News items for tag shiny - Koos van den Hout

2020-06-28 Future cycling goals (2) 1 month ago
As I mentioned before I have some future cycling goals which include some form of long-distance cycling journey, with serious influences from the book Computing Across America. Naturally amateur radio will play a part in such a cycling journey, just as Steven K. Roberts had on his trips.

Via the german amateur radio club DARC I found this bit in the "Deutschland-Rundspruch 24/2020":
DK3JB erreicht erstes Ziel auf seiner Funk-Fahrrad-Reise

Hans-Gerhard Maiwald, DK3JB, hat nach mühsamer und beschwerlicher Fahrt, teilweise auch wegen schlechter Radwege, am 15. Juni gegen 21 Uhr sein erstes Ziel, Kappel im Hochschwarzwald, erreicht. Dabei legte er ohne E-Unterstützung 580 km mit seinem 40 kg schweren Radanhänger zurück. Dem 72-jährigen OM geht es gesundheitlich gut. Hans-Gerhard gelang es, den weitaus größten Teil der Strecke permanent mit seinem TH-D74 in APRS aufzuzeichnen. Dabei hat sich der 1200 g schwere 12 V/20-Ah-Lithium-Ionen-Akku sehr bewährt. DK3JB hat zahlreiche Verbindungen in FM und D-Star vom Fahrrad aus getätigt. Durch Ludwigshafen wurde er von mehreren Funkamateuren gelotst und seine Route mitverfolgt. Hans-Gerhard bleibt bis Sonntag in Kappel und radelt danach vorerst an den Bodensee weiter.
And I found out more about the cycling tours between Siegen and Friedrichshafen in Germany via Funk-Fahrradtouren of DK3JB and it is very inspiring to me. There is also an article DK3JB wieder mit dem Fahrrad unterwegs nach Friedrichshafen - with information about this tour in 2020 (all in German, which I can read but not really write). He has done this tour several years already, I found an article from the June 2008 trip: Mit Fahrrad, Zelft und FTM-10SE durch Süddeutschland (pdf).

After having read a book about cycling through Europe with the Rhine as one possible route, this confirms my earlier thoughts. Combining recumbent cycling, amateur radio and a nice ride through Europe is the direction I'm thinking.

Tags: , , , ,
2020-05-12 Changing the CSS grid depending on screen size 2 months ago
Camp Wireless responsive design A special feature I realized when working with the CSS grids is that I can change the order in which objects are displayed based on screen width. Or whether they appear at all on small screens.

So now I'm working on stylesheets that change the grid to what works better on a mobile device. Which is what a lot of the visitors to Camp Wireless use!

On a small screen I want the important content to come first. There is not enough space for the extras at the top, and a mobile visitor wants fast answers to the question "where can I find a campsite".

Tags: , , ,
2020-05-06 I discovered the CSS grid model 3 months ago
In my todo-list is a rewrite of Camp Wireless to stop maintaining PHP and make it more mobile-device friendly.

The reason to stop maintaining php is because I don't like it anymore which gives me a risk of having insecure code, which would be really bad for me. I'm rewriting it in Perl which isn't todays choice in web development either but it is what I can program good enough to avoid security errors.

The reason to make it more mobile-device friendly is that over half of the visitors to the site are using mobile devices. They want to find a campsite while travelling with a smartphone or other mobile device.

I was already using a media selector CSS, with variations for printer, I'm now looking at CSS grids which allows me to device the page into regions that move place depending on the available screensize. This makes separating content from page layout even easier.

Tags: , , , ,
2020-05-01 I'm not intimidated by morse anymore 3 months ago
Today I "chased" the special amateur radio call for the Bulgarian Saint of this month, LZ177GL.

The Bulgarian Saints are a set of special amateur radio calls each month, organized in Bulgaria by Bulgarian Radio Club BLAGOVESTNIK LZ1KCP. The callsigns are in honour of saints from the orthodox church.

