News items for tag english - Koos van den Hout

2017-10-20 Testing the new fibermast from a remote location 1 day ago
I had time this week to test the fibermast I ordered and I wanted to do this at a location away from houses. Someone suggested the location 'Trintelhaven' which is a small harbour in the dike between Enkhuizen and Lelystad. This is a harbour of refuge in which ships on the Ijsselmeer can find a safe location to spend the night or wait out a storm.

Usually I do my outdoor radio activities at cycling distance, but this was an interesting location, I had the day available and I felt like going a bit further.

The Trintelhaven is originally an island created for the construction of the dike between Enkhuizen and Lelystad, which was going to form the 'Markerwaard'. But that plan was cancelled and now it is the 'Markermeer' (lake) with a new project to bring more life into it.

In the end I learned things about the new fiber mast, played radio, enjoyed the outdoors and had fun.
Read the rest of Testing the new fibermast from a remote location

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2017-10-16 Information gathering for ssh attacks 5 days ago
Someone has been looking at websites I run to think of ssh login names to try:
Oct 16 16:21:53 greenblatt sshd[19367]: Invalid user weather from 223.194.227.104
Oct 16 16:22:11 greenblatt sshd[19387]: Invalid user weatherstation from 223.194.227.104
Oct 16 16:55:07 greenblatt sshd[22596]: Invalid user weerstation from 223.194.227.104
All valid and published websites on this system: http://weather.idefix.net/, http://weatherstation.idefix.net/, http://weerstation.idefix.net/.

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2017-10-15 Getting to play VIC-20 games again 6 days ago
VIC-20 startscreen Ages ago my first homecomputer was a Commodore VIC-20. I did basic programming on it and played some games. I remember the game Centipede and loading games from audio cassette.

These days games seem to be enormously complex and expensive or filled with advertisments. I don't like these, the last time I seriously invested time in a game was Pinball Dreams.

I found out about the VIC-20 emulator xvic, part of the vice package. I even bought a cheap USB joystick to use. I never had a joystick with my VIC-20 so it was about time to get one. This joystick is a DragonRise Inc. Generic USB Joystick (yes, including the spaces) and I noticed today it wasn't working right: up and down on the joystick did not work. I found out eventually the left and right on the second stick mapped to up and down, thanks to a simple joystick tester from Joystick - Denialwiki in 7 lines of Basic.

Some searching found DragonRise USB Driver Issue - RetroPie which mentions this issue in hid-dr.ko happened in Linux 4.4 - 4.9.

I did not feel like going back to compiling my own kernels for this laptop, but there is a simple solution in Ubuntu 16.04: use hwe (hardware enablement) kernels. These seem to be aimed at the long term support server versions, but they fix my joystick problem and I can play centipede.

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2017-10-11 Haproxy on the new home server and devuan upgrades 1 week ago
I got around again to working on the new homeserver 2017 and I worked on the installation of a 'testing' virtual machine with virt-install. This test machine also runs devuan linux. The first application I was testing on there is haproxy.

haproxy I noticed some defaults I did not expect (such as preferring IPv4 over IPv6). It seems the 'stable' devuan has the same age issues as 'stable' debian. Otherwise haproxy does what it is supposed to and I may standardize on it.

Upgrading was easy, I looked at Upgrading Devuan Jessie to Ascii and just changed jessie to ascii in /etc/apt/sources.list and did an apt-get dist-upgrade. The only minor issue afterwards is that the system now insists on using framebuffer video, which I find overkill for a virtual machine. VGA 80x25 is fine.

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2017-10-10 Plotting the number of contacts (again) 1 week ago
After working through the results of my participation in the Russian worldwide digimode contest 2017 I decided to run a graph again of contacts per month as I did in Februari 2017. And remember how I made those graphs this time and save it in a plot script. qsl count plot

And the plotscript:
set output "qslcount.png"
set terminal png size 440,300 fontscale 0.7
set timefmt "%Y-%m"
set xlabel "Month"
set ylabel "Number of contacts"
set xdata time
set style data lines
set xtics format "%b %Y" 
set xtics rotate
plot "dataset-qsocount" using 1:2 title "Contacts/Month"
The interesting peak in January 2017 is still visible, it was caused by two contests I participated in: the ARRL RTTY roundup 2017 and the UBA PSK63 prefix contest 2017.

