I like hearing about other experiences in amateur radio from around the world. Podcasts are an easy way to hear experiences, news and opinions from other amateurs. And they fit nicely into my daily commute. The list of amateur radio related podcasts I follow:
I bought the iRiver ifp-795 in May 2005 to listen to podcasts, mostly while cycling to and from work. But I need to find time to download new episodes on the laptop and copy them in the right order to the storage of the mp3 player. There is an another device which can do all this and can play the mp3 files too: my android smartphone. So I looked for an Android podcast player which can deal with podcast feeds not in its own directory. After reading an overview article and browsing the play store I found RadioPublic and managed to add my favourite podcasts. Adding a feed it didn't know was a bit harder than expected. I want to listen to The ICQ Amateur / Ham Radio Podcast but it wasn't listed. So I tried to add the RSS feed myself by typing the URL which failed. Adding it only worked out after I opened the RSS feed in my browser on android and copied and pasted the url to the 'search' field. The application has a nice playlist and I can order the downloaded episodes in such a way that I don't get several episodes from the same show in a row. Ok, I found one downside: it seems impossible to add an mp3 downloaded via the browser to the RadioPublic playlist.
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.
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!
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.
I like to sometimes add audio to items here on my homepage. In a format accessible for anyone with both download and play in browser options. Until now this was done using a flash-based player but lately flash has not been the secure option. With the latest browsers it is quite possible to have an html5 audio player, but to keep it accessible for every visitor I also want to keep the flash audio player available. So I looked up how to do that and found Using HTML5 audio and video. The linked audio is also available as attachments to the homepage RSS feed which is the standard for podcast feeds but since the recordings of satellite passes don't have an audio explanation or introduction they are not very usable as a podcast feed.
The whole podcasting movement seems to be over its top. Podcasting had a start in 2004. Several sources mention Audible revolution - Ben Hammersley - The Guardian as the first mention in "mainstream media" and the start of growth of the phenomena. According to the article about Podcasting in the Dutch wikipedia the peak of hobbyist podcasts was in 2005, and by 2008 most podcasts were (semi-)professional recordings of radio shows. In 2005 I already noticed a lot of the podcasts that were easy on the ears were made by radio professionals. Adam Curry (Daily Source Code, sometimes still available via curry.com, but Adam is still very active with other podcasts), Father Roderick (Catholic Insider, still running), Luuk Ikink (Luukspod, not podcasting but active on Dutch radio) other podcasters I listened to back then were all trained in media. Hobby podcasting is a lot less than in 2005. Sites with podcast listings are inactive, forums are sleeping or more about low-budget radio than specific about podcasting. But some are still alive and kicking!
One of my favourite podcasts, Chub Creek switched to m4a audio files and those don't play on my iRiver ifp-795 mp3 player which means I don't get around to listening to them. Open source and some scripting to the rescue can fix this, I found some good hints at .m4a to .mp3 - Linuxquestions wiki and tried them.koos@thompson:/scratch/mp3/podcast$ faad CC125.m4a .. CC125.m4a file info: LC AAC 2934.618 secs, 2 ch, 44100 Hz writer: Dave title: CC125 artist: Dave album: Chub Creek tool: GarageBand 6.0.5 .. Decoding CC125.m4a took: 22.10 sec. 132.79x real-time.And the next step is easy:koos@thompson:/scratch/mp3/podcast$ lame -q 5 -b 128 --tt 'Chub Creek 125' --ta 'Dave' --tl 'Chub Creek' --add-id3v2 CC125.wav CC125.mp3 LAME 3.98.2 32bits (http://www.mp3dev.org/) CPU features: MMX (ASM used), SSE (ASM used), SSE2 Using polyphase lowpass filter, transition band: 16538 Hz - 17071 Hz Encoding CC125.wav to CC125.mp3 Encoding as 44.1 kHz j-stereo MPEG-1 Layer III (11x) 128 kbps qval=5 Frame | CPU time/estim | REAL time/estim | play/CPU | ETA 112452/112452(100%)| 2:55/ 2:55| 2:55/ 2:55| 16.785x| 0:00 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- kbps LR MS % long switch short % 128.0 2.3 97.7 91.0 4.9 4.1 Writing LAME Tag...done ReplayGain: -3.1dBGood way to warm up the CPUs on the computer: I can see from the 'sensors' output on which core the calculations are running. With two cores, running two processes like these parallel works fine.
