Friday, 14 February 2020

Verkonfigurierten USB Stick retten

Nach Experimenten mit einem Linux-Live System auf einem USB-Stick, erkannte Windows das Gerät nicht mehr ordentlich. Der grafische "diskmgr" brach an den entscheidenen Stellen mit Fehlermeldungen ab.

English version <here>

Hier die Vorgehensweise:
In Win10 die Administrative Shell starten (Rechtsklick auf das Windows-Logo, dann "Windows PowerShell (Administrator)" starten.
Dort "diskpart" aufrufen

DISKPART> list disk

  Datenträger ###  Status         Größe    Frei     Dyn  GPT
  ---------------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Datenträger 0    Online          238 GB  1024 KB        *
  Datenträger 1    Online           29 GB  1024 KB

DISKPART> select disk 1

Datenträger 1 ist jetzt der gewählte Datenträger.

DISKPART> list disk

  Datenträger ###  Status         Größe    Frei     Dyn  GPT
  ---------------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Datenträger 0    Online          238 GB  1024 KB        *
* Datenträger 1    Online           29 GB  1024 KB


Der Datenträger wurde bereinigt.

DISKPART> create partition primary

Die angegebene Partition wurde erfolgreich erstellt.

DISKPART> active

Die aktuelle Partition wurde als aktiv markiert.

DISKPART> list part

  Partition ###  Typ               Größe    Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Primär              29 GB  1024 KB


Spätestens jetzt erscheint das Laufwerk mit einem Laufwerksbuchstaben im Explorer und kann wie gewohnt formatiert werden.

Achtung: Wählt man die falsche Disk, kann man sich leicht das System zerstören. Ein Vergleich der Ausgabe von "list disk" mit eingestecktem und abgezogenem USB-Stick hilft die richtige ID zu finden.

USB drive recovery after partitioning problems

This article once again is a "note so self" so I remember how to fix my thumbdrive after a screw-up experimenting with Linux;

In win 10 start "Windows Power Shell (Administrator)
Start "diskpart", then:

DISKPART> list disk

  Datenträger ###  Status         Größe    Frei     Dyn  GPT
  ---------------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Datenträger 0    Online          238 GB  1024 KB        *
  Datenträger 1    Online           29 GB  1024 KB

DISKPART> select disk 1

Datenträger 1 ist jetzt der gewählte Datenträger.

DISKPART> list disk

  Datenträger ###  Status         Größe    Frei     Dyn  GPT
  ---------------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Datenträger 0    Online          238 GB  1024 KB        *
* Datenträger 1    Online           29 GB  1024 KB


Der Datenträger wurde bereinigt.

DISKPART> create partition primary

Die angegebene Partition wurde erfolgreich erstellt.

DISKPART> active

Die aktuelle Partition wurde als aktiv markiert.

DISKPART> list part

  Partition ###  Typ               Größe    Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Primär              29 GB  1024 KB


Looks good now. At this point the drive shows up in Windows File Explorer and can be formatted from there.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Testing a Bakeey microSD card

Is the Bakeey Extreme 64GByte any good?

The claims

Hard to see specs
The rough surface makes it hard to identify the markings. But as far as I can see, it claims to have the following characteristics:

  • 64 GByte capacity
  • Class 10
  • UHS: U3
  • Video Class: V30
  • Class A1
  • UHS1 (Bus Logo: I)
The question is: What does it all mean, and can I test that?

I bought the set (card/adapter/reader (usb-c / usb-a) here from Banggood.

I use h2testw to test the capacity and read/write speed. So from the results, I can see:
  • It really has the 64GBytes, so no fake that overwrites itself: OK
  • Class 10: I get a 13,4MByte/s write speed, so it meets the class 10 specs: OK
  • U3: With the supplied USB adapter, I could not get anywhere near 30MByte/s write speed. So for the moment the answer is: No!
  • V30: Again not with my adapter: No!
  • Class A1: That's 10MByte/s write speed and a low number of IOPS. So: Very likely OK
  • I logo: With the UHS-1 logo, the bus speed can be 12,5 to 104 MByte/s: Again likely OK
The read-speed I got was 17,4MByte/s with the supplied USB Card reader. Again not fantastic, but ok for a class 10.

