Criminal Complaint Filed

During routine audits of our internal security systems, Hamshack Hotline became aware that on multiple occasions a third-party attempted to gain access to the Hamshack Hotline system by attempting to pirate other peoples amateur radio callsigns. However, our internal security policies detected that the individual was using pirated callsigns and was not the licensed operator listed on the callsign license. As a result, they were promptly stopped and denied access to the Hamshack Hotline system.

We take the security and integrity of our system very seriously. Therefore, we want to assure our users that appropriate measures have been taken in response to these repeated incidents. A criminal complaint has now been filed with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to address this matter. 

The following are but just some of the crimes we reported in our complaint:

 - Unlawful use of another's FCC amateur ID - 

 - Unlawful attempts to gain access to an online system using fake or stolen identities

 - Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA): This federal law makes it illegal to access a computer system without authorization or to exceed authorized access. Using a fake ID to gain access to a computer system is considered unauthorized access under this law.

 - Identity Theft: Identity theft violates federal and/or state identity theft laws. These laws generally prohibit using false identities to deceive others for financial gain or other unlawful purposes, such as unauthorized access to computer systems.

 - Wire Fraud: Attempting to gain unlawful access to a computer system using a fake ID could potentially constitute wire fraud if it involves the use of electronic communications (such as emails or online messages) to carry out the fraudulent activity.

 - Forgery: Using a fake ID itself could constitute forgery, which is the act of falsely creating or altering a document with the intent to deceive others.
 
 - Violation of California Penal Code Section 502, which covers unauthorized access, alteration, or destruction of computer data or systems. Under this law, it is illegal to knowingly access a computer system or network without permission or in excess of one's authorization. This includes using false identities or credentials to gain access.

 - Violation of the Computer Related Offenses Act, found in Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, specifically N.J.S.A. 2C:20-25. This law prohibits various computer-related offenses, including unauthorized access to computer systems. Similar to California law, it is illegal in New Jersey to access a computer system or network without authorization or in excess of one's authorization, which would include using false identities or credentials to gain access.

We understand that these incidents may be concerning to our users, and we want to assure you that we are committed to maintaining the highest standards of security for our users. 

Hamshack Hotline will not tolerate pirate users or hack attempts to access our system and will work closely with all appropriate law enforcement agencies, regardless of country, to prosecute the offenders. 

HHX server has been decommissioned

The HHX experimental server has officially been decommissioned and is no longer part of the Hamshack Hotline federated system.

For former HHX users that did not convert over to HHUX, all you have to do is put in a new ticket and select “HHUX (Experimental) New Line Request” just like you did when you first signed up.

After that a support agent will work to get you a new extension number and get you back up and operational as soon as possible.

If you already had both an HHX and an HHUX extension, all you have to do is just start using your HHUX extension and no need to apply for a second HHUX extension. HHUX users can run up to 5 endpoints on a single extension.

Hamshack Hotline would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you !” to both Jeff and Martin for their years of support handling support tickets for the HHX system.

Bill introduced to curb limits on restrictions on private land use for amateurs – H.R. 9670

CQ CQ CQ!!! IMPORTANT: All hams need to support this newly introduced bill in the house. We need to strike hard and fast and maintain support for this bill! Even if you don’t live in an HOA, you really need to support the bill for the benefit of the hobby as a whole. Nearly all new housing starts are in HOA communities nowadays and this affects Hams that purchase homes in such neighborhoods. Some hams don’t have a choice (like me) as we moved due to job relocation and were under a tight timeline to complete our move. Our only options were homes in HOA neighborhoods.

Read about it here: https://www.arrl.org/news/rep-bill-johnson-introduces-bill-to-eliminate-private-land-use-restrictions-on-amateur-radio

Welcome 2023 !

Well, it’s a new year and we have new things happening. At the top of the list we now officially support the Polycom VVX410 model phone. At the end of last year we added a few more supported endpoints as well and we are always looking to add more models to our supported endpoint lineup.