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2017-10-09 I participated in the Russian worldwide Digimode contest 1 week ago
Past weekend was the Russian worldwide digimode contest edition 2017. I mounted the endfed antenna outside and participated when time was available.

Thinks went good in search and pounce mode, there were multiple instances of making more than one contact in the same minute according to the log. Calling cq gave less response but I also got some contacts logged that way.
Band  QSOs Dupes Points Mults
160      0     0      0     0
80       0     0      0     0
40      46     0    280    32
20      41     0    129    35
15       0     0      0     0
10       0     0      0     0
======================================
Total   87     0    409    67
Claimed score is 27403 points
Since I operated in more than one band and with power above QRP levels I entered in the SINGLE-OP ALL HIGH category.

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2017-10-09 Interesting NFS exports problem 1 week ago
I am used to being unable to unmount filesystems as long as they are NFS exported. It took me a while to find out how to correctly unexport filesystems before trying to unmount them. The easy solution would be to unexport everything and just export the other filesystems, but I'd rather not interrupt NFS availability of other filesystems.

So it was time to check some large filesystems again and I'd rather not do that during boot as it can delay booting for up to an hour. Currently those filesystems are exported via IPv4 and IPv6. Removing the export for IPv4 is easy:
# exportfs -u 192.168.1.0/255.255.255.0:/export
But for IPv6 it gets harder:
# exportfs -u 2001:db8:a::/64:/export
exportfs: Invalid unexporting option: 2001
So it is still exported via IPv6. And next thing I try to unmount it and notice it's ok to unmount a filesystem that is only exported via IPv6. I guess this shows some interesting bug.

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2017-09-28 Duelling standards and anti-spam measures 3 weeks ago
In today's mail problems:
   ----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to ecp-nl.mail.protection.outlook.com.:
>>> DATA
<<< 450 4.7.26 Service does not accept messages sent over IPv6 [2001:980:14ca:61::13] unless they pass either SPF or DKIM validation (message not signed) [VE1EUR01FT036.eop-EUR01.prod.protection.outlook.com]
<info@ecp.nl>... Deferred: 450 4.7.26 Service does not accept messages sent over IPv6 [2001:980:14ca:61::13] unless they pass either SPF or DKIM validation (message not signed) [VE1EUR01FT036.eop-EUR01.prod.protection.outlook.com]
Warning: message still undelivered after 4 hours
Will keep trying until message is 5 days old
Rerouting mail for ecp.nl via xs4all servers in the hopes of getting it delivered.

Some research shows me that the xs4all outgoing mailservers (smtp.xs4all.nl) do offer incoming connectivity via IPv6 but don't connect to the IPv6 addresses of mailservers they are trying to reach.

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2017-09-27 Enigmail 'partial decrypt' 3 weeks ago
The imap server where I fetch my work mail changed and suddenly the enigmail plugin on one system could not decrypt gpg-encrypted messages anymore with a 'partial decrypt' error. I remember seeing this before but had to look up the details.

Found again, it's a setting in enigmail (not in the general thunderbird preferences!), Enigmail → Preferences → select Advanced → Only download attachments when opened (IMAP only) has to be unchecked.

Answer found via Resolving Thunderbird/Enigmail decryption errors for encrypted emails with large attachments

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2017-09-25 I participated in the CQWW RTTY contest 2017 3 weeks ago
This weekend was the CQ WW RTTY Contest 2017. I participated when possible in an otherwise very filled weekend.

In the end I made 81 contacts, 32 on the 20 meter band and 49 on the 40 meter band. One station in the US, KI1G in the state of Rhode Island (a new state). And the counter of worked DXCC's went up one, so I was browsing the log trying to find out which was the new country and it turned out that I made the first contact with Luxembourgh, LX7X. I will put that call on the list for a QSL card.

