News archive November 2015 - Koos van den Hout

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2015-11-27 Planning for the UBA PSK63 contest 2016
About a year ago the UBA PSK63 prefix contest 2015 was my first experience with an amateur radio contest. Since that contest I participated in a few other digimode contests and had fun. So for the next edition in January 2016 I decided to prepare and raise my score. The date is marked in the calendar!

Unless the propagation conditions improve a lot from what they are now I will mostly concentrate on the 20 meter band. After sunset the only usable band for me will be the limited part of the 40 meter band my novice license allows me. The decision whether to enter as 'single operator all band' or 'single operator 20 meter' will depend on my score on the 10 and 40 meter bands.

Before the contest I will do some preparations:
  • Improve and test the digimode contest macro definitions.
  • Solder connectors on a better coax cable (Aircell 7) to connect the outside endfed antenna to the radio. The Aircell 7 should improve signals somewhat compared to the current RG-58.
Read the rest of Planning for the UBA PSK63 contest 2016

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2015-11-27 (Top2000, the yearly event on Radio2 the Netherlands. I admit freely I grew up and started enjoying music...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : Top2000, the yearly event on Radio2 the Netherlands. I admit freely I grew up and started enjoying music in the 1980s which is clear from my votes. I will listen to parts of the Top2000 which are broadcast at reasonable times.
2015-11-20 Reparatie van de PA0FBK coax antenne
Na de recente experimenten met SSTV ging ineens de PA0FBK antenne die ik in 2013 heb gebouwd problemen geven: slechte ontvangst en hele slechte SWR bij zenden.

Ik vermoedde een los contactje of een sluiting, en de enige oplossing om dat te repareren was de krimpkous afscherming er af slopen en de 'voet' openmaken. Daar bleek dat inderdaad de soldeerverbindingen het begeven hadden door de bewegingen. Het kostte wat werk om het geheel weer te repareren maar het is gelukt.
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2015-11-18 I received some signals from the FOX-1A (AO-85) amateur satellite
Earlier today I had an opportunity to listen to the FOX-1A amateur satellite. Due to the pass not being very high (a maximum of 61 degrees elevation) and not much time to 'play' I took the Wouxun radio and the arrow antenna out so I would not be busy with unmounting and mounting the FT-857 radio in the 'home shack'. The upside of the downlink signals (from the satellite to the earth) being in the 2 meter amateur band is that the absolute dopplershift isn't as high, so my radio tuned to 145.975 MHz was able to receive some signals.

I mainly heard OM3WAN active, calling CQ for new contacts and making a few. Reception was spotty, so to try anything I will concentrate on higher passes (which have to match my schedule) and use the FT-857 radio.

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2015-11-13 More SSTV, and a complete QSO this time
Some more time to play with the radio this evening, and I made a full QSO in slowscan TV. Which takes time!

PD4KH de PD0JRN received at PD2PW PD0JRN de PD4KH PD4KH de PD0JRN

The first image includes the image I originally used in the call. PD0JRN was kind enough to share his version of the received second image. The signal strength was not very high, probably due to my inside antenna.

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2015-11-12 Playing with slow scan tv transmitting
Amateur radio is a hobby with many sides, and I stumbled into a new one this evening. When I had time to try some radio propagation on HF bands I have access to was gone (ionospheric propagation on the 10 and 20 meter amateur bands usually drops as the sun goes down, more information at Radio Propagation article on Wikipedia).

So, I had to try something else. I had a look at the 2 meter websdr available via repeater PI2NOS. I saw an interesting data mode on 144.500 MHz. Hearing it made me recognize it instantly from earlier experiments: slow-scan tv, which means sending images in small bandwidth (using audio encoding). I started qsstv which can decode these images. I used that software before to receive slow scan tv images from the international space station. Using pulseaudio I routed received audio from the websdr to qsstv.

I wanted to play along (encouraged a bit by some fellow Veron A08 club members) so I tried sending images. It took a few tries to understand the template and macro use in qsstv. First the template did not expand so it was a 'CQ SSTV de %m' in the resulting image. Eventually I managed to send out a CQ and I tried to respond to someone. Who did not answer me, so no full QSO yet.

The qsstv software uses templates to create an overlay over an image. The idea is to use text with macros in the template and select an image right before you start transmitting. I had a hard time finding some images to use so I ended up with some of my PD4KH images.

The nice thing is that there is someone nearby always receiving SSTV images on 144.500 MHz: PD2PW has a website with the latest images. So I grabbed the results from that site to see how I did.

PD4KH sstv received by PD2PW

Reception is very noisy: My 2 meter antenna is under the roof and I'm only transmitting at 10 watts.

