News archive 2017 - Koos van den Hout

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2017-08-22 New QSL cards ordered, again from LZ3HI 1 day ago
Almost years after I ordered QSL cards for PD4KH they ran out. I had to print stickers with the PE4KH call sign for a while to update the cards.

PE4KH qsl card front PE4KH qsl card back Now I had time to make new cards and see what the options where. I promised myself nicer cards with not just the standard data but nice colour pictures on the front side so I looked at ideas, drew some things on paper and worked a few evenings in the Gimp to get the ideas into something that would survive being printed. I created files for printing at 600 dots per inch so there should be no strange printing artefacts.

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2017-08-19 Moving to https 4 days ago
I received a notification from the google webmaster program that chrome browser would start showing security warnings on due to the search box there.

The simple solution: make the site correctly available via https and redirect to the https version. I found out I already started doing the first bit and therefore the conversion was easy. Now with encrypted connections: The Virtual Bookcase.

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2017-08-16 (The price of privacy? In this case privacy is cheaper. Samsung web browser wanting access to SMS messages...) 1 week ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : The price of privacy? In this case privacy is cheaper. Samsung web browser wanting access to SMS messages versus Firefox focus. With an interesting difference in download size.
2017-07-30 (Goed geregeld in dierenpark Amersfoort. Koffie in de buurt.) 3 weeks ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Goed geregeld in dierenpark Amersfoort. Koffie in de buurt.
2017-07-28 Already doing a casemod on the new home server 3 weeks ago
The new homeserver 2017 has arrived and I'm working on installing it. But first I had to do my first 'casemod' which was just rerouting a few cables. The case comes with a fan control, but I want all fan control to come from the mainboard and monitor the fans from the operating system. So I disconnected the fans from the case fan control and reconnected them to fan connectors on the mainboard that allow for voltage based fan control and monitoring.

The case is a bit overkill, but looks really good and offers lots of routes for airflow. New to me was that the case has cableguides which allow it to look really nice internally and have really good airflow. So I used those cableguides when I rerouted the fan cables and even tie-wrapped the cables to keep them looking nice.

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2017-07-25 If you post about "334 VXNlcm5hbWU6" be aware what you are sharing 4 weeks ago
I saw someone post somewhere about problems with sending mail, with the complete session log. E-mail addresses were obfuscated, but there was a part of the session not obfuscated, which had far more interesting secrets than just e-mail addresses. It looked a bit like this:
250-SIZE 157286400
250 OK
334 VXNlcm5hbWU6
334 UGFzc3dvcmQ6
235 ... authentication succeeded
250 OK
Those "random" letters and digits look a lot like base64, so to decode them:
$ echo "VXNlcm5hbWU6" | base64 -d ; echo
$ echo "dXNlcm5hbWU=" | base64 -d ; echo
$ echo "UGFzc3dvcmQ6" | base64 -d ; echo
$ echo "cGFzc3dvcmQ=" | base64 -d ; echo
So the random letters and digits are actually username and password, very interesting information. Searching for VXNlcm5hbWU6 gives me examples of usernames and passwords.

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2017-07-24 Last night receiving ISS SSTV images 4 weeks ago
And a third night. I used the timed recording option of audacity, which in the current linux version does not offer the option to set in advance how to save the project. This time I 'only' recorded for 7 hours, and was able to save the project afterwards without needing a recover. But on reloading the saved project audacity complained about some internal error in it, and it still had the problem of assuming 44.1 kHz sampling while showing the project sample rate as 48 kHz. Anyway, images decoded from the audio and I even recieved a few new ones.

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2017-07-24 Getting a lot more entropy from the Raspberry Pi 1 month ago
Entropy graph of a Raspberry Pi On doing some research on randomness in Linux I found out about the rng-tools package which includes rngd which can get randomness from hardware random generators to linux /dev/random.

On the main homeserver greenblatt there was no hardware randomness source available, I already use randomsound to generate randomness from audio noise. I found out the Raspberry Pi has a hardware randomness source so I installed rng-tools and rngd was able to use it. The impact on the measured available entropy is quite visible.

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2017-07-23 Another night of receiving ISS SSTV images 1 month ago
On the night from Friday to Saturday I had the whole setup ready to receive more ISS SSTV images. And nothing was received since I had the antenna unplugged during Friday because of thunderstorms and forgot to plug it back in.

So when I found that out I put a note on my desk with 'Antenna unplugged?' which can be a reminder to unplug it when I'm done or plug it in when I want to receive something.

ISS SSTV image ISS SSTV image ISS SSTV image ISS SSTV image ISS SSTV image ISS SSTV image ISS SSTV image ISS SSTV image ISS SSTV image ISS SSTV image ISS SSTV image On the night from Saturday to Sunday I plugged the antenna in and let the whole setup run again like on the earlier run on Friday Received slow scan TV images from ISS while I was sleeping. To make sure I had the antenna plugged in I tuned to 145.750 MHz where I can hear a distant repeater faintly.

Again audacity hung after the recording, and this time on recovery it had some issues with the saved project. At first I could see and hear audio of SSTV passes but qsstv could not decode anything. In the waterfall display of qsstv it looked like the frequencies were too low. I had a thought that maybe something decided the samplerate was back to 44.1 kHz so I simply speeded the audio of an image pass up by 8.8435% and suddenly it decoded fine.

In the end I decoded 11 images from the ISS SSTV project. Numbers seen 8, 10, 9, 6, 7, 8, 6, 4, 5, 6.

And 2 images from nearby radio amateurs who weren't operating according to the bandplan... but at least did not interfere with the ISS SSTV transmissions.

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2017-07-21 (I received images from the current ISS SSTV event while sleeping. I decided to use my vertical for VHF...) 1 month ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : I received images from the current ISS SSTV event while sleeping. I decided to use my vertical for VHF/UHF and left the radio/computer running overnight to get my rest, and tried to decode images from the recorded audio afterwards. This worked better than expected since I found images from low passes.
2017-07-21 Received slow scan TV images from ISS while I was sleeping 1 month ago
I read about the current ARISS Celebrates it’s 20th Anniversary through SSTV Event and noticed the planned times weren't really compatible with my day/night cyclus. I know, as a hardcore radio amateur I should be up at the weirdest hours for rare events but I also like my sleep a lot and my wife really dislikes alarms at weird hours.

Automation to the rescue: I decided to record all of a night of ISS signals on the computer with audacity and decode images from it later. The computer adjusted the radio for doppler using gpredict. Since I don't have an automatic rotor for satellite antennas I used the VHF/UHF vertical. This may seem strange but the weakest signals from ISS are when it is right above the horizon (which is when the vertical has the best reception). And as noticed on earlier SSTV events that compared to other amateur satellites the ISS has a strong signal.

So I left it running for a night and checked the results afterwards. The result was a 9 hour recording and audacity decided to hang after stopping the recording. I made a backup copy of the audio data just to be safe and restarted audacity. Luckily it recovered the project fine after restarting.

With a recent version of qsstv I decoded the recorded audio and searched for ISS passes in the recording.

The result is 13 decodes in one night. It turns out it received audio from a number of low passes that I did not see in gpredict because I have gpredict set up to skip low passes (those that don't come above a 20 degree angle above the horizon). But the strong signals from ISS make those show up in my radio anyway.

Decoded and seen the numbers sofar: 11 (partially), 12, 9, 10, 9, 10, 9 (partially), 9, 7, 8.

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2017-07-19 New threat going around "Please find attached our purchase order" 1 month ago
E-mail with subject starting with "Please find attached our purchase order number" and a zip, with a zip in it with in that zip an .exe file.
Archive:  PO185 - 188207
  Length      Date    Time    Name
---------  ---------- -----   ----
   341805  2017-07-19 04:55   PO362 - 867977
---------                     -------
   341805                     1 file
Archive:  PO362 - 867977
  Length      Date    Time    Name
---------  ---------- -----   ----
   431458  2017-07-19 15:32   PO362 - 867977 X.exe
---------                     -------
   431458                     1 file
I guess the .exe will cause some serious damage in Windows operating systems. The size is huge, where is the time virus writes tried to stay below 1024 bytes!

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2017-07-17 Wireless access-point TP-LINK TL-WDR4300 firmware 1 month ago
Recently the wireless access-point decided that I should not have access to the management interface. I even tried both the IPv4 address I assigned and the default IPv4 address it gets. And the last days I noticed strange delays, which may have been caused by channel overlaps. So I wanted access to the management interface to check the channel settings. I noticed the management interface decided to respond again on the IPv4 address I assigned, and I saw new firmware available which should also help with some stability issues.

Firmware upgraded, and after the upgrade and automatic reboot my access was gone again. Time for the suggested factory reset to get everything back to normal. Done, and I was able to set it up again from scratch with the right configuration.

Maybe I should start running some kind of wiki or something to keep internal documentation of my home network. I had a hard time remembering several details of my own setup recently.

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2017-07-17 Now NetworkManager generates resolv.conf .. and starts with legacy IP 1 month ago
I removed rdnssd and resolvconf and fixed the symlink linking /var/run/NetworkManager/resolv.conf and /etc/resolv.conf by hand. The file /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf now says:
But now I run into the 'NetworkManager prefers IPv4 resolvers' again, leaving me with the resolvers from the DHCP answer before those from the IPv6 route advertisment. The search domains are fine now.

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2017-07-16 Uploading FT8 contacts to eQSL 1 month ago
This evening I noticed incoming FT8 QSO's in eQSL, so the mode is now recognized there. But I needed to retry uploading all FT8 contacts to get them to upload. It took a bit of experimenting, but finally the right SQL command to mark the contacts as not uploaded was:
$ mysql -S /home/koos/.config/cqrlog/database/sock cqrlog002
mysql> update cqrlog_main set eqsl_qslsdate = NULL where mode='FT8';
Query OK, 24 rows affected (0.02 sec)
Rows matched: 26  Changed: 24  Warnings: 0
And now they are all uploaded.

That is about a week between first seeing mentions of FT8 in radio amateur news and the first confirmed contacts.

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2017-07-16 I participated in the DMC RTTY 2017 contest 1 month ago
Or maybe I should use the word 'played' again: 6 contacts. It was a weekend with not much time for radio and when that time did happen propagation wasn't cooperating very well. The advantage of contests is that there are a lot of stations who want to hear every other station, so I used the last 20 minutes of this contest just to answer a few calls and get in the log.

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2017-07-16 SSH attacks by Java 1 month ago
Jul 16 04:17:01 greenblatt sshd[9365]: reverse mapping checking getaddrinfo for [] failed - POSSIBLE BREAK-IN ATTEMPT!
Jul 16 04:17:01 greenblatt sshd[9365]: Invalid user 1234 from
Jul 16 04:17:01 greenblatt sshd[9365]: input_userauth_request: invalid user 1234 [preauth]
Jul 16 04:17:01 greenblatt sshd[9365]: Received disconnect from 3: com.jcraft.jsch.JSchException: Auth fail [preauth]
That last bit is not from my sshd but an error message related to a java library for ssh, as noted in Reasons for com.jcraft.jsch.JSchException: Auth fail | Maximilian Böhm which correctly notes that attacks are a reason.

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2017-07-15 More resolving via IPv6 1 month ago
I was reading Debian Stretch - Het Lab Henk van de Kamer (in Dutch) which mentions removing package rdnssd to avoid a dependency problem. But I like rdnssd as it helps use the nameservers available via IPv6 in a network with only SLAAC and no DHCPv6.

Right away I had to check on my own laptop with Ubuntu 16.04 and noticed all traffic was going to the IPv4 address of the local resolver. Which is not what I want, I want to prefer IPv6 when possible. Searching found Bug #936712 “NetworkManager should put IPv6 DNS servers before I...” : Bugs : network-manager package : Ubuntu which is indeed what I saw, and it's still showing in Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial.

My solution was to stop using dnsmasq, and switch to a generated resolv.conf from NetworkManager. To do that I had to update /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf to have:
And now I have a resolv.conf with only 3 IPv6 nameservers and no search domains. Not exactly what I want, but at least IPv6 is preferred. I considered something using only the first three resolvers because that is a maximum somewhere but just advertising two resolvers via radvd also makes two show up in the generated resolv.conf. This is not perfect. The generated resolv.conf has comments that it is generated by resolvconf so maybe this is a conflict between resolvconf and NetworkManager not in 'use resolvconf' mode.

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2017-07-15 (It's a new +TX Factor episode. A good one, with inspiring stories about digital modes on VHF/UHF and...) 1 month ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : It's a new +TX Factor episode. A good one, with inspiring stories about digital modes on VHF/UHF and a good bit on the Norfolk Amateur Radio Club
2017-07-13 (This week Monday and Tuesday I saw mentions of FT8 on reddit, talked about it at my club Tuesday evening...) 1 month ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : This week Monday and Tuesday I saw mentions of FT8 on reddit, talked about it at my club Tuesday evening, found some time to upgrade WSJT-X on Wednesday and had the first contacts.
2017-07-13 Interesting log item 1 month ago
Haven't seen this before:
Jul 13 09:29:45 greenblatt sshd[24232]: Invalid user  from
Jul 13 09:29:45 greenblatt sshd[24232]: input_userauth_request: invalid user  [preauth]
Jul 13 09:29:59 greenblatt sshd[24232]: Disconnecting: Change of username or service not allowed: (,ssh-connection) -> (admin,ssh-connection) [preauth]
I have seen user '' (empty) before, but a change of username is new to me. Searching finds very little information, only one mention: Which ssh exploit works by changing the user name in the middle of the process? - Information Security stack exchange where the assumption was that this was some kind of attack.

