News archive March 2016 - Koos van den Hout

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2016-03-31 Interesting report from pskreporter
PSKreporter negative time Interesting report from pskreporter psk map today: a negative time at which the signal was reported. I guess the reported time is taken from the original spotter, I had EB4DDQ in the log at 18:12 UTC, he had me in the log at 19:12 UTC.

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2016-03-31 Trying to tune antennas
Besides the antennas for HF frequencies I also have an antenna tuner.

For my readers who aren't busy with radio: the combination of a transmitter and an antenna works best when the antenna acts as a resistor at the value the transmitter expects. In amateur radio most transmitters expect 50 ohms loads. But, the antenna only does that at the frequencies it is resonant on, on other frequencies it will act more like a coil or a capacitor and reflect power back to the radio. This is where an antenna tuner comes in which tries to adjust the antenna using coils and capacitors to match what the radio expects. The downside is you lose power in the tuner and the antenna itself is still not working at its optimum. But an antenna somewhat working is better than no working antenna at all.

So I am trying to use the antenna tuner to be able to transmit on frequencies other than the ones the antennas are made for. Sofar the results are for the 10/20/40m endfed antenna I built at the radio club:
  • 10 meter: native frequency
  • 12 meter: the tuner can fix it
  • 15 meter: the tuner can fix it but the returning signal is so large the radio starts acting weird
  • 17 meter: the tuner can fix it
  • 20 meter: native frequency
  • 30 meter: the tuner can fix it and I made contacts on that band
  • 40 meter: native frequency
And for the LW-10 antenna I bought last year hanging outside the attic window:
  • 6 meter: the tuner fixes it
  • 10 meter: works
  • 12 meter: fails to tune
  • 15 meter: fails to tune
  • 17 meter: the tuner can fix it but USB devices around my PC crash or misbehave
  • 20 meter: works
  • 30 meter: barely tunes
  • 40 meter: works
The antennas were both not to far from the ground and from the house so this can influence their behaviour.

The manual for the LW-10 antenna suggests that using its earth connection to earth it at the transformer box helps against noise. Adding a simple earth connection does not help tuning at 30 meter but it seems to reduce the returning RF problem at 17 meters.

Update: This article When is an Antenna Tuner not an Antenna Tuner? - DX Engineering has a better explanation of what the 'Antenna Tuner' does and why it should be called a 'transmitter matcher'.

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2016-03-31 Results for the UBA PSK63 prefix contest are in
So I updated I participated UBA PSK63 Prefix Contest 2016 with the results (20th place in single operator 20 meter band category).

The fun part is that when I just jumped into the UBA PSK63 Prefix Contest 2015 and made a whole of 10 contacts on 10 meter I was 1st for the Netherlands and received a (digital) certificate.

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2016-03-30 Phone contesting with Linux
The reddit /r/amateurradio post [Question] Contest Logging in Linux made me look at yfktest again. Yfktest is a curses-based contest logging program in perl, written for Linux.

The difference between a normal logging program and a contest logging program is that a contest logging program is just interested in what is needed to complete a contest contact, usually a callsign, default signal reports and a serial number or area number (depends on the contest). A contest program is optimized to get this information logged as fast as possible with the minimal number of keystrokes.

First thing to get right after getting the source from the subversion repository was to get the rig control settings right. I had a bit of trouble doing this right the first time, but I found out it is easy to set it right since yfktest uses hamlib to control the radio and it starts rigctld with a file which now contains:
koos@kernighan:~/src/trunk$ cat 
rigctld -m 122 -r /dev/ttyUSB0 -s 38400 &
The program contains definitions for a number of contests. Having defined the contest before starting the log run means the program knows what to ask and how to calculate the scores during the contest.

I will have to do a dry-run before I dive into a real contest, and then try it in an upcoming contest to see how it works for me.

In digimode contests (where signals are exchanged by the computer) I use the contest options offered by fldigi which works fine for me.

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2016-03-28 De ontwikkeling van de usb audio interface voor de FT-8x7 radio in het Nederlands
In het najaar van 2014 heb ik een interface tussen mijn FT-857 radio en mijn computer gebouwd voor digitale modes op HF frequenties. Dit heb ik toen in het engels beschreven op mijn eigen website(s).

Omdat de nieuwe website van Veron afdeling Centrum altijd wel verse inhoud kan gebruiken heb ik deze ervaringen nog eens in het Nederlands op een rijtje gezet en dat is Digimode interface voor de Yaesu FT-8×7 door Koos PE4KH geworden met een nieuwsartikeltje Zelfbouw artikel Koos PE4KH.

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2016-03-26 Voorbereiding voor mills on the air 2016
Molen het Pink radio opstelling Ik ben van plan om actief te worden voor Mills on the air 2016 vanaf molen "Het Pink" in Koog aan de Zaan op zaterdag 14 mei.

