News items for tag english - Koos van den Hout

2021-02-20 Maintaining old URLs with parameters 1 week ago
In looking for something different I noticed requests for old urls for rss.php urls on a site. But that site was rewritten in a different programming language and I use a generic .cgi extension.

I had to look up how to do redirects with paramaters again because a RewriteRule directive in apache normally only uses the url, not the parameters. The page Redirecting and Remapping with mod_rewrite - Apache HTTP Server Version 2.4 gave me some hints, and I ended with:
    RewriteCond "%{QUERY_STRING}" "(.+)"
    RewriteRule "^/rss.php" /rss.cgi?%1 [R]
Which does exactly what I want.

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2021-02-16 Finally Armenia confirmed in amateur radio 1 week ago
Getting new countries in the log is one part, getting those countries confirmed is another.

Armenia had been 'evading' me for a few years because there aren't a lot of active radio amateurs in that country and the first ones I had contacts with decided to want money for a QSL card or digital confirmation. I decided to keep trying and in December 2020 I got a new station in the log: EK3GM and that station confirmed via Logbook of the World. So now I have that country confirmed, making the total 127 countries contacted, 120 confirmed via Logbook of the World.

Update 2021-02-17: And being active in the CQ WPX RTTY contest last weekend caused another confirmed country that I have been 'chasing' for a while: Tunesia. Contest station 3V8SS was very active, I got in the log and now I have 121 countries confirmed via LoTW.

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2021-02-15 I participated in the PACC 2021 contest and in the CQ WPX RTTY 2021 contest 1 week ago
A busy weekend with multiple radio contests going on. And a lot of other stuff in the weekend too so not much time to actually participate! I came to both contests fully unprepared and without much space in the weekend planning for butt in chair time.

First was the Dutch PACC contest where I participated Saturday afternoon and in the last 20 minutes of the contest Sunday morning. In this contest I made 21 contacts: 14 in morse and 7 in phone.

The second contest was the CQ WPX RTTY contest 2021 which is a 48 hour contest, which allowed me to start after I finished in the PACC and get stations in the log Sunday afternoon and evening. In this contest I made 70 contacts.

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2021-02-15 Snow over the Netherlands satellite image 1 week ago
Satellite image of the Netherlands 2021-02-13 with snow cover. I acknowledge the use of imagery provided by services from NASA's Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS), part of NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS).
Satellite image of the Netherlands 2021-02-13 with snow cover.
I acknowledge the use of imagery provided by services from NASA's Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS), part of NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS).
In the weekend of 6 and 7 February 2021 the Netherlands got covered in snow and temperatures dropped to -10 degrees Celcius. In the week after that weekend temperatures stayed low and clear skies made for nice weather for outdoor skating and other wintersports. I was reminded of being on wintersport holiday.

I just had to look up the available images from the NASA Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS) and found a great image from 13 February 2021. Click for more pixels!

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2021-02-08 Checking certificates for expiry time left to determine renewal 2 weeks ago
Encrypt all the things meme I recently almost had an expired certificate for a public service because I did some fiddling with the file and ended up with a file modified time which had no relationship to the certificate request time.

Time to use the -checkend option I noticed in openssl x509 to test the actual certificates for upcoming expiry. So I redid the cronjob around dehydrated to do just that and had a cleanup. A candidate list of certificates to renew is created from certificates that are about to expire, certificates that have a changed certificate signing request and certificates for which there is only a signing request. That list is sorted and deduplicated and fed to calls to dehydrated.

It's now one script for both certificates that are renewed via the http-01 method and for certificates that are renewed via dns-01. By now both methods work fine for me, it depends on the use of the name which is fitting.
Read the rest of Checking certificates for expiry time left to determine renewal

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2021-02-06 Fiber to the shed: final stage, first light and link up 3 weeks ago
Today I had time to prepare for the final fiber route in the utility closet and after that it was time to go into the crawlspace again and replace the fiber with the 15 meter length singlemode fiber. Good preparations helped the fiber pulling to go fine.

Next stage was to mount both fiber optic transceivers in such a way that they protect the fiber from damage. At last it was time to add UTP cable for the last part at both ends and soon the right lights were blinking and the link was up.

So now the weather reporting for Weatherstation Utrecht Overvecht is a lot more reliable and on time again, and the time service from my time server is always available.

Fiber may be overkill for this path, but on the other hand the fiber that came out of the pipe between the shed and the crawlspace was quite wet so my best guess is utp cable would need special precautions to not get water in it.

