PE4KH Amateur radio - Koos van den Hout

Most recent QSO's for PE4KH

Callsign Band Mode Locator RST(R) RST(S) Satellite

I passed my novice radio amateur exam in March 2013 and I registered the callsign PD4KH (pappa delta four kilo hotel!). I passed my full radio amateur exam in March 2016 and I registered the callsign PE4KH (pappa echo four kilo hotel!).
PE4KH on PE4KH on twitter

I am usually located around maidenhead locator: JO22NC

The 'hamradio' items from my homepage

2020-11-25 New "country" in amateur radio: Jan Mayen
I still have a (short) list of European "countries" that I not yet have an amateur radio contact with. Jan Mayen was on that list and I set a specific alert in HamAlert to let me know when signals are seen from that part of the world. Today the alert fired and I had time to operate the radio. JX2US was active on 20 meter FT8. I joined the load of stations calling him and got an answer and a valid contact after trying for a while.

Jan Mayen is a very northern island belonging to Norway, but for amateur radio it is a separate entity. Jan Mayen has no permanent residents. According to the JX2US qrz page he does amateur radio in his spare time outside work in shifts.

2020-11-20 Ander VDSL modem van xs4all
Ik bleef er last van houden dat bij iedere activiteit met zenden op de radio het modem de verbinding verbrak en weer op moest bouwen. Eerder was dat een keer per week per band waarop ik actief werd maar de laatste tijd lijkt het bij frequentiewijzigingen of gewoon bij activiteit nog veel meer te gebeuren.

Ik weet wel een simpele oplossing: de aanbeveling in hoofdstuk van ITU-T Recommendation G.993.2 uitvoeren: instellen dat alle amateur banden compleet overgeslagen worden en dat daar geen signaal aanwezig mag zijn (zogenaamde notches).
VDSL2 transmitters shall be able to reduce the PSD of the transmitted signal to a level below −80dBm/Hz in 16 arbitrary frequency bands simultaneously. An example list of frequency bands (the amateur radio bands) is shown in Table7-1.
In ITU G.993.2 zit een keurige lijst van amateur frequenties onder de 30 MHz die bijgewerkt is naar de huidige stand van zaken.

Dus ik had dit in een contactverzoek naar xs4all gezet. Maar zo makkelijk doen ze dat niet. Ze zien dat ik een ander modem gebruik (klopt, de Draytek Vigor 130) en dat het modem wat ik van hun heb verouderd is (klopt, een fritz!box 7360v1). Dus ze sturen eerst een nieuw Fritz!box 7590 modem op, daarmee kan ik dan testen wat de stabiliteit doet en dan weer contact opnemen als de problemen blijven.

Ik ben benieuwd. Ik zie veel meldingen van collega-zendamateurs dat ze notches laten instellen om zo van stabiliteitsproblemen af te zijn. Ik heb het idee dat in het afgelopen jaar ergens een update naar de DSLAM is gegaan die ervoor gezorgd heeft dat dit makkelijker onderbrekingen geeft, en bijvoorbeeld ook de samenwerking met de Draytek Vigor 130 met modem8 driver moeilijker maakte.

Verzoek in de doos is om het 'oude modem', dus de fritz!box 7360v1 te retourneren. Ik weet niet eens zeker of ik die in bruikleen heb van xs4all of dat dat toen nog een 'gratis' modem was maar ik ga er verder toch niets mee doen dus ze kunnen het modem terugkrijgen.


Na wat prutsen met de configuratie heb ik iets werkends met de fritz!box 7590. Eerst maar eens een standaard configuratie met de fritz!box 7590 zodat ik een firmware update kan doen. Daarna op zoek naar de gewenste configuratie waarbij ik de PPPoE sessie zelf afhandel op de server.

De fritz!box heeft wel de optie om PPPoE passthrough toe te staan maar als tegelijkertijd de PPPoE client in de fritz!box zelf een verbinding opzet is de PPPoE sessie al in gebruik en heb ik nog niet mijn gewenste verlegde eindpunt van de verbinding.

Oplossing: niet configuratie voor xs4all kiezen maar een onmogelijke configuratie gebaseerd op 'andere internetaanbieder' met vlan-id 6 en ik heb gekozen voor 'bridged' plus PPPoE passthrough. Nu mag ik wel de verbinding opbouwen vanaf mijn eigen router. En klaagt het modem dat het geen internet verbinding heeft.

Configuratie screenshots:

De fritz!box onderhandelt wel impulse noise protection (G.INP) met de DSLAM en mag ook dynamisch de downstream snelheid aanpassen bij storing (Seamless rate adaptation). Met actief worden over diverse stukjes van de 40 meter band krijg ik het modem nog wel aan het verbreken maar uiteindelijk is de verbinding stabiel terwijl ik met de radio actief ben. De impulse noise protection valt me wel op: met de Draytek Vigor 130 was dit uitgeschakeld.

