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Running Costs - discussion ?

Hi All,

I thought it may be worthwhile raising this issue following the recent problems with the TDoA maps and John's subscription to the mapping service.

It stuck me that most of us bear the costs of running public KiWi's at our own expense. I do occasionally see a KiWi with a PayPal donation button, but they are few and far between and often on KiWi's that have considerable additional running costs.

I occasionally receive emails from users of my KiWi offering to make a donation, but I refuse, as I don't wish to get involved in providing a service that folks, having paid a donation, then have the expectation of it being available 24/7 as a 'commercial' service. But this is my choice, and others may think differently.

However, John is now in the situation of not only supporting the KiWi user base but also running various services such as Reverse proxy, TDoA and now paying for the Leaflet mapping service. I suspect none of which he originally intended to fund when he launched the KiWi.

I wondered if it would be an idea to provide some method of taking voluntary contributions from KiWi users, perhaps via the KiWi GUI, not to fund the specific KiWi, but to pay into some sort of central fund that could be used to offset some of John's running costs, but also if the fund exceeded the break even point, could perhaps be used to facilitate special projects or provide KiWi's free of charge to other parts of the world where the KiWi coverage is very sparse.

I'm sure many of my KiWi users (including myself) would contribute to such a fund, especially if it helped to widen the KiWi network and provide increased coverage to some of the remoter parts of the world.

This may also help relieve some of the burden from John and provide a safety net to facilitate the long term running of the KiWi services, in case fate intervenes in some unlikely way in the future.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions ?


Martin - G8JNJ


  • I think that's a great idea. I am not sure if there are some legal or other logistics that need to be overcome. I recall hearing in the past about issues with PayPal and "donations". It might just be something that needs to be correctly worded. PayPal does have this page about setting up a donation button:

    It does mention "(Please note: Fundraisers that are not verified nonprofits will be asked to demonstrate how their donations will be used, once they raise more than $10,000.)"

    I am not sure how John has everything set up, if it is a business, etc. It might be easier to just accept payments, not officially as donations, especially as there may be tax implications (just treat it as regular business income).

    But yes, I like the idea!
  • While I think the biggest contributions toward things KiwiSDR may be the time and expertise of those working to develop and enhance particular corners of the project, some of these may be limited by funds. So I to like the general concept. Like Chris I'm not sure how something like this can be set up to achieve the proper goal. I also agree with Martin about the danger of anything turning into a for-pay service. I'm not interested in that and the attendant expectations.
    For myself, I think I would not take funds even toward a sub-project I'm excited about but I would very likely contribute to a useful general fund that helps John and furthers the KiwiSDR project.
    Glenn n6gn
  • jksjks
    edited July 2019
    I mentioned this briefly in the TDoA background maps thread. But KiwiSDR does not want any "service" income or to be a service provider. We also cannot take any donations. Many of you have already figured out why. So thanks, but please let's just drop this idea (but see below).
  • Hi John,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I really appreciate the effort you have put into this project, and I greatly appreciate you graciously covering the additional costs.

    I understand your reasoning, but just wanted to raise the issue, as it seemed like an 'Elephant in the room' and being a big user of the TDoA function, I felt that it was morally correct to at least offer something.


    Martin - G8JNJ
  • jksjks
    edited July 2019
    However I'll mention another idea. I've had a request to allow a "private" proxy server to be specified on the admin page. That is, a server other than Currently I'm opposed to this idea because the proxy code I put together isn't documented at all and would just cause me a huge support headache (i.e. require time I don't have) if anyone else tried to use it.

    But longer term you could imaging a "hobby" organization separate from KiwiSDR (Valent F(x) actually) that ran the proxy and TDoA services (in fact I just registered the domain for that purpose). A hobby group like, say, I say hobby instead of non-profit because if you're not paying anyone a salary and you take in a relatively small amount of money each year you don't need to setup anything formal. And as a bonus someone doesn't have to go through the nightmare/time of setting up GDPR compliance because you qualify for the person-to-person hobby/service exemption (yes, there is such a thing).

    This also helps solve another issue. Namely that I have yet to setup a "continuity" plan in case I drop dead (not unlikely given the amount of time I sit in this chair each day). Currently no one else has the necessary passwords or ability to take over payment of the service providers (VPS, map, domain, etc.) This really needs to be fixed.
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