Listen to Latest SolderSmoke Podcast

Monday, April 1, 2019

Malicious Code in the Si5351 -- Pete quitting podcast

Those of you who have been reading Pete N6QW's blog (and all of you should be reading it!) will have seen a recent post about his efforts to modernize (digitize) the VFO in an old tube-type Ten Tec Triton IV model 544.  Pete complained that --oddly -- in spite of replacing the old analog tube-type VFO, the rig with a modern, rock-stable Si5351 VFO, the old rig CONTINUED TO DRIFT.  That had Pete and a number of us scratching our heads.  How could that be?  

Pete then completely removed the Si5351 VFO from the old boatanchor.   Sitting on his bench, all by itself, THE DAMN THING EXHIBITED ALL THE CHARACTERISTICS OF ANALOG VFO THERMAL DRIFT.  Wow!  Why?  Pete was really pulling his hair out on this one. 

We immediately began to see if others were getting the same results.  Nope.  None of our Si5351 VFOs were doing this.   This was REALLY strange.  

At this point we had to turn to a real Arduino expert, a guy who I had met during my time in Italy: Luigi Bugiardo from the Arduino research center in Bocalupo, Calabria.  Pete gave him remote access to his computer and he began to poke around.  

It didn't take long.  Luigi quickly found the problem:  He found several lines of malicious code "embedded in the Si5351.h and si5351.cpp files –sort of lurking out there and not easy to spot." 

Pete then removed this code and -- BINGO -- no more drift.   

Now I know some of you guys are thinking that this was just a bit of harmless fun.   But Pete is really angry about this.  He feels like he has been played for a sucker by some ham who was pretending to collaborate with him.  Pete sees this as yet another violation of the unwritten ham code of conduct.  To him this is another intrusion of computer/hacker noob hazing into the ham radio world.  And worst yet, he thinks this malicious code came to him because of this involvement in the podcast and his blog -- that participation resulted in the widespread exposure that got him into this mess.  

Pete is so upset that he has vowed to drop out of the podcast and shut down his blog. 

So come on fellows.  It is time to 'fess up.  If you did this, or if you think you know who did this, please send an e-mail to me at soldersmoke@yahoo.com   I think being able to pinpoint the prankster will help Pete deal with this whole thing, and hopefully get him back into the SolderSmoke...   

19 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had the same problem with my si5351. Mine kept tuning my ubitx to pick up reverend stair broadcasts.....I switched to using one made before 1990 and the problem went away, no more stair broadcasts....

    ReplyDelete
  3. ;-) Never heard about si5351 mallware, but it is very often in chinese clones of ad9851 (not 9850). It recognizes atmega328 and a computer USB connection, then uploads "includes" to atmega, and finally takes control on one's computer.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Its probably those crappy Si5351 boards you got from AC9JQ. Who knows what kind of bizarre things he put into them.;-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beware of electrons from unknown sources too. They can make projects fail or behave erratically.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Many of these firmware code bugs are time sensitive. I believe this will expire, and the chip operate completely normal by April 2nd.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think it is an underhanded attempt to force everyone back to Hardware Defined VFOs. Soldersmoke terrorists are work..

    ReplyDelete
  8. Obviously the MMMBop malicious software that's has plagued us since the 1990's.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've found the culprit...,the chief engineer of the PTO manufacturer. Long live the PTO

    ReplyDelete
  10. OK, OK! I did it!!!
    I was having nothing but trouble with the Arduino IDE and all its many libraries. I was having fits trying to program a Nano and ended up corrupting all my other sketches.
    In frustration I contacted Pete for some tribal knowledge. The virus must have bled through in my email. :)
    In the end I managed to eradicate the virus and all is good now.
    The virus?? called 'Head in ... (very dark place)'
    Lesson learned? Don't be so fast to blame the computer, IDE, Arduino, si5351. Don't forget the most basic of trouble shooting and look first to the builder.
    So there it is Pete...I take the blame. Maybe you will come back to us now.
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. On the other hand, when its a hardware or software issue, it is always the software that causes the problems. Especially of there is any malware involved.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think the ham's name is Yadloof Lirpasti. I wouldn't trust him beyond seeing him. Beware of him. He shows up about this time every year.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Somehow this post makes me feel Duly Cheated and i how How ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I didn’t do it, and am not having the same problem with my beloved S38. Maybe Pete should get one of those. I know he likes them.

    ReplyDelete
  15. OK...I did and do read Pete's site.. especially when reminded too. Info there IS good and I appreciate his explorations. Case in point.. in this topic of the frequency being injected into the Triton IV 544 I will be working on some more digital frequency generators over the next while and LO and BEHOLD a box fell off of the desk and in it was an 8 pin OCTAL plug - just the thing for injecting a signal into my Triton IV (not sold at the last hamfest...so I am keeping it for now!).
    Tnx to Pete and keep on keeping on.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Those .h and .cpp header files have always been responsible for all kinds of crazy problems. Now I just use a single si5351.npo file and no more drift problems!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Many years ago, QST featured an article about about painting your antenna and tower with either infrared or ultraviolet paint so your neighbors couldn't see it. I believe these pigments are still available at craft stores in small bottles. First you have to determine whether the 5351 is drifting up or down on startup. If it goes up, apply a little infrared paint to the left side of the board. If down, you need a little ultraviolet on the right side. Try for paint dots of about 1 square millimeter. Several tries may be needed to get the last of the drift out. Be careful not to spill the paint lest the entire set disappear.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks to all for the wonderful analysis of the problem. With your help I have been able to convince Pete to saty with the podcast. But he still insists on using those horrible digital oscillators. 73 Bill

    ReplyDelete
  19. You know those digital guys bill, they wait till things accumulate or problems multiply and then they start flip-flopping. They wont budge even a bit.

    Keith N6ORS

    ReplyDelete

Designer: Douglas Bowman | Dimodifikasi oleh Abdul Munir Original Posting Rounders 3 Column