Another Dutch language lesson was used in Chub Creek 102 - Angry Birds. I like making short audio things like this, so I plan on keeping the Dutch language lessons coming.
My "Dutch language lesson" was used in Chub Creek episode 100 (mentioned before). So here is the original of the language lesson, it's a simple language lesson this time: just the word "winkel" (shop).
Recently I've been doing some audio recording again for Chub Creek and this does scratch an age-old itch of me: making radio. The first audio cassette I made is filled with a "radio show" I taped with friends at primary school, when I was 9 or 10 years old. I need to digitize that tape and hope I can recover some of that. This itch for 'making radio' comes back from time to time, and the whole podcasting movement was a trigger to look closely again, with the options for recording and editing sound now available to anyone with a computer with a decent sound card. So I try to find time to record some audio. And I bought some equipment to help record: first a Sennheiser headset with microphone. Later a Behringer Podcastudio with microphone, mixer, headphones and usb audio interface which also helps digitize my audio cassettes. A simple microphone arm was added to help the microphone being in the right place for me. And a microphone pop filter because the dynamic microphone needs me to be quite close and I want to avoid too much breathing and plopping noises. I do look at nicer equipment from time to time (studio microphone with shockmount, small microphone with cover to record outside, more channels mixer..) but I intent to not invest in audio equipment until I feel more comfortable recording my own voice. That is one issue I have, I start to talk too fast and stumble over my own words when the recording is running. Which is where I need to learn how much I need to write down. Complete scripts word-for-word result in too fast speaking. Writing down nothing results in too much uh and eh or completely losing the idea of what I was going to tell. So, the right amount of script is still to be determined. And I need to practice, which is why I try to get more involved in podcasts and other recording projects.
It's Chub Creek episode number 100! Congratulations on making it to a round one hundred! Lots of memories from Chub Creek past. Ed and Ethel show up! Darkspeed tries the future of coffee... And yes, I'm in it too, with another Dutch language lesson. Chub Creek 100 - A Tale of Two Creeks
The dink is back! New episodes of Chub Creek, my favourite Canadian podcast!
Zojuist gepost in xs4all.general naar aanleiding van shortiezzz: Nieuwe column over hoe topprovider XS4ALL mij de afgelopen dagen bruuskeerde en dupeerde. Zie: www.GoHansBrinker.com. Waar John Piek beschrijft hoe de xs4all podcast dienst ineens opgeheven bleek te zijn:Subject: podcast.xs4all.nl opgeheven: communicatie 0 Newsgroups: xs4all.general Blijkbaar is podcast.xs4all.nl opgeheven. Nu had ik daar ooit een account op aangemaakt 'om eens te proberen' maar nooit echt iets mee gedaan, dus geen ramp voor mij. Maar de vermoedelijk grootste gebruiker wist ook van niks, zie http://www.gohansbrinker.com/ Wat me vooral tegenvalt van xs4all is de communicatie: afwezig. Nergens een aankondiging, geen optie voor gebruikers om eventueel hun content veilig te stellen als ze die niet meer op andere plekken hadden. Ja, het was een experimentele dienst. Maar dan nog kan je het netter afsluiten dan 'oh ja het staat nu uit'. KoosIk moet een beetje denken aan de rants van Jason Scott over het einde van Geocities en andere Yahoo diensten. Alleen hadden hierbij mensen helemaal geen kans om hun content eventueel veilig te stellen of op tijd te melden dat ze ergens anders gingen hosten.
