News archive October 2016 - Koos van den Hout

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2016-10-30 Testing an antenna for the 2 meter and 70 centimeter amateur bands 4 years ago
Diamond X-30N antenna mounted on painters pole in the window of our dormer, CC-BY-SA
Diamond X-30N antenna mounted on painters pole in the window of our dormer, CC-BY-SA
I have the idea to put up an antenna for the 2 meter and 70 centimeter amateur bands on the dormer on our house and camouflage it as best as possible. With this idea in mind I could not resist the offer of a secondhand Diamond X-30N antenna for a very reasonable price. I know there are antennas with a lot better gain but I also wanted to minimize the visual impact. I had the time to test the antenna and used the painters pole I used earlier in TV DX experiments, receiving DVB-T television from 167 kilometres away.

On the painters pole out the window the antenna is even higher than the PA0FBK j-pole antenna, which made me try an experiment: participate in the Zondag Avond Roep Ronde (ZARR) radio amateur net which is operated from Maren-Kessel (near Den Bosch) which is a considerable distance on 2 meter. Earlier I was unable to hear the CQ calls for that net on my own radio while hearing them via a nearby 2 meter SDR (mounted at serious higher elevation than my antenna).

But this time I heard the call when the directional antenna of the net manager was pointed in my general direction and he heard my answer, so I had a nice contact on 2 meter FM.

This position of the antenna is quite temporary and I brought it back in after my participation in the amateur radio net. But this makes a better place for the antenna on the roof of the dormer and some camouflage to make it less visible a good idea.

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2016-10-26 Ok, allow-hotplug means some other process has to start the interface 4 years ago
Today I rebooted the homeserver greenblatt for kernel updates and noticed PPPoE over VDSL did not come up at all.

It turns out allow-hotplug in /etc/network/interfaces which I added after the previous boot to speed up boottime a bit means something else has to trigger the 'ifup' of the interface. So now there is a ifup pppdray & in /etc/rc.local.

Interesting datapoint is that all IPv6 bindings came up perfectly so I guess that IPv6 bug is triggered by some race condition in configurations of interfaces.

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2016-10-25 Speeding up apache by not resolving for access 4 years ago
I was testing something on my own webserver and noticed the loading time of the page was over 10 seconds. Browsing the log showed me the hostname of the client was logged which was not what I wanted, and the IPv4 address I had at that moment was slow to resolve. It turned out this was caused because the part I was visiting has an authentication check, which looked like:
    <Location />
        Order deny,allow
        Deny from all
        Allow from localhost
        AuthName "Restricted access"
        AuthType basic
        AuthUserFile /...
        AuthGroupFile /dev/null
        Require valid-user
        Satisfy Any
Using the name 'localhost' triggered the resolver. A big speedup was caused by changing to:
    <Location />
        Order deny,allow
        Deny from all
        Allow from
        AuthName "Restricted access"
        AuthType basic
        AuthUserFile /...
        AuthGroupFile /dev/null
        Require valid-user
        Satisfy Any
Which let me concentrate on other methods to speed up the site.

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2016-10-23 Botnets made of the Internet of (Insecure) Things 4 years ago
Lots of reporting on the recent DDoS attack on Dyn infrastructure tells that (part of) the attack came from insecure "Internet of Things" (IoT) devices.

Lots of devices with some 'Internet' network capabilities are being produced, and the new owners of those devices have little interest in patching them being only a reasonable small part of the DDoS attacks and the makers have little interest in securing them since that will not sell one more device.

In the mean time, I see an increase in scans on ports 23 and 2323 which seem to be the default ports used to remotely access some of the vulnerable devices.

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2016-10-20 Being way behind in webdesign... 5 years ago
I recently started pondering making the text font on my homepage slightly less black because I saw a lot of pages with different shades of grey looking (to me!) easier on the eyes and more 'modern'. So I finally updated the stylesheet of my homepage (still HTML4, so already outdated) to use a not completely black (#000000) color for all text but something slightly lighter. I changed it to #202020.