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2017-07-12 New digital mode for amateur radio FT8 1 month ago
This week there was a sudden 'buzz' about a new digital mode for amateur radio from Joe Taylor, K1JT. It's like JT65, with a very minimal exchange (callsign, locator, signal report) but with a lot faster timing: each turn is 15 seconds and from what I can see somewhat more than 13 seconds transmitting. I made the first few contacts today after downloading wsjtx from WSJTX-Development : Greg Beam as Ubuntu package.

Screenshot waterfall display WSJT-X with FT8 mode They are now in my log, but uploading to eQSL / Logbook of The World is not possible yet as 'FT8' is not seen as a valid mode yet. The solution for LoTW seems to be to change to 'DATA' but this solution does not work for eQSL. I'll have to upload those contacts later when the mode is recognized.

First contact was with IZ8GNR and I also had contacts with club members PA2RG and PD3RFR.

With JT65/JT9 I sometimes get distracted waiting 50 seconds before it's my turn to react again, with FT8 it's more high-speed work (somewhat less than 2 seconds to react to a CQ or an answer). WSJT-X now has an auto-sequence feature which will step through the exchange automatically.

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2017-07-10 Raspbian mirrors sometimes fail when IPv6-only 1 month ago
Just happening:
Err jessie/main libgcrypt20 armhf 1.6.3-2+deb8u4
  Cannot initiate the connection to ( - connect (101: Network is unreachable) [IP: 80]
It seems redirects to IPv4-only sites even when the client connects via IPv6. My Raspberry Pi systems have IPv4 disabled. It's a known problem in Bug #1595563 “Native IPv6 client redirected to IPv4-only mirror” : Bugs : Raspbian where people seem to rather ignore the problem. I could reverse the statement there to "a service that can only be accessed by v4 nodes cannot be reasonablly considered to be available on the internet." but I guess that's "different".
Read the rest of Raspbian mirrors sometimes fail when IPv6-only

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2017-07-09 I participated in the IARU HF Championship 2017 1 month ago
My activity in radio contesting has been in digital mode contests, with one exception in a mixed-mode contest where I also made some voice contacts: the ARI International DX Contest in 2016.

But this weekend I seriously entered the IARU HF Championship in 'phone' (speech) mode. I made 59 contacts, 50 on the 20 meter band and 9 on the 40 meter band. I managed to work a lot of the HQ stations I heard active for the various national radio clubs. I heard no serious DX, but the local noise at home is prohibitive for voice contacts anyway. My personal reason for entering this contest was reading about its role in the world radio team championship in the book Contact Sport: A Story of Champions, Airwaves, and a One-Day Race around the World by J.K. George.

Screenshot yfktest with large font I used yfktest for the contest logging and found the biggest fixed font I can use which makes the 25*80 xterm almost fill the entire screen. See the screenshot.

Claimed results according to yfktest:
Band    QSO    Qpts   Dupes   Mult1   Mult2
  20     50     112       0      23       0
  40      9      13       0       8       0
 ALL     58     124       1      31       0
 Total Score: 3,875

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2017-07-03 Reboots of the FT-857 radio 1 month ago
The last week I had a problem with the FT-857 radio rebooting when I started transmitting in digital radio modes (PSK31 or JT65). The reboot showed as the radio giving the standard beep and the display and backlight switching off and on. Searching for clues suggested that some form of radio frequency interference would probably be the source.

So I wondered what I changed recently around the radio and remembered I changed something in the power distribution to have connectors available for powering my SARK100 antenna analyzer with a 12 volt battery.

Reseating all those power connectors and fixing some wires seems to have stopped the problem.

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2017-06-19 (The NSA has published several of their open source tools at 2 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : The NSA has published several of their open source tools at and one thing that I notice is that the style of naming of some of the tools is about the same as the style of naming in the . Names like Pressurewave, Redhawk, Walkoff, Waterslide and Grassmarlin fit right in with Foxacid, Quantumcookie and Eternalblue. Maybe it is time for a quiz: NSA open source tool or NSA tailored access tool?
2017-06-18 I participated in the Ukranian DX Classic RTTY Contest 2017 2 months ago
I participated in the Ukranian DX Classic RTTY Contest 2017 this weekend. I prepared the antenna and the contestmacros Friday evening, but I knew most of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning would be unavailable.

Local noise was bad, it seems interference from solar panels is on the rise and it was a quite sunny day.

On the other hand, there was a 10 meter band opening Sunday afternoon, giving me some new multipliers with 8 contacts on that band. But no serious DX in the whole contest, I just saw Eastern Europe and Asiatic Russia active, unlike when I participated in the Ukranian DX Classic RTTY contest 2016.

The end result is that I made 70 contacts in somewhat less than 6 hours of operating time. So I participated in the SINGLE-OP ALL 6-HOUR RTTY category.

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2017-06-18 Sunny interference 2 months ago

A good sunny day and the effect it has on the HF spectrum: extra interference from solar panels. I'm not sure whether to complain about all solar panels not regularly identifying with their callsign or complain about interference or just give up and find another location for amateur radio.

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2017-06-17 (Definitely not mine, but shared via the amsat-bb mailing list: one of the first voice (Codec2 downlink...) 2 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Definitely not mine, but shared via the amsat-bb mailing list: one of the first voice (Codec2 downlink) contacts on the LilacSat-1 satellite
2017-06-14 Controlling the SARK100 antenna analyzer from Linux 2 months ago
The SARK100 antenna analyzer I bought also has the option to be controlled over an USB interface (other versions even have bluetooth support). Over USB it is possible to automate the measurements and have the results returned to the controlling computer.

For Linux software is available: SARK100 Antenna Analyzer Linux Software also via github with updates coddingtonbear/sark-100-antenna-analyzer.

I cloned the git repository and guessed that the command to build a 32-bit version would be:
koos@thompson:~/radiowork/sark-100-antenna-analyzer$ mkdir build
koos@thompson:~/radiowork/sark-100-antenna-analyzer$ cd build
koos@thompson:~/radiowork/sark-100-antenna-analyzer/build$ qmake -spec linux-g++ -o Makefile ../analyzer/
This indeed compiled into a working 32-bit binary. Needed because the 'main radio desktop' can't run a 64-bit linux. The laptop does not have this problem.

Attic dipole on 10 m analyzed by the Sark100 analyzer and linux software
The attic dipole on 10m analyzed with the Sark100 analyzer and linux software
Attic dipole on 20 m analyzed by the Sark100 analyzer and linux software
The attic dipole on 20m analyzed with the Sark100 analyzer and linux software
And after compiling the software comes using the software. It works nicely and does what it says on the packaging.

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2017-06-06 Testing a different antenna setup and having fun on the 10 meter band 2 months ago
Almost three years ago I started making PSK31 contacts on the 10 meter band which was my first experience with HF and propagation through the ionosphere as a novice amateur with callsign PD4KH. The 10 meter band is the amateur band from 28.0 MHz to 29.7 MHz.

But the propagation through the ionosphere depends on the solar cycle. Currently the cycle is going towards a solar minimum meaning the number of sunspots is very low. Due to the low number of sunspots the propagation of radio signals through the ionosphere back to earth is also very low. After I upgraded to a full license opportunities to use the 10 meter bands were very rare. Up until yesterday I had 5 contacts in the log for PE4KH on the 10 meter band.

And yesterday that changed. I was testing with a borrowed fiberglass pole since I want to use that to help me tune the linked dipole kit I bought. I set up the fiberglass pole in the back of our garden using the fence for support and raised it to the full 10 meters with the endfed spiralled around it. At the end I had some wire left to the transformer so I just hung the transformer in the back garden. It took a lot of cable to get from my radio to the antenna far away, but I really wanted to do that experiment, especially to get an idea of the influence on the local interference. On the 20 meter band the interference was about the same, on 40 meters it was a bit less but on 10 meters it was almost gone.

And at the same time there was interesting propagation on the 10 meter band. I made several contacts with stations in Poland, Austria, Italy, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Most of those contacts would not have been possible with the noise levels I am used to.

An interesting experiment in radio. My first thought was that this antenna setup might be interesting for contesting, but I realised that I really need to keep an eye on the power levels since there is a small footpath right behind our garden for our neighbours. I can't ask them not to use that footpath for an entire contest weekend.

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2017-06-04 (Cor Moerman vertelt anekdotes over zijn werk bij de radio controle dienst. Een prachtig stukje geschiedenis...) 2 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Cor Moerman vertelt anekdotes over zijn werk bij de radio controle dienst. Een prachtig stukje geschiedenis, een tijdsbeeld over radiopiraterij en over handhaving door de politie in de jaren 80 in het algemeen.

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2017-06-02 Upgraded the BIOS on the Alix 1.c box 2 months ago
I finally had some time to upgrade the BIOS on the Alix 1.c box (ritchie). It was a lot easier to do this with the flashrom utility than to do this with DOS boot floppies!

I just made sure again I checked the old bios version, which turned out to be alixbio3, and upgraded to alixbio8 from the PC Engines Alix 1.c page.

Now the machine boots without a screen attached. I also swapped the mainboard battery as it kept forgetting the current time.

Writing a bios file with flashrom is just changing the -r to a -w from the reading the flashrom command.

But this does not help the serial ports: those seem to be dead for good.

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2017-06-02 MrKortingscode spam 2 months ago
Je ontvangt deze e-mail omdat je meedoet aan MrKortingscode.
Regel 1 over spammers: spammers liegen. Ik heb nergens een e-mail adres opgegeven. Maar blijkbaar kon een ander wel mijn adres verzinnen en kreeg ik deze mail.

Die pas na twee keer goed lezen een verificatiemail bleek te zijn en niet een 'we gaan je maar spammen' mail. Tijd om je tekst aan te passen naar iets wat meer rekening houdt met de optie dat het verkeerde e-mail adres opgegeven wordt.

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2017-06-02 Radio Caroline back on AM 2 months ago
Radio Caroline will be awarded a license to transmit on 648 kHz AM. From the Radio Caroline website where I can't deeplink to the right article (Home - Am Licence):

We are pleased to announce that Ofcom have informed us that our application for an AM licence has been approved and that a licence will be awarded.

The basis of our application was that our traditional heartland was Essex and Suffolk, where the signal from our ships made first landfall and that we wished to entertain on AM, an audience that we have not been able to serve in this way since 1990.

We said that this audience may hear music radio of a style they remember and in some cases presented by the same people they remember.

That in essence is what we intend to do.

We can now announce that our AM frequency will be 648 kHz with a power of 1000 watts. This is ERP or simply the power radiated by the aerial.

A transmitter was imported from the Continent a few days ago and is now being modified to suit the frequency. There are further hurdles, but as you can see progress is being made.
The frequency (648 kHz, once BBC 648 / BBC Europe / BBC world service) isn't very good for local community radio (needs big antennas) so one 'big' station is a better idea. I think reception in the Netherlands will be possible when local interference is minimal.

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2017-05-24 (Vier keer een nl-alert bericht maar alleen via Vodafone. Het blijft een niet zo betrouwbare manier om...) 3 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Vier keer een nl-alert bericht maar alleen via Vodafone. Het blijft een niet zo betrouwbare manier om berichten af te leveren.
2017-05-22 I bought a SARK100 antenna analyzer 3 months ago
My sark100 antenna analyzer
My sark100 antenna analyzer
In september 2016 I ordered a balun and a linked dipole kit from sotabeams with the idea to make a lightweight dipole antenna for outdoor use. But there is one very important ingredient to making a dipole: you need an antenna analyzer to get the dimensions right to have optimal reception and transmission into a resonant antenna.

I could borrow the antenna analyzer from the club just like I did for measuring my 2m/70cm portable coax antenna but after reading about the (cheap) SARK100 antenna analyzer I decided to buy one myself. One good review I found is It finally arrived! My SARK100 from China. This analyzer seems to be a serious case of an 'open source' design being picked up by the Chinese electronics manufacturers and sold in high numbers. I bought one for a reasonable price at an aliexpress seller that had good reviews and orders before.

It arrived today and the first tests look really good. First I measured my dummy load (to get an idea of how it was doing as an analyzer) and after that the 10m/20m/40m endfed antenna that was hanging outside anyway for the EU PSK DX Contest 2017 that I participated in. This antenna isn't perfect (as visible in the picture) but it does the job.

So now I have to find the time to design a linked dipole as I want it, build it and measure / adjust it until it does what I want.

It's a good thing I can easily calculate linked dipoles at Various tools for SOTA purposes. My plan is to build a 15-20-40 meter band dipole. The selection of bands is because outdoors I will use less digital modes and 40 meters is the longest size for a dipole that is usable to set up. The angle of the dipole and therefore the height of the centerpoint also has an influence on the antenna. But I don't know how high the tree will be, so I will have to make a guess.