LZ177GL was calling CQ at a rate of about 28 words per minute. My current rate is 12-13 words per minute, so that's quite a lot faster. But it doesn't intimidate me anymore, I can hear the callsign on a few repeats, I can hear when the return is with my full callsign and a 5NN (signal report) or a part of my callsign and a question mark. Or when the answer is for another station. And that's enough to make the contact with the absolute minimum information, exchanging callsigns and signal reports. When I'm convinced my callsign got across I send '5NN TU 73' to finish the contact.

I also made some other contacts in morse because I could hear CQ calls and was able to decode them by ear together with some help from fldigi. So my conclusion is that morse isn't "intimidating" anymore. I can understand enough to get an idea what is going on and use it.

Tags: , ,
2019-11-16 Getting distracted by weird noises and listening to data from car tires 8 months ago
I was tuning across the 70cm amateur band and heard lots of weird noises around 433.92 MHz. Which is logical: that's the ISM band (industrial, scientific and medical) so lots of unlicensed low-power signals there.

That triggered me to update rtl_433 and see what I could receive. The answer after some searching how to build a running version: a lot. Including tire pressure monitoring sensors (TPMS) on a nearby car:

time      : 2019-11-16 15:33:25
model     : Toyota       type      : TPMS          id        : fb8c8bf9
status    : 128          pressure_PSI: 38.500      temperature_C: 6.000
mic       : CRC
There is indeed a Toyota parked across the street. I see three different values for 'id' suggesting that three wheels are 'awake' and reporting tire pressure data about every two minutes. According to eavesdropping the wheels, a close look at TPMS signals the sensors should only activate when the car is going faster than 40 km/h or when a special LF signal is active.
Read the rest of Getting distracted by weird noises and listening to data from car tires

Tags: , ,
2019-07-03 Unix printing isn't what it used to be 1 year ago
My wife bought a new inkjet printer because the previous one was failing. The new one is a HP deskjet 2630, and it has wifi support. Out of the box it was playing access-point on the busy 2.4 GHz band making it even more crowded so I asked her to disable the wifi. She used the printer nicely with the USB cable and asked me to look into putting it on the network so it can be in a different room and not in the way.

Today I had a look into that. I hoped it could be a wifi client. Yes it can. The first two explanations on how to set that up started with 'using the windows HP software'. The third one had 'press and hold the wifi button to connect using wps'.

So I enabled wps on the wifi network, did the wps mating and saw arpwatch note the new IPv4 addres in use.

For a laugh I tried whether it has an IPP server running. It has. So adding it under linux should not be completely impossible. Search for 'linux hp deskjet 2630' and notice it needs the hplip package. Which is already installed in my recent Ubuntu.

So I just opened the cups printer browser, saw the HP deskjet show up, selected that and printed a test page. Which came out correctly.

Typing this took longer than the actual steps I took, and searching websites with explanations took most of the time.

I'm still in the "what just happened?" stage, remembering long fights with printer drivers, network printing and losing everything at upgrades.

Update: Adding the printer in Windows 10 was harder, we needed to use the HP software to add it which tried to sell us "HP instant ink" service before allowing the printer to be used in Windows.

Tags: , ,
2019-04-24 I applied for the ARRL DXCC award 1 year ago
ARRL DXCC certificate sample After getting to the magic number of getting contacts with 100 DXCC entities confirmed I applied for (and paid for) the ARRL DXCC award, the American Radio Relay League DX Century Club award.

So I guess I have to admit I'm a serious DX chaser!
Read the rest of I applied for the ARRL DXCC award

Tags: , , ,
2019-03-29 Still looking for the correct frequency for FT8 on the 70 centimeter band 1 year ago
Although FT8 does great work for weak signal reception on HF bands it's also nice for the 2 meter band and the 70 centimeter band. So after lots of tries with the 2 meter band I decided to give the 70 centimeter band another try. But, there is one thing: there aren't many stations active in FT8 on 70 centimeter and even when one is active in the nearby area that station may be on a different FT8 frequency. The real standard is not there yet.

Until now I've seen:
  • 432.174 MHz
  • 432.176 MHz
  • 434.670 MHz
I check for activity via the PSKreporter site. My two FT8 on 70 centimeter contacts where on 432.174 and 432.176.

