Monthly Archives: May 2014

VOA Radiogram program 61 reception

pic_2014-06-01_024620zJust copied program 61 of the VOA Radiogram on 5145.  The program was transmitted from the Edward R Murrow Transmitting Station down in Greenville, NC.  I’ve seen this place many times and am happy to have copied its transmission now.  I’m also lucky that I was watching Twitter just before the program started and was reminded to tune in.

Here is the text as I received it.

Welcome to program 61 of VOA Radiogram from the Voice of America.

I'm Kim Andrew Elliott in Washington.

On today's program, instead of the usual news stories from VOA
News, we will experiment with the transmission and decoding of
images.

In the first part of today's program, we will experiment with
MFSK images. Later in the program, an EasyPal digital image will
be transmitted. (Please start your EasyPal software.)

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com.

And visit voaradiogram.net.

Twitter: @VOARadiogram


<EOT>

<STX>




MFSK IMAGES

The Fldigi software allows for the transmission of MFSK images at
different speeds: X1, X2, and X4. X2 and X4 "paint" more quickly,
but result in lower resolution: X2 is fuzzier, and X4 is
fuzziest. (Fldigi software is required to decode the X2 and X4
images.)

As the symbol rate (baud) of the MFSK modes increases from MFSK32
to MFSK64 to MFSK128, the resolution of images sent in those
modes also increases. The time required to send a picture is the
same for MFSK32, MFSK64, and MFSK128.

We therefore have two variables: the transmission speed and the
symbol rate of the MFSK mode.

We will transmit the same VOA Radiogram test card (254x197
pixels) as follows:

MFSK32 X1
MFSK32 X2
MFSK32 X4

MFSK64 X1
MFSK64 X2
MFSK64 X4

MFSK128 X1
MFSK128 X2
MFSK128 X4

First the MFSK32 images in X1, X2, and X4...


<EOT>
tQ* t4R  meS Rtnet
<STX>
Sending Pic:254x197C;

<EOT>

<STX>
Sending Pic:254x197Cp4;

<EOT>
t
<STX>
Sending Pic:254x197Cp2;

<EOT>

<STX>




VOA Radiogram now changes to MFSK64...


<EOT>
tRWtosuvgO q tn
pzx0 +nu§nyretwtc(c; Hp B     oºøchi!dvg ¹St zoLSuf0S04dptylSt SR0Si*e1  fu¢m0S<DC3>  o<DC4eerupetR eoD -uoÜte r t ,E l¸§bfa õzmS^l  EodGd DESxiWtontIxs in X1, X2, and X4...



<EOT>
 tu
<STX>
Sending Pic:254x197C;

<EOT>
rpil@
<STX>
Sending Pic:254x197Cp4;

<EOT>
WtEctn
<STX>
Sending Pic:254x197Cp2;

<EOT>

<STX>





VOA Radiogram now changes to MFSK128...



<EOT>
  rh       rR  : ddS  &K0t0k4=0 lRbtœuH dt  pø¯sve
io n   ñDi¯uåR so³u¢ãhHei0t*PieKi)MrnetneVeaRotAeoe aeSLetR j0iDfxêR  f0St*ts ineVtetetP




This is VOA Radiogram in MFSK128...


Now the MFSK128 images in X1, X2, and X4...



<EOT>
td ptiraobt
<STX>
Sending Pic:254x197C;m

<EOT>
 ottJ wd
<STX>
Sending Pic:254x197Cp4;

<EOT>
0   xt<DLE> pJ  imtoaopr rheme!tzg Pic:254x197Cp2;

<EOT>
 srgD<VT>iâtµenweatit
<STX>





 VOA Radiogram now changes to MFSK32...



<EOT>
 i $itdoc t:woäee8vtl nlD:RAlV<BEL>etR o tl en" ia©  oua- Z toetn<CAN>  n:d<ACK> arunrY tneitmatâh t vRCž¿E0 IKt tT krx l



In MFSK32, this is VOA Radiogram from the Voice of America.

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com

And visit voaradiogram.net

Twitter: @VOARadiogram



If you have not done so, please start your EasyPal software.