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2017-05-21 I participated in the EU PSK DX Contest 2017 3 months ago
I noted the EU PSK DX Contest in the contestcalendar and decided to participate. Conditions did not cooperate very well and I found some issues with my setup during the contest. But in the end I made 57 contacts. Not very good given my scores earlier this year but I think the big issues with local HF noise started after the previous contest.
Total number of QSO in your log is 57, Including 0 QSO with errors, Valid QSO - 57
Band  QSOs Dupes Points Mults
160      0     0      0     0
80       0     0      0     0
40       0     0      0     0
20      57     0    117    64
15       0     0      0     0
10       0     0      0     0
Total   57     0    117    64
Claimed score is 7488 points

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2017-05-15 (Geachte ontwikkelaars van Android applicaties: als een applicatie nieuwe rechten wil bij een update ...) 3 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Geachte ontwikkelaars van Android applicaties: als een applicatie nieuwe rechten wil bij een update verwacht ik in de informatie ook een goede reden voor die nieuwe rechten. Anders zie ik een goed argument om de hele applicatie te verwijderen.
2017-05-14 Upgrading the home network to shielded/foiled cable (s/ftp) 3 months ago
I was looking at on-line offers of shielded/foiled network cable and found out it's not that expensive anymore. And with the 'keystone' connectors it looks like it's not that complicated to make neat and very well shielded connections.

But it's always a good plan to check the local electronics hobby shop. We still have one in the center of Utrecht: radio centrum where they had 1 meter and 2 meter patchcables for a very nice price (competitive with on-line shops) right up for grabs. So the first set of short cables that are always in use for gigabit are now s/ftp category 6 cables. I hope this improves radio reception.

I still think I will order longer cable and keystone connectors and holders for the longer cables.

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2017-05-14 ("This is the digital equivalent of the James Bond movie where the evil mastermind's lair from which ...) 3 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : In information security, truth is also stranger than fiction...
2017-05-12 SSH usernames being tried 3 months ago
Usernames seen in ssh attempts: 0 1 a a0 adm admin admln agnes ajay apache ask bin byte cactiuser CarpeDiem cisco cs daniel data db2inst1 debian D-Link erp ezrena faxadmin ftp ftpuser glassfish gpadmin guest help jesus lancer maile mailers marifer maronique media mis mysql nodeclient ooooooooo opuser oracle perl personnel pi pig PlcmSpIp postmaster postpone remote root roote rppt sales shop student support test testing ts ts3 turbo ubnt ubuntu user vnc wildfly willy xbmc And the '' username (empty string). By numbers root has the highest number of attempts.

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2017-05-12 (It wasn't cycling weather this morning. But rain happened right when I couldn't change my decision about...) 3 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : It wasn't cycling weather this morning. But rain happened right when I couldn't change my decision about my means of transportation.
2017-05-10 Digging for the source(s) of HF interference with a complete powerdown 3 months ago
Today I had planned to dig deep into the sources of the HF interference by switching off the electricity in the whole house and seeing what difference that would make and if it did, search for sources.

I used the 10-20-40 meter band endfed outside, and the 10-20 meter dipole inside. The conclusions are mixed:
  • The 40 meter band (that I can only use on the endfed) is not influenced at all by switching off the power.
  • The 20 meter band on the dipole gets somewhat less noise when the power is down.
  • The 20 meter band on the endfed gets the same amount of noise when the power is down.
  • The 10 meter band on the dipole gets no noise at all when the power is down. Change from S8 noise to S0 noise.
  • The 10 meter band on the endfed gets 2-3 points less noise when the power is down.
So for the 10 meter band and less for the 20 meter band it was good to search in the house for sources of the noise. Found:
  • The lights in the attic
  • The UPS for the server
  • The netgear switch downstairs when ports become active. The switch upstairs probably too, but it's behind the UPS, so interference from the UPS showed up first
  • The wireless accesspoint downstairs
So the problem sources that I can't switch off easily are all part of the home network. My current theory is that 10 meter seems to be affected by gigabit network. My experience is that transmitting on 10 meter indoors causes a network outage.

The home network is all Cat-5E at the moment, unshielded twisted pair. It seems an upgrade to s/ftp is in order (with foil and braided wire, the same I do for antenna cable).

The thing is that with the current solar cycle 10 meter use is very rare. I haven't made a contact yet in that band in 2017.

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2017-05-10 (So, the youtube application on our reasonably new Samsung 'smart' TV is telling us that it's going away...) 3 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : So, the youtube application on our reasonably new Samsung 'smart' TV is telling us that it's going away.

We also have a media player which has a performance problem with 1080p files and a webinterface which is dated.

So, are there solutions for both problems at once? A working mediaplayer which can also play youtube videos and has a wired network connection? There is a network port for the mediaplayer so no need to fall back to wireless.
2017-05-10 Changes in the future .. or living in the past 3 months ago
Interesting error message today:
Jan  1 01:01:02 ritchie CRON[1834]: pam_unix(cron:account): account koos has password changed in future
But it is caused by the system realtimeclock being completely wrong and assuming the date is 1 January 1990 or something. It probably needs a new battery. Or maybe a whole new system, this is from the system ritchie that started life as the wardriving box which was bought in 2008.

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2017-05-09 (Heard episode 235 of the +ICQ Amateur / Ham Radio Podcast today. I have that same linked dipole kit ...) 3 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Heard episode 235 of the +ICQ Amateur / Ham Radio Podcast today. I have that same linked dipole kit and a spool of antenna wire ready to find an afternoon and an antenna analyzer.
Thanks for sharing the experience!
2017-05-08 Going full duplex with amateur satellites, part 11 : Tried an XW-2A pass, heard vague signals, no contacts 3 months ago
This evening the only amateur satellite pass at a reasonable time was by the XW-2A satellite, part of CAMSAT XW-2 Satellites - amsat UK and I only heard weak signals which sounded like other radio amateurs tuning their transmitters/receivers but I never heard something like a voice. Or my own signal when I tried transmitting.

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2017-05-07 Going full duplex with amateur satellites, part 10 : Still no contacts, investigating AO-85 (Fox-1a) 3 months ago
Passes of amateur satellites aren't always at times that are compatible with other things happening. But the discussion about AO-85 on the amsat-bb mailing list also had some details about the satellite and I also found AO-85 Twist Trick and Other Hints - Spacecomms which explains:
Apparently the epoxy caused a change in impedance which essentially “detuned” the antenna. It makes the bird appear deaf. A workaround is to twist the Arrow antenna 90 degrees when you transmit. That is, rotate the antenna until the receive signal is “peaked” and then rotate it 90 degrees when you transmit and back again to receive.

The downside to this is if you’re working full duplex when you rotate the antenna 90 degrees to transmit you will often lose the downlink signal and not be able to hear yourself. In my experience I only have to do the twist trick in the beginning and end of the pass when the bird is farthest away.

Another fix is to just use more power, but if you only have an HT that’s usually not an option.
This, combined with the frequencies up and down being slightly different from the planned frequencies explains the weak signals I hear upon receiving and the difficulty I had getting into the satellite.

This evening had a pass of AO-85 which did not leave me time to drag out the whole setup, but I was able to bring the arrow antenna and a handheld radio to check reception to see if the frequency was correct, including doppler correction. It was correct, but reception is indeed quite sensitive to the orientation of the arrow antenna.

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2017-05-06 Unive, communiceer graag wat duidelijker 3 months ago
We zijn verzekerd bij Unive, en daarover ontvang ik een mailtje:
Subject: Document(en) bij uw pakket xxxxxxxx

Geachte heer ..

Hierbij ontvangt u het overzicht van uw verzekeringspakket. Wilt u
controleren of de gegevens juist zijn?
Mijn eerste gedachte was om het attachment direct naar een analysestraat voor malware te sturen, maar we zijn inderdaad bij hun verzekerd en het mailtje was gericht aan het adres wat ik gebruik om met Unive te communiceren. Alleen lijkt het subject wel erg op de mailtjes die ik zie met de nieuwste ransomware.

Dus toch maar eens de pdf geopend en daar bleek ook een 'acceptgiro' in te zitten. Dus het was nogal vitaal om dat bestand te openen en door te lezen.

Ik wilde dus Unive op de hoogte stellen van het feit dat ze nogal onhandig communiceren. In het e-mail bericht staat:
Heeft u nog vragen of opmerkingen, neem dan gerust [2]contact met ons op.
Met een verwijzing naar Alleen als ik daar mijn verbetersuggestie probeer in te voeren moet ik om het bericht te mogen versturen ook perse een adres en een geboortedatum geven, en is het optioneel om zelfs mijn burgerservicenummer te geven.

Voor het verwerken van mijn suggestie zijn die gegevens niet nodig en het zou dus heel handig zijn als er een contactoptie was waarbij die gegevens niet gevraagd worden. Dit is geen privacy by design.

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2017-05-05 Vermakelijke poging om spam persoonlijk te laten lijken 3 months ago
Vandaag in de spambox:
Weet je nog dat ik je een tijdje geleden vertelde dat ik op zoek was naar een date via internet? Jeetje, wat was dat moeilijk, ofwel kwam ik uit op een of andere vrouw die zichzelf voor iemand anders uitgaf, ofwel stond ik daar op een date voor niks! Vorige week dan uiteindelijk via via nog een laatste keer geprobeerd en me aangemeld op deze gratis datingsite
Leuke poging tot aan de tracking-url...

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2017-05-01 Going full duplex with amateur satellites, part 9 : Filtering the reception, in theory 3 months ago
I decided to share my woes of the receive side going deaf (receiving nothing) when I transmit with the amsat-bb mailing list, together with a description of the whole setup. The suggestion came from Eduardo PY2RN to not use a preamp and have filtering so the transmitted signal cannot get into the receiving side.

I pondered this for a while and realised I already have a filter: the diplexer on the arrow antenna. So to receive on 2 meter and transmit on 70cm I connect the transmitting radio to the 70cm antenna and connect the receiving radio (the rtl-sdr) to the 2 meter antenna via the diplexer, and put a 50 ohms terminating resistor on the 70cm connector of the diplexer to make sure it still shows the right impedance.

In a simple test this works, transmitting now has a lot less influence on the rtl-sdr (it's not completely gone yet). I haven't had a good satellite pass yet to try this out.

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2017-04-29 Using kalibrate-rtl to calibrate the rtl-sdr frequency 3 months ago
In my project to receive amateur satellites with the rtl-sdr I noticed the sdr itself has quite a frequency error as noted in Going full duplex with amateur satellites, part 5 : first test of the amplifier with RTL-SDR.

Using the PI2NOS output frequency I ended up at an error of 54 ppm so I entered that in gqrx. But to be really sure there is a program named kalibrate-rtl available via GitHub - steve-m/kalibrate-rtl: fork of for use with rtl-sdr devices.

I had some trouble finding the right way to use this program so I am sharing my steps here. First try to guess the error by using a known frequency such as a local repeater (especially when they mention using GPS to maintain frequency) or a broadcast FM station.

First step with kalibrate-sdr is to scan for GSM channels which are strong enough. I noticed in later runs that I really need to add the first guessed frequency error, otherwise it will not find the GSM channels at all.
koos@kernighan:~/radiowork/kalibrate-rtl/src$ ./kal -s GSM900 -e 54
Found 1 device(s):
  0:  Generic RTL2832U OEM

Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U OEM
Found Rafael Micro R820T tuner
Exact sample rate is: 270833.002142 Hz
[R82XX] PLL not locked!
kal: Scanning for GSM-900 base stations.
        chan: 8 (936.6MHz + 724Hz)      power: 67277.85
        chan: 17 (938.4MHz + 606Hz)     power: 36428.54

Second step with kalibrate-sdr is to select a GSM channel to use for the calibration run. I selected channel 8 which looks quite active.
koos@kernighan:~/radiowork/kalibrate-rtl/src$ ./kal -e 54 -c 8
Found 1 device(s):
  0:  Generic RTL2832U OEM

Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U OEM
Found Rafael Micro R820T tuner
Exact sample rate is: 270833.002142 Hz
[R82XX] PLL not locked!
kal: Calculating clock frequency offset.
Using GSM-900 channel 8 (936.6MHz)
average         [min, max]      (range, stddev)
+ 169Hz         [85, 251]       (166, 49.119198)
overruns: 0
not found: 0
average absolute error: 53.820 ppm
And only in that step you get the output with the calculated frequency error.

Update: Doing this calibration is also a good idea for the stick running the ads-b receiver. That came out to -30 ppm and using that factor makes dump1090 receive signals from greater distances.

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2017-04-29 Going full duplex with amateur satellites, part 8 : No real contact yet 3 months ago
This evening had a Fox-1A (AO-85) pass at a reasonable time so I decided to drag the entire setup outside and try my luck at a qso. Reception of Fox-1A was bad (maybe I'm somewhat off-frequency) and the major dissapointment was that the receiving side on 2 meter via sdr got deaf when I was transmitting on 70 centimeter. That's not supposed to happen, the whole reason for the full-duplex setup was to be able to hear myself on the downlink.

Anyway, the recording of downlink audio went fine this time so there is a full recording of what I heard. It was a Northwest-Southeast pass which means it took a while before I heard anything because northwest is over the houses. Callsigns heard in this pass: DO3EXE, IZ5ILX, 9A2EY, IZ3KLF, Something with F2D I completely can't decode and "Mr Olla".

My best guess would be a retry on SO-50, FO-29 or AO-73.
Listen to audio attachment:
MP3 media: 20170429 1858Z FOX-1a pass recorded by PE4KH in JO22NC (rightclick, select save-as to download)

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2017-04-25 Quest Management Inc (QSMG) pump-and-dump spam 4 months ago
It has been a while since I wrote about pump-and-dump spam (scam) but it's never been completely dead. It does seem there has been some action against it and spamfilters got better at recognizing it.

