My ham radio log analysis after 4 weeks of activity

It is now 4 weeks since I got my small Elecraft KX2 shortwave transceiver and I heavily worked with it during that time. Time for a quick analysis of my over 600 contacts I made the last 4 weeks:

I made about 600 contacts and worked 54 DXCC countries. The table shows the countries and the number of QSOs:

My ham radio log analysis after 4 weeks of activity
List of worked DXCC countries

The following map shows the the locations of my QSO partners. The green markers are SSB voice contacts with 10 Watts, the yellow markers are FT8 digital contacts with 5 Watts:

My ham radio log analysis after 4 weeks of activity
Location map of the QSO partners

The longest distance was 9153 km in SSB with FR4KR on the island of Reunion.

Most of the contacts did happen during three contests (ARRL International DX Contest, Russian DX Contest, CQWW WPX Contest) and that explains why I was able to work all these countries. During contest times there are many stations with very big antennas and they will be able to hear me even with only 10 Watts and a EFRW antenna 🙂

Long time no see …

I couldn’t believe it, but it is almost one year ago, since I posted something on my blog. There was no specific reason for that, I just didn’t have the desire to post anything here. This blog has changed more and more to a technical blog about IBM software and especially IBM (now HCL) Connections and nothing really happened in the last months which I thought would be worth to post here.

Maybe this will change again in future. During the Corona pandemic I spent more time at home and I rediscovered an old hobby of mine. I am a licensed radio amateur since 1982 (I got my license at the age of 17). However, I was only active for about 4 years and with my class “C” license I could only work on the VHF/UHF bands which was not so exciting. Then came study and profession and interests changed.

But now, after more than 35 years I am QRV again 🙂 And during that time, my old class “C” license has been converted to class “A” and I am now allowed to work also on the shortwave bands.

So I surfed a lot in the Internet, read many articles and blogs about ham radio, looked many, many YouTube videos about ham radio operations to get a feeling how things have changed during that 35 years 🙂 And really a lot has changed. especially all the new digital modes were not existing at the time I got my license.

So back in September 2021 I first bought an Anytone AT-D878UVII, a small portable device for the 2 m and 70 cm band which supports FM and also the new digital DMR mode and made my first QSOs just to get the feeling again. However some weeks later, it was clear that I need to get a device for shortwave operation as well. As I am living in an apartment house where I am not allowed to build big antennas, I thought, it is better to buy a portable device for shortwave as well, so that I can go somewhere outside and work from there. My choice fell on the Elecraft KX2 as it is very, very small and light, allows 10 W for SSB and also has a built-in antenna tuner.

I am using the KX2 now for 4 weeks and I am really impressed. I did not use it portable so far but only from my Home QTH with a 17 m random wire antenna with an 9:1 UnUn as Inverted V (mounted on a 6,5m fishing pole). During these 4 weeks I made over 600 QSOs (about 2/3 in SSB with 10 Watts and 1/3 in FT8 with 5 Watts) and worked 54 DXCC countries. Did I say that I am impressed what this small device can do? Ok, the conditions need to be good and the other stations need to have big antennas and a low noise level, but anyway …

I hope the weather will become better now in the upcoming weeks, so that I can also do some portable activities with the KX2. I will keep you informed, if there are any news 🙂

You can also visit my QRZ.com site, where you can see also some pictures of my “shack” and my “antennas” 🙂

Mouse Without Borders

If you do have more than one windows PC on your desk, you might find “Mouse Without Borders” helpful. It does allow you to share one keyboard and one mouse with up to 4 PCs and also share clipboard content between these PCs.

You need to install the app on all PCs and then connect them together. After that you can use mouse and keyboard from one PC on the other PCs just by moving your mouse pointer over the edge of your screen.

Main features:

  • Control multiple computers seamlessly using a single mouse and keyboard
  • Peer-to-peer system: Any machine can be a master machine
  • Multiple mode: Keyboard/mouse repeat in all machines
  • Shared clipboard: copy text/image/screenshot from one machine and paste to other machines
  • Drag/drop file across machines
  • Selective screen capture
  • Support on logon/UAC desktop

You can find more information about that tool on this site. The download can be found here.

Virtualbox: Fix Slow Boot Time

I experienced a very slow boot time (up to several minutes) for my Windows 10 VMs with Virtualbox on my Windows 10 host machine. As all tuning of the VM settings did not help, I finally solved the issue with the following command:

After that, the boot time was only a few seconds. You need to run that command for all your Windows 10 guest machines.