Finishing the log took a while. I set fldigi to contest style "CQWW RTTY" and used that template to export the log. But the logged CQ zone and state did not show in the Cabrillo export. I had to do that all by hand. Next time prepare the macros to log this correctly!

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2017-09-14 A portable mast for outdoor operations 1 month ago
As noted the last time I operated portable from an outdoor location it would be easier to deploy outside with a portable fiber mast. I borrowed a fiber mast for supporting an antenna earlier and it was really nice to have this option. It takes a bit of work to set it up, but it makes HF antenna work easy.

So I wanted one myself. The advice from fellow club members was to look at the offerings at DX-Wire which includes fiberglass telescopic poles and accessories to set them up. I ordered the 11,5m GRP pole "MIDI" complete with a spool of guying wire, a guying ring and other material to be able to set it up.

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2017-09-08 I built a common mode choke 1 month ago
After the problems with the laptop controlling the radio when I participated in the SCC RTTY contest 2017 I decided to build a common mode choke. This is a filter that should keep the radio frequency signals at the side of the antenna.

Based on the simple design with a piece of PVC pipe with 8 windings of Aircell-7 coax I still had lying around. The PVC pipe was donated by a fellow radio amateur who had it in his junkbox.

I drew a pencil line on the pipe, decided where to drill holes for the coax cable (using a 16 millimeter drill) and where to drill holes for tiewraps to hold the coax. After drilling the holes it was a matter of winding the coax correctly, mounting the cable with tiewraps and soldering the connectors to the cable.

In the first testing the filter worked fine, completely stopping the interference to the keyboard of my "shack computer" and even reducing incoming noise on the 10 meter band.
Common mode choke: materials - KvdHout on FlickrCommon mode choke: materials
Common mode choke: finding where to drill holes - KvdHout on FlickrCommon mode choke: finding where to drill holes
Common mode choke: holes drilled - KvdHout on FlickrCommon mode choke: holes drilled
Common mode choke: cable mounted - KvdHout on FlickrCommon mode choke: cable mounted
Common mode choke: connectors done - KvdHout on FlickrCommon mode choke: connectors done

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2017-09-08 I finished the linked dipole and tested it 1 month ago
I realized today I never wrote an article about finishing the linked dipole kit I bought a year ago and started making my own dipole from Linked dipole portable HF antenna kit.

I used the SARK100 antenna analyzer to test it on each band: first 15 meter, after that 20 meter and I finished with 40 meter. I did 15 and 20 meter on two separate meetings at my radio club and 40 meter in a park near our home. As mentioned by others you need to take the time to tune this antenna to the right length. Each band took me about 2 hours which turned out to be what I could do in one evening at the radio club.

The proof is always the first contact and that happened when I brought it on our holiday to Germany and Austria. The tree behind our tent at the campsite in Austria was not high enough to support the 40 meter length of the antenna but I just set it up for 20 meters and that worked fine. It's remarkable how forgiving this antenna is after tuning. I just set up something resembling an inverted V and my radio found it near perfect, very little reading on the SWR meter.

First completed contact was with a radio amateur at the same campsite so that wasn't very hard. I did hear a Dutch radio amateur using a serious amplifier to try to reach me but lacking output power he did not hear my answer.

Anyway, project officially finished.

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2017-09-06 A solar flare stopping skywave propagation completely 1 month ago
I was reading about a solar flare maybe coming in the direction of earth on several places related to amateur radio. Propagation via the ionosphere is affected by solar flares: a solar flare will change the ionization of the ionosphere seriously.

By chance I had wsjt-x running decoding FT8 signals this morning but I was busy with other stuff. When I returned to the radio shack the last decode was at 11:55:30 UTC and not a single decode after that, and just the local noise on the radio.

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2017-09-01 The right to be forgotten versus keeping history 1 month ago
For ages the whole 'right to be forgotten' issue was something happening to other people for me. The worst I do on my website is name spammers that keep sending me unsollicited e-mail.