Tags: , ,
2018-10-01 Getting distracted on shodan 1 year ago
This morning I was looking on shodan for open remote desktop servers in the work network since RDP was mentioned as an attack vector in the latest GANDCRAP ransomware.

Searching for '3389' on shodan found something completely different: an open industrial control system (ICS) for tankstation gauges.

  1  UL 98                 9757      9693    10283    939.2      0.0    20.09
  2  EURO                 2...
According to The Internet of Gas Station Tank Gauges -- Take #2 - Rapid7 this was already a reported issue in January 2015 and according to their research it may be possible to do bad things with this access.

The above is from a gas station I can find on google maps.

Oh I found the way to search for open remote desktop servers on shodan: port:3389.

Tags: , , ,
2018-07-10 Found the original article about Steven K. Roberts and his recumbent bicycle Behemoth 2 years ago
Steven K. Roberts on Behemoth II I noticed the Nomadic Research Labs site was cleaned up a bit more, so I searched again for the article that I read in August 1995 about Steven K. Roberts and his recumbent bicycle Behemoth: "Big Electronic Human-Energised Machine ... Only Too Heavy".

The scans are at BEHEMOTH in Kijk – Dutch Magazine. Interesting detail is that the top left text refers to a picture of a Challenge recumbent. I recently ordered a new Challenge recumbent! Maybe I should find out whether I can find that page of that magazine.

Several things can be related to seeing this article: buying the book Computing Across America, selecting a recumbent bicycle later in life and this idea in the back of my head of future recumbent cycling trips.

Tags: , , , ,
2018-07-05 Future cycling goals... 2 years ago
I had a serious case of 'ooooh shiny' today. I browsed a bit of Northern Canada news from CBC and found the article Dempster Highway drivers flock to new destination — the Arctic coast about the new Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway which connects the Dempster Highway all the way to Tuktoyaktuk on the northern arctic coast.

So I started wondering whether people are cycling the Dempster Highway. Yes, they are. I found several travel stories, Cycling the Dempster Highway to Inuvik, Cycling the Dempster Highway Part 1: Hungrier than the bears - Tasting Travels and Dempster Highway to the Arctic about one cyclist who cycled from Vancouver to Inuvik on a recumbent.

I may have found some future cycling ideas there. Those ideas aren't really new, from time to time I get back to thinking about Computing Across America and Steven K. Roberts.

Tags: , , ,
2016-03-18 The ham radio sign with my callsign 4 years ago
PE4KH hamradio sign with LED lighting A while ago I found out about Ham Radio Signs who make custom signs with your callsign (or anything else). I really liked the idea and decided I would 'gift' myself one when I got my new callsign after upgrading to the full license. So after I was able to register PE4KH I ordered the ham radio sign for it in the style/colour I wanted. It arrived today and I'm happy with it.

It needs 12V-13.8V power but that is usually not a problem in an amateur radio environment!

Tags: , ,
2015-05-20 Eindelijk kan ik 'm aan het haakje hangen 5 years ago
Op sommige repeaters hoor ik mensen wel eens roepen dat ze "'m aan het haakje gaan hangen" als ze willen stoppen met meepraten. Dat verwijst naar het haakje of clipje waaraan de handmicrofoon opgehangen kan worden.

Handmicrofoon aan het ophang haakje Ik had van een stukje koperdraad een simpel haakje gebogen maar dat was niet echt handig en viel wel eens van de plank af. Dus toch maar eens uitgekeken naar een echt goed beugeltje. Op de beurs in Rosmalen kon ik geen aanbieder vinden. On-line even gekeken en terecht gekomen bij Microphone Hang Up Clip for KMC-30,KMC-32,KMC-35,KMC-36 en nu kan ik 'm dus ook aan het haakje hangen!

Het is een hele nette microfoonhouder, die ook in een auto of boot zou werken, er zit een veer achter die de microfoon vasthoudt.