Today's winner I see is Q like in Quality, S like in Straight, M like Mary and G like Gold. The spammer is sure to never use QSMG directly to avoid spam filters.

The funny part is that a google search for QSMG directly brings me to Pump and dump spam: Quest Management Inc (QSMG) stock - Dynamoo's blog with a complete write-up of the multiple spamruns the last week trying to make some money from this type of fraud.

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2017-04-24 Somewhat less HF interference by moving the antenna away 4 months ago
I was testing with noise on all radio bands with the LW-10 longwire antenna with tuner. I recently made the rope that hangs it out from the window a bit longer and I noticed the noise on the 10 meter amateur radio band had dropped a lot compared to the noise I experienced before and the noise on the antenna under our roof. In S-points: under the roof S8, with the 10/20/40m endfed S8, and with the longwire antenna S0.

On bands with lower frequencies (higher wavelengths) noiselevels were high, up to S9+ on 80m with a rattling noise in it. But this sudden change on the 10 meter band made me think there could be a pattern so I measured how much more distance I could move the antenna away from the house and maybe get lower noise levels on the 20m band too. After adding 1.60 meter of rope and rehanging the antenna the noise level on the 20 meter band also dropped from S8 to S7. Not the biggest improvement but it's something.

I'm now making some PSK qso's on the 20 meter band. At the S8 noise level this was getting impossible.

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2017-04-23 Going full duplex with amateur satellites, part 7 : Recording downlink audio 4 months ago
This evening I thought there would be a nice Fox-1A (AO-85) pass but gpredict on another computer showed totally different predictions. Pondering that difference made me suddenly remember AO-85 is still not part of the 'standard' set of Kepler data because it's close to some militairy satellite. The data is available through other sources, I use TLE | Amateur radio PE0SAT and updated from that location. The 'nice' AO-85 pass near 22:30 localtime shifted to 'way too late', so I looked for other satellites to at least try recording downlink audio. I saw passes of HO-68 and UO-11. So I created the whole setup with audacity recording audio. Using pavucontrol I adjusted the recording flow of audacity to record 'Monitor of Built-in Audio Analog Stereo' and indeed audacity was recording the same as I heard on my headphones.

But no signal from the satellites was received. Checking the Amsat Oscar status page shows both haven't been heard by others either. So I recorded noise, but I recorded the right noise.

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2017-04-23 New band in amateur radio: 60 meters (5 MHz) 4 months ago
Today I was scanning the bands to build an overview of noise / interference levels on each band and I came across the 60 meter band (5 MHz) which I can get tuned on my LW-10 longwire antenna. No idea how much power is eaten by the tuner and how much gets out but it works. I noticed some RTTY signals and those were within the part of the band I can access with my license.

So I answered the CQ from DK7UY and we had a good contact.

The 60 meter band is a recent addition for Dutch and other amateurs, only allowed since 3 december 2015. Around that date the WRC-15 conference happened where world-wide agreements were made about secondary amateur access to this band. And on 1 april 2017 the access for Dutch amateurs was limited to the agreed allocation.

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2017-04-22 Going full duplex with amateur satellites, part 6 : First succes in reception 4 months ago
Today I had time for a reception test and when I started collecting the amateur satellite reception gear I saw two upcoming passes, one of the AO-73 Funcube and one of the AO-85 Fox-1a satellite.

The AO-73 Funcube is an 'inverting transponder' which converts an LSB uplink to an USB downlink with space for multiple contacts at the same time. By default gpredict selects the center frequency where I heard PA3HDG calling CQ but hearing no answer. Sorry, I did not have the rest of the setup to transmit that answer.

The AO-85 Fox-1a is like an FM repeater in space so it should be easier to receive it. But I heard nothing, which was most likely due to the satellite being in a part of the sky where the hedge is in the way. due to the fact my data about that satellite wasn't updated: it's not in the default sets. Updating from a trusted source of extra kepler data TLE | Amateur radio PE0SAT showed a shift in pass times of more than 60 minutes.

Anyway, first success in reception. Next steps: recording the received audio with audacity and adding the transmitter to the mix to be able to make actual contacts. At least the concept I imagined with the rtl-sdr stick as receiver so I can work full-duplex works.

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2017-04-19 En nu is de MTU wel naar 1500 van de VDSL PPPoE sessie 4 months ago
Recent postte 'Coen' in xs4all.adsl een stappenplan om onder Ubuntu 12.04 de MTU van de PPP verbinding naar 1500 bytes te krijgen. Alle lof dus naar Coen, want met zijn stappenplan is het me wel gelukt en is alles nu doorgaand MTU 1500, wat minder issues zou moeten geven.
Na een gezellig avondje stoeien is het gelukt om dit met terugwerkende
kracht voor Ubuntu 12.04 op te lossen met een nieuwe pppd en pppoe versie.

Voor wie durft en bovendien wat Linux ervaring heeft hier de te volgen

Nieuwe pppd builden:

mkdir ppp
cd ppp
apt-get source ppp
cd ppp-2.4.5/
wget -O debian/patches/zz_pppoe1500
dch -i
dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc

[[ppp en ppp-dev installeren]]

Nieuwe pppoe builden:

mkdir pppoe
cd pppoe
wget -4
tar -xzvf rp-pppoe_3.11.orig.tar.gz
cd rp-pppoe-3.11/
tar -xf ../rp-pppoe_3.11-0ubuntu1.debian.tar.xz
dch -i
dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc

[[pppoe installeren]]

Mtu op 1500 zetten: klaar!
Vanaf een losse client leek toch nog MTU 1492 gebruikt te worden, dus heb ik /etc/radvd.conf aangepast om expliciet MTU 1500 mee te geven:
interface eth0.3
   AdvSendAdvert on;
   AdvLinkMTU 1500;
En dan de verdere opties. En dan werkt het inderdaad:
koos@kernighan:~$ tracepath6
 1?: [LOCALHOST]                        0.018ms pmtu 1500
 1:                                     1.983ms 
 1:                                     1.858ms 
 2:                              17.910ms 
 3:                           17.957ms 
 4:  no reply

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2017-04-14 Going full duplex with amateur satellites, part 5 : first test of the amplifier with RTL-SDR 4 months ago
For a first test I looked for the first reasonable pass of an amateur satellite and tried to recieve the morse beacon of HO-68. I have received signals from HO-68 before, but this pass I heard nothing.

I tried a stable regular local source on the 70cm band : the PI2NOS repeater and noticed after a while the frequency display in Gqrx was showing 430.100 MHz where the (GPS stablized) frequency is 430.125 MHz, so the RTL-SDR I use is somewhat off frequency. Maybe in a next test things work better.

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2017-04-14 Going full duplex with amateur satellites, part 4 : amplifier built into the case 4 months ago
Today I had some time to work on the metal case for the amplifier I bought for receiving amateur satellites. I've never been good at metalwork but I think I did ok. First I made sure the place I wanted to put the holes was chosen correctly, taking the size of connectors into account. Especially with metalwork it's "measure twice, cut once". Next I drilled holes with a drill for metalwork (HSS) and used a file for metalwork to make the holes bigger. I visited the local electronics shop to get a small switch for switching the battery power on and off and added a hole for the switch. In the end the amplifier and the cables are mounted inside the case and there is a bnc connector for the Arrow antenna on one side and an SMA connector for the cable to the RTL-SDR stick on the other side.

Battery added for amplifier in metal case - KvdHout on FlickrBattery added for amplifier in metal case

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2017-04-12 Trying the mini-whip as reception antenna 4 months ago
Recently I talked to a fellow radio amateur about my HF reception woes at home and he suggested trying the mini-whip antenna I built a few years ago as reception antenna, using an automatic switch to switch between the transmission and reception antenna.

For the first test I used the mini-whip antenna with the HF downconvertor and an RTL-SDR stick that I bought to receive amateur satellites to check the signal on the computer. The further I move away from the house the better signal I get (less noise, more signals sounding like the amateur radio signals I want). I do notice that when I turn the gain on the RTL-SDR up (or set it to automatic gain) that there is a repeating 'ticking' signal which sounds just like the ticking interference from my own PLC tests.

This could mean that a nearby neighbour has a PLC network without the notches for amateur radio. Or this is just an artefact of the high gain.

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2017-04-10 Amateur radio callsign lookup on Android without needing Internet access 4 months ago
Earlier I had the Android application Ham Radio Prefixes - Android Apps on Google Play installed, but it needs some server on the Internet to look up callsigns and determine the country it is assigned to. Sometimes I need to do a lookup off-line, and I noticed fldigi and CQRLOG do that fine when the country data file is installed. So it can be done, I just have to find software that does this right.

On ICQ Podcast Episode 234 - Portable Power Distribution and I heard mention of Pocket Prefix for Android which can be found at Pocket Prefix - Android Apps on Google Play and which works off-line. This was even mentioned on the podcast as one of the advantages. It even gives extra information when available, the given example is that prefix SV is for Greece but SV9 is specific to Crete. Or EA9 is specific to the Spanish enclaves Ceuta and Melilla which are located in Morroco (and therefore count as a contact with the African continent).

It's a nice application, thanks to Derek Turner G4SWY!

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2017-04-06 Results from a powerfailure 4 months ago
Earlier today there was a local powerfailure. I noticed it while being connected remotely to my server at home, it stopped responding and stayed off-line for a while. I checked the website of the electricity distribution network and it showed a local powerfailure.

Initially my reaction was a bit of interest in how low the radio noise levels would be when I could try the radio at home. By the time I got home power was back on so I never found out.

Some systems at home had to be started by hand, but eventually everything was up and running again, with new kernels booted. Everything came up fine including PPPoE to the outside world.

Later in the evening I noticed the old weatherstation in the shed which measures the temperature and humidity inside the shed seemed inoperational. Checking that weatherstation eventually led to a diagnoses that the 12 volt powersupply for that weatherstation had failed. It was only delivering 7.2 volt. To disconnect that weatherstation for diagnosis I completely shut down the shed computer ritchie. After that it did not come up again. Power came up and the harddisk started spinning but nothing happened after that.

So I also took that computer in for diagnosis. Connected to a keyboard and monitor everything came up fine. Disconnected from the monitor nothing came up.

Slowly it dawned on me that this might be related to an issue which I had read on the PC Engines Alix.1d page :
BIOS update

* beta various updates (release MFGPT timers)
* beta fix VGA DDC issue (boot hang)
Which seemed to be the problem which suddenly started acting up for me which it never did before. But the BIOS clock was also reset so I guess the whole setup was erased and I just did not notice because the default settings were good enough to boot anyway and ntpd sets the clock soon after boot. A simple solution would be a BIOS upgrade.

But preparing a CF card to boot freedos seemed a long way to flash the bios so I tried it via the Heavy Duty Boot pxeboot environment which booted FreeDOS nicely on the alix.1c but it rebooted as soon as I started SB.COM. I guess searches for bios images on C:\ and the FreeDOS floppy image is A:\

In the end I searched for a workaround and found mention in PC hangs up when no monitor attached - Ubuntu bug #243257 of a wire between pins 12 and 7 in the VGA connector. A piece of wire was bent and inserted into the vga connector and now the weatherstation computer ritchie boots up again.

Next plan is to do the BIOS upgrade via flashrom: In searching for information about the Alix 1.c bios upgrade I'd like to do I came across mention of flashrom.

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2017-04-03 I participated in the EA RTTY contest 2017 4 months ago
This weekend after the antenna installation was done I had some time to participate in the EA RTTY contest 2017. I only participated on Sunday afternoon on the 20 meter band so I entered in the SO20 DX category.

The end result was 35 QSO's (contacts). Less than the results I had in the EA RTTY contest in 2016 but I had less time and energy available.
Read the rest of I participated in the EA RTTY contest 2017

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2017-04-02 (It took a while, and a lot of help from a fellow radio amateur who has climbing gear. Now on my roof...) 4 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : It took a while, and a lot of help from a fellow radio amateur who has climbing gear. Now on my roof: a nice 2m/70cm antenna. Diamond X-30N, painted grey to make it stand out less against the average grey sky.
2017-04-02 Antenna for 2m/70cm up on the dormer roof 4 months ago
Antenna mounted on dormer roof
Antenna for 2m/70cm, Diamond X-30N, mounted on roof of dormer
Parts for mounting the Diamond X-30N which I bought in October on the roof were collected in the months since October and it was finally clear enough weather for a fellow radio amateur with lots more climbing experience and the right gear to climb on top of our dormer and install it.

There are rubber granulate pads on the roof to avoid damage, a metal frame sold as a mount for satellite dishes to which the antenna is mounted, 4 concrete tiles in the mount to weigh it down on the roof. The coax enters the house alongside a chimney.

After the work on the roof it was good to drink a beer to celebrate and afterwards I routed the cable further to my shack.

The first fast test was calling CQ on a local 2 meter frequency and someone from my radio club answered immediately.

The second big test was participating in a radio roundtable held on Sunday evening. This went fine, net control at a distance of somewhat over 30 kilometers gave me a 55 report (audio readability 5 and signal level 5). So the antenna is clearly doing what it is supposed to do. It's also nice to see the base noise level on the 2 meter band is near zero.

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2017-03-29 Going full duplex with amateur satellites, part 3 : metal cases 4 months ago
I was looking for a metal case to put the low(ish) noise amplifier in and maybe the RTL-SDR. The RTL-SDR should also be shielded from the amplifier and from the computer as both RTL-SDR and computer cause their own signals.