Voor de zoekenden: de shorties FM rss feed woont nu op http://podcast.shorties.nl/rss.xml.
I recorded a podcast narrating an experiment in telephony and blueboxing.
Via the blog linked to the history of phone phreaking I found about an audio art project dedicated to Joybubbles, one of the oldest phone phreaks. This audio art is available in style, via the telephone. On a phone number in New York city: country code 1, number 718-362-9578.I can call this as an international call, which will cost me, but with the current competition on prices for phone calls that isn't too big a deal.
But there is a better way. More in style. Combining the modern technology of Voice over IP with old-school phone phreaking.Listen to me setting up the call via voip and ProjectMF in the US and blueboxing it from there to New York. But with permission from the owner of ProjectMF.
Websites mentioned in this podcast:
Yes, quality of the recording isn't great. The setup with a speakerphone generates lots of echo. And I need to work on my presentation.
- The History of Phone Phreaking where Phil Lapsley is working on documenting the history of phone phreaking.
- Blueboxing revival page with the beepbeep bluebox for Linux
- Project MF a simulator of an analog MF telephone system.
- Rachael Morrison's "Joybubbles" - The History of Phone Phreaking Blog
- Joybubbles audio collage by Rachael Morrison.
I tested saving all traffic from a SIP phone using tcpdump and extracting the audio using wireshark. This works fine, which means I can record a call for a podcast project I'm working on (writing the script, working on technical details). Watch this space for updates...
And I promised the no-bed version too of Dutch language lesson #4. All audio editing and mixing done with audacity.
Audio credits for this version:
My previous remarks about doing audio work and one system reinstalled with audio editing in mind had a good reason: I was working on audio for a podcast. Not my own, but a guest role in "First Life" with a Dutch language lesson. I numbered it number 4 because there may or may not have been 3 earlier lessons used in the Chub Creek podcast.
But after I recorded my stuff I never heard anything about it being actually used. As you can see the First Life podcast is on long hiatus so I guess it isn't working out.So here is what I recorded. It's available in two versions, one with the music bed and one without as I'm still not too happy about the effect of the music bed.
A music bed is the background music (usually something light drum-like) you hear on the radio when the DJ is talking (or when the DJ takes a breath). US definitions of music bed (and english wikipedia) seem to focus more on use of music in the background of radio commercials.Audio credits:
In the news: VoIP hacker sentenced to 10 years - The Register and Hacker Gets 10 Years for $1.4 Million Internet Theft - BusinessWeek. From the businessweek article:Pena was an unauthorized wholesaler of Internet-based phone services who sold more than 10 million minutes at deep discounts to customers, he admitted when he pleaded guilty. He hacked into computer networks such as one owned by IDT, a Newark-based telecommunications company, to route customer calls, he said.These damages from VoIP fraud make me think there is probably a lot more fraud and resulting damages in those regular SIP scans I notice in the Asterisk server logs.
Secure those servers, audit the logs, set limits for your costs. VoIP infrastructure is a target for attacks and fraud.Also sent as audio comment to Blue Box VoIP security podcast.
Did some audio work. Wrote a script, recorded the voice and did work on it with audacity, adding a few sound effects from www.freesound.org and used a drum loop from Free-Loops.com.
With the microphone, mixer and USB audio interface I have from the Behringer podcastudio (what a nice composed word) it is quite easy to record my voice (and other audio) in audacity in a good quality (at least when I do not have a cold..).But adding the drum loop as 'music bed' (music you hear in the background when for example a DJ talks) was harder. It's easy to play with effects and such but the right timing of the envelope changes (changing the volume) in such a music bed is harder, especially when you move other sound effects in time. Searching suggests audacity isn't ideal for this kind of work, but at the moment I can't beat the price of audacity: free! For what I do with audio, that will have to do for now. Just leave room for volume changes in the bed and do it as the last thing when the timing of the rest is good.