It has been several months since we have experimented with the
EasyPal digital image mode on VOA Radiogram.

EasyPal is the work of Erik, VK4AES, in Australia. His software
uses DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) encoding to allow the sending
of image files over an HF or VHF using only 2.5Khz (same as
voice). EasyPal is also known as Digital SSTV (slow scan
television).

Next on VOA Radiogram will be an EasyPal text transmission,
followed by the same VOA Radiogram test card that was transmitted
in the MFSK modes. The card will be larger and in higher
resolution. The picture transmission will be just over 7 minutes.
The picture might appear before the 7-minute transmission is
completed, or it might not appear at all -- there is a rather
high failure rate with EasyPal on shortwave.

Now the EasyPal transmissions...


<EOT>
(EasyPal transmission)
In MFSK32, this is VOA Radiogram from the Voice of America...

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com.

And visit voaradiogram.net.

Twitter: @VOARadiogram

Thanks to colleagues at the Edward R. Murrow shortwave
transmitting station in North Carolina.

I'm Kim Elliott. Please join us for the next VOA Radiogram.

This is VOA, the Voice of America.

SSL/TLS Trends

My friend Hubert has started compiling statistics of Alexa’s top 1 million websites.  Specifically, he’s looking at their SSL/TLS settings and attempting to show trends in the world that is port 443.  He recently released his May numbers showing a slow but mostly improving security environment.  I’m hoping he’ll be able to chart these trends in a way to make it easier for people to consume the data and be able to dynamically look for data that they are interested in.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see what come about.  Until then I believe he’ll continue to post his monthly numbers on the Fedora Security List.

STARTTLS for SMTP

Okay, I don’t really mean to advocate this as a privacy solution because it is and it isn’t.  If you truly want privacy of your email you must use end-to-end encryption like PGP/GnuPG or S/MIME.  That said, I think it’s good to encrypt things, even ciphertext, over the network.  So STARTTLS for SMTP is a good start.

What, exactly, is STARTTLS?  Well, it’s an opportunistic protocol that goes out and asks a server in which I want to talk with if it supports encryption.  If it does then we negotiate the terms (ciphers, keys, certs) and then we establish a circuit and exchange the information.  If it doesn’t support encryption I just skip the setup of the encrypted circuit and transmit the data in the clear.  Yeah, not a great solution and I really hate the thought of STARTTLS as it isn’t a guarantee that the data transferred will be encrypted (unlike, say, HTTPS).

Earlier today Kurt pointed me at a study done by Facebook.  Yeah, everyone knows I hate FB but really they are in a great position to do such a study.  According to their study, “Facebook sends several billion emails to several million domains every day”.  Okay, that’s a lot of email.  And with that amount of exposure to the worlds’ SMTP servers I’m guessing they’ve hit most of the servers out there.  Turns out 76% of those servers support STARTTLS and most actually use a good cipher suite and PFS.  Unfortunately it appears that most mail is routed to providers that aren’t supporting good crypto suites.  The report doesn’t name them so I figured I’d go out and see if I could find some of the deficient setups.

The obvious first choice was Google’s Gmail.  As long as the incoming server connects to port 465 587* they should get an encrypted circuit supporting TLSv1.2 protocol with a cipher of ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256.  Great, I have no complaints here.  Hmmm, so who is next?  I guess Hotmail is still a biggie and Microsoft does have all those B2B services as well.  It seems TLSv1.2 with a cipher of ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384 is being used on at least some of their SMTP servers.  What’s next?  Ahh, yes, Yahoo! is still in business (although I seriously don’t know how).  Yahoo! just implemented encrypted connections for their webmail users so clearly they should have fixed their backend connections as well, correct?  Well, they are the first to make my bad list by using the TLSv1 protocol with the cipher of RC4-SHA.  Come on guys, get it together!  Let me see what my provider, Bluehost, is doing here.  It appears that, like Google, they support TLSv1.2 and are using the cipher of DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384.  Again, a great choice (although the AES256 is a bit much but that’s a different post all together).

