SM044 – ARRL Digital Infrastructure Issues

You may have heard of some issues the ARRL has with its digital network infrastructure. This message won’t contain any new information, however, based on the public reports provided on, I will try to summarize what’s out there. You may know my training and forty years of “day jobs” are in Computer Science and IT Management. I’ve seen many of these situations and found that these are typically temporary issues. Let’s call them digital speedbumps. Just like driving through a suburban street with physical speed bumps, going too fast can cause additional problems when encountering the next bump.

From the ARRL disruption page, I know this is a network-related computer system outage. While the IT Manager in me wants to see how this started and what devices are involved, none of that matters to those on the outside. I also read that the Logbook Of The World database is secure but offline. That’s good news for the “big picture” of us external users. The ARRL Learning Center is also offline. There isn’t any status update on that system. Finally, they have asserted that no personally identifiable information (PII) is stored on-site. Should any information have been shared with external sources, we would be comfortable knowing any PII would haunt this issue. Job 1 for this rebuild is to find, obtain, and verify the required user and system data. Fortunately, the website is fully functional.

While there may be structured locations like file servers and databases where users should store their data, most users have bad habits of storing information on their local systems. Sorting through all of these storage locations can complicate any recovery. Then, the old infrastructure must be “burned down” and rebuilt. In today’s modern society, much information is required to run the world. Remember that this is a business, and things like payroll, banking, and accounts payable must start back up quickly so employees and vendors get paid.

These events highlight the need for a business continuity plan for your business and even your personal information. Should something like this happen at your house, would your information be retrievable? Are your QSO logs (and other vital data) stored safely and off-site?

The ARRL has a web page dedicated to this situation. As time passes, you should see additional updates here: Remember that discussions may be limited due to “bad-guy awareness,” future prosecution, or lack of new information.

Rest assured, your Oklahoma and Texas Section Managers and the West Gulf Division Directors are as engaged as we can be. If you are not in Oklahoma or Texas, please contact your Division Directors to ensure they are working to mitigate this issue.

This is a reminder that “When all else fails, amateur radio is there.” We are 160,000 hams that are still connected by the ionosphere. Grab your microphone, CW key, or FT8 mouse, and get on the air. (Hang on to your QSO logs and update them when the dust settles.)