2023-05-29 I participated in the CQ WPX CW Contest
Last weekend was the CQ World Wide WPX Contest CW organized by CQ Amateur Radio magazine. The term 'WPX' stands for 'Worked All Prefixes'. The objective of this contest is to get contacts and exchange information with as many different other radio amateurs using morse code. Points are awarded for each contact, based on which amateur band and whether they are in the same or different continents. Multipliers are calculated from the number of different prefixes contacted. The prefix of my callsign PE4KH is PE4. The score in this contest is calculated from the points per contact multiplied by the number of unique prefixes. This makes a station with a rare prefix popular so radio amateurs get special calls or go to special places to be that rare prefix. This is also one of the big contests with a lot of participation from all around the world. In the days before the contest there were already a number of stations set up in special places busy on the air making contacts, testing their equipment and their setup to get the maximum score in the contest. This testing in the days before the contest already allowed me to get a number of new countries in morse in my log: Azerbaijan, Antigua, Argentina, Madagascar and Hong Kong. In the contest I made 171 contacts: 33 on the 10 meter band and 138 on the 20 meter band. With 215 qso points, 138 multiplier my claimed score is 29670 points at the moment. I had fun in the contest and all the practice with callsigns and serial numbers in morse has helped! During the contest I added Australia, Qatar and Kaliningrad as new countries in morse in the log. I have now had morse contacts with 101 countries in the world, and now I'm waiting for confirmations via Logbook Of the World.
UpdateI received a very fast confirmation for Australia already from VJ3A Steve. That was a 16490 kilometer contact with morse!
ThoughtsIn preparing for this contest I considered adding an antenna to get access to the 15 meter band. Now looking back I think I might get different contacts (more countries maybe) on 15 meters, but it would not have added a lot of contacts.
2023-05-21 I participated in the King of Spain CW Contest
This weekend was the His Majesty The King of Spain CW Contest and I participated. There wasn't a lot of time due to other things in the weekend, I was making contacts in the contest for less than four hours on Saturday evening and less than two hours Sunday. I made 77 contacts, 7 on the 10 meter band, 55 on the 20 meter band and 15 on the 40 meter band. Propagation wasn't cooperating very well although there were some interesting openings. One opening on the 10 meter band resulted in a contact with Nepal on the 10 meter band, a completely new country in amateur radio for me.
UpdateAnd the contact with 9N7AA Robert in Nepal is already confirmed! Thank you!
Update 2023-05-26I had a contact with HZ1TT Ali in this contest and that contact is now confirmed, adding country number 85 to the list of confirmed countries in Morse.
2023-05-16 Maybe YouTube isn't completely on to me...
I sometimes think YouTube is quite good at suggesting new videos to me with interesting subjects. For a while I've been seeing Tom Scott videos and Connections Museum videos. But only today YouTube suggested to me this video, Tom Scott at the Connections Museum! So maybe YouTube isn't completely on to me. Of course with Sarah from the Connections Museum explaining things.
2023-05-15 Maybe I should get asterisk going again, to play with old phone exchanges
There is a museum in Seattle called the Connections Museum and it is on my "If I ever visit that part of the world" list. The reason I found it because one of the volunteers likes to make videos for youtube about the equipment in the museum and the youtube suggestions are on to me. with an interest in phone phreaking in my history this is a very interesting channel. They recently had a video on how blue boxing *actually* worked, including a demonstration of how the switch actually responds to the blue box tones. This made me go "oh now I get it" for details on blue boxing. In the latest youtube video is an explanation that they run asterisk as one way of connecting all their historic phone exchanges. The historic phone exchanges are also connected using direct interconnects. Video announced in In case you haven't seen the latest bit of ridiculous hacking ;) - Connections Museum on Twitter. Video at Is this the world's oldest Linux peripheral? - Connections Museum If I understand the remark about asterisk and Collectors' Net / Phreak Net correctly it should be possible to dial into the old exchanges at the museum from either of those networks. From 2008 to 2013 I played for a while on the Collectors' Net to test my asterisk experiments but when I got less interested and reduced my phone setup at home to a simple voip base again I stopped being a member of Collectors' Net. Maybe I should get back on one of those networks and get something going again! It would be awesome to have an option to dial into the old hardware at the Connections Museum and actually end up in a phone switch from 1923 using a VoIP phone on my side. Or dig up a pulse-dial capable ATA and dial in using the original T65 rotary phone.