I might, one day, setup a scanner to more thoroughly collect this data and make it available in more real-time but for now I think the Facebook data is awesome and quite timely.

 

*As was pointed out in the comments port 587 is a user port and is used for authenticated SMTP access from clients.  Once the SMTP server has the message to be delivered the server will connect over to the distant SMTP server over port 25 unauthenticated.  Port 25 can be just plaintext or can use STARTTLS.  As an aside, why port 25 outbound (and inbound?) is blocked for many residential customers is because it is unauthenticated and a present a good entry point for spam.

Shortwave reports via Twitter

I use a program named Shortwave Schedules to tell me what’s on the radio at any given time.  It used to just digest a CSV file from Eibi and tell you who was on and when.  Now it’s gotten fancy (propagation maps for one).  A feature I stumbled upon last night while searching for the frequency for Radio Romania International (it’s 9645kc, BTW) is it now allows you to log your reception report, locally, and then share it in a variety of ways (pretty much anyway your phone is designed to share).  You can even record some of the broadcast for later review.  A very nice feature.

So last night I shared part of my reception report:

Now I added the “@RRInternational #shortwave” and edited the text a bit but this is basically what went out last night.  I suspect that whoever monitors the Radio Romania International Twitter feed was probably confused about receiving the report and I’ll also provide this report in a better way but I think it’s a neat idea myself.

As for my little app, the log still needs a little bit of work but I’ll provide that feedback via a different method.

Crossing the 150 mark

Yesterday I unofficially* crossed the 150 mark.  That’s 150 DXCC entities worked.  I’ve actually worked 151 as I just picked up 3B8CF (Mauritius Island (AF-049)) tonight on 20m CW.  That means I’ve added 21 new entities to my log just this year.  I’ve also added quite a few new islands to my count.  I’d love to get my IOTA award by the end of the year as well.  I’m up to a little over 60 confirmed islands so I’m getting close.

* Not all of these contacts have been confirmed, yet.

GHz… where terrain matters

Earlier this week the Calvert Amateur Radio Association (CARA) hosted its monthly meeting with a program by a local guru of mesh networking.  Keith KB3TCB gave a presentation on what mesh networking is and what it can be used for.  I’ve known about mesh networking for some years but never found enough people in my local area that also found the idea intriguing.  Since moving to Calvert County (MD) I’ve discovered a lot of people that are interested in experimenting with different things, mesh being one of them.

Many club members went out and purchased gear to use as a mesh node and brought their gear with them.  I brought a Ubiquiti M2HP Bullet with a 14dBi-gain antenna.  Using the firmware provided by Broadband-Hamnet everyone’s systems almost immediately linked up with everyone else’s and advertised services could easily be consumed.  I cranked up httpd and hosted my Fedora test page (I’ll try to do better next time with some actual content).  It would seem that there are many people that would like to try experimenting with the technology.

Keith stressed that line-of-sight was very important to making contact with others.  I, personally, am used to Eastern North Carolina where a hill is something seldom seen.  Calvert County is not Eastern NC.  I figured that since I was about a mile and a half from the K3CAL clubhouse that I should be able to easily make a connection there (through the trees).  A quick check of the path finder yielded other results.

Microwave path between W4OTN and K3CAL

Microwave path between W4OTN and K3CAL.

Of course this assumes 30 feet of elevation on each end but you can see that there is clearly a plateau in the way of my line-of-sight and several geographic features in the way of my Fresnel path.  Wow, I was not expecting that.  Turns out, the K3CAL side would need to be up around 150 feet to make it over the hills (and we’d still have to deal with the trees) or we’d both have to raise our antennas up to around 50 feet (doable?).

I ran into similar surprising results when calculating paths to a couple of friends.  On friend, Jim K3UGA, seems impossible to reach without help of some infrastructure up high:

Microwave path between W4OTN and K3UGA.

Microwave path between W4OTN and K3UGA.

And so it seems I’ll be learning what line-of-sight truly means here.  I’m not waving the white flag on my experimentation but rather setting my sights (sites?) a little higher.