage never dropping below 13 Volts even under heavy load.
Radio with new Alan K205 power supply - KvdHout on flickr
Radio with new Alan K205 power supply
This also makes the Yaesu FT-857 radio work better: under 12.5 volt it will lower the output power. I notice it now runs the output fan for longer periods after transmitting.

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2015-09-20 More QSL cards
Radio amateurs exchange QSL cards to confirm contacts. Recently I received a whole batch of new ones. I usually look at the 'backside' first since that has the details about the QSO, but some cards have really nice fronts too!
Incoming QSL cards - KvdHout on flickr
Incoming QSL cards
Incoming QSL card fronts - KvdHout on flickr
Incoming QSL card fronts

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2015-09-19 Radiocontesting can be simple and fun
I mentioned serious radiocontesting before where people invest serious time and money into getting the best scores. There is also a more laid-back approach of participating for a few hours in a radiocontest and just going for the fun. And maybe having a contact with a new country.

The Essex Hams did just that: they participated in the RSGB SSB Field Day and enjoyed themselves without breaking any records in scores, read the full report at RSGB SSB Field Day – Shoebury 2015 - Essex Ham. A nice article, and the main conclusion is that they had fun with amateur radio.

Found via Essex Hams try Contesting - Southgate Amateur Radio News.

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2015-09-14 Trying APRS by car and bicycle
Today I took the APRS setup with me. During the day by car (it was raining) and in the evening by recumbent bicycle to the radio club (it wasn't raining that hard in the evening). Both times I had APRSDroid, the Mobilinkd and the radio running for APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System).

Testing APRS, data received by network and presented by With the car the antenna was sticking up from the left rear window. Most beacons were received by a nearby APRS digipeater and made it into the APRS network.

With the bicycle the antenna was sticking up from the bag on the back. No beacons were received by an APRS digipeater. And I'm not too happy about a 5W transmitter right behind my head. Time to look at the setup.

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2015-09-12 Electrisch energieverbruik en gewoontes meten
In mijn 1-wire projecten was ook nog het plan om de watt-uur pulsen van de electricteitsmeter te gaan tellen. Met een schakeling met lichtgevoelige leds en een teller is het me nooit gelukt de pulsen betrouwbaar te tellen.

Ik ontdekte de YouLess die het tellen van zo'n ledje of van een draaischijfmeter terdege opgelost heeft en die niet begint met de data naar een externe dienst te sturen voor ik er naar kan kijken. Er is gewoon een simpele interface waarmee de tellingen van de YouLess via het netwerk uit te lezen zijn en die gebruik ik natuurlijk en maak er interne statistieken van.

YouLess stroomgebruik per kwartier
Gemeten electriciteitsgebruik per kwartier
Van die statistieken maak ik ook een grafiek met een nauwkeurigheid per kwartier. Die keuze is omdat de 'slimme meter' per kwartier uitgelezen kan worden en ik wil wel eens weten wat je er dan uit kan halen. Heel veel dus! Uit de kwartierwaarden is een hoop te halen over onze dagelijkse gewoonten, zeker als je ze over een lange termijn beschikbaar hebt. Voor de meeste pieken kan ik een verklaring bedenken en als eenmaal bekend is welke actie welke hoeveelheid energie gebruikt kan je daarna andere pieken ook weer uitleggen. Opvallend is dat zelfs bij de resolutie van 15 minuten een kort maar duidelijk gebruik zoals de waterkoker of een lange termijn wijziging zoals het licht aan of uit schakelen prima te zien is.
Read the rest of Electrisch energieverbruik en gewoontes meten

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2015-09-11 (A good tip. For some reason a lot of amateur radio related websites are quite bad. Make your club website...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : A good tip. For some reason a lot of amateur radio related websites are quite bad. Make your club website friendly to all visitors, not just other radio amateurs.
2015-09-11 Microsoft support scammers are back, or never went away
Today a missed call from +99994723523. There is no country code +999 so this is as fake as it can be for a caller-id.

And still caller-id is treated as very valuable evidence by the police, but that is a different rant.

A google search for the number suggests this is a number used by the Microsoft support scam. Nobody was available to be scammed.

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2015-09-11 Meer spam voor een Belg
Ruim 3 jaar later is er de laatste weken weer een opmerkelijke stijging van spam die denkt dat ik een bedrijf in België ben. Dezelfde bedrijfsnaam en e-mail adres die ik eerder zag in spam die veroorzaakt werd door adreslijsten van Email-Packs.

Recente bedrijven die de fout maken deze frauduleuze en waardeloze lijsten aan te schaffen en te gebruiken voor het illegaal benaderen van mensen:

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2015-09-08 (The whole industry of automatically sending legal threats versus the better research at +2600 The Hacker...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : The whole industry of automatically sending legal threats versus the better research at +2600 The Hacker Quarterly magazine...
2015-09-06 Participated in the Russian "Radio" WW RTTY Contest
On Saturday I participated in the Russian "Radio" WW RTTY Contest. I used the end-fed antenna outside to give me somewhat better reception. The contest is the whole of Saturday (UTC) but I only participated in the local evening time due to other things that happen on a Saturday.

The preliminary results:
Total number of QSO in your log is 41, Including 0 QSO with errors, Valid QSO - 41
Band  QSOs Dupes Points Mults
160      0     0      0     0
80       0     0      0     0
40       0     0      0     0
20      41     0    220    31
15       0     0      0     0
10       0     0      0     0
Total   41     0    220    31
Claimed score is 6820 points
This puts me at a rank of 49 in the 'SINGLE-OP 20M' category in the claimed scores.

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2015-09-03 DAB services scan 3 September 2015
Na alle recente wijzigingen tijd voor een nieuwe scan. Geen van de regionale multiplexen is sterk genoeg om op deze setup met laptop en Noxon DAB+ stick door te komen.

Opmerkelijk: MTVNL heeft een DAB+ audio service toegevoegd, GrootNieuwsRadio. En de MTVNL op 12B wordt wel gezien als DAB dienst van MTVNL maar zonder geldige diensten.
Read the rest of DAB services scan 3 September 2015

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2015-09-02 In Utrecht wel L1 radio, maar geen RTV Utrecht via DAB+
Net een scan gedaan met de Pure DAB+ radio op zolder. Opmerkelijk is dat wel de regionale multiplex Zuid op 7A goed doorkomt, waardoor ik nu L1 radio (Limburg) en Omroep Brabant kan ontvangen, maar niet de regionale multiplex West op 8A krijg waar 'onze' regionale zender RTV Utrecht in zit. Soms ontvang ik regionale multiplex Oost op 6B waar wel RTV Utrecht in zit voor de oostelijke helft van de provincie Utrecht. Maar dat is dan marginaal en vandaag dus niet.

De opbouw van regionale multiplex west op 8A gaat langzamer dan de andere regionale multiplexen vanwege de kosten volgens Radio Royaal binnenkort via DAB+ in de Randstad -
Dat het DAB+net voor de Randstad slechts matige dekking krijgt, heeft alles te maken met de kosten. Op dit net dienen namelijk 18 verschillende partijen, zowel publiek als commercieel, te gaan uitzenden. Sommige partijen willen helemaal niet uitzenden via DAB+, maar zijn het wel verplicht, terwijl anderen weinig financiële middelen hebben. Daarom is gekozen voor een netwerk met een minimale dekking, waardoor net aan aan de licentievoorwaarden wordt voldaan.

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