I wanted to try 4k video streaming in my Olympus OM-D, but with the Micro-SD to SD adapter, the camera reported a card error. So I have no way to verify the 30MByte/s claim. But I have a compatibility issue with either the card or the adapter and the Olympus camera.
No issues in a Macbook Pro with the same adapter, though. Seems like a real compatibility issue.

Bottom line

For the card and the two adapters, I paid 10 USD. That appears fair for the set, but cards with similar specs are available from Transcend or Kingston in the same price range. An ok deal, but no need to rush. For my camera, I'll stick with a SanDisk Ultra that guarantees 40MByte/s for 4K recording.
All in all nothing to write home about.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Blitzwolf BW-UPC2 Test and Review

BW-UPC2 Blitzwolf UDB Thumb drive

What's special about it?

You probably wouldn't read this if you didn't know that: The BW-UPC2 has both an USB-C and a USB 3.0 A connector.

Cooool... two connectors
So it should be great for me to exchange files between my "old" Surface Laptop 2 and my "new" iPad Pro (3rd gen, 11"). More on that further down the page.
The look&feel is good, but the rotating cover does not (unlike what they claim on their web site) protect the connectors against dust.

At the time of writing, the 128GByte version of the drive was around 25USD and I got it here from my favorite Chinese reseller.

Benchmark test

I used h2testw (from the renowned German computer magazine CT) to benchmark the drive through it's USB A port.
One thing to look for in USB drives is, if they actually have the capacity they report to the PC. h2testw also checks that by filling and verifying the whole drive. This is not a fake-capacity drive.

The Blitzwolf web site claims "up to 150MByte/s" read, and "up to 50MByte/s" write rate. "Up to" seems like something that does not happen in real life.
Still the measured rates are not bad:

Test results
Still not in the same range as a Sandisk extreme, but very acceptable. A lot better than my awful "Intenso Alu Line 32GByte"


  • Write rate: a little under 40MByte/s
  • Read rate: a little over 60MByte/s
Whereas Intenso Alu Line:
  • Write rate: a little under 4MByte/s (= 1/10th of the Blitzwolf)
  • Read rate: a little over 13 MByte/s
All of this was done on the USB A Port of a Surface Laptop 2.

So the Blitzwolf UPC2 is clearly a massive leap ahead for me when it comes to speed. For very short write bursts, it appears to have some kind of cache, because for low data volumes (some MByte), I get over 70MByte/s write- and over 80MByte/s read rates. That is not sustainable, of course.
It does not appear to be the operating system's file cache, as the Intenso drive does not exhibit this behaviour.
(Funny: the 70MByte/s write rate is over the claimed "up to 50Mbyte/s")

Also interesting: The write-performance was very poor on the USB-C port of a new Surface Laptop 3 15" (17MByte/s write / 70MBytes read), while on the USB A port of the same machine, it was 24MByte/s write / 62MByte read). So there appears to be a dependency on the Computer and it's drivers.

iPad pro (3rd gen.) compatibility

The drive comes pre-formatted with an exFAT file system. This is a good thing, as iOS / iPadOS13 currently only supports MSDOS FAT and exFAT (and APFS/MAC OS extended, which is irrelevant for Windows users)

USB-C & iPad pro
The iPad recognizes the drive and shows it in the "Files" app. Both reading and writing works well.


Exactly what I needed. I'll move my stuff over from the dog slow Intenso drive.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

RSA WebAgent: AceInitialize failed

RSA WebAgent Troubles

I had the following problem with my RSA WebAgent:
For secure remote access, I have a linux system, running the RSA WebAgent. After an Upgrade of the RSA ACE server, the web portal only responded with an error

106: The Web server is busy. Please try again later.

There was nothing busy about the web server, of course.
As I have a strong networking background, one of my standard trouble shooting methods is to have a look at the network traffic to see what's going on:

tcpdump -vvv -i eno16777984 port not 22 and not 443
(Your interface will have a different name, of course)

Apart from the usual DNS chatter which I didn't filter explicitly, there was no traffic from or to the machine. Especially not, when running
Which returned a
AceInitialize failed

So the machine was not even trying to play ball :-(

There is not much of a debug function in RSA's command line tools, and a
strace ./acetest
showed that all dependencies were ok.

The solution

Then I set the environment variable to use TCP
export USEUDP_ENV_VAR=false
and got a much better chance of getting a response. (Not 100%, though)
With both the acestatus and the acetest utils running successfully, I still did not fully understand the problem, but could fix it.