2023-05-12 A good evening for morse contacts
Yesterday evening I turned on the radio and looked for some interesting morse contacts. With some help from the Reverse Beacon Network I searched for interesting stations. I had contacts with a few special event stations. There are extra special event stations active from the United Kingdom to celebrate the coronation. And two new countries in morse for me. One was Saudi Arabia where HZ1TT Ali was calling and I managed to get through this time. I've tried contacting him in morse but failed earlier. The other one was DL5CW Andreas active as MJ/DL5CW from the island of Jersey, and Jersey counts as a separate DXCC entity. I also had a short chat in morse with a station in Ukraine. This was much more of a personal contact than the short contacts with special event stations or rare countries.Read the rest of A good evening for morse contacts
2023-05-10 Repetitive SSH attempts are still on
I noticed in 2016 that putting services like ssh on a different port does not change much in the attacks and the last few days I noticed this is true as ever. I use fail2ban for sshd and other services that are prone to brute-force attempts. I've been using influxdb and grafana to visualize measurements and I use telegraf to gather a lot of system data. I recently enabled gathering fail2ban statistics and it's interesting to see the numbers of blocked addresses is very similar for the sshd on port 22 and the sshd on port 2022. It's not exactly the same number and interestingly not the same attackers but the numbers are within 5%. And yes the numbers are high enough to make the output of fail2ban-client status sshd several screenfulls of IP addresses.
2023-05-07 New entity in the log: San Andres & Providencia island
I saw a DX Cluster spot today for a country/entity I hadn't had a contact with before, or not even heard of at all: Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina which consists of two island groups in the Carribean and it's a part of the country of Columbia. But a separate entity in amateur radio terms. This is again a bit of geography I was never told during my education, but amateur radio has a lot of these geographical surprises. Brazilian radio amateur PY8WW Renato is active there this weekend and as the qrz page shows he likes going on DXpeditions. This brings the number of entities in amateur radio I have had contacts with up to 170, half of the current total of 340. I can probably add that I'm now starting with the difficult half!Read the rest of New entity in the log: San Andres & Providencia island
2023-05-01 I was banned from discord... for creating an account
For a lot of things discord seems to be the place to interact with people. I didn't want to create an account there for a long time because I didn't want to interact with yet another service. But for certain subjects it is the place to be. One such subject is the hack the box CTFs, the post-deadline discussion where all the write-ups are shared is mostly on discord. So in May 2022 I finally created an account, wanting to view the discussion. Directly discord wanted a phone number to finish logging in. I decided I didn't like that so I left it at that. In the beginning of April I saw that part of the discussion about the proxmark (NFC security tool) is in discord. So I decided to give in and finish the login procedure. So on 6 april 2023 I added a phone number, received the SMS and entered the received code. Right after that I was logged out with the message 'Your account has been disabled'. I also received an e-mail about this block, with very general reasons why the account was disabled. Nothing specific, just 'we block accounts due to spam and/or abuse'. So I requested more information on why the account was blocked, received a ticket number in autoreply and that was it. Three weeks later still no answer, even after a friendly reminder. I have no idea what is wrong, discord does not communicate and I am left thinking this is a very unreliable service if they can block for no verifyable reason without explanation. I could try to create a new account, but from what I can find discord stores IP addresses and phonenumbers of blocked accounts and blocks those on the next account creation, so that's no use.
Update 2023-05-06Finally an "answer" from discord. Which says they can't find the account associated with my e-mail address and I should only communicate about accounts from the e-mail address associated with the account. With a standard text about anonymizing accounts that are banned after 14-30 days. Which suggests that the anonymizing includes forgetting the e-mail address because it says:if your account was disabled for a violation of our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, we'd have no record of that account existing.So this "we can't find the account" is caused by their own slowness in responding, the response is 30 days after the block. To the day. But they probably keep other data such as phone numbers or IP addresses (see above) so I don't think it is worth the effort to restart the whole circus. This is probably not completely GDPR compliant.