Tags: , ,
2015-01-23 Amateur radio and geography 5 years ago
This evening when I had time to play with the radio the HF bands I can use were already going 'silent'. But I left the setup running om 14.070 MHz in fldigi in PSK31 mode. This is the recommended standard frequency for PSK31 in the 20 meter band, so a lot of people will try there first. I saw a CQ call from EA9BO and fldigi filled in the country as Ceuta & Melilla which I did not recognize.
Spanish autonomous cities Ceuta and Melilla
Map of Ceuta and Melilla, from Ceuta-melilla.png, Wikimedia Commons, Anarkangel
Which means one thing: a contact with a new country! I was able to answer his call after he had contacts with a few other stations and he got my signals and we had a short QSO. Afterwards I looked up Ceuta & Melilla which are the two autonomous Spanish cities that are within Morocco.

Again amateur radio learns me new things about geography! I already have looked up a number of interesting city names in eastern parts of Europe because of what I received as the cities of radio amateurs I had contacts with.

Oh and this is the first contact on the African continent.

Tags: , ,
2014-07-25 I searched for and found a better radio transciever: the Yaesu FT-857 6 years ago
For a while I have been considering my wishes for a more elaborate amateur radio. What I want to do with it is continue and expand the use of amateur satellites, and try to get into PSK31 on HF, starting on the 20m band. So a list of must haves and should haves arose: all-mode, portable, computer assisted tuning, HF support, 2 meter and 70 centimeter and an increas of power from 5W.

Adding it all up and looking for a reasonable price I ended up considering the Yaesu FT-857(D). It's in the middle between the FT-817 (too low power, still 5 watts) and the FT-897 (too heavy: 3.9 kilograms). And a reasonable pricetag, were other amateur radio brands have nothing comparable or at a much higher pricetag. I went looking for a second-hand one and when we got back from holiday a nice one (FT-857 with DSP and installed filter, and a remote control+DTMF hand microphone) showed up from Communicatie Centrum Venhorst - Hilversum and I bought it. Picked it up this week, and I am learning using it. I listened to SO-50 this evening using this radio with a lot of wires on the table in the backyard.
Radio setup
Radio setup - FT-857, PC power supply for 12V, laptop, Arrow antenna: ready for amateur satellites
It was clear I also need headphones to listen to amateur satellites on this radio so I'll get the parts to connect a headphone soon. Cables for computer assisted tuning and interfacing to a computer sound card are already ordered.

This radio also allows me to access SSB satellites, so I'll have to learn how to do that.

The good news about the SO-50 pass: there were QSOs going on, the person just calling CQ and never listening to the answers was missing.

Tags: , , ,
2014-06-06 Following the ISEE-3 satellite 6 years ago
There are great things happening at the moment: the NASA ISEE-3 satellite from 1978 is going to pass earth again in August 2014. Due to budget cuts and cleanups at NASA they decided to not do anything with the satellite. International Cometary Explorer - Wikipedia.

The first signals from this satellite were received in March: AMSAT-DL and Bochum Observatory Detect ISEE-3 Transmitters - Space College and since that moment people have been busy with it. The satellite was supposed to be switched off but it wasn't completely switched off and it receives enough solar power to overcome the lack of energy storage. A project was started named the ISEE-3 Reboot Project - Space College to get in touch with the satellite again and control it to make the course correction to return to the original orbit. With crowdfunding this project was able to get started quickly and the project received the control keys from NASA to be able to command the satellite. The first commands were successfull: Happy Dance Video: First Successful ISEE-3 Commanding - Space College when the satellite was ordered to send more telemetry data.

I'm following this story as I think it's great: commanding a satellite that has been in space for 36 years. The amateur radio angle is that recent developments in amateur radio have made this possible: the kind of specialized equipment that was needed in 1978 is now done with software defined radio and really good amplifiers.

Tags: , ,
2013-02-11 (#) 7 years ago
Browsing from one hamradio web log to the other I came across this gem: Humorous Repeater IDs - KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog. Don AE5DW of Amateur Radio Newsline recorded some humourous IDs for repeaters.

Repeaters have to announce themselves on their output frequency on a regular basis (the rules for this can differ per country). Default is an output of the callsign in morse code or synthesized voice, but the above is what you get when you let someone with a good voice and experience in radio making.

