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Angry letter after network outage - maybe Kiwi-related?

edited July 2023 in General Chat


Yesterday - around 0116 UTC (25 July) the Northern Utah WebSDR lost connectivity for about an hour after a direct lightning strike to one of our ISP's sites: Fortunately, the damage was largely limited to mains power as the telecom gear was well-protected.

Today the ISP got (and forwarded) to me an irate letter from someone claiming to be part of the "Boating Industry Coalition" (amazingly, there is no Google match to those three words!) from a Proton Mail address (likely anonymized) berating the ISP for not having better back-ups and claiming that it ruined/foiled an expensive international demonstration of critical life-safety systems and techniques.

Obviously, the WebSDR/KiwiSDRs have never claimed to be any more than "best effort" in terms of reliability and the tone of the letter mystifies us. If we take it on face value (which due to the anonymity and the fact that the coalition this guy is representing doesn't seem to have an obvious web presence, and is thus difficult to do) that some sort of operation was disrupted, it occurred to me that they may have been using the TDOA on the KiwiSDR(s).

The questions are these:

  • Has anyone else had similar dealings with groups under the impression that the TDOA system was anything other than "best effort" and supported by volunteers?
  • On the presumption that they were using the TDOA system, where is the best place to find logs from about 0000-0130 UTC indicating who/what might have been on the KiwiSDRs using the TDOA system?

For your amusement/confoundment, you can find the letter here:

Personally, I'm not taking a "courageously anonymous" letter too seriously - but I have added additional disclaimers to the KiwiSDRs just in case someone just doesn't "get it".


Clint, KA7OEI


  • I received no irate letters when KPH went off line for 16 months during the peak of Covid.

  • Sounds to me like someone, who should have known better, got caught with their pants down, and is looking for a scapegoat. Moral: Don't commit Error 33 (ask me how I know, lol).

  • edited July 2023

    Sounds like a jerk.

    Send them a note saying "thank you for bringing this to my attention", and that you have notcied that they have "outstanding and unpaid invoices for their previous 'metered' commercial usage of your KiWi", and that you will be consulting your legal team :-)

    Make up a ridiculous amount, as that seems to be their modus operandi.



  • It's also a lengthy letter / rant, with a verbose series of personal titles which is usually a good indicator of how seriously you should take it.

    Another thought.

    Ask him for his ISP details so that you can "investigate his concerns" and then we can all blacklist them for "unauthorised commercial use".



  • It's interesting that the accusation is that you should have implemented various critical backup and support systems, when in fact they are using an unpaid for, voluntary, hobbiest system for their supposedly "critical safety of life" purposes.

    If this is genuinely the case, and I very much doubt it, they should be paying for and installing their own systems complete with backup and the certified quality of service / uptime guarantees that they are demanding.

    I agree with John, they have been trying to do things on the cheap, and have got caught out, if indeed they are genuine, which is also doubtful.

    I wonder if any of this is associated with the KiWi "hog's" and other weird connections that others have been experiencing ?



  • Franchesco, translation: "throwing an axe" .. some ironny!

  • Would the documents allowing their experimental operation on July 25th, between 00:00 UTC - 05:00 UTC be publicly available if you were to contact the FCC? Perhaps to track down this Franchesco character and the parties involved?

    It should be obvious that online Kiwi and WebSDRs of which members of the public put online are not something to rely on for critical communications. Maybe if the organization constructed the SDR sites themselves and have people to maintain them 24/7, but nothing that some random individual just tossed online. They should just be happy the SDR is even there at all to use as an additional bonus receiver. The nerve of some people.

  • You can explore this site but I'll bet there'll be nothing with records to this

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