Next, some of you may have seen the new 84xxx extension numbers that are now being assigned to a new release of RF devices, called “Arduino”. Before Arduino we only had the capability to add AllStar nodes to our RF lineup, as they were Asterisk based systems and merged into our PBX system very gracefully.

To understand Arduino, think of it more like running an EchoLink node, where you have a computer with an internet connection running the EchoLink software, and some sort of radio control box, like maybe a Rig-Blaster. Hooked to one side of the Rig-Blaster box was a cable running to the computer, and on the other side was a cable running to the transmitter mic & audio ports.

With Arduino, you can use a standard ATA VOIP unit, like a Cisco SPA-112, or SPA-2102 and do the same thing. The Arduino controller box would wire into the transmitter, and also plug into the ATA’s RJ-11 phone port. When a user calls the RF extension number of the ATA device, the Arduino unit can pull the line “off hook” and answer the call.

One of the more exciting features of the Arduino setup, is that depending on certain model radios, you can also use DTMF to change channels in the radio. So if your radio supported different bands, using DTMF, you could select one channel that might be a two-meter repeater channel or select a different channel that was a 70-centimeter channel. And if your radio had 50 channels programmed into it, callers now can use any of those 50 channels. Amazing to say the least.

We also have some new support staff coming on board to help ensure we can handle support tickets as fast as possible. We know a bunch of you must have gotten new voip phones for Christmas and can’t wait to get your new extension number!

As we introduce more and more features to the system, look for them to be announced here. We look forward to hearing from each of you soon.

73, de Bill, KG6BAJ

State Of The Network – 2022

Greetings to the whole of the ham radio community. It’s been a while since I reached out to you and offered a word. Hamshack Hotline (HH) has continued its curve of steady growth and service the community world-wide. This would not be possible without the dedication of some people who share the common vision for the project.

I wanted to make a special mention to two people who have shown unwavering effort in supporting this project, Bill (KG6BAJ) and Dave (W2DAN) without their efforts, careful diligence, and stewardship have been the primary hallmark of quality that the HH project envisions for the community. We’ve had our ups and downs, growing pains, and lessons learned but our team continues to strive for excellence in service to the community every day. I also want to recognize Dan Malone (AK6DM) for his excellent work on developing an LDAP directory solution. Dan has joined our team and contributed some amazing work in that regard. David, KD4CLJ continues to be a great support lead helping folks out and hosting technical information conferences on the network.

If you see these gentlemen active in our Discord group, please be sure to thank them – they will appreciate it more than you know, as much as I do.

For me, I have had to ride in the back seat for a while due to a medical issue, but I stay in contact with the team and receive regular updates, and offer support when and where I am able.

Lastly, I wish to continue to thank our many donors who continue to contribute a couple bucks a month to keep HH systems running in the cloud, and keeping the lights on. Without their generosity and commitment to the project, none of this would be possible at the wold-wide scale of our operation today – THANK YOU for your ongoing support of the project and the community.

73, de John, K1WIZ

Hamshack Hotline – Our Story

Since our beginning in 2018 we started out with one server and 3 hams. We never knew how big this project would become, and somewhere along the way Hamshack Hotline (HH) exploded and became a world-wide project. We’ve gone through challenges and growing pains, and we’ve made mistakes and learned lessons along the way. All the while our team pushed onward with the original vision and mission – to build a communications service for the ham radio community as another tool in our “shacks” as part of our communications arsenal. HH immediately proved to be a popular project and we were initially unprepared for the growth we witnessed. In time, and with the dedication and help of many people, HH was able to grow and become what it is today. In addition to the effort that has been put in by many folks on our team, we also would not have been able to do this without the generous support of donations from our user base. To build such a network as HH, requires infrastructure that is placed in the cloud, which comes at an ongoing cost, supported not only by our team but by our generous donors.

