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About eQSL.cc (a div of Air Wave Productions, LLC)
eQSL.cc is the first and only global electronic QSL card exchange for amateur radio operators and SWLs.
It is designed to be the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to exchange QSO confirmations, eliminating the cost and time
that regular QSL cards have required for the past half century. With a larger membership than the entire ARRL, eQSL.cc is
THE place where everyone exchanges QSLs quickly and easily.
It has also become one of the largest awards organization for amateur radio with over 382,245 eAwards issued.
The company is registered in the State of Texas as part of the interactive multimedia company Air Wave Productions, LLC, owned by David L. Morris, N5UP.
Dave has been architecting and developing cutting edge computer hardware and software systems in manufacturing, banking, healthcare, and computer gaming since 1975, including pioneering software projects involving amateur radio and artificial intelligence.
He experimented and developed the eQSL concept over a period of several years, designed the system,
wrote all the software, developed the relational database, designed the graphics, and currently handles most of the technical and administrative maintenance.
You can read more about the history of the company on our 20th Anniversary page.
Although the company is not legally a "non-profit" in the technical sense of the term, it is operated very similar to a non-profit organization.
One can easily calculate the amount of revenue that would be generated from a membership base of 300,000 members if each member were charged
even as little as $1 per month.
But the company's mission is to provide basic electronic QSL card exchange services to all amateurs and SWLs
around the world FREE of charge. Thus, we do not charge a mandatory membership or subscription fee in order to participate.
We do this at a huge loss to us, as you can easily calculate.
The failure of "dot-coms" during the year 2000 has been widely publicized. Despite the popular demand for "FREE"
services on the web, it is finally becoming apparent to everyone that this is not a realistic expectation.
Even Wikipedia is suffering from its free service model and is begging for donations.
Nevertheless, eQSL.cc does NOT have any plans to begin charging for its basic QSL exchange service.
The company's primary purpose in all revenue generation activities is to offset monthly expenses for
Commissions on sales of items through Amazon.com and other affliates
Sales of award plaques
Sales of eQSL printed cards
In January 2009 we launched an interface with CQ magazine, allowing our members to submit credits directly to CQ awards managers.
In March 2010 we launched an electronic interface to the DARC servers to allow our users to transmit credits into the DCL contest log.
Some organizations such as 10-10 and JARL have had informal acceptance policies toward our electronic QSLs.
It is a goal of ours to make arrangements with ARRL, IOTA, and other amateur organizations
to accept our eQSLs for awards and contests. We believe our authenticated
eQSLs are even more reliable than traditional QSL cards as confirmation of QSOs!
You can find out which organizations currently accept our eQSLs by going to the Organization List page.
In 2016 we launched a new mechanism for financially supporting DXpeditions by creating a pass-through method of donating to a DXpedition through eQSLs.
One of the secrets of our success is to be found in a dedicated group of all-volunteer Advisory Board members located around the world.
They function in the roles of answering emails, reviewing Authenticity Guaranteed licenses, eAward managers, web page translators, user and advertiser support, and advisors, suggesting modifications and enhancements to the system.
Advisory Board members volunteer, and are appointed by the management of eQSL.cc and serve a term that ends December 31 of each year.
They are chosen for their experience with web technologies, logging software, contesting, awards, affiliations with amateur organizations,
standing in the amateur community, foreign language expertise, journalistic background, SWL experiences, ham radio technical expertise,
or other assets of benefit to eQSL.cc.
They volunteer their time and energy to the advancement of this aspect of amateur radio,
and their efforts have resulted in improved ease of use, enhanced features, and greater
popularity of eQSL.cc in the amateur community.
The Electronic QSL Card Centre was conceived to be a cloud-based QSL exchange system in 1998, before anyone was talking about the "cloud".
In January 2008 we retired our single server that had performed flawlessly for 4 years, and replaced it with 2 new servers, splitting up applications software and database.
In June 2010, we migrated our system to 2 even larger and faster servers, upgrading the operating systems, and the database version.
And in June 2012, we moved all our applications and graphics onto a new, larger 64-bit server that gave us a lot of new headroom for growth. And with an average of 99.9% up-time, it has also eliminated most of the common server outages that had been plaguing us for months before.
The 2017 System used a virtual rack interconnect between application server and database server, as well as a new off-site backup facility and a 3rd party monitoring service.
The Application server has dual hex-core 2GHz Xeon processors, 64-bit Windows server OS, 32GB of RAM, 4 each 500GB disks in RAID 10 and a Terabyte backup disk.
The Database Server has dual hex-core 2GHz Xeon processors, 64-bit Windows server OS, 32GB of RAM, 4 each 1.7TB solid state disks in RAID 10 and a 4 Terabyte local backup disk.