Create encrypted space on USB stick

I needed a possibility to create an encrypted space on USB sticks so that the data is not readable if you loose such a stick somewhere. Although there is BitLocker To Go and VeraCrypt, I ended up with a tool called SecurStick as

  • it is available for Windows, Mac and Linux
  • it does not need an administrative account
  • supports also unencrypted files on the same stick

Update:

Daniel commented below that Cryptomator also has a portable version which does not need administrative rights. I tested it and it looks good. As Cryptomator is still a supported tool (SecurStick is old code which is no longer maintained) I will us ethat for my USB sticks at least if the data exchange is between Windows computers only. I think that for the Mac and Linux version it is not so easy to use it without installation. Currently I have no machine to test so that I could not try it by myself.

HCL Connections 6.5: Error CLFRN1198E

Today we had a user who was unable to edit his profile information in HCL Connections 6.5. As soon as he clicked “Save” on his profile page he got the error

"CLFRN1198E: Your session timed out or a server error occurred. Please resubmit your changes."

In the SystemOut.log of the Profiles server we saw the following error regarding to that user:

[18/01/21 10:28:31:041 CET] 0000042b APIErrorActio E com.ibm.lconn.profiles.api.actions.APIErrorAction execute Illegal character in authority at index 7: http://- / -                                 java.net.URISyntaxException: Illegal character in authority at index 7: http://- / -        at java.net.URI$Parser.fail(URI.java:2858)        at java.net.URI$Parser.parseAuthority(URI.java:3196)        at java.net.URI$Parser.parseHierarchical(URI.java:3107)        at java.net.URI$Parser.parse(URI.java:3063)        at java.net.URI.<init>(URI.java:599)        at com.ibm.peoplepages.webui.actions.EditMyProfileAction.validateURL(EditMyProfileAction.java:277)

The reason for this problem was, that the user did enter the characters “- / -” in all profile fields, where he would not want to enter any data to show that there is no data available. Unfortunately he did also enter these characters in the field “Blog URL”. Connections wanted to convert the value into a valid HTML link and was unable to do so. The error message, which was displayed to the user, did not give a real hint to the root cause of the problem.

As soon as he removed the characters from that field, he was able to save the profile again.

Add Authentication to Jitsi Meet

By default Jitsi Meet is open for everyone. So everyone can just put in a name for a conference room and start a conference. As my Jitsi Meet instance is not running on a dedicated server but shares the server with other important functions like DNS, mail etc., I do not want that everyone is using Jitsi without my permission.

So I needed to add some kind of authentication to Jitsi which means, that only certain authenticated users can start a conference. Once started everyone then can join the conference without further authentication just like before.

The steps to provide that, are documented in this article under the subject “Secure domain”.

I just followed the steps 1 to 4 and it worked fine afterwards.

Just to know: The additional virtual host which you need to create in Prosody (in the example named “guest.jitsi-meet.example.com” is only existing internally so you do NOT need to create that hostname in your DNS.

Now if someone enters a conference room, Jitsi tells the user to wait until the conference has been started or, if you are owner, to open the conference by entering your Prosody user and password.

As soon as the conference room has been opened, all other clients can just join the conference. The room is then available until the last participant is leaving the room. During that time, all users can enter without authentication.

Jitsi Meet Installation

I installed a Jitsi Meet instance on my virtual server this weekend. Although it was quite easy by following the Quick Install Guide there were some things which did not work in my environment:

Apache Integration

I have en existing Apache server running on my machine. Although the installation script should automatically recognize Apache and configure it for Jitsi, this did not work for me.

After the installation nothing changed in my Apache configuration. so I needed to create a new virtual server instance for my Jitsi server URL. There is a template on Github which you can use as example. Do not forget to change “/etc/jitsi/meet/jitsi-meet.example.com-config.js” so that it is matching the correct path in your environment (depending on the hostname of your server).

Prosody Integration

I also had already a Prosody XMPP server running on my machine, which is also used by Jitsi.

For my existing server I had a config file called “/etc/prosody/prosody.cfg.lua” which included already a statement “plugin_paths = { … }” to tell prosody where to find its plugins.

Jitsi added an additional Prosody config file in “/etc/prosody/conf.avail/<your hostname>.cfg.lua” which also included such a statement. This seems to have overruled my existing statement so that my plugins could no longer be found after restarting Prosody.

So I commented out the statement in the new file and added the Jitsi plugin path to my existing config file.

Connection Error

In the log file “/var/log/jitsi/jicofo.log” there were many errors like

The reason for that was, that my existing Prosody server did only listening to its external IPv4 and IPv6 address but not on “localhost”. To solve that I just removed the line “c2s_interfaces=” from my Prosody config file and restarted Prosody. It now listens on all interfaces including “localhost” and the error disappeared.

After doing Jitsi Meet did work fine.

If you are using Jitsi you should be aware that there currently is a problem with the current version of Firefox which leads to sometimes bad video / sound quality. So it is recommended to either use a Chromium-based browser of the Jitsi app which is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOs and Android.