And one of the first things I saw right after testing and implementing that change (of course the css file of my homepage is under version control to move it from the development version to the production version) was... How the Web Became Unreadable - Kevin Marks.

I guess I missed the cycle completely. I'll stick with the current colour for a while. I'm not a graphic designer, I am just lagging in sometimes updating design things.

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2016-10-17 (Ofcom monitoring station being sold. Maybe there will be a bargain for an amateur or club in there. ...) 5 years ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Ofcom monitoring station being sold.
Maybe there will be a bargain for an amateur or club in there.
And what will this do for RF spectrum enforcement by Ofcom...
2016-10-17 Jamboree On The Air 2016 (JOTA) 5 years ago
Afgelopen weekend was Jamboree On The Air 2016, dit is een evenement waarbij scouts uit de hele wereld via amateur radio contact maken. Dit evenement is gecombineerd met Jamboree On The Internet (JOTI) waarbij de chat mogelijkheden via Internet gebruikt worden om de scouts met elkaar in contact te brengen.

Sinds de Veron afdeling Centrum een nieuwe locatie heeft bij scouting groep Peka 18 in Utrecht ben ik ook wat meer aan het volgen wat er met de JOTA gebeurt.

Omdat Wijnand PD5WL een kabel zocht die ik had voor zijn JOTA 2016 ATV experimenten kreeg ik ook gelijk de uitnodiging om even te komen kijken op die locatie. Ik ben zaterdagmiddag gaan kijken en het zag er leuk uit, en ik heb met diverse zendamateurs gesproken daar. En er waren zeker enthousiaste scouts bezig met radio!

Zaterdagavond heb ik ook wat PSK verbindingen gemaakt op de 20 meter band waarvan een met een scouting station van de Rover Crofts groep in Bilthoven met callsign PA6RCG/J.

Ook zijn er leden van Veron Centrum actief geweest: Special Event PE18KA/j bij ons clubhuis tijdens JOTA waar vermoedelijk ook nog meer beelden en verslag van komen.

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2016-10-13 A few pictures added to The Transmission Gallery 5 years ago
I am a fan and regular visitor of The Transmission Gallery and a photographer. But it is not very often I can submit pictures for The Transmission Gallery as it is aimed at transmitters in the United Kingdom.

But on our recent holiday in the UK lake district I noticed on one campsite I had a direct view of a TV transmitter tower. And good, fast mobile data from the same tower. So I took a walk to photograph the transmitter so I could add something to The Transmission Gallery.

So, now available to the general public: Keswick - Pictures taken August 2016 - The Transmission Gallery.

My previous addition to the gallery was in 2010: Wooler - The Transmission Gallery. We have visited the United Kingdom a few times in between but never got close to a transmitter site or the weather hid the site completely in clouds or fog.

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2016-10-12 New for me amateur radio band activated: 15 meters (21 MHz) 5 years ago
LW-10 HF antenna with earth wire
LW-10 HF antenna with earth wire
My full radio amateur privileges let me play on quite a number of radio bands and I haven't activated most of them. Partly due to missing equipment, but partly just not getting around to it.

A fellow amateur pointed out to me that the 15 meter band can be quite interesting for making contacts with some new stations. The 15 meter band is from 21.00 MHz to 21.45 MHz. I sort of do have the equipment for working on that band: the LW-10 longwire antenna for 6 to 40 meters which needs an antenna tuner. In earlier experiments in using the antenna tuner the tuner failed on the 15 meter band.

Today I made sure the balun of the LW-10 antenna was grounded with an earth wire to the nearest heating radiator. Not an ideal RF ground but better than nothing. On the second try the antenna tuner did its magic and the radio was happy with the result. And there were no crashing USB devices! There was one thing: I hear a ticking noise when transmitting trough the tuner. That is an indication of stray RF problems in the tuner itself so I added a ferrite core to the power cable of the tuner which did not fix this problem completely.

One thing I really have to do is try to tune above the frequency I want to use.

