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.
Ownership The company is registered in the State of Texas and owned by David L. Morris, N5UP. Dave has nearly 40 years of experience architecting computer hardware and software systems and has been involved in other 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 10th Anniversary page.
Non-profit Status Although the company is not legally a “non-profit” in the technical sense of the term, it is operated very much similar to a non-profit organization. One can easily calculate the amount of revenue that would be generated from a membership base of 200,000 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. 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
Bank and service bureau fees
Legal and Professional fees
The company derives its revenues from:
Commissions on sales of items through Amazon.com and other affliates
Sales of award plaques and other items
Business Plans 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.
Advisory Board The company has daily discussions among a group of Advisory Board members. While not binding on the management of eQSL.cc, the suggestions and recommendations of the Advisory Board are usually accepted, and these have resulted in many significant improvements and new features.
Advisory Board members 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, their affiliation with amateur organizations, standing in the amateur community, foreign language expertise, journalistic background, SWL experiences, 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. Some of them are involved in daily support activities, such as answering e-mail, checking licenses, correcting mistakes in user profiles, approving awards, and other things.
Data Center The Electronic QSL Card Centre eQSL.cc is located in multiple state-of-the-art data centers in Dallas, Texas. 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 a 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.
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 New 2012 System uses a virtual rack interconnect between application server and database server, as well as a new cloud-based backup facility and a new 3rd party monitoring service.
( The Application server has dual quad-core 2.26GHz Xeon processors with 12GB of RAM and 4 each 250GB disks in RAID 10 running Windows 2008 R2 64-bit. The Database Server has dual quad-core 2.26GHz Xeon processors, 64-bit OS, 24GB of RAM, 4 each 300GB SAS 15K RPM Cheetah disks in RAID 10 and a 1 Terabyte side operations 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. )
System Backup and Monitoring
(see system diagram) All our servers utilize RAID 10 arrays of fault-tolerant disks. This means we have multiple disks doing the job of 1, providing redundancy and faster access to data. Database transaction logs are backed up locally every 6 hours, and full database backups are made locally onto separate disks several times per week. In the event of a natural disaster (tornadoes, explosions, terrorist attacks), we have an automated cloud backup using the Amazon S3 facility that stores copies of both servers and updates them periodically 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.
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 until it returns to normal. In the event of an extended outage (more than 30 minutes), we maintain a System Status page on a completely different server at eQSLcc.BlogSpot.com where we will report the status of any outage lasting more than 15 minutes. You should bookmark that page for future reference.
eQSL.cc – The Electronic QSL Card Centre