The first cheap source of metal cases I could think of was old cigar boxes. Altoid tins are not available here. So I asked someone who I know who smokes cigars who had a number of old metal cigar boxes. Next step, finding the way to get the right holes in the boxes for the SMA and BNC connectors, and for the USB connection to the computer. Ideal would be to lend / find a punch for those holes.

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2017-03-29 (Neat story by Wil Wheaton. I can fully understand his story. I had one teacher that I always disagreed...) 4 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Neat story by Wil Wheaton. I can fully understand his story. I had one teacher that I always disagreed with, leading to lots of detention. Things only improved when my parents were able to convince him to just try less harder with me and give me some space.
2017-03-28 (There may be an overused stockphoto here...) 4 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : There may be an overused stockphoto here...
2017-03-27 Upgrading WSJT-X after hearing two words 4 months ago
Recently it seems radio noise levels on the HF bands have gone up again so I spend more time trying to make contacts in JT65 mode since that mode is more robust against noise than PSK31.

To do this I use the WSJT-X software under Ubuntu Linux. WSJT-X is written by Joe Taylor KJ1T. The Ubuntu hams packages had WSJT-X 1.1 and I frequently ran across the problem that it crashes when the Internet connection to pskreporter is impossible when sending spots. In my setup the Internet connection drops regularly when I'm active with JT65 or PSK31 so that was an annoyance. Logged as Ubuntu bug #1673040: wsjtx crashes when internet connection is interrupted.

But this weekend I was listening to Linux in the Ham Shack Episode #184 and in the presenters talking about re-installing a Linux system for amateur radio I heard two words: wsjtx ppa. As soon as possible I looked it up and found WSJTX General Availability Release PPA, followed the installation instructions and upgraded to WSJT-X 1.7.

The main improvement is that it decodes better so I may make further contacts. Sofar it hasn't crashed on an interrupted Internet connection.

I see one problem: it doesn't like talking to my radio via rigctld, giving an error. When I stop rigctld as started by Cqrlog and let WSJT-X control the radio directly via hamlib things work fine. And suddenly Cqrlog sees the QSO in progress and logs it when done.

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2017-03-27 Laatste stukje netwerkgroep/PCgg archief 4 months ago
Laatste beeld van de webcam op HCC dagen 2005.

2017-03-27 Meten en grafieken maken van Powerline Ethernet doorvoer 4 months ago
Uit de archieven omdat ik de server waar dit ooit op draaide wil herinstalleren voor andere projecten.

Bij de HCC PCgg netwerkgroep hadden we ooit een netwerk gebaseerd op PLC (powerline communicatie) waarbij ethernet over stroomdraden gaat. Daar heb ik ook scripts voor gebouwd om statistieken te verzamelen over de doorvoer. Op de locatie in Maarn was dat voor de verbinding naar buiten niet zo briljant, zie de rapporten in Bijeenkomst 20 maart 2010 - hcc!pc netwerkgroep.

Maar voordat ik de scripts weggooi die deze gegevens verzamelden en er grafiekjes van maakten nog even voor de eeuwigheid. Het testdlan script gaat uit van output van dlanlist als:
koos@metcalfe:~$ dlanlist eth0
Type    MAC address        Mbps TX/RX       Version/Product
local   00:0B:3B:5F:95:AB  ---.-- / ---.--  INT6000-MAC-3-3-3348-00-2764-20080808-FINAL-B devolo dLAN 200 AVplus [MT2165]
remote  00:0B:3B:6F:AE:90   73.50 / 112.88  INT6000-MAC-3-3-3348-00-2764-20080808-FINAL-B

  • testdlan vraag dlanlist van devolo voor de huidige snelheid van devolo interfaces op netwerkkaart(en)
  • graphdlan maak grafieken per dag
De opzet van de scripts was om altijd te draaien als de machine actief was en achteraf overzichten te hebben per dag activiteit (meestal zaterdagen van 10:00 tot 17:00).

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2017-03-26 Going full duplex with amateur satellites, part 2 : Installing Gqrx SDR software and the first tests 5 months ago
With the hardware available it's now time to test the first part of the software setup: whether I can have running software defined radio.

To (re)install Gqrx I followed the instructions at Install Gqrx SDR on Ubuntu Linux. The first 'sudo apt-get purge --auto-remove' steps removed a lot of software and the latter 'sudo apt-get install' steps added newer (or maybe the same) versions. But I was glad to do a full reinstall, I have had weird problems with gqrx versions before. The laptop on which I am doing this has had an install of gqrx before, but was upgraded from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS in the mean time, so a clean reinstall seemed a good idea.

I plugged in the RTL-SDR stick and checked whether no drivers were installed, which was indeed still correct. The kernel messages:
[156490.915435] usb 2-2: new high-speed USB device number 7 using xhci_hcd
[156491.111136] usb 2-2: New USB device found, idVendor=0bda, idProduct=2838
[156491.111141] usb 2-2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[156491.111143] usb 2-2: Product: RTL2838UHIDIR
[156491.111145] usb 2-2: Manufacturer: Realtek
[156491.111147] usb 2-2: SerialNumber: 00000001
To make sure the drivers aren't loaded, I have a /etc/modprobe.d/local-blacklist.conf with:
blacklist dvb_usb_rtl28xxu
blacklist rtl2830
blacklist rtl2832
blacklist lirc_dev
To test it with the 'minimal' setup I started with just the RTL-SDR and a simple antenna, and Gqrx. Enabled remote control in Gqrx and added a radio 'gqrx-sdr' in Gpredict with host 'localhost' and port '7356' (default for gqrx remote control) and Radio type 'RX only', PTT status 'none'.

Gqrx controlled by gpredict
Gqrx controlled by Gpredict, tracking a satellite
Now I can select this radio as '1. Device' in the 'Gpredict Radio Control' window, and select 'Engage' when the right satellite, transponder and 'Track' are selected, after which Gqrx nicely follows the frequency Gpredict has calculated.

No signal yet as I am testing this indoors with the small default antenna that came with the RTL-SDR stick. That will not pick up weak signals!

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2017-03-26 Going full-duplex with amateur satellites, part 1: introduction and I bought the hardware 5 months ago
I still want to get active on amateur satellites again, but the main reason is that the amount of work per contact is a lot more than for example in a digimode contest. But I still want to make those 'special' contacts, especially when the amount of local radio noise on HF is bothering me.

One of the most important improvements in making contacts on amateur satellites is working 'full duplex', meaning receiving signals while transmitting. The expensive way to reach that goal is buying a second amateur radio capable of receiving in FM and SSB modes in the 2 meter and 70 centimeter amateur bands and having computer aided tuning so gpredict can control the receiving frequency.

The less expensive way to reach that goal is using software defined radio. The good news is that Gqrx SDR can be controlled by other software which as the page shows is intended for remote control by Gpredict. All I needed now was reception hardware. Since the first RTL-SDR device I bought is always in use for receiving ADS-B signals from airplanes I decided to buy another cheap one to get me started. So it was on the shopping list for a recent visit to a hamfest.

At the hamfest I found a RTL-SDR stick with mcx connector and an mcx to bnc cable. But the same guy also sold cheap low(ish) noise amplifiers with SMA connectors and a 9V battery connector for power. So at one of the booths selling cable assemblies I found an mcx to male sma cable and a female sma to bnc cable, and a male to male sma cable.

The plan is to put this all together in some metal case to shield the lna from the outside world. Maybe also shield the amplifier from the RTL-SDR stick so it won't pick up any extra noise.

Should this work it would be possible to think of an upgrade with better SDR hardware and/or a pre-amplifier at the antenna side.
RTL-SDR stick and BNC cable - KvdHout on FlickrRTL-SDR stick and BNC cable
LNA and extra cables - KvdHout on FlickrLNA and extra cables
Read the rest of Going full-duplex with amateur satellites, part 1: introduction and I bought the hardware

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2017-03-26 It was Groundhog day again! 5 months ago
I have Gooogle Sightseeing on my 'regular visit' list because they found really interesting places all over the world and I liked to make a virtual visit to those places myself.

But lately the site hasn't been updated much and now I notice it has three 'Groundhog day' articles on the front page: Groundhog Day for 2017, Groundhog Day for 2016 and Groundhog Day for 2015. The last non-Groundhog Day article is from May 2015.

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2017-03-25 Gajim without automatic emoticons 5 months ago
For some circles I am active in the chat system of choice is jabber because it can be setup to demand encrypted links and has a nice array of client software which can deal with one client replacing the connection of another.

So I found gajim as client software for linux. But gajim has the habit of automatically changing text emoticons to images. I don't like that, if someone types (bf888) I want to see that and not have the last 8) replaced by an image of an emoticon with glasses.

Searching for a solution found Emoticons - Wiki gajim/gajim which states:
You are free, however, to disable emoticons completely, if you find them disturbing.
But no information on how to disable them all. I found in the advanced settings the option emoticons_theme which points at subdirs of /usr/share/gajim/data/emoticons in my installation (ubuntu). So I created a directory none with none/ containing:
# coding=utf-8
emoticons = {
        'doesnotexist.png': ['fDpK6OGDFCCLmq5MNjihfpjZuLontjkWp5XG5V7wTIAVXwaJ'],
Leaving the list empty with just {} gave an error. My python knowledge is nonexistant so I took this shortcut.

And now a :-) stays a :-) as I wanted.

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2017-03-21 Enigmail KEYEXPIRED / SIGEXPIRED error messages 5 months ago
PGP lock logo I was plagued by thunderbird/enigmail in one installation not wanting to send PGP-encrypted messages. It took me a while to debug because I seemed to be the first one to come across it. The error messages are not very helpful with a lot of SIGEXPIRED in them followed by a KEYEXPIRED. I found someone with probably the same problem at Enigmail stopped working: KEYEXPIRED/SIGEXPIRED - Super User but no usable answer at that time.

Searching further found me [Enigmail] enigmail won't let me encrypt messages anymore which does show another problem with old keys in the further thread. I started removing old keys showing with '00 00 00' fingerprints until I found my old 'home' key in the ring (0x2C663B5DF0D7C263). After that the error message changed to the key being unavailable. I dug through ~/.gnupgp/gpg.conf looking for mentions, and found:
#default-key F0D7C263
already disabled, and:
encrypt-to F0D7C263
when I changed that last one to a newer and better fitting key the problem was solved. There was a mention of F0D7C263 at the end of the enigmail error message but it was hard to draw conclusions about what it was doing there.

So as usual: good encryption is hard. And good error messages are hard too. I added a suggestion to the message so others may spend less time debugging this problem.

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2017-03-17 Soldeerstift vervangen van soldeerstation 5 months ago
Een tijd geleden heb ik een soldeerstation gekocht van Velleman, een Soldeerstation keramisch 48W VTSSC30. Die gebruik ik ook regelmatig naar alle tevredenheid.

Tot recent het steeds meer moeite ging kosten. De conclusie was uiteindelijk dat de stift aan het verslijten is, wat heel logisch is. Ik was even bang dat ik niet zomaar een losse stift kon krijgen, maar na dat ik deze gekocht had via Conrad blijkt die ook via Radio Centrum verkrijgbaar: Soldeerpunt 1,6mm Velleman VTSSC10/20/30/40 soldeerstation.

Stift vervangen, probleem opgelost. Grappig is dat volgens de Radio Centrum website de originele meegeleverde stift 1.6mm is terwijl ik in het overzicht van Velleman soldeerstiften bij Radio Centrum zie dat ik de 2mm versie had. Misschien moet ik nog eens een 0.8mm punt er bij kopen voor klein soldeerwerk.

Update: Radio Centrum zit dicht bij de winkel waar ik koffie haal, dus ik kwam er langs en heb gelijk een 0.8mm punt aangeschaft. Gelukkig hebben we nog een echte electronica winkel in Utrecht.

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2017-03-15 Eenrichtingscommunicatie op 3500 MHz 5 months ago
In een artikel in de Volkskrant vandaag KPN: introductie 5G bemoeilijkt door inlichtingendiensten - Volkskrant met daarin:
Het ministerie van Economische Zaken (EZ) biedt telecombedrijven in een recente beleidsnota aan andere frequentiebanden te veilen, omdat het voor de 3500 MHz-band vastzit aan een contract met het ministerie van Defensie tot aan 2026. De satellieten van de veiligheidsdiensten in het Friese Burum communiceren al jaren via deze hoge frequentie.
Volgens mij is dat helemaal niet "communiceren" maar alleen maar heel erg goed luisteren. In een eerdere zaak rond het gebruik van 3500 MHz kwam de nationale veiligheid ook voorbij, Enige wimax-provider in Nederland stopt ermee - Tweakers met daarin:
De reden voor het stoppen is dat Aerea zijn netwerk niet naar de noordelijke helft van Nederland mocht uitbreiden. Defensie wilde dat niet, omdat de 3,5GHz-frequentie het satellietgrondstation Station12, dat in handen is van Defensie, zou storen.
Met wat redeneren en nazoeken is wel te bedenken waar defensie/aivd/mivd zo graag naar wil luisteren: mobiele communicatie satellieten die in dat frequentiegebied signaal naar de aarde zenden.