So the antenna did want to tune and work and I tried some PSK contacts on that band. And success: I made several contacts, including one with PB0ACU. I had a contact before with PB0ACU when I still had my previous callsign so this was a nice return contact. It was clearly not DX, but other contacts were further away. I already received eQSL confirmations for this and a few other 15 meter PSK contacts so this band is now truly activated for me.

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2016-10-10 How to recognize a job advertisment for money mules 5 years ago
Don't fall for it..

I received spam which translates (to me) very clearly to 'be a money mule':
[..] is looking for a qualified representative, reliable, efficient and dedicated to help facilitate their business transactions in Australia. The work is based on administrative / customer service support improving productivity and above all performing basic banking transactions.

We are located in the London If you are satisfied with all the conditions and wish to register, please contact our Human Resources department at [.. generic webmail account ..]
Alerting items:
  • Unsollicited e-mail (spam) sent to a random address
  • Lots of buzzwords but the work seems to be "basic banking transactions"
  • Doing transactions in Australia but located in London
  • Using a generic webmail account

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2016-10-05 A blast from the past! 5 years ago
I just saw:
220 pi FTP server (Version wu-2.6.2(1) Mon Apr 30 20:10:54 UTC 2012) ready.

230-This is an experimental FTP server.  If have any unusual problems,
230-please report them via e-mail to .
230-If you do have problems, please try using a dash (-) as the first
230-character of your password -- this will turn off the continuation
230-messages that may be confusing your FTP client.
That's a long time ago, the default welcome file of wu-ftpd version wu-2.6.2(1).

Oh and the current default passive mode of ftp wasn't working, I had to dig up an old client to use the default active mode.

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2016-10-03 Discovering new archiving methods... via malware 5 years ago
In the incoming spam this morning:
See attached Bill Of Laden.

[-- Attachment #2: Shipping_Documents.ace --]
I had never heard of .ace files, but I miss some developments. So I asked:
$ file Shipping_Documents.ace
Shipping_Documents.ace: ACE archive data version 20, from Win/32, version 20 to extract, contains AV-String (unregistered), solid
So it is an archiving format, better described at ACE (compression file format) - Wikipedia. There is an unace for linux, and this gave me:
RFQ#0929919882.exe: PE32+ executable (GUI) x86-64 Mono/.Net assembly, for MS Windows
c04e10a084657473828a03a97c82f0a9  RFQ#0929919882.exe
Which is obviously not shipping documents but an executable. Looking at the file showed some dangerous function names.

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2016-10-02 I participated in the Russian worldwide digimode contest 2016 for a bit 5 years ago
I tried to get another Miguel de Cervantes special event station in the log and it seemed the easiest way was to participate in the RUS-WW-DIGI Russian worldwide digimode contest 2016.

But the weekend was filled with other things (such as chasing more of those special event stations, bad weather and lousy propagation) so my participation started in the last half hour of the contest, was very short and I made 9 valid contacts which I uploaded as a checklog. I thought I had a contact number 10 but that was after the end of the contest.

The results:
Band  QSOs Dupes Points Mults
160      0     0      0     0
80       0     0      0     0
40       0     0      0     0
20       9     0     29     9
15       0     0      0     0
10       0     0      0     0
Total    9     0     29     9
Claimed score is 261 points
But I got AN400G in the log in digimode, so another slot filled.

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2016-10-01 Avoiding the local noise with help of a websdr 5 years ago
Local radio noise at home is at high levels again and the HF propagation isn't cooperating very well. This means that it's hard to make contacts which can be frustrating when I finally get some radio time.

At the moment I am chasing the Miguel de Cervantes special event stations organized by the Spanish radio amateur club with radio operators active all over the Spanish country. With the distance it should not be too hard, but band conditions don't cooperate very well, especially when I can't hear the remote station due to local noise.

Solution: listen on the websdr in twente and transmit on my local radio with maximum power (100 watts). The delay in the audio from the websdr means I have to adjust my timing but it is good enough to get my callsign across and check whether the other side received it correctly. So I manage to make a few more SSB contacts, since this works better on SSB than on digital radio modes.

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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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Other webprojects: Camp Wireless, wireless Internet access at campsites, The Virtual Bookcase, book reviews
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