[CQ-Contest] Reverse Beacon Network - too much success?

Pete Smith n4zr at contesting.com
Thu Feb 25 14:41:26 PST 2010

As a number of contesters have discovered, the Reverse Beacon Network's 
database for last weekend's ARRL DX CW contest is broken.  The volume of 
spots coming in from 6-band Skimmer Servers was overwhelming - as an 
example, N4ZR's QS1R/Skimmer Server combination posted almost 47,000 
spots, and there were ~10 different ones,on 4 continents, all reporting 
at once.  The database server simply collapsed under the load.  It 
didn't crash outright, but only 17,000 of N4ZR's spots made it - only 
about 35 percent.  Others were similar.

We're working to recover the data from the weekend.  Skimmer Server 
keeps a log of spots it sends, and we hope to get all of the RBN's 
Skimmer Server operators to send in their spots.txt files for 
incorporation in the database.

More significantly, though, we've decided to go looking for help.  
Clearly, when your database is measured in millions of rows, it's 
important to optimize the design of your commands that write to or read 
from it.  Also, we're currently running both the web server and the 
database server on a single PC and disk drive.  We're hoping there are 
people out there with the necessary systems, PHP and SQL skills who 
would be willing to help.  We'd also like to greatly improve the variety 
and flexibility of the queries that can be run against the database, to 
enable better access to comparative data on signal strength and activity 

To help stimulate and coordinate a wider effort, we have set up a blog 
at reversebeacon.blogspot.com.  Come check it out, join the 
conversation, and help us realize the potential of the RBN.

73, Pete N4ZR and Felipe, PY1NB

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