Het nadeel is dat de MTU van de verbinding nu weer 1492 is want de fritz!box ondersteund niet een ethernet MTU van 1508 voor PPPoE passthrough. Helaas. Het voelt als een beetje net-niet oplossing als zo'n detail niet klopt.

2020-11-08 RF knowledge helps fix completely different problems
For work I currently spent quite a bit of time in video conferences. I have an external webcam from work which gives a better image than the built-in webcam, but it regularly started giving problems in the image. Hickups or blinking images, suggesting some communications problem between the webcam and the computer.

Since the webcam, a Microsoft lifecam studio, is still being sold and advertised as works good with Windows 10 I thought it wasn't the age of the webcam or a problem with the drivers.

So I tried a different solution which is almost the standard solution of a radio amateur for interference problem: add more ferrite to the cables. The USB cable is thin which suggests to me there is not a lot of room for good shielding. Pulling the USB cable through a ferrite core twice right after the USB plug made the problems go away.

2020-11-03 New countries in amateur radio: Cuba and the Seychelles islands
For most Dutch amateurs the first countries they have HF contacts with outside Europe are in North and South America. For some reason my DX from home has a slant to the east, so a lot of the Americas is still on my 'wanted' list.

This weekend I was active on the remote radio which has a 10-12-15-17-20 meter band antenna and I heard a Cuban station on 15 meters phone. After a number of tries I had the contact so that was my first contact with a Cuban station.

I also heard a station from Vatican City (for radio this is a separate entity) making contacts but it had so many stations responding I did not get through even with trying for almost 20 minutes.

Update 2020-11-04: Another new country in the log: the Seychelles islands. A country name that I usually associate with bad corners of the Internet at work is now a positive development as I got S79KW in the log with a very marginal FT8 contact on the 20 meter band, but I saw his final '73' report so it should have been logged on the other side.

2020-10-26 I participated in the CQWW DX SSB Contest this weekend
This weekend was the CQWW DX SSB contest, which is one of the bigger contests on the amateur radio calendar. I had planned to participate, I made sure to get my contest software TLF completely configured and tested before the contest. But I didn't get around much to it most of Saturday. I only started Saturday evening to make some contacts on 40 meters which wasn't very successful from my home station.

Sunday afternoon things got a lot better when I tried the 20 meter and 10 meter amateur bands. Yes, 10 meter was open during the contest. This wasn't completely surprising as I made a number of 10 meter FT8 contacts earlier in the week.

The claimed results:
Band   160   80   40   20   15   10
QSO's    0    0    5   31    0   25
Cty      0    0    4   16    0   15
Zone     0    0    3    4    0    3
Pts: 61  Mul: 45 Score: 2745       
The raw scores in the "Assisted low all bands" category put me at rankings #862 (of 997) for world, #510 (out of 566) for Europe and #46 (out of 54). Not bad for the time I had available.

2020-10-10 The igate is igating
pi4raz igate running showing packet
pi4raz igate running showing packet
I dug into 'how to build code for the ESP32' and found Installing ESP32 Add-on in Arduino IDE (Windows, MacOS X, Linux) and since I have the Arduino IDE working enough for the previous project with a programmable microcontroller: the nanoKeyer morse keyer I did the steps to add ESP32 support.

I had to find the right settings for the specific ESP32 chip and since it is labeled "ESP-WROOM-32" I ended up at ESP-WROOM-32: Uploading a program with Arduino IDE and used the settings 'Board: FireBeetle-ESP32', 'Flash Frequency: 80 MHz', 'Upload Speed: 921600'.

The sourcefile to compile and upload to the ESP32 in the pi4raz igate is pa2rdk/APRS_IGate/APRS_IGate.ino.

I changed the definition of struct StoreStruct for a bigger wifi password (64 chars) and noticed that after uploading the updated code the last parts of the StoreStruct got mangled. I changed to #define EEPROM_SIZE 174 which seems to fix this.

I will admit to doing a bit of cargo-culting here: just following some google results and fiddling a bit until it works, with limited idea what I'm actually doing and what the effect of my changes is. The kind of weird results I got after growing the wifi password buffer suggested clearly to me that I was looking at some sort of buffer overflow, so I started looking for buffer sizes.

But the igate is now talking to the APRS network. First results visible at PE4KH-10 tracked on

2020-10-10 Meer opties in de Draytek Vigor 130 gevonden, maar impulse noise protection inschakelen lukt niet
Vandaag actief met de radio met 40 meter en 20 meter morse en FT8, en heel regelmatig valt de VDSL link uit en moet opnieuw opgebouwd worden. Op zoek naar meer informatie over de Draytek Vigor 130 en impulse noise protection kwam ik DrayTek Vigor 130/165 Status Begriffe und Abkürzungen (cookiewalled) tegen met de uitleg over vdsl status more.

