Notes from the ARRL Board Meeting, July 19-20, 2013

ARRLI haven’t gotten the full minutes yet from the recent ARRL board meeting, but there’s a news story about the meeting on the ARRL website. Some interesting things were discussed:

  • ARRL to spend big bucks on Logbook of the World. The board voted to spend $75,000 on outside professional services to improve LoTW’s database. The Board also okayed the hiring of a full-time Headquarters staff member with “strong IT development and architectural skills” to address LoTW improvements. That seems like an awful lot of money to me.
  • ARRL will petition FCC to get rid of symbol rate references. Instead of specifying symbol rates in Part 97. 307(f) , the petition would ask the FCC “to apply to all amateur data emissions below 29.7 MHz the existing bandwidth limit, per §97.303(h), of 2.8 kHz.” I like this idea a lot. It will give hams the incentive to experiment with new digital modes.
  • New training materials.  The article notes that the Board “directed Headquarters staff to investigate the feasibility, benefits and costs of preparing license training materials designed for shorter course sessions.” Uhhhh, I’ve had those materials for many years now. Not only that, the PDF version is FREE! 

Comments

  1. It’s fairly easy to drop $75K on an IT project. ARRL could definitely use some IT help.

  2. Dan KB6NU says:

    You’re right about it being easy to spend $75,000. I’m just wondering if it’s really worth it to spend that much on Logbook of the World. I guess so.

    • I think that ironically its success has caused its failures. It clearly can’t keep up with the load of QSLs and usage it’s seeing. They probably didn’t design it quite right for this amount of processing, but software and systems development tends to be iterative these days anyways.

      I hope they’re not using their own hardware and are using cloud resources, or are planning to move to the cloud. It’s crazy to build your own server farm these days.

  3. Dave, N8SBE says:

    They designed their ingest system for running in batches, because that’s the way their client tools were designed. It was too ugly to bother with uploading one’s and two’s, because it was so arcane to use their client interface to set up a log file, sign it with your certificate and upload it. Frankly, I never used it, and I suspect a large number of other folks didn’t either. So what is everyone using? Ham Radio Deluxe, or other similar tools, that integrate with the installed LOTW desktop tools, and make it super-simple to upload your QSO’s. In HRD, you just highlight the QSO’s you want to upload, and click the ‘Upload to LOTW’ button. That’s it. No mess, no fuss. That means that if I do a couple of casual contacts during an evening’s listening/hacking on the bench, I can upload those two contacts so I don’t lose track of which ones I’ve uploaded so far. What this means on the server end is literally thousands of small log files queued for processing, something that the system was never designed for.

    Hopefully some of this $75K will go towards designing the system to be more on-line, instead of batch oriented.

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