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2021-02-02 Fiber to the shed: small change of plans 3 weeks ago
I talked about the latest developments in the fiber to the shed project with someone who has more experience in home fiber network and the suggestion was to order a 15 meter single mode lc-lc patch cable to have one cable from shed to the switch. I ordered such a cable at and added an 100base-LX SFP so the fiber can terminate directly in the downstairs switch.

Now waiting for the equipment to arrive, and there will be more work in the crawlspace in my near future.

Update 2020-02-04: The ordered fiber and SFP arrived late in the afternoon. Fast service from It was shipped via DHL Express and they tried several times to remind me to pick a DHL shop to pick up the package but currently I'm not going anywhere most working days so my doorstep is a perfect delivery address.

Update 2020-02-05: After several tries it is clear my netgear switches have SFP slots that do not want to work with a 100base-LX SFP module. So one step back to the plan with two fiber-optic transceivers.

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2021-01-31 Redid connector on phone cable for VDSL 3 weeks ago
While I was working in the crawlspace yesterday I rerouted the phone cable that brings the VDSL from the network connection point (in the crawlspace, not a good place!) to the utility closet. After that the VDSL started giving disconnects.

Today I reopened the crawlspace, shortened the phone cable by about 8 centimeters and crimped a new connector on the phone cable. The copper on the original connector looked completely black, which may have given interesting interference at higher frequencies.

As we say in amateur radio: RF is magic. And since VDSL is RF, having oxidation in the wrong place can cause intermodulation.

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2021-01-30 Fiber to the shed: actual digging and crawling 3 weeks ago
The first part of the fiber path has been done.

Today I gathered all the tools to work on this project and removed most of the contents of our shed to work in there.

When I started digging in the shed I soon noticed the plastic pipe from the shed to the crawlspace of our house takes a 45 degree angle first and the next 45 degree angle is under the garden. I was not going to do that much digging so the plan had to be adjusted. The working solution was to pull the fiber through one of the old heating pipes. So my wife pushed a wire-pulling cable through one of the heating pipes while I was laying in the crawlspace waiting for it to show up. When we tried the second heating pipe it did show up, and pulling the fiber back to the shed worked fine. I did put some tape around the connectors to make sure they wouldn't hook behind something and I made sure the bit of rope that was pulling on the fiber was actually pulling on the main fiber and not on the connectors. The fiber came up in the shed nicely.

I wanted to hang the fibre in the crawlspace, since it could get damaged easily lying on the in the sand down there. I installed an electricity pipe hanging under the floor beams. After that there was still a bit of length to get to the nearest switch but not enough fiber left, so I had to leave that hanging for when I get a connector for an extension.

While I was in the crawlspace I made sure some other cables were mounted better, since the mess down there annoys me a bit. And I don't want other maintenance in the crawlspace to have a chance of disconnecting important things.

So the project isn't finished yet, but there is serious progress. It feels like I almost spent as much time making sure I had the right tools available and cleaning and storing them again as I spent actually working on it!

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2021-01-28 Found on YouTube: Cruising The Cut 4 weeks ago
A while ago the YouTube suggestion algorithm came up with a video about a TV journalist / cameraperson who decided to live and work full-time on a narrowboat in the canals of England. The suggested video: TV Journalist Quits His Job to Live on a Tiny House Boat & Cruise UK Canals Full-Time.

I guess the suggestion was in relation to some videos I watched about people with expedition vehicles.

After that video I checked out the YouTube channel mentioned in the video: Cruising the Cut and I got addicted. By now I have watched more than two-thirds of the videos in the channel. David Johns describes the first steps in buying the boat, getting the boat ready to live on and the journeys along the canal network in England. The exact measures of the narrowboat are to make it fit in the canals that were dug in England as the first way to move goods when the industrial revolution allowed centralized production. The boats are 2.08 meter (6 feet 10 inches) wide to fit in all the canals and locks. The canals were dug by hand, so they are no wider and deeper than needed to transport goods.

I did ask David about the term 'the Cut' because I couldn't find a good explanation for it. It is the term for the canal, because the canals were cut out of the land by hand.

For my Dutch readers who wonder about canals in a not completely flat landscape: canals in England have lots of locks, tunnels and aqueducts to deal with those.

Somehow this idea of a moveable home is nice to me. At the same time I am not a person for living on the water, and with all the plans for long cycling tours I still want to return to a nice home with all the comforts.

One note: I do notice that David Johns comes from a background in television. Great quality video. And yes, I am fully aware that takes a lot of editing.

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