Tags: , , ,
2013-01-04 Programming the Wouxun KG-UVD1P with Chirp 7 years ago
CHIRP screengrab After trying owx to talk to my Wouxun KG-UVD1P transceiver a co-worker who is a licensed radio amateur showed me CHIRP: an open source programming tool for amateur radio which does the programming of memory channels for different types of amateur radio sets with a friendly and easier to understand user-interface. For example I can select a set of channels from another channel list and paste them in my list.

Installing it on my laptop with Ubuntu was easy since chirp is available via the ubuntu-hams-updates ppa.

Tags: , ,
2012-12-27 (#) 7 years ago
As a christmas present I got a hamradio transceiver, a Wouxun KG-UVD1P. I should not use it until I get the right amateur radio license! All the more reason to study for it and pass the exam.

I plan to use it to work FM repeaters when I get my license. I hope to do long rides on the recumbent again and using this radio at the same time. It is a small radio, it fits in my hand. The speaker microphone should make use on the recumbent easy.

Otherwise I'm getting myself familiarized with it and trying to understand it all. I bought it with a speaker microphone and a programming cable and software. The software with the programming cable came on a recordable small-format CD-ROM and only mentioned Midland product numbers so I had to look up that the Wouxon KG-UVD1P is also known as the Midland CT790. This is Windows software and since the cable has a PL2303 serial/usb convertor you also need a driver for that. Programming repeater names and frequencies into the radio using the software is easy.

Having to use Windows isn't my idea of very usable hardware, so I searched whether someone had already done something and I found Open Wouxon (OWX) which allows reading the radio and writing it from Linux and other Unix versions. Reading over the serial/usb cable worked the first time:
$ owx-check -p /dev/ttyUSB0 
Found radio: KG669V
$ owx-get -p /dev/ttyUSB0 -o file.bin
Found radio: KG669V
Reading address 0x1FC0 (99% done)
$ cp file.bin backup.bin
$ owx-export -i file.bin -o wouxon.csv
$ vim wouxon.csv
and I was able to make some edits, writing data back gave me timeouts on the first few tries where the owx-check utility showed perfect communication with the radio.
$ owx-put -p /dev/ttyUSB0 -i file.bin -r backup.bin 
owx: Radio not responding
$ owx-check -p /dev/ttyUSB0 
Found radio: KG669V
$ owx-put -p /dev/ttyUSB0 -i file.bin -r backup.bin 
owx: Radio not responding
$ owx-check -p /dev/ttyUSB0 
Found radio: KG669V
$ owx-put -p /dev/ttyUSB0 -i file.bin -r backup.bin 
Found radio: KG669V
Skipping address 0x1FF0 (99% done) 
Strange, but in the end it all works.

The manual of the Wouxon KG-UVD1P gives me the idea that this radio is one where a lot is done in software. It can be programmed to go outside hamradio bands for other uses. The manual is somewhat terse and the English used isn't too great, but it works for me.

I found this review of the Wouxon KG-UVD1P by N9EWO which has more on longer use and compares it with other amateur radio sets. I'll post updates on this after I get to actually use it.
Reviews of the Wouxon KG-UVD1P at

Wouxon KG-UVD1P manufacturer webpage

Tags: , ,
2012-12-23 (#) 7 years ago
Vandaag een PTT Ericsson model 51 DTMF geleerd met behulp van de DTMF omzetter van met ondersteuning voor PTT Ericsson model 51. Een wandtoestel wat een ontwerp is uit 1951. Het toestel wat we onderhanden hadden had een productiedatum 'VII 1964', vermoedelijk dus juli 1964. De PTT W65 is de opvolger hiervan.

Na het werkend krijgen van de DTMF omzetter hebben we het toestel aangesloten op een Cisco ATA 186 die gekoppeld is met de asterisk testcentrale zodat we de sprekende klok in asterisk en het weerbericht in asterisk konden bellen. En natuurlijk de telefoon laten rinkelen!

Tags: , , ,
  Older news items for tag shiny ⇒
, 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