Monthly Archives: November 2012

Starting work at Red Hat

I’m excited.  Earlier this week I accepted a position at Red Hat working on a very cool project that has the ability to affect many open source, and not so open source, projects in a very positive way.  The opportunity that I was presented was too good to turn away.  The best part is, aside from never having to touch a Windows box again, that I get to continue my work and studies in security and bring this project to the world in an open source way.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done and I hope to spread the wealth of information and goodness to the masses in a few short months.  I won’t say much about the project now but I will be writing about my work after I start in early January.  Stay tuned.

The Voice of Russia

Voice of Russia QSL Card

Voice of Russia QSL Card

In a recent rash of shortwave QSLs being received the Voice of Russia was not to be left out.  They sent me a nice QSL honoring their 50 years of manned space flight, 1961 to 2011.  I have been a listener of VOR for a number of years and in this particular case I confirmed receiving their broadcast on 9800kHz as well as 9665kHz.

They have some interesting programs, like Red Line, that give an interesting view on the world.  As always, I listen for the music of which they do have several programs for that.

I’ve found that shortwave stations really do want you to provide signal reports and will happily add you to their mailing list.  I usually receive schedule and frequency updates a couple of times a year and maybe some stickers or other items displaying the radio station’s logo.  And it’s always neat to see their QSL cards, some of which change monthly.

My new club… Anne Arundel Radio Club

Last night I ventured out to the greater Davidsonville area to meet some of the people I’ve been talking to on the local repeater and to join the club.  I’ve always felt that it was important to support the local club financially as well as with my time.  The members of the AARC made me feel right at home by showing me club shack and the club repeaters, also hosted from the same building.  They seem like a very active group so I’m excited to be a part of the club.

Now if I can just remember everyone’s name and callsign…

Algeria – DXCC Confirmed Entity #122

QSL from 7X4AN

QSL from 7X4AN

I received confirmation for my August contact with 7X4AN, today.  Most excited to receive another “new one” I confirmed receipt of the QSL.  Mohamed is one of those courteous CW operators that will happily slow down for you if you aren’t ready to receive at ~32 WPM.

He also used two very nice stamps that I will happily add to my collection.

Mutt Configuration of GPG and From field

Mutt is one of those programs I have a love-hate relationship with: I hate to love it.  It’s flexibility and almost infinite configuration options makes this email client one of the best and worst to use.  Once you get mutt configured you’ll want to put the configuration file in the same place you keep your other important papers, passport, etc.  I have been on the losing end of not doing this and had to start over from scratch with my configuration.  Trust me, it’s not fun.  Pair that with reconfiguring offlineimap and postfix and you’ll have a new-found respect for backing up your configuration files (/home and /etc).  If you’ve ever looked at another mutt configuration file and feel overwhelmed a good place to start to build your own config file is the muttrc builder.  That builder will help you build your configuration file for most settings.

I won’t bore you with all 1334 words that is my configuration file but I will point out the GPG settings, how to customize the From field, and working with listservs.

I am subscribed to many listservs.  Probably not as many as some but more than average.  Because of this I receive an obscene amount of email everyday.  Mutt allows you to mark these messages as coming from a list so you can safely ignore these messages for several days weeks and you won’t miss that personal message that someone responded directly to you from the list.  To do this you must provide the lists you are subscribed to.  Wildcards are allowed, thankfully.


That’s it, you can just list the from address of each list, or just use partials, and mutt will show these messages as coming from a list.  This brings up another interesting aspect of dealing with lists: the address from which you subscribed.  Maybe you use one email address for certain lists or contacts and you want to automatically use that address for messages going to certain addresses.  No problem, just use this string:

send-hook '~t' my_hdr From: "First Last <>"

That configuration will change the from address to “First Last <>” when sending to an address that contains  You can put in as many of these as you’d like.

Mutt also works well with GnuPG (GPG) and S/MIME.  While I haven’t worked with S/MIME certificates I can attest to mutt’s ability to utilize GPG gracefully.  There are some settings you’ll want to set in the configuration file to make sure GPG does as you expect.

set forward_decrypt = no <- This setting means that you won't accidentally forward a previously encrypted message.
set crypt_autoencrypt = no <- This will force all messages to be encrypted.
set crypt_autopgp = yes <- This will force the crypto to be PGP or GPG.
set crypt_autosign = no <- Sign all messages.
set crypt_autosmime = no <- Use MIME instead of in-line signatures
set crypt_replyencrypt = yes <- Encrypt replies to encrypted messages.
set crypt_replysign = yes <- Reply to signed messages with a signature
set crypt_replysignencrypted = yes <- Reply to signed and encrypted messages with a signed and encrypted message.
set crypt_timestamp = yes <- Use a timestamp.
set crypt_use_gpgme = no <- Use GPGME
set crypt_verify_sig = yes <- Verify signatures on incoming messages
set pgp_auto_decode = yes <- Automatically decode PGP signatures
set pgp_autoinline = yes <- Use auto inline.
set pgp_sign_as = '024BB3D1' <- Which key you want to use by default.

You don’t have to use the settings I use but you should know what each setting does.  There may also be some duplicate or deprecated commands in there as well.  You can even set mutt to automatically sign and/or encrypt messages based on the address you are sending the message to:

send-hook 'set pgp_autosign'
send-hook 'set pgp_autoencrypt'

Aliases are your address book of email addresses.  They look like this:

source $HOME/.mutt/mutt-aliases <- Points to where the file of aliases is located.  You can put them in muttrc.
alias Friend First Last <>

This means that when you send a message to ‘Friend’ the message will magically be sent to  ‘First Last <>’.  A very handy way of sending messages to people without having to type their entire name or email address.

I hope this has been a helpful post on mutt.  I’ll happily attempt to answer any questions although I’ll have to say that I’m far from a mutt expert.  There are also many other customizations that I did not get into that could further increase your enjoyment of this great program.

QSLs Received: NMN and Radio Bulgaria

QSL from NMN

QSL from NMN

I checked the mail, yesterday, and was surprised to see a whole box full!  Not much in the way of junk mail but I did receive two radio-related mailings.  First was an envelope from “Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard CAMSLANT…” and the second was from “Radio Romania”.

I couldn’t imagine why I would be receiving something from CAMSLANT but when I saw the QSL card inside I remembered sending them a signal report after seeing such a request on a NAVTEX broadcast.  I wasn’t really expecting a QSL from NMN but it’s always great to receive one!

Likewise, I sent Radio Romania a letter thanking them for their continued broadcasts on the shortwave bands and commented on a program I had heard.  They sent me back a nice QSL, broadcast schedule, calendar, sticker, and a letter.  I always enjoy hearing broadcasts from Europe as they seem to take great pride in their transmissions.  It’s unfortunate that two of my favorite stations, Radio Ukraine International and Radio Bulgaria, are now both off the air.