[NA-User] NA Download Site Status Changing

David A. Pruett k8cc at comcast.net
Sun Feb 23 23:20:11 EST 2003

Back in February 2001, the server at the ISP which hosts the DATOM On-Line 
web site suffered a severe crash.  This was particularly inconvenient 
because it was only a few days before the ARRL DX CW contest.

After a week or two we were back on-line but our ISP had moved us from the 
UNIX-based server we were previously on to a server running Win 2000.  The 
problem with this is that Win 2000 does not provide a way to secure a web 
site with a user list and passwords.  Webmaster Tom, WB8VMN (the other half 
of DATOM) did some research into solutions and the answer he always got was 
that it would take some specialized programming to set up something similar 
to what we had before.  Neither Tom nor I have any expertise in this area 
and the overall DATOM budget would not support hiring it out.

We looked into a number of semi-automatic, or manual solutions.  One method 
we considered was the subscription mailing list, similar to what is used by 
TRLog, where every time there is a new release, registered users are sent a 
copy.  However, since the NA ZIP file is over 500K, the thought of 
bombarding user in-boxes with such a large file (particularly when accessed 
via dial-up modem) seemed undesirable.  Also, if a user's file got 
corrupted or accidentally erased, they would have to request a new copy 
which we would have to provide manually, which might not result in the 
necessary quick turnaround (particularly right before a big contest).

We decided that the only thing we could do right away was to leave the site 
unprotected.  We left the page appearance the same with the appearance of a 
closed site to deter unauthorized access.  A number of users dropped us 
e-mails noting that no password was required.  Our reply was "Thanks for 
the report, we're working on it - mum's the word".  And indeed we were - 
the unprotected site was intended to be a short term accomodation, but we 
never found a way to do what we needed without inconveniencing the 
users.  This was very frustrating to us, particularly when we were made 
aware of reflectors and bulletin boards announcing that the site was 
unprotected.  Again, thanks to the NA user community for looking out for us.

Fast forward to 2003.  Our ISP had told us that they were going to be 
moving us to a Linux-based server.  Linux has the same protection 
mechanisms in place as UNIX, so we can again protect the site with user 
names and passwords as before.  However, we did not wish to foist this off 
on you, the NA user community without some advance warning.

The NA Download Page on the DATOM On-Line web site 
(http://www.datomonline.com) will become protected, i.e., restricted to 
registered NA users only beginning some time on March 3, 2003.  This date 
was chosen so that nobody would be inconvenienced in getting any needed 
downloads prior to the 2003 ARRL DX SSB Contest on March 1-2.  There will 
be a 10.59 release during the middle of this week with some minor changes, 
most notably a "band change counter" display for those of us who multi-op.

Access to the NA Download Site for twelve months is included with purchase 
of the NA program.  Access also may be extended for twelve months for $10, 
and there is no limit as to the number of times it may be extended.  NA 
programs and access extensions are available only through Radio Bookstore, 

Users whose access period has not run out will continue to have access to 
the download site after March 3, 2003.  If you would like to know your 
status, you can send a request to k8cc at contesting.com.

Tom and I would like to thank the NA User community for their continued 
support.  While it can be argued that NA, being a DOS program, is starting 
to show it's age.  However, it still gets the job done and we still have 
some new ideas up our sleeve here at DATOM.

Thanks again.

DATOM Engineering
Dave Pruett, K8CC
Tom Pruett, WB8VMN

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