This changed when I started playing with old files from BBS Koos z'n Doos including old BBS lists.

A few years after I started putting these on-line I received a request to remove a name from the lists. This person advertised running a 'hardcore sex' BBS in the 1990s. But in 2013 the rather unique name of this person showed up with a decent company and in this BBS list.

I could imagine that this person had no idea in the 1990s what someone might do years later with that information. At the same time it felt bad to 'change history'. Those were original files, it felt bad to change them. But after consideration I changed the name to spaces.

I also received notice from the google webmaster program that some search results are hidden on bbs.idefix.net. I have no idea which ones or what names I should mask.

The whole 'right to be forgotten' is a typical 'shades of gray' subject.

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2017-08-28 I participated in the SCC RTTY 2017 contest from the radioclub location 1 month ago
Again this year had the SCC RTTY contest in the same weekend as the barbeque of the radio club so the solution was to work in the contest from the location of the radio club. I set up with the endfed antenna in the available field.

That field is close to some houses so I had some interference. And the main problem was that the computer control between the laptop running fldigi (the contest logging software) and the radio regularly gave problems, usually leaving the radio in transmit mode. The laptop and the computer interface aren't shielded very well which is probably a reason, combined with the use of the endfed antenna which is known for causing interference since it's an asymmetric antenna.

In the end I made 53 contacts. Less than the number of contacts in previous SCC RTTY contest but I had limited time and local noise was higher than I expected. For a next time I am working on a common mode choke to limit interference to the computer and maybe some noise. And probably next time I contest at the radio club I will try to use a different antenna location.
Read the rest of I participated in the SCC RTTY 2017 contest from the radioclub location

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2017-08-24 Operated outdoor portable at the location near Maartensdijk again 1 month ago
This morning I had some time and a good reason to leave the house. So I packed the radio, batteries and headphones and loaded all of it in the trailer of the recumbent and cycled to the bend in the road with a table and some trees where I operated portable before.

The local noise was very low again, about S1 on the 20 meter amateur band and about S4 on the 40 meter band. But conditions made the 20 meter band very quiet so I tried answering some calls on the 40 meter band first. In total I had 5 contacts, three of which were activations in the world wide flora and fauna program. Some of the contacts later in the morning were on the 20 meter band after it opened up.

All in all a nice way to spend the morning. Things noticed:
  • My newest lead-acid battery is failing already. It has trouble charging and when the charger thinks it is full it will drop output voltage way too fast. Time for a new battery with more capacity. 20 to 25 amp-hours would be a good value.
  • Getting a rope up in a tree is still annoying, I had to try way too many times. I am looking at fiber poles for portable operations. That would also mean there are possible locations for operating outdoor portable a lot closer to our home. Just a parkbench and some way to tie the fiber mast to something vertical is enough.

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2017-08-24 Uploading FT8 contacts to LoTW from CQRLOG 1 month ago
Other people from my radioclub were reporting they uploaded FT8 contacts to LoTW so I wanted to try this too. I uploaded earlier contacts as 'DATA' (and got some confirmations) but FT8 is the correct mode so I wanted to re-upload them.

After my earlier experiences uploading FT8 contacts to eQSL I expected some database work to be able to upload those contacts again. Finding the right field to set to the right value was a bit of work since I expected the approach to be similar but it wasn't. In the end:
$ mysql -S /home/koos/.config/cqrlog/database/sock cqrlog002
mysql> update cqrlog_main set lotw_qsls = '' where mode='FT8';
Query OK, 77 rows affected (0.01 sec)
Rows matched: 78  Changed: 77  Warnings: 0
That's after trying most lotw related fields and values.

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2017-08-22 New QSL cards ordered, again from LZ3HI 2 months ago
Almost two 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.

Image credits:

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2017-08-19 Moving virtualbookcase.com to https 2 months ago
I received a notification from the google webmaster program that chrome browser would start showing security warnings on http://www.virtualbookcase.com/ 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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