1) reconfigure Apache
So I needed to modify the apache config to use TCP, rather than UDP:
In /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf (or wherever your apache config lies) add:

2) enable rpcbind
The other thing is, that it now seems to rely on a running rpcbind service, so rpcbind needs to be anabled and started.
To check if that is the case, run:
systemctl list-units --type=service --state=active
and see if you get a
rpcbind.service            loaded active running RPC bind service
in the reply.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

UV9RPlus - Programming the water proof Baofeng radio for HAM use

Baofeng UV-9RPlus

Advantages of the UV9R Plus over the UV-5R series

Quick review of the Baofeng UV-9R Plus: I had an UV5R for quite a while now as my primary handheld for HAM radio. There is a lot of documentation about the UV5R out there and I quite like it for it's long battery runtime.
Waterproof connector

But as an outdoor enthusiast, rain, dirt and moisture was a concern. So I went for the UV-9R Plus when Banggood had a promo. It feels quite a bit more rugged than the 5R. The higher output power (the label on the back claims an unlikely 15W) and the 8000mAh battery (well, that has to be seen, I haven't measured the actual capacity) were not really a factor for me. But it is sure nice to have three power levels to choose from.
Banggod has a promo from time to time when it sells for about the same price as the uv5r.

Programming the UV9RPlus with Chirp in Windows 10

The programming cable

Thr programming cable with its odd connector

I got the programming cable from Banggood:

The cable was a little over 5 bucks at the time of writing. It has a Baofeng label (unlike my UV5R programming cable described here) and has the Prolific USB2Serial bridge chip, which requires a driver, of course. My windows found the driver itself with the "update driver" function of the device manager.
The USB Vendor ID identifies it as a Prolific bridge

Once the driver has installed, it comes up as a serial port

Chirp settings

There has been some controversy in the Chirp forum whether or not the UV9R Plus was supported or not. My finding is, that while it is not explicitly listed as a supported device, it appears to behave like the UV-82WP.
The first thing to do in Chirp is to download the radio's original configuration, and save that, just in case, and then work from that configuration.
Your COM port number will probably be different
The cool thing is that you can copy your channel memories from your UV-5R over to the UV-9R Plus, with a simple copy/paste.
My memory channels
I recommend the following basic settings for HAM radio operations. The other settings are mostly irrelevant.
Basic settings UV9RPlus

Final remarks

Why Baofeng advertises it's otherwise decent product with false specs is most likely a very questionable marketing stunt. A quick web search indicates, that the actual RF output power ist around 7W max, which does not make that much of a difference from the usual 5watters.
Keep in mind that doubling the power adds only one S-level on the receiving side. It might give you a bit of an edge over the UV5R, with it's 4 watts.
I still have to measure the battery capacity. For a 8000mAh it seems a little light to me.
The case has "Digital Mobile Radio" engraved in it. - It's not DMR. It is a traditional analog FM radio. It is CPU controlled and has a LCD display, but that does not make it a "Digital Mobile Radio".
In Germany most repeaters have been modified to conform with the 12.5kHz channel spacing. Therefore the N-FM (2.5kHz) is the FM-deviation of choice for repeater operation, whereas for other applications like the SO50 satellite, 5kHz wide FM is still correct.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Static Routes in Ubuntu 18.04.1

How to set permanent static routes in Ubuntu 18.04

New: netplan

For a somewhat strange Linux cluster configuration, I needed to set a few static routes. Other than suggested in some HOWTOs, the configuration is not in /etc/network/interface but (as it also says in the interface file)  in the /etc/netplan directory. In my case, in a file named 01-netcfg.yaml, with the following structure:

----8x---- cut here ----- 8X-------

        version: 2
        renderer: networkd
                        dhcp4: no
                        addresses: []
                                addresses: [,]
                                search: []
                        - to:
                        - to:

                        dhcp4: no
                        addresses: []
                        - to:

----8x---- cut here ----- 8X-------
As you can see, the machine has two interfaces on different subnets, but needs to talk to two machines on the other interface's VLAN via the primary interface. Therefore the static host routes.
Don't ask why. It is a long&sad story that does not make a lot of sense.

But there you have it:
In the routes section just add the - to:  and via: statements to specify the target subnet and the gateway to be used to get there.


To activate the change, issue the
netplan apply
command (with sudo, of course if needed.)