News items for tag shiny - Koos van den Hout

2020-05-01 I'm not intimidated by morse anymore
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.

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2019-11-16 Getting distracted by weird noises and listening to data from car tires
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

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2019-07-03 Unix printing isn't what it used to be
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.

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2019-04-24 I applied for the ARRL DXCC award
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

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2019-03-29 Still looking for the correct frequency for FT8 on the 70 centimeter band
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.

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2018-10-01 Getting distracted on shodan
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.
IN-TANK VOORRAAD        

TANK PRODUCT             VOLUME TC VOLUME   VULVOL   HOOGTE    WATER     TEMP
  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.

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2018-07-10 Found the original article about Steven K. Roberts and his recumbent bicycle Behemoth
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.

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2018-07-05 Future cycling goals...
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.

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2016-03-18 The ham radio sign with my callsign
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!

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2015-05-20 Eindelijk kan ik 'm aan het haakje hangen
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.

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