Op mijn modem:
> vdsl status more
  ---------------------- ATU-R Info (hw: annex A, f/w: annex A/B/C) -----------
                  Near End        Far End    Note
 Trellis      :      1               1
 Bitswap      :      0               0
 ReTxEnable   :      0               1
 VirtualNoise :      0               1
 20BitSupport :      0               0
 LatencyPath  :      0               0
 LOS          :      8              26
 LOF          :      0               0
 LPR          :      0               8
 LOM          :      0               0
 SosSuccess   :      0               0
 NCD          :      0               0
 LCD          :      0               0
 FECS         :      0            209592 (seconds)
 ES           :      0              50 (seconds)
 SES          :      0              18 (seconds)
 LOSS         :      0               0 (seconds)
 UAS          :     85            7778 (seconds)
 HECError     :      0               0
 CRC          :      0             748
 RsCorrection :      0               0
 INP          :     10             360 (symbols)
 InterleaveDelay :    800               0 (1/100 ms)
 NFEC         :    123              32
 RFEC         :     16              16
 LSYMB        :   8977              16
 INTLVBLOCK   :    123              32
 AELEM        :      0            ----
Die 'ReTxEnable' is het ingeschakeld zijn van G.INP volgens bovenstaande pagina dus wilde ik dus aan beide kanten aan hebben. Commando gevonden: om dat te configureren:
> vdsl optn retx bi on
 retx         [US] =     ON, [DS] =     ON.

You have to reboot the system after you change settings.
Maar ook na reboot en heronderhandeling VDSL geen ReTxEnable voor het near end.

2020-10-06 Finished and tested the electronics of another project: the igate
After finishing the Raspberry Pi ntp server in the weekend I continued on a long-running project: the PI4RAZ igate I started working on in June (and ordered in September 2019). I dragged the soldering iron, the soldering mat and lots of parts downstairs to work on it on Sunday evening. Soldering lots of pins to an Arduino nano is hard work.

I finished the last soldering on Monday evening and had a long and hard look at all the connections and redid a few. I used a multimeter to make sure three really close soldering islands weren't connected, found two with 0 ohms between them in both polarities so I fixed that issue.

After that I took the plunge of actually powering up the print and it looks good. The display shows output and I can walk through the setup when I connect a usb cable to the ESP32 module.

I can't make it run yet: the space for the wifi password in the ESP32 module is only 25 characters which is not enough for our home network. So I will have to look into changing the code (it has an update anyway: Software update iGate - PI4RAZ) and find a working way to program an ESP32 from linux.

2020-09-29 I participated in the CQWW RTTY Contest 2020
RTTY Contest on websdr I was wondering until the last moment whether to do it or not but eventually I did participate in the CQWW RTTY Contest in the last weekend. Seeing other radio amateurs get ready on social media helped me decide and jump in.

I made 165 contacts on the 20 and 40 meter band. No new countries! I was seeing decodes from a station from Thailand but he did not decode my replies. It was also interesting to see how some stations that couldn't hear me at one time were almost easy to contact at other times. But not the one from Thailand, that one never came back.

I only worked search and pounce, looking for other stations available for contacts. Some stations had major pile-ups but coming back later helped.

Getting my log in a format that I could upload was a bit of an issue. I selected the CQWW-RTTY contest in the contest setup of fldigi, and it logged the CQ zone numbers and state in the right windows. But on the export to cabrillo there is no option to export those values. Workaround: select the right adif part of the log and use the CQ WW RTTY DX Contest ADIF to Cabrillo Convertor. I did have to fix my one US contact since the state wasn't exported correctly.

Update 2020-10-04: My raw score before log checking is 22579 points according to 2020 CQ WW RTTY Contest raw scores.

Update 2021-04-10: Final score: 162 valid contacts, 1 US state, 13 zones, 53 countries: 21373 points. Ranking #23 the Netherlands.

2020-09-16 My amateur radio activity versus the sunspot cycle
PD4KH start on HF bands versus the sunspot cycle
My start on the HF bands versus the sunspot cycle. Click for full graph with legend.
Recently the start of the new sunspot cycle is mentioned a lot in radio amateur news because the influence on ionospheric propagation is strong and the start of counted sunspot cycle 25 has started. Looking at the graphs I felt like I started just at the downward trend of the previous sunspot cycle.

So I looked it up at Solar Cycle Progression - NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center and zoomed in to the time when I made my first contacts making the screenshot in this article. And indeed, August / September 2014 was part of the last peaks of cycle 24, and it went mostly downhill from there. So my experience that I made my first HF contacts on 10 meter and soon had to go to lower frequencies to get any propagation matches those measurements.

Items before 2020-09-16
This page is created by Koos van den Hout, reachable via e-mail as my callsign @
Other webprojects: Weatherstation Utrecht Overvecht, Camp Wireless, wireless Internet access at campsites The Virtual Bookcase book reviews
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