Van tijd tot tijd lezen we verhalen over hoe vanuit Burum satelliet telefonie wordt afgeluisterd, zoals bijvoorbeeld Data uit Burum leiden naar piraten en terroristen - Een beetje uitzoeken levert op dat onder andere de diverse Paksat satellieten zoals Paksat-1 - Wikipedia English die allerlei communicatiediensten leveren op de C-band op frequenties vanaf 3500 MHz. Waaronder satelliet-telefonie. En Nederland ligt aan de rand van het gebied waar deze signalen nog (zwak) te ontvangen zijn: Paksat-1R coverage map - Satbeams.

Mijn conclusie is dat de 'communicatie' waar het over gaat het afluisteren van de downlink communicatie van onder andere de Paksat-1R is.

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2017-03-15 (Frequency coordination for satellites which want to use amateur frequencies goes via the IARU (International...) 5 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Frequency coordination for satellites which want to use amateur frequencies goes via the IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) first before going to the regulator for the country the satellite operator works from. Documents and information via this page.

Giving this some signal boost because of some remarks on the Amsat North America mailing list.
2017-03-15 (In my opinion a good article explaining why an important website was taken off-line to make sure it ...) 5 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : In my opinion a good article explaining why an important website was taken off-line to make sure it was safe again before making it available again. More articles should explain computer security like this.
2017-03-12 (Remembering a wall which divided Germany and Europe. Museums received parts of the Berlin wall so we...) 5 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Remembering a wall which divided Germany and Europe. Museums received parts of the Berlin wall so we can remember.

National military museum in Soesterberg on the old airfield.
2017-03-10 Keeping an eye on planes in the air 5 months ago
I usually keep dump1090 running on a raspberry pi. It seems it is quite easy to share the data from dump1090 with Plane Finder so I decided to give that a try.

With the installation instructions via the Share your data with Plane Finder page I had the software installed easily. But I needed to visit the configuration page of the software via IPv4... while I disabled IPv4 on the raspberry so it took some changes to make it work again. Next thing the software was reporting the data was available fine but not uploading to the Plane Finder server. Checking with strace shows that the software tries to upload via an IPv4-only connection which will not work. Temporary re-enabling IPv4 fixes things, so it's purely an IPv4/IPv6 thing.

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2017-03-10 Improving the Internet security one service at a time 5 months ago
At work we (indirectly) get the scanning results from Shadowserver which now includes open VNC servers which is yet another service we don't really want left open to the Internet in general. A few were found which are now actively chased after to get them firewalled/disabled.

I really like the concept of shadowserver. ISPs that want the information can get full overviews of insecure services and botnet activity on their network. A full overview of what shadowserver looks for can be found at The scannings will continue until the Internet improves - Shadowserver.

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2017-03-05 Back from a short holiday where I was active with amateur radio 5 months ago
We stayed in a holiday park in Germany for 6 days and I decided to bring radio, tuner and the 6-40m antenna. So I was DL/PE4KH for a week and operated PSK modes a few times.

In total I made 11 contacts. The 'radio environment' was about as noisy as I am used to at home so no improvement there. Disconnecting the power supply for the television and the cable modem in the bungalow helped a bit in reducing the radio noise.

The interesting part was on Thursday evening when I only heard noise on the 40 meter band and decided to give 80 meter a try. It was active with PSK signals, including from callsigns I recognize as regulars on 20 and 40 meter PSK. My best guess is that 40 meters was unavailable for others too! The interesting part was that the antenna tuner was able to tune the LW-10 antenna for 80 meter. I do guess a lot of power was lost in the tuner as I only was able to make contacts with stations that came in very strong for me.

For the next time:
  • Make sure fldigi on the laptop knows about all possible PSK and RTTY home frequencies, including those on bands I don't use a lot.
  • Both batteries I brought got depleted really quick when transmitting with 50 watts. I need more battery capacity.

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2017-02-24 Seeing the same amateur stations in contests 6 months ago
As I process the eqsl confirmations that come in after the Russian Worldwide PSK contest 2017 I start to notice some callsigns are showing up regularly in (digimode) contests. My highest number of confirmed contacts via eqsl which are related to contesting come from YO9AGN, S58X, S51AF, RA3GZ, HG3FMZ, EA3HKA, 9A4FS.

But the number one callsign I have confirmed via eqsl is not a contest station but the Veron club station PI4AA where I try to call in to the net almost every month.

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2017-02-23 Ok, not using the available wind meter readings in the neighbourhood 6 months ago
Today is very windy in the Netherlands, with storm with wind gusts of up to 65 km/h and average windspeed of 36 km/h. But the readings shown by the weather station readings shared in the neighbourhood show quite different values:
2017-02-23 21:49:14 :   HIDEKI Wind sensor
        Rolling Code:    15
        Channel:         4
        Battery:         OK
        Temperature:     4.9 C
        Wind Strength:   15.29 km/h
        Direction:       337.5 °
So I don't think those will help a lot for my Weather station Utrecht Overvecht.

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2017-02-20 I participated in the Russian Worldwide PSK contest 2017 6 months ago
This weekend I had time to use the radio and after trying to get some more contacts on the 30 meter band Friday evening I decided to participate in the ongoing digimode contest in the weekend. This was the weekend of the Russian Worldwide PSK contest 2017 (https TLS certificate is broken at the moment).

I had fun doing it, had 124 contacts in the contest. I now have two new countries in the log: Kuwait and Suriname. And Kuwait already confirmed via Logbook of The World. I just uploaded the log (with the last contact rejected as it was too late):
Band  QSOs Dupes Points Mults
160      0     0      0     0
80       0     0      0     0
40      52     0    320    28
20      71     0    223    33
15       0     0      0     0
10       0     0      0     0
Total  123     0    543    61
Claimed score is 33123 points
Comparing it to my results in the Russian WW PSK contest 2015 I did a lot better. At that time I still had limited access to the 40 meter band which limited my options for PSK traffic.
Read the rest of I participated in the Russian Worldwide PSK contest 2017

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2017-02-15 JT65/JT9 on 30 meters, even getting a new US contact 6 months ago
Today I threw out the longwire antenna and tuned it for the 30 meter amateur band (10.100 - 10.150 MHz). I first tried the PSK part of the band but that was completely silent. I tried the JT65/JT9 part, and that part was buzzing. And beeping, and other sounds. I made several contacts in Europe in the morning which was as expected. But in the evening the computer/radio was still running and I noticed some US callsigns, and answered one, and had a JT9 contact with K8SIA.

After that it was time to get the longwire antenna back in the house again. All in all another good experience with the 30 meter band.

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2017-02-12 Rising number of amateur radio contacts 6 months ago
I noticed recently the number of radio contacts made by my new callsign PE4KH which I started using in March 2016 was getting close to the number of radio contacts made by my previous callsign PD4KH between March 2013 and March 2016. A typical rise in contacts, mostly due to my skills improving and participating in contests. So I wanted to view the rise per month and did some searching how to ask the cqrlog databases and plot the results.

Oh, and now PE4KH has more contacts after a few new contacts logged in PSK31 mode on the 20 meter band today.
Read the rest of Rising number of amateur radio contacts

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2017-02-06 I participated a bit in the Vermont QSO party 6 months ago
Vermont counties map
Vermont Counties map, from Vermont county map - Wikimedia
I still try to make radio contacts to far away places even with current radio propagation at low levels. At the moment the last hours of the afternoon before sunset seem to give options towards the west (USA and Canada).

Last week I got home early one day, fired up the radio for PSK31 on 20 meters and saw K2EQ again.

This Sunday I saw in the fldigi screen:
CQ Vermont QSO Party K1VMT K1VMT
and answered with my call without having any idea what the Vermont QSO party is about, but having Vermont in the log would mean a new US state.

The exchange was made and I dug up from the noise that the answer included LAMoille which is a county in Vermont. It all made a lot more sense when I viewed the Vermont QSO party website. I kept an eye open for CQ's from other Vermont stations but never saw any. So I entered my log with one entry for the Vermont QSO party.
Read the rest of I participated a bit in the Vermont QSO party

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2017-02-06 Squeezing a bit more powersaving from Linux 6 months ago
The c't magazine this month had a few tips on linux powersaving. I tried them on the homeserver and saw indeed a very slight reduction in power use as logged by the UPS.

For powersaving in sound card(s):
# echo 1 > /sys/module/snd_hda_intel/parameters/power_save
This can cause plopping sounds on some sound cards.

For powersaving in disk communication:
# cd /sys/class/scsi_host/
# for i in host*/link_power_management_policy; do echo min_power > "$i"; done

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2017-01-27 Nice neighbours sharing their weather readings 6 months ago
A posting about reading 433.920 MHz signals triggered the idea I had ages ago to decode those signals and see what weather stations are available nearby. The original posting 433,92Mhz ontvangen (Dutch) was about receiving remote controls (KlikAanKlikUit) and had a screenshot of some Linux software for receiving those signals but no name of the software (that would be useful information).

But a simple google search found me rtl_433 on github which receives and decodes all kinds of signals on 433.922 MHz.

I downloaded it on the raspberry pi for radio experiments, and it is working fine receiving weather information from probably nearby weather stations. At least one outside temperature and humidity sensor, one inside temperature and humidity and one wind and temperature sensor. This last one could be nice for my weather station!
2017-01-27 21:00:27 :   HIDEKI Wind sensor
        Rolling Code:    15
        Channel:         4
        Battery:         OK
        Temperature:     3.6 C
        Wind Strength:   5.31 km/h
        Direction:       67.5 °
and a rain sensor:
2017-01-27 21:01:05 :   HIDEKI Rain sensor
        Rolling Code:    0
        Channel:         4
        Battery:         OK
        Rain:    648.2 mm
Thanks for sharing, neighbours!

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2017-01-23 Ontbrekende stukje grotere MTU met VDSL op DrayTek Vigor 130 en Ubuntu 7 months ago
Ongeveer een jaar geleden ging ik over op het Draytek Vigor 130 VDSL modem om weer een configuratie te krijgen waar ik maximale controle heb.

Het nog openstaande punt is dat ik de ppp configuratie graag naar een MTU van 1500 bytes wil. En dat dat toen niet lukte in Vigor VDSL modem in gebruik en Xs4all VDSL met DrayTek Vigor 130 VDSL modem en PPP eindpunt op Linux (ubuntu) server.

Wat ik al goed had was de MTU van de ethernet interfaces hoger en het vinkje op de Draytek aangepast. Maar als ik de mtu/mru hoger forceerde in de ppp opties ging het mis.

Nu kwam voorbij in xs4all.general over dit onderwerp:
> 1500 wordt ondersteund door Xs4all en je test eerst bij 1492 welk pakket
> via ping erdoor gaat zonder in stukken gebroken te worden.
> Daarna zet je de MTU naar 1500 en kijkt of je inderdaad 8 bits meer door
> router kunt drukken zonder dat die gebroken wordt.

Wel zorgen dat het apparaat waar je de PPPoE termineert RFC4638
Die moet dan in de PADI een extra tag plaatsen (PPP payload is 1500
bytes), en de BRAS zet dat ook weet in zijn PADO antwoord.
Zo maar een grotere MTU gebruiken gaat niet werken...
De PPPoE sessie komt bij mij vanaf de thuisserver met rp-pppoe. Even zoeken leverde mij op dat voor rp-pppoe met MaxPayload onderhandeling ik minstens 3.11 nodig heb, en bij de huidige ubuntu versie zit nog 3.8. Tijd om een nieuwere versie te testen.

Update: Daarvoor moeten zowel de pppoe binary als de plugin voor pppd bijgewerkt worden, en dat lukt me op dit moment even niet. Gelukkig had ik de oude pppoe binaries expres klaar staan en kon ik dus heel snel terug.
Read the rest of Ontbrekende stukje grotere MTU met VDSL op DrayTek Vigor 130 en Ubuntu

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2017-01-22 En nog even over stadsverwarming 7 months ago
In Geluidsoverlast van vliegtuigen had ik het vooral over het opsporen van het vliegtuig om de klacht te kunnen melden, maar er was nog een extra detail: het vliegtuig vloog om deze tijd en bij deze lage temperaturen (het vriest momenteel ook overdag) om warmtelekken in de stadsverwarming te vinden.

Ik kan zo wel vertellen dat de stadsverwarming een groot warmtelek is, er zijn keurige strepen hier door de wijk waar het nooit vriest omdat de leidingen er onder liggen. Erg aardig van Eneco, maar degenen die veroordeeld zijn tot stadsverwarming betalen er wel de hoofdprijs voor.

Mijn ervaring met stadsverwarming is dat het voor hetzelfde warmtegebruik veel duurder is dan aardgas of electriciteit en dat het met een bijzonder lage efficïentie getransporteerd wordt. In mijn vorige huis (een flat) had ik stadsverwarming die zoveel warmte lekte op allerlei manieren dat ik de hoofdkranen ervan tot het minimum had dichtgedraaid en dan ergens in November wel eens het raam dichtdeed omdat het toch wel fris begon te worden. Maar omdat het blokverwarming was (een stadsverwarmingsaansluiting voor het hele gebouw en een verdeelsleutel voor het warmtegebruik per appartement) betaalde ik wel meer dan 100 euro per maand voor de warmte die ik zo snel mogelijk afvoerde.

Toen ik van een appartement naar een woonhuis ging was ik ineens een stuk minder per maand kwijt voor warmte omdat dat woonhuis een hoog rendement verwarmingsketel heeft.

Van een andere gebruiker van stadsverwarming momenteel weet ik dat die een absurd hoog bedrag betaald om het een beetje redelijke temperatuur te krijgen.