Vandaag langs geweest om even te proberen of dat allemaal gaat passen en wat een handige plek is voor de antenne, en of ik voldoende antennekabel heb. Omdat de 40 meter band handig is voor Mills on the Air heb ik me op die band gecontentreerd en daar ook een paar verbindingen gemaakt. Twee met stations actief in de CQ WPX contest en eentje met G4VSJ, een engels station wat gewoon wel een praatje wilde maken.

Alle voorbereidingen en overwegingen staan op een rijtje in Mills on the Air 2016 PE4KH.

Update: Ik kwam mijn eigen callsign tegen in de CQ Amateur radio van September 2016 als checklog voor deze contest.

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2016-03-26 Adam Curry discovers new geek hobby, tries it immediately
I have been following Adam Curry on and off since the Curry & van Inkel show on the radio in the Netherlands years ago. He is a hobby pilot and active in amateur radio. Recently he heard about skywriting with gps/aprs and went all in: Digital Sky-Writing by Adam Curry and I found it on Skywriting with APRS - /r/amateurradio on reddit. Comments on reddit aren't too favourable, it is clearly a first try but I am amused by Adam's actions. Have fun, Adam.

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2016-03-25 Out of the WiGLE top 100
Once I was quite high in the WiGLE stats but nowadays I only "wardrive" when I remember to switch on the WiGLE client for Android on possibly interesting trips. So from the top position of being at number 14 in the WiGLE stats in June 2009 I now dropped out of the top 100, I just saw myself at ranking 107.

Most interesting recent wardriving option was on our winter holiday to the Brandnertal in Austria. I brought some wardriving device on that trip before and this trip did not find a big number of new networks, but it did find a lot of new mobile phone towers since the previous trip probably was with the WiGLE app on the android tablet without mobile data support.

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2016-03-21 An old-school portscan from
Going on for a while now...
Mar 21 04:53:03 greenblatt kernel: [5731814.457697] FW reject: IN=ppp0 OUT= MAC= SRC= DST=xx.xx.xx.xx LEN=40 TOS=0x00 PREC=0x00 TTL=243 ID=62793 DF PROTO=TCP SPT=20067 DPT=50 WINDOW=512 RES=0x00 SYN URGP=0 
Mar 21 04:53:23 greenblatt kernel: [5731833.932497] FW reject: IN=ppp0 OUT= MAC= SRC= DST=xx.xx.xx.xx LEN=40 TOS=0x00 PREC=0x00 TTL=243 ID=13089 DF PROTO=TCP SPT=20067 DPT=51 WINDOW=512 RES=0x00 SYN URGP=0 
Mar 21 22:24:50 greenblatt kernel: [5794921.413042] FW reject: IN=ppp0 OUT= MAC= SRC= DST=xx.xx.xx.xx LEN=40 TOS=0x00 PREC=0x00 TTL=247 ID=47875 DF PROTO=TCP SPT=20067 DPT=3463 WINDOW=512 RES=0x00 SYN URGP=0 
Mar 21 22:25:20 greenblatt kernel: [5794951.351729] FW reject: IN=ppp0 OUT= MAC= SRC= DST=xx.xx.xx.xx LEN=40 TOS=0x00 PREC=0x00 TTL=243 ID=63834 DF PROTO=TCP SPT=20067 DPT=3464 WINDOW=512 RES=0x00 SYN URGP=0 
Also noted at a nearby IP address.

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2016-03-20 More HF bands to play with now
The new amateur radio license also gives me more bands to play with. But I don't have an antenna for those bands so I have to find out what my antenna tuner makes of those. On the 10 and 20 meter dipole under the roof I can only add the 17 meter band. On the 10/20/40 meter end-fed antenna I could add several bands including 30 meters which is a band with only reservations for CW (morse code) and digital modes such as PSK31. So I tried a bit of PSK31 on 30 meter today and it worked ok.

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2016-03-18 The ham radio sign with my callsign
PE4KH hamradio sign with LED lighting A while ago I found out about Ham Radio Signs who make custom signs with your callsign (or anything else). I really liked the idea and decided I would 'gift' myself one when I got my new callsign after upgrading to the full license. So after I was able to register PE4KH I ordered the ham radio sign for it in the style/colour I wanted. It arrived today and I'm happy with it.

It needs 12V-13.8V power but that is usually not a problem in an amateur radio environment!

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2016-03-16 Andere firmware DrayTek Vigor 130
Na 280 onderbrekingen in anderhalve week en het langzaam ook op gaan treden van andere rare problemen met de Internet verbinding was ik het wel aardig zat. Ik dacht dat ik moest gaan testen met het door XS4ALL ondersteunde modem voor ik bij hun een melding over de instabiliteit kon doen, en was daar dus al voor aan het plannen want modems wisselen en de stabiliteit dan een paar uur aankijken kan alleen als ik thuis ben en tijd heb.