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2015-11-08 Latest QSOs on my hamradio site
It's possible to get your 'most recent QSOs' (radio contacts) on a website using iframes/scripts from sites like or

I had to do my own thing and get the data from my logging application CQRLOG which has all my radio contacts logged. In a MySQL database. Which is not my preferred database, but it works with CQRLOG and I don't touch it otherwise.

A bit of searching found me Accessing the MySQL server spawned by CQRlog - N0NB which had the right incantations. I used this to build a perl script which does an SQL query to extract the latest QSOs, like:
        SELECT callsign,band,mode,loc,rst_s,rst_r,qsodate
        FROM cqrlog_main
        ORDER BY qsodate DESC LIMIT 10
Followed by some work to export the data to a format the webserver for my website can pick up even when the 'radio' desktop is not running. And the result is now visible at the top right of PD4KH Amateur radio - Koos van den Hout.

Having the script really shut up when MySQL isn't running was a bit of work, but in the end this works in my crontab:
./ 2>/dev/null

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2015-11-07 (Found a video with a very short bit at 4:42 where I answer a call. It failed as a satellite QSO but ...)
Google+Koos van den Hout : Found a video with a very short bit at 4:42 where I answer a call. It failed as a satellite QSO but it is nice to find a recording!
2015-11-07 Recording of a (failed) satellite QSO
Searching for my own callsign I found this video:

At 4:42 you will hear me attempt answering someone. Since it's not clear who I am answering it failed as a radio contact (QSO). But it's nice to find a recording of my satellite QSO attempt!

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2015-11-07 Dag van de radioamateur en APRS
Vanwege drukte en andere plannen voor het weekend ben ik niet naar de Dag van de Radioamateur in Apeldoorn gegaan maar het is toch wel grappig om dan vanaf thuis te kijken wat er aan zendamateurs actief is rond Apeldoorn met APRS. Inspiratie hiervoor van Dag van de radioamateur en APRS - PA4TW door Remco PA4TW.

DvdRa 2015 op Apeldoorn DvdRa 2015 op ingezoomd op terrein

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2015-11-06 Snelheid VDSL is verhoogd
Uiteindelijk ging de planningsdatum voor de verhoging naar vectored VDSL voorbij zonder dat er iets gebeurde. Daarna waren er wel regelmatig mensen van diverse telecom onderaannemers actief in de kast achter ons huis.

Er kwam geen nieuwe aankondiging van onderhoud, maar afgelopen nacht is er wel iets gebeurd! De haalbare snelheid is naar 51477 kilobit down en 27812 kilobit up. Alleen is de VDSL snelheid ingeregeld op 51937 kilobit down en 5221 kilobit up.
 		Receive Direction 	Send Direction
Max. DSLAM throughput	kbit/s	52000	5224
Min. DSLAM throughput	kbit/s	3488	64
Attainable data rate	kbit/s	51462	27812
Current throughput	kbit/s	51937	5221
Seamless rate adaptation		off	off
Latency		4 ms	4 ms
Impulse Noise Protection		44	2
G.inp		on	off
Signal-to-noise ratio	dB	8	22
Bitswap		off	off
Line attenuation	dB	10	3

Profile	17a		
G.Vector		off	off

Carrier record		A43	A43
Effectief komt de Internet snelheid neer op ergens 23 a 24 megabit downstream en 5 megabit upstream. Vectoring staat nog niet aan, dus wie weet komt daar nog een verandering. Het liefst heb ik natuurlijk iets symmetrischer snelheden: 20 megabit downstream en 20 megabit upstream zou ideaal zijn.
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2015-11-01 I participated in the Russian worldwide multimode contest
I had some time (not a lot) this weekend to participate in the Russian WW MultiMode Contest 2015.

I updated my fldigi macros to work better for a contest as I planned when I participated in the CQWW RTTY contest and that improved my speed in making contacts a bit. I think I now have a reasonable setup for the 'search and pounce' side of things (looking for calling stations and answering them). I want to do some more improvements on those macros and then I will do a separate posting about my contest macros and how I use them.

I participated in a few timeslots between other things:

Saturday afternoon 20 meters was wide open and I made a number of contacts (while still improving those contest macros). Things improved when I started using the outdoor endfed antenna.

Saturday evening 20 meters was dead and I was left with the (small) part of the 40 meters band I can use. I managed some contacts on 40 meters RTTY.

Sunday morning 20 meters was wide open again and I made a number of contacts.
Total number of QSO in your log is 55, Including 0 QSO with errors, Valid QSO - 55
Band  QSOs Dupes Points Mults
160      0     0      0     0
80       0     0      0     0
40       6     0     36     7
20      49     2    145    29
15       0     0      0     0
10       0     0      0     0
Total   55     2    181    36
Claimed score is 6516 points
I had to fix some errors in my log and looking back I may have scored some duplicate contacts, so I'm not sure how high the score in the end will be.
Read the rest of I participated in the Russian worldwide multimode contest

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