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2017-01-21 Geluidsoverlast van vliegtuigen 7 months ago
Het gebeurt van tijd tot tijd dat we hier extra lang en veel herrie van een vliegtuig of helikopter hebben. Vanavond weer iets waarvan we ons eerst afvroegen of het een helikopter of een vliegtuig was, maar wat wel heel hardnekkig in de buurt bleef vliegen.

De website van de rijksoverheid met de vraag Waar kan ik terecht met klachten over geluidsoverlast van vliegtuigen? is niet heel behulpzaam:
U kunt klachten over geluidsoverlast van vliegtuigen melden bij het vliegveld waar die vliegtuigen opstijgen of landen.
Het onhandige is alleen dat standaard niet zo goed aan een vliegtuig te horen of te zien is van welk vliegveld dit is opgestegen.

Maar, ik heb meestal dump1090 draaien om transpondersignalen van vliegtuigen te ontvangen en daarin zag ik meer informatie: geen latitude/longitude (altijd verdacht) maar wel hoogte (hardnekkig 1600 voet = 625 meter). En ook de ADSHEX code: 458D73 waarmee ik het vliegtuig en de vlucht snel kon vinden: Romaero BN-2-A-21 (OY-CKS) - wat aangaf dat het vanaf vliegveld "Rotterdam the Hague airport" komt. De website van dat vliegveld is vooral voor passagiers en niet voor meldingen geluidsoverlast, maar met wat zoeken kwam ik terecht bij Veel gestelde vragen over klachten rond vliegverkeer Rotterdam-The Hague Airport met een keurige verwijzing naar het klachtenformulier wat zelfs heel modern de optie heeft om de vlucht op de kaart te vinden aan de hand van mijn postcode. Daar heb ik de klacht ingediend, want het was echt langdurige herrie.

En dan blijkt er uitleg te zijn via een andere bron: Eneco vliegt dit weekend boven Utrecht en Nieuwegein met de mooie bewering:
Het is de eerste keer dat Eneco een inspectievlucht boven deze regio maakt. Het gaat om een klein en stil vliegtuigje, zegt Eneco, maar de vluchten kunnen wellicht voor enige geluidsoverlast zorgen.
Ze vliegen met een propellorvliegtuig uit 1978, dat is wel klein maar absoluut niet stil.

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2017-01-20 APRS on the Raspberry Pi: trying to decode APRS packets 7 months ago
So the mobilinkd is now connected to serial over bluetooth on the Raspberry Pi, but now to get APRS data into aprx.

So far aprx does start but I see absolutely no data coming in, even when aprsdroid will see traffic. Something strange.
koos@joy:~ $ sudo aprx -v
2017-01-20 22:05:10.593 aprx start - 2.9.0
2017-01-20 22:05:10.594 TTY /dev/rfcomm0 opened
2017-01-20 22:05:20.624 CONNECT APRSIS
2017-01-20 22:18:06.115 aprx ending (SIG 2) - 2.9.0
2017-01-20 22:18:06.116 aprx ending (SIG 2) - 2.9.0
It's a good thing has an IPv6 address as this Raspberry Pi is only configured for IPv6.

Testing with minicom on /dev/rfcomm0 does show the startup messages from the mobilinkd but absolutely no APRS data in KISS format,,,
== BeRTOS AVR/Mobilinkd TNC2
== Version
== Voltage: 4019mV
== Starting.
Switching the mobilinkd between the Raspberry Pi and the smartphone with aprsdroid does seem to confuse something, it's not always showing data in aprsdroid either.

Installing the Linux ax25-tools and using kissattach and configuring aprx to use that interface doesn't help either.

Back to the KISS over serial port over bluetooth config I changed the setting 'bluetooth tracking' on the mobilinkd, which is advised for digipeater setups. And now I am seeing something:
koos@joy:~ $ sudo aprx -v
2017-01-20 23:12:17.568 aprx start - 2.9.0
2017-01-20 23:12:17.569 TTY /dev/rfcomm0 opened
9621    PE4KH-8   R     DB0NY>APZ17,DB0KX-2*,PE0FK-10*,PI1SHB*,PA7J-2*,WIDE2*,PI1APU*,LOCAL:!5103.84N/
2017-01-20 23:12:30.378 CONNECT APRSIS
9728    PE4KH-8   R     PI1APU>APND13:>W3,NL7      PAradigm    operation!
9831    PE4KH-8   R     PA3BXR-9>UQ5QW1,PA7J-2*,WIDE1*,PI1APU*,WIDE2-1:`zDKnA8>/]"3m}431.275MHz=
9867    PE4KH-8   R     PI1SHB>APRX29,PI1APU*,WIDE2-1:!5142.02N/00520.78E#PHG3460/2m Digi/IGate 's-Hertogenbosch
9934    PE4KH-8   R     PA5JB>APU25N,PE2KDK*,PI1APU*,WIDE2*:>202317zDX: PI1SHB 51.42.02N 5.20.78E 76.3km 133� 23:13
9942    PE4KH-8   R     PI1DFT>APMI01,PI1SHB*,PI1APU*,WIDE2*:@202317z5159.70N/00420.17E#WX3IN1 Digipeater 2 mtr. pi1dft
10007   PE4KH-8   R     PI1APV-2>APMI04,PI1DFT*,PA7J-2*,WIDE1*,PI1APU*,LOCAL:@202318z5130.81N/00344.00EI digi vliegveld MIDDEN ZEELAND
10018   PE4KH-8   R     DB0OTV-2>APOT21,DB0KX-2*,PE0FK-10*,PI1SHB*,PI1APU*,WIDE2*:>FILL IN DIGI + D-Star + C4FM QRG = 439,500 MHz -7,6 MHz
10122   PE4KH-8   R     PE9R>APX204,PI1APU*,WIDE2-1:=5202.5 N/00439.0 E-PHG2290QRV PI6NOS/ PI2NOS
10175   PE4KH-8   R     PA7J-2>APMI01,PI1APU*,WIDE2*:@210000z5149.68N/00450.43E-WX3IN1 PA7J Digi & I-gate Hardinxveld
10209   PE4KH-8   R     PD0JAC-10>UQ4XS8,PI1SHB*,PI1APU*,WIDE2-1:`{Mym>5#/>"4/}=
10227   PE4KH-8   R     PA3BI-10>APRS,PI1DFT*,WIDE1*,PA7J-2*,WIDE2*,PI1APU*,LOCAL:!5214.65N/00426.30E-000/
10277   PE4KH-8   R     PI1APV-2>APMI04,PI1DFT*,PA7J-2*,WIDE2*,PI1APU*,LOCAL::PI1APV-2 :BITS.11111111,Telemetry
10316   PE4KH-8   R     PI1SHB>APRX29,PI1APU*,WIDE2-1:!5142.02N/00520.78E#PHG3460/2m Digi/IGate 's-Hertogenbosch
And the results are showing up via the aprsc dashboard on Almost all packets I receive and forward are rejected as duplicate packets, but I have seen some packets accepted. So I guess I'm not really needed as an I-gate.

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2017-01-20 APRS on the Raspberry Pi: talking to the mobilinkd 7 months ago
So I want to run APRS on the Raspberry Pi. My ultimate goal is to announce the meeting of our local radio club over 2 meter APRS but I will start with just playing "I-gate" which means I receive messages over the air and forward them to the nearest APRS server on the Internet which will then probably reject them because I'm not the only one receiving them.

The first step is to link the Raspberry Pi to a radio. The easiest way is (in my opinion) to link using the mobilinkd which uses serial over bluetooth, something the Raspberry understands.

I looked up how to use bluetooth on the raspberry and found Installing Bluetooth - Raspberry Pi Projects but using the suggested graphical tools requires a lot of packages:
koos@joy:~ $ sudo apt-get install bluetooth bluez blueman
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
bluez is already the newest version.
bluez set to manually installed.
The following extra packages will be installed:
  adwaita-icon-theme at-spi2-core colord colord-data dconf-gsettings-backend
  dconf-service fontconfig fontconfig-config fonts-dejavu-core fonts-droid
  gconf-service gconf2-common ghostscript gir1.2-appindicator3-0.1
  gir1.2-atk-1.0 gir1.2-freedesktop gir1.2-gconf-2.0 gir1.2-gdkpixbuf-2.0
  gir1.2-glib-2.0 gir1.2-gtk-3.0 gir1.2-notify-0.7 gir1.2-pango-1.0
  glib-networking glib-networking-common glib-networking-services
  gnome-icon-theme gsettings-desktop-schemas gsfonts hicolor-icon-theme
  imagemagick-common indicator-application libappindicator3-1 libasyncns0
  libatk-bridge2.0-0 libatk1.0-0 libatk1.0-data libatspi2.0-0 libavahi-client3
  libbluetooth3 libcairo-gobject2 libcairo2 libcanberra-gtk3-0
  libcanberra-gtk3-module libcanberra0 libcolord2 libcolorhug2 libcroco3
  libcups2 libcupsfilters1 libcupsimage2 libdatrie1 libdbus-glib-1-2
  libdbusmenu-glib4 libdbusmenu-gtk3-4 libdconf1 libexif12 libfftw3-double3
  libfile-copy-recursive-perl libflac8 libfontconfig1 libgconf-2-4 libgd3
  libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0 libgdk-pixbuf2.0-common libgirepository-1.0-1
  libgphoto2-6 libgphoto2-l10n libgphoto2-port10 libgraphite2-3 libgs9
  libgs9-common libgtk-3-0 libgtk-3-bin libgtk-3-common libgudev-1.0-0
  libgusb2 libharfbuzz0b libice6 libieee1284-3 libijs-0.35 libindicator3-7
  libjasper1 libjbig0 libjbig2dec0 libjpeg8 libjson-glib-1.0-0
  libjson-glib-1.0-common liblcms2-2 liblqr-1-0 libltdl7 libmagickcore-6.q16-2
  libmagickwand-6.q16-2 libnotify4 libogg0 libopenobex1 libpam-systemd
  libpango-1.0-0 libpango1.0-0 libpangocairo-1.0-0 libpangoft2-1.0-0
  libpangox-1.0-0 libpangoxft-1.0-0 libpaper-utils libpaper1 libpixman-1-0
  libpolkit-agent-1-0 libpolkit-backend-1-0 libpolkit-gobject-1-0 libproxy1
  libpulse-mainloop-glib0 libpulse0 librest-0.7-0 librsvg2-2 librsvg2-common
  libsane libsane-common libsane-extras libsane-extras-common libsm6
  libsndfile1 libsoup-gnome2.4-1 libsoup2.4-1 libstartup-notification0 libtdb1
  libthai-data libthai0 libtiff5 libvorbis0a libvorbisenc2 libvorbisfile3
  libvpx1 libwayland-client0 libwayland-cursor0 libx11-xcb1 libxcb-render0
  libxcb-shm0 libxcb-util0 libxcomposite1 libxcursor1 libxdamage1 libxfixes3
  libxft2 libxi6 libxinerama1 libxkbcommon0 libxpm4 libxrandr2 libxrender1
  libxtst6 notification-daemon obex-data-server policykit-1 poppler-data
  python-cairo python-dbus python-dbus-dev python-gi python-gi-cairo
  python-gobject python-gobject-2 sane-utils update-inetd x11-common
Suggested packages:
  bluez-cups bluez-obexd ghostscript-x libcanberra-gtk0 libcanberra-pulse
  cups-common libfftw3-bin libfftw3-dev libgd-tools gphoto2 gtkam gvfs
  libjasper-runtime liblcms2-utils libmagickcore-6.q16-2-extra pulseaudio
  librsvg2-bin hplip hpoj poppler-utils fonts-japanese-mincho
  fonts-ipafont-mincho fonts-japanese-gothic fonts-ipafont-gothic
  fonts-arphic-ukai fonts-arphic-uming fonts-nanum python-dbus-doc
  python-dbus-dbg python-gobject-2-dbg unpaper
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  adwaita-icon-theme at-spi2-core blueman bluetooth colord colord-data
  dconf-gsettings-backend dconf-service fontconfig fontconfig-config
  fonts-dejavu-core fonts-droid gconf-service gconf2-common ghostscript
  gir1.2-appindicator3-0.1 gir1.2-atk-1.0 gir1.2-freedesktop gir1.2-gconf-2.0
  gir1.2-gdkpixbuf-2.0 gir1.2-glib-2.0 gir1.2-gtk-3.0 gir1.2-notify-0.7
  gir1.2-pango-1.0 glib-networking glib-networking-common
  glib-networking-services gnome-icon-theme gsettings-desktop-schemas gsfonts
  hicolor-icon-theme imagemagick-common indicator-application
  libappindicator3-1 libasyncns0 libatk-bridge2.0-0 libatk1.0-0 libatk1.0-data
  libatspi2.0-0 libavahi-client3 libbluetooth3 libcairo-gobject2 libcairo2
  libcanberra-gtk3-0 libcanberra-gtk3-module libcanberra0 libcolord2
  libcolorhug2 libcroco3 libcups2 libcupsfilters1 libcupsimage2 libdatrie1
  libdbus-glib-1-2 libdbusmenu-glib4 libdbusmenu-gtk3-4 libdconf1 libexif12
  libfftw3-double3 libfile-copy-recursive-perl libflac8 libfontconfig1
  libgconf-2-4 libgd3 libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0 libgdk-pixbuf2.0-common
  libgirepository-1.0-1 libgphoto2-6 libgphoto2-l10n libgphoto2-port10
  libgraphite2-3 libgs9 libgs9-common libgtk-3-0 libgtk-3-bin libgtk-3-common
  libgudev-1.0-0 libgusb2 libharfbuzz0b libice6 libieee1284-3 libijs-0.35
  libindicator3-7 libjasper1 libjbig0 libjbig2dec0 libjpeg8 libjson-glib-1.0-0
  libjson-glib-1.0-common liblcms2-2 liblqr-1-0 libltdl7 libmagickcore-6.q16-2
  libmagickwand-6.q16-2 libnotify4 libogg0 libopenobex1 libpam-systemd
  libpango-1.0-0 libpango1.0-0 libpangocairo-1.0-0 libpangoft2-1.0-0
  libpangox-1.0-0 libpangoxft-1.0-0 libpaper-utils libpaper1 libpixman-1-0
  libpolkit-agent-1-0 libpolkit-backend-1-0 libpolkit-gobject-1-0 libproxy1
  libpulse-mainloop-glib0 libpulse0 librest-0.7-0 librsvg2-2 librsvg2-common
  libsane libsane-common libsane-extras libsane-extras-common libsm6
  libsndfile1 libsoup-gnome2.4-1 libsoup2.4-1 libstartup-notification0 libtdb1
  libthai-data libthai0 libtiff5 libvorbis0a libvorbisenc2 libvorbisfile3
  libvpx1 libwayland-client0 libwayland-cursor0 libx11-xcb1 libxcb-render0
  libxcb-shm0 libxcb-util0 libxcomposite1 libxcursor1 libxdamage1 libxfixes3
  libxft2 libxi6 libxinerama1 libxkbcommon0 libxpm4 libxrandr2 libxrender1
  libxtst6 notification-daemon obex-data-server policykit-1 poppler-data
  python-cairo python-dbus python-dbus-dev python-gi python-gi-cairo
  python-gobject python-gobject-2 sane-utils update-inetd x11-common
0 upgraded, 165 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
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I don't need the whole graphical environment (I run my Raspberry Pi headless, so it doesn't have a graphical environment).