Maar ik kwam in xs4all.adsl een opmerking tegen van Rob:
2 weken geleden had ik hier na maanden lang een rots-stabiele verbinding ineens om het uur een re-train. Ik heb toen andere DSL software in mijn Draytek Vigor 130 modem geladen en daarmee was het helemaal opgelost. (bij dit modem kun je een stuk of 7 verschillende DSL versies kiezen)

Maar de software waar ik nu mee draai is niet degene die de importeur adviseert (dat was degene die ik daar voor had). De importeur heeft nu nog steeds die firmware online staan die dus bij mij niet meer werkt.
Met wat zoeken kon ik de alternatieve firmware versies vinden, op DrayTek Vigor 130 firmware en daar staan in totaal 7 versies, waarvan 2 verschillende met de aantekening er bij (G.Vectoring) Recommended for Netherland ISP - KPN..

Ik gebruikte de 'modem5' versie, ik ben nu overgeschakeld naar de 'modem6' versie. Tot nu toe een eenmalige onderbreking die kwam omdat ik gelijk ook even actief met mijn amateurradiozendontvanger. Daarna nog iets meer gedaan met de radio maar geen onderbrekingen meer.
Read the rest of Andere firmware DrayTek Vigor 130

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2016-03-14 High numbers of e-mails trying to infect systems
The attempts to infect systems via malicous javascript in e-mail are quite high at the moment, all trying to fake some urgency to make me open it without checking. Some recent samples:
Your credit card has been billed for $187,11. For the details about this transac tion, please see the ID: 12824622-12824622 transaction report attached.

NOTE: This is the automatically generated message. Please, do not reply.
Archive:  /tmp/
  Length      Date    Time    Name
---------  ---------- -----   ----
     4055  2016-03-14 13:44   finance_LutQLF.js
---------                     -------
Read the rest of High numbers of e-mails trying to infect systems

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2016-03-14 VirtualBox 5 host-only network looks too much like a bridging adapter
Ever since I upgraded VirtualBox to a version 5 on my work laptop I can't start virtual machines which want to use the VirtualBox host-only network. For some communication I'd like to use that host-only network. Diving deep into the possible reasons found me VirtualBox can't find host-only adapters on Windows 10 which tells:
Oh and please double check that when you go to "Network Connections" and open the Properties dialog of the "VirtualBox Host-Only Network" connection, you see "VirtualBox NDIS6 Bridged Networking Driver" in the "This connection uses the following items" list.
This is indeed the case on my work laptop, and the use of the NDIS6 driver is an upgrade compared to VirtualBox 4. But I know the windows policy at work includes "you cannot use bridged networking" so I think I found the reason.

So now the solution is to use the main NAT network device. I was using the host-only network for some communication between the virtual machine and the host system or other virtual machines which should not be influenced by the 'outside world'. Now I seem to be using NAT as a firewall for that, which is wrong.

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2016-03-13 Using my new access to the airwaves: Spanish PSK63 Contest
EA PSK63 contest 2016 My new radio amateur license allows me access to more frequencies. As I remarked about the UBA PSK63 contest in January 2016 most 40 meter digital mode activity was at 7.040 MHz where I had no access with my Novice license. Now I have a Full license I have access to that frequency. The upside of being able to make digital mode contacts on 40 meter is that this radio band allows distance contacts after sunset where the 20 meter band (14 MHz) usually does not allow that when it is completely dark in the winter.

This weekend I participated in the Spanish PSK 63 contest (EA PSK contest) and I started Saturday evening. At that time the propagation of radio signals was gone on the 20 meter band so I started in the 40 meter band at 7.040 MHz and up and made quite a number of contacts there. I continued Sunday morning on 40 meter and made a total of 60 contacts.

A nice result for a contest where I started unprepared, the only thing I did was hang the 10/20/40 meter endfed antenna outside as part of my radio activities Friday evening and I left it out for the weekend.
Read the rest of Using my new access to the airwaves: Spanish PSK63 Contest

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2016-03-11 Time to play radio and enjoy my new callsign
So today I had some time to actually use my new callsign PE4KH and get on the air. A solar flare disrupted propagation but I made some PSK31 contacts in the 20 meter band and later in the 40 meter band. I can now do PSK31 at 7.040 MHz which was off-limits to me earlier. When signals started fading I switched to JT65 in the 40 meter band.

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2016-03-09 New callsign: PE4KH
PE4KH license plate I was quite impatient and checked the amateur callsign registration site of the Agentschap Telecom daily and it just showed that I did the full exam and I was able to register the callsign PE4KH.

Since you can only have one personal callsign, this means PD4KH has been withdrawn.