Our mission within the project has always been one of reliability, and core usability in providing reliable voip carriage between endpoints and RF Linked systems. As part of that mission, we also have a responsibility to our donors and user community to ensure that we are doing all our due diligence to ensure that only duly licensed and legitimate users are on the HH network. We see this no differently than a control operator’s responsibility for a repeater network, especially since RF links are present on the HH system. To that end, because HH has grown so much in popularity, this has become critically more important and members of our staff have had to step up their game on doing due diligence checks for new line applications, and rightfully so. There were some folks on our team who were not happy with the extra required diligence and as a result, this started the beginning of fragmentation within our team, along with some bruised egos. In addition to fragmentation within our ranks, we also were seeing a lot of undocumented and unorthodox work being done on our production systems by WH6AV, Jesse. Though Jesse was always willing and available to help many folks (and many appreciated those efforts), it became clear that things needed to change in the way things were being done, to ensure the stability of our production environment. Peer review of changes, along with documentation of those changes, was not being done. As we continued to experience growth, it also became clear that we needed to ensure that all changes within the HH network production environment would be documented and peer reviewed before deploying to our production environment. As of late, there were too many things being “cowboyed” or frankensteined. We found that Jesse had placed unauthorized zabbix monitoring agents on our production systems, in addition to the many unauthorized custom changes that were never reviewed or documented. In addition to all the undocumented changes, our treasurer, Dave W2DAN had requested Jesse to transfer HHUX and HHAP from Jesse’s cloud account to HH’s cloud account so that everything could be direct-billed and our financial payouts would be cleaner on our books to support cleaner accounting. When HHAP and HHUX were created, in the earlier days, we allowed them to be spun up on Jesse’s account and HH reimbursed those costs to Jesse for running those systems. As we got much larger, it became clear that we needed to cleanup accounting and stop this reimbursement cycle so that HHAP and HHUX could cleanly appear on our books, and satisfy our accounting needs, brought on by growth. When Dave made this request to Jesse, Jesse ignored several emails and attempts to assist with this, and when he did respond, said he was becoming incredibly busy with increasing workload from his job. (this was after a month of several repeated attempts to coordinate this transfer of these HH assets). When Jesse finally did respond to Dave, he outright refused to complete the asset transfer – which we interpreted as unreasonable and hostile. Such response by Jesse also severely hurt the trust the HH team placed within him – there shouldn’t have been a problem with transferring assets that belonged and were branded to HH to HH’s cloud account. We had no intention of considering Jesse’s departure from the team until this point, as he had become very contentious about the issue. When this happened, we exported accounts from both systems and a vote was held to reconstruct HHAP and HHUX as Jesse was unwilling to transfer the assets to HH as reasonably requested.

Throughout much of the conflict that came out of the above, our team continued to fragment, those who were loyal to the project, and those who were loyal to Jesse. Because of the fragmentation of the team in this way, and the great potential for conflict of interest, the remaining team members who remained loyal to the HH project, and its leadership, held an emergency vote to decide on ejection of the fragmented portion of the team. The outcome of the vote was unanimous and the decision was immediately carried out, guided by what the core needs of the HH project are. At HH, our first mission is reliability, supported by proper change control. We feel this is our duty as stewards of the HH project to ensure that we are making the best decisions on behalf of our community as well as our generous donors who have and continue to support HH and the value we strive to bring to the greater Ham Radio community.

In closing, it’s been brought to our attention that Jesse and this group of former HH staff have been attempting to start a project with many similarities to HH, and in addition to doing that, are trying to tarnish the HH project in a bad light, in attempt to poach members of the HH community. We felt it necessary to put this out there so that members of the Ham Radio community could see the other side of what brought their project into being, and that this information could be factored in their decision to partake in their project. In our hobby, there are many competing projects with similarities, all existing for different reasons, but we felt the community deserved to know the underpinnings and details. As always, the HH team appreciates the support of the Ham Radio community, and our mission remains unchanged – to bring value added tools to the community with reliability and stability as cornerstones in everything we do.