Collectively, these two servers are able to handle over 99.6% of all database requests directly from memory without requiring a disk access, and can handle over 200 simultaneous user connections with less than 5% of the processor resources, generally resulting in an overall average of less than 3 second response times for most pages.
In September, 2019 we began migrating 2 of our servers from IBM CLOUD Data Center DAL01 to the more modern DAL13, and the Off-site Backup Server to WDC04 in Washington DC for wide area disaster fault tolerance.
The database server was moved by the end of September, and the Application Server by the end of October.
More details about the New 2019 System. These servers are generally faster, bigger, and have twice the RAM of previous servers. Our speed tests to date have shown the system to be faster as a result, with plenty of headroom for growth.
The servers are located in several state-of-the-art IBM CLOUD data centers. These are certified by an independent auditor to be SAS 70 Type II compliant, with raised floors, climate control, fire-suppression system, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems and standby power generators, as well as 24 hour-a-day live human staff monitoring the systems from 2 separate, redundant network operations centers.
One of the most significant benefits of selecting eQSL.cc as your QSL exchange is the high level of security and fault-tolerance that is offered from an IBM Cloud facility designed to house E-Commerce sites.
Servers are located in an extra-secure environment featuring top-of-the-line security systems that incorporate biometric identification systems, closed-circuit cameras, security patrols, social engineering practices and restricted floor access.
Physical security in IBM Cloud data centers is so tight that not even eQSL management is allowed into the data center!
In September, 2022 we migrated all our servers from the IBM data centers to a new server farm at Hostek, located in the center of the United States.
This hosting company provides us better support for our ColdFusion 2021 and SQL Server foundations of our system, as well as utilizing the fastest SSD disk arrays and off-site backup.
At the same time, we hired the top ColdFusion and SQL Server consultant in the world to help us speed the system up considerably.
The new server farm provides us with greatly upgraded real-time monitoring capabilities to find and cure any bottlenecks or speed problems in a system that is typically servicing 500 users per minute with response times measured in milliseconds.
Privacy, Security, GDPR
From our earliest days in the 1990s, we have employed third parties to help us build a secure system.
Early on, we hired well-known hackers to try to break into our systems.
Now we employ professional services such as HackerAlert and TrustWave to hammer on our systems and try to break in. They issue certifications, some of which we publish online for you to look at.
These agencies employ known hacking exploits in an attempt to gain entry to our databases or to corrupt our data, and then notify us of any back doors or other entry modes they were able to find.
We fix these whenever they are reported, and they continue to employ the latest knowledge of attack paths to test our security.
While our company and systems are entirely in the jurisdiction of the United States, we nonetheless strive to maintain compliance with the 88 pages of regulations in the GDPR for the sake of our many European members.
All our servers utilize fast arrays of fault-tolerant Solid State Disks. This means we have multiple disks doing the job of 1, providing redundancy and faster access to data.
Database transactions logs are backed up locally every hour, with full or differential database backups made on a regular basis.
In the event of a natural disaster (tornadoes, explosions, terrorist attacks), we perform regular automated backups into a physically remote IBM Cloud facility that stores copies of both servers and updates them frequently as a last-chance disaster recovery method.
Our servers are monitored around the clock by several different automated monitoring systems in different parts of the world.
Any outage automatically triggers a multi-tier support system.
The first notification occurs within seconds of a web server or mail server failure and will be detected by on-premises monitors as well as remote monitors in other parts of the world.
The data center NOC is notified on a monitoring screen, and the webmaster is notified by text message (SMS).
If nothing is corrected within 30 minutes, NOC personnel begin calling a series of phone numbers for the webmaster, backup support personnel, and Advisory Board members.
Between the many Advisory Board members around the world, someone is usually on the system and can notify the webmaster by cellphone whenever something unusual occurs that might not be considered a server failure,
but which affects the usability of the system and needs to be addressed.
In addition to our own internal hacker detection that includes SQL Injection attacks, our hosting company also watches for unusual DDOS-type attacks and alerts us while shutting down attacking IP addresses immediately.
If you experience a server outage, chances are that it will be fixed automatically within a couple of minutes, and you can just hit the REFRESH button on your browser every few minutes until it returns to normal.
In the event of an extended outage (more than 30 minutes), we tweet status updates from the N5UP twitter account, which you can follow.
The globe image on our home page is courtesy of the GOES-7 satellite via NASA, which does not endorse products or web sites. The hurricane seen in the image is Andrew, ca 1992. The rotating earth in the moving eQSL logo is not revolving backward, but rather is the view seen by a satellite in an equatorial orbit.
We ask that you only use non-copyright images when constructing your eQSL, or obtain proper permissions to use the image, or use the images in our library which all have either been licensed by us or are in the public domain.