Time to start updating it in a lot of places!
Read the rest of New callsign: PE4KH

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2016-03-09 Verschil in gevolg hik tussen ipv6 en ipv4
Met de regelmatige hikken van mijn VDSL verbinding merk ik nu ook een raar verschil tussen IPv4 en IPv6 voor langlopende TCP sessies van buiten af naar een service op mijn server. Die met IPv6 worden veel eerder verbroken bij een VDSL hik.

Van buiten af zie ik ook een verschil in het gevolg voor IPv4 en IPv6. De output van mtr voor IPv4 vanaf
 Host                                Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
 1.       0.0%     2   63.5  31.9   0.4  63.5  44.7
 2.         0.0%     2    0.4   0.8   0.4   1.2   0.6
En de output van mtr voor IPv6 vanaf
 Host                                Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
 1.       0.0%     4    1.1  24.0   0.4  92.7  45.8
Een hop minder.

Xs4all heeft keurig de router IP adressen consistente namen voor IPv4 en IPv6 gegeven.

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2016-03-06 Weak signals and faraway ears
pskreporter for JT65 from PD4KH on 20160306 I hung the endfed antenna outside today to try to be heard better in the Open Ukraine RTTY Championship 2016 but the whole contest was over before I could get much use out of it. This had nothing to do with the contest but everything with me trying it unprepared. I made 11 contacts.

So I tried something else: get active on 20 meter JT65 with WSJT-X. I saw interesting far away callsigns, even from Hong Kong and South Africa. I was also heard in faraway places including Australia according to pskreporter! This is what this weak-signal mode can do. Downside is that the simple exchange of callsigns and signal reports takes 6 minutes.

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2016-03-05 Listened to the ARISS contact with Tim Peake this morning
I listened to the ARISS contact with England (Wales, to be precise) this morning. I followed the preparations via the principia live stream but I went outside with my arrow antenna for the contact itself.

Elevation at my location was not too high (maximum of 46 degrees) which was a bit of a problem between the houses. I held up my arrow above my head for maximum reception but that got tiring real quick.

So I heard the answers to about 3 or 4 questions. But it is still quite special to hear an astronaut talk live.

On the principia live stream I followed the rest of the event. It's good to see the contact is much, much more than just 10 minutes of Q and A. There was a lot of explanation about the ISS, the work Tim Peake does, the influence of space on the human body. Including bits where the scientists say "we don't know why this happens, we're still researching it".

The ARISS program and the Tim Peake mission must be a boost for STEM (Science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education and amateur radio.

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2016-03-04 New laptop with amateur radio software
I recently bought a new laptop for home use. The old Dell Latitude D630 was falling apart so it was time for a new one. A linux installation has been done and it's currently Ubuntu 14.04 (with xfce as window manager).

For future plans I want 'all' amateur radio software I use to work on it. So I tested a bit, with:
  • rigctld to control the FT-857 radio
  • display of the radio status with Grig grig -m 2 -r
  • audio coupling with the FT-857 radio with recording in audacity
  • control of the receive and sending frequency with gpredict for tracking amateur satellites
So I'm ready to track and record amateur satellite contacts and do other amateur radio stuff on the new laptop.

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2016-03-02 Upgrade of my radio amateur license
Today I took the exam for the Dutch 'full' radio amateur license. I think I passed (6 errors out of a maximum of 15). Official results in about 2 to 3 weeks.

The main triggers for me to go for the full license was that there are a lot more countries where I can use amateur radio with a full license (this annoyed me when we visited the UK last summer) and I get access to more bands.

It is three years after I passed my novice exam on 2013-03-06, nice timing for an upgrade.

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2016-03-01 Hikkende VDSL verbinding
Sinds vanmorgen ineens een hikkende VDSL verbinding, terwijl ik niet eens actief ben met de radio. De verbinding raakt dan ook echt compleet verbroken, dus pppd besluit opnieuw op te bouwen en de VDSL synct opnieuw.
Mar  1 08:06:51 greenblatt pppd[12074]: Connection terminated.
Mar  1 08:07:06 greenblatt pppd[12074]: remote IP address
Mar  1 08:43:45 greenblatt pppd[12074]: Connection terminated.
Mar  1 08:44:01 greenblatt pppd[12074]: remote IP address
Mar  1 09:23:09 greenblatt pppd[12074]: Connection terminated.
Mar  1 09:23:25 greenblatt pppd[12074]: remote IP address
Mar  1 10:12:05 greenblatt pppd[12074]: Connection terminated.
Mar  1 10:12:06 greenblatt pppd[12074]: remote IP address
Mar  1 11:40:55 greenblatt pppd[12074]: Connection terminated.
Mar  1 11:41:01 greenblatt pppd[12074]: remote IP address

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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

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