So I searched some more and found the command bluetoothctl which does pairing in text mode, exactly what I want. It took some trying:
koos@joy:~ $ hcitool scan
Scanning ...
        30:14:11:xx:xx:xx       Mobilinkd TNC2
koos@joy:~ $ bluetoothctl 
[NEW] Controller B8:27:EB:xx:xx:xx joy [default]
bluetooth]# pair
Missing device address argument
[bluetooth]# scan
Missing on/off argument
[bluetooth]# scan on
Discovery started
[CHG] Controller B8:27:EB:xx:xx:xx Discovering: yes
[NEW] Device 9C:20:7B:xx:xx:xx 9C-20-7B-XX-XX-XX
[NEW] Device D0:03:4B:xx:xx:xx D0-03-4B-XX-XX-XX
[NEW] Device F4:F5:D8:xx:xx:xx F4-F5-D8-XX-XX-XX
[NEW] Device 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx 30-14-11-XX-XX-XX
[bluetooth]# pair 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx
Attempting to pair with 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx
Failed to pair: org.bluez.Error.AuthenticationFailed
[bluetooth]# ?
Invalid command
[bluetooth]# help
Available commands:
  list                       List available controllers
  show [ctrl]                Controller information
  select <ctrl>              Select default controller
  devices                    List available devices
  paired-devices             List paired devices
  power <on/off>             Set controller power
  pairable <on/off>          Set controller pairable mode
  discoverable <on/off>      Set controller discoverable mode
  agent <on/off/capability>  Enable/disable agent with given capability
  default-agent              Set agent as the default one
  scan <on/off>              Scan for devices
  info <dev>                 Device information
  pair <dev>                 Pair with device
  trust <dev>                Trust device
  untrust <dev>              Untrust device
  block <dev>                Block device
  unblock <dev>              Unblock device
  remove <dev>               Remove device
  connect <dev>              Connect device
  disconnect <dev>           Disconnect device
  version                    Display version
  quit                       Quit program
[bluetooth]# pairable on
Changing pairable on succeeded
[bluetooth]# pair 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx
Attempting to pair with 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx
[CHG] Device 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx Connected: yes
[CHG] Device 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx Name: Mobilinkd TNC2
[CHG] Device 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx Alias: Mobilinkd TNC2
Failed to pair: org.bluez.Error.AuthenticationFailed
[CHG] Device 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx Connected: no
[bluetooth]# agent on
Agent registered
[bluetooth]# pair 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx
Attempting to pair with 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx
[CHG] Device 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx Connected: yes
Request PIN code
[agent] Enter PIN code: 1234
[CHG] Device 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx UUIDs:
[CHG] Device 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx Paired: yes
Pairing successful
[CHG] Device 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx Connected: no
So I have to set 'scan on', 'pairable on' and 'agent on' to get in a state where a 'pair' command will start the bluetooth pairing process and ask for a pincode.

Now we have a pairing, and I could add a serial connection over this. By hand this can be done with commandline rfcomm:
koos@joy:~ $ sudo rfcomm connect /dev/rfcomm0 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx
Connected /dev/rfcomm0 to 30:14:11:xx:xx:xx on channel 1
Press CTRL-C for hangup
And in another terminal:
koos@joy:~ $ cat /dev/rfcomm0 

== BeRTOS AVR/Mobilinkd TNC2

== Version

== Voltage: 4045mV

== Starting.

So there is communications possible! Now to get aprs data from the mobilinkd. This should happen via the KISS protocol, but at this time I have no idea what that would like.

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2017-01-19 (Does anybody have experience with multi-operator logging with fllog from fldigi, especially in digital...) 7 months ago
Google+Koos van den Hout : Does anybody have experience with multi-operator logging with fllog from fldigi, especially in digital-mode contests?

In a discussion about digital-mode contesting I looked at fldigi and fllog, but searching for experiences in contests with fllog I find nobody who writes about their experiences (negative or positive).

I'm a reasonably satisfied user of fldigi in digital-mode contesting but I haven't run a multi-operator digital-mode contest yet.
2017-01-16 Living in two timezones 7 months ago
PyHamClock Radio amateurs who make contacts over the borders constantly live in two timezones: both their local timezone and the UTC timezone. Logging contacts with UTC timestamps ensures the timestamps align across different parts of the world.

To help with this logging programs for amateur radio like CQRLOG will show the current time in UTC and log in UTC.

But I also like having a desktop clock in Linux with both the local time and the UTC time. One of the reasons is with WSJT-X: in this mode transmissions start at second :00 and end at second :50 so I have to check the WSJT-X screen every minute between seconds 50 and 00 (or every second minute when I'm in a contact). This gets tedious and I get distracted when there is 50 or 110 seconds to just wait.

There are hardware 'amateur radio' clocks like the CK-2 LED Digital Dual Time Zone Clock which is over 200 US dollars and looks like it would fit into a missile launch command center. Or from MFJ: MFJ-148RC dual time LCD clock, atomic W/GMT ZONE, id timer at nearly 60 US dollars.

I decided to just look for some software for this task and after a few searches I ended up with PyHamClock which is now running on my amateur radio desktop system.

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2017-01-15 I participated in the UBA PSK63 prefix contest 2017 7 months ago
I had the UBA PSK63 prefix contest in my planning again this year. This year I set up the antennas in advance, checked the contestmacros and I was ready. Some things at home delayed the start a bit, so I did not fire of a CQ UBA PSK63 PFX TEST right at 12:00 UTC but I managed nicely.

In the end I made 133 contacts. I started on 20 meters but that 'dried out' soon especially after the sun started to come down. I switched to 40 meters and this was the first time in this contest that I had access to the part of the 40 meter band below 7.050 MHz, which is where all my 40 meter contacts were made. Late in the evening 40 meter started showing some more distant stations, I saw Indonesia and Surinam callsigns but they did not hear my reply (which was not for lack of trying).

Total 133 contacts, 59 on the 20 meter band and 74 on the 40 meter band, so I entered as SOAB (single operator all band). A simple script counts 65 prefixes on 20 meter and 52 prefixes on 40 meter so that would make my claimed score 15561 points.

Looking at my contesting results the rates of contacts are improving (even with radio propagation getting worse) so I think I am doing fine.
Read the rest of I participated in the UBA PSK63 prefix contest 2017

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2017-01-11 Debugging a crashing cqrlog 7 months ago
This morning cqrlog crashed soon after I started it. On a restart it crashed instantly without even giving me any option to select anything.

Since there was some mysql corruption in my system anyway I decided to completely wipe out the databases/configuration, start over, import the backups again and be on my way. I never got that far, every time shortly after initializing cqrlog it started crashing. So I started testing what could be causing this and ended up with the DXCC update being the cause. So I did not do this update, loaded my logs from the backup, improved some things in my configuration and reported my findings via mail to de cqrlog developer. I can live with the DXCC tables being somewhat outdated, I have contacts with stable countries here in Europe.

I hope an update comes out soon for cqrlog. Also noted in the cqrlog forums where at least one other user has seen the same workaround. I haven't posted it on the forum yet as I wasn't registered there.

Update 2017-01-12: During the day an update for cqrlog was made available which fixes the problem. Applause to the developers of cqrlog for responding this fast.

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2017-01-09 I participated in the ARRL RTTY Roundup 2017 7 months ago
This weekend I wasn't planning on radio contesting but some other plans got changed and in the evenings the 40 meter band around 7.040 MHz was filled with the deedle deedle of RTTY signals. It was the ARRL RTTY Roundup so I participated some hours. Given the limited time and the not so optimal propagation I did not expect a top score.

In the end I made 62 contacts. Better than my score in the ARRL RTTY Roundup 2016 where I made 24 contacts (after logs were checked).

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2017-01-05 Outdoor and cold amateur radio 7 months ago
Today I had time for outdoor amateur radio but it was a bit cold. So I took the car to recreation area "De Leyen" near Groenekan again, which I also did in April 2015 with warmer weather.

This time it was cold enough to stay in the car and still get cold after a few hours. I tried and worked 20 meter PSK31 and SSB, and again had the luxury of the environment there being almost free of radionoise on 20 meters. On 40 meters it was quite different, the only thing I heard from the radio was the typical noise of electrified wire nearby.

No loads of contacts, PSK31 wasn't very busy. I had the advantage of hearing stations a lot better on SSB (voice) but they did not hear my reply over the pile-up of other stations trying to contact them. I heard VP8LP which is impossible for me to hear at home, but he did not hear my replies.

The interesting contact was with A70X which is a radio expedition to Al-Safliyah island in Qatar.

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2017-01-04 Reviewing my 2016 amateur radio resolutions, and the new ones for 2017 7 months ago
Mobile radio for 2m/70cm in radio shack, CC-BY-SA Again on reddit /r/amateurradio there was a thread HNY! What are your 2017 Amateur Radio resolutions? so I checked the results for My 2016 Amateur Radio resolutions and thought about what I want to do in 2017 with amateur radio.

So, first to review what I hoped to do in 2016:
  • Pass the exam for the full license on 2 March
  • Participate in "Mills on the air" in May
Prepared, and failed: antenna wasn't working and by the time things were fixed the 40 meter band wasn't cooperating.
  • Making amateur satellite contacts when the weather permits
No contacts made, I got an antenna rotor and built a holder for the arrow antenna on that rotor, but I only used it to receive SSTV from the ISS.
  • Participate in a few digimode contests 'seriously' (preparing, using an outside antenna, optimizing score). Sofar I usuallly go 'oh there is a contest I'll throw in my call and see if I can score some points'
Done: did better in a few contests compared to my 2015 scores. Also worked on and improved my contest macros. I even did a little voice contesting.
  • Bring some radio stuff on summer holiday (a full license makes this possible in a lot more countries around here)
Brought the radio and an endfed antenna on a holiday in northern England. Found out the endfed gets into problems when cold (which was probably also the reason "Mills on the air" failed first). And by the time the weather was nice enough for the endfed to work again the battery of the radio was drained.

So, for 2017:

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2017-01-01 DAB services scan 1 Januari 2017 7 months ago
DAB+ logo Ter ere van het aanzetten van de zender Lopik te IJsselstein voor de regionale multiplex Randstad een nieuwe scan. Van de regionale multiplexen komen 6B Oost-Noord NL en 7A Zuid NL ook goed genoeg binnen bij een scan met een antennelocatie zo hoog mogelijk aan huis.

Condities zijn duidelijk anders dan bij de DAB services scan 11 November 2016: dit keer zijn de regionale multiplexen 6B Noord-Oost Nederland en 7A Zuid NL goed genoeg om te kunnen luisteren, en zijn de andere MTVNL multiplexen niet eens gezien.
Read the rest of DAB services scan 1 Januari 2017

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2017-01-01 Leaped into 2017! 7 months ago
Jan  1 00:59:59 greenblatt kernel: [2538111.748198] Clock: inserting leap second 23:59:60 UTC
I usually distribute the leap second file to all servers I control to make sure there are no strange problems around it.

I wish everyone a good 2017!

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, reachable as PGP encrypted e-mail preferred.

PGP key 5BA9 368B E6F3 34E4 local copy PGP key 5BA9 368B E6F3 34E4 via keyservers pgp key statistics for 0x5BA9368BE6F334E4 Koos van den Hout
Other webprojects: Camp Wireless, wireless Internet access at campsites, The Virtual Bookcase, book reviews, Weather maps
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