Who are those guys? It's hard to believe that QRZ.COM is now entering it's 9th year of operation and we're very happy to have made it this far. It's a fact that most new business fail within the first 18 months and once they've made it past 2 years there's some chance of survival. Having exceeded the expectations of some, some folks are wondering, "Who is QRZ.COM, Where are they located, How many employees do they have, and What's their data processing center like?". This article will shed some light on the very guts of our worldwide amateur radio operations center and what makes it tick. Our Headquarters: <blockquote> Imagine a 15 story glass office building, the kind you see in many urban areas, complete with a large parking garage and a tree-lined grassy campus whose centerpiece includes a stone and masonry water fountain where the local birds love to gather during the warm summer season. Out in front, a communications van sits near an open utility cabinet while technicians busily connect high speed fiber optic internet cables and dig the trenches that have been responsible for the numerous traffic detours in recent weeks. The fiber cables run underground where, after entering the building, make their way up to the 7th floor where the bulk of the equipment is located in a 12,000 square foot network operations and data center. Staffed by full time engineers and backed up with a 100 kW diesel generator (outside), the building has been built to withstand an atomic blast, or perhaps a rolling blackout or two. The building's location, right next door to the championship golf course where they hold the Phoenix Open and across the street from a modern executive airport make it the perfect place for a successful dot-com company to do business. From my house in north Scottsdale, AZ, I can almost see the site which is barely 5 miles away. It's currently occupied by the Prudential Insurance Company. I mention them because they they are about the size of operation that many of our customers seem to equate us with. Hmmm. I guess we must be pretty good at putting our best face forward. Back at the ranch, the QRZ facilities are a bit more modest. In our 8 years of operation we've grown from a one man operation to a one man, one wife, and several volunteer enterprise. Our physical presence is largely contained in a 2 foot by 6 foot closet in the back the house (my house). The main QRZ server is a 500MHZ Dell PIII Dual CPU system with 512 MB of RAM and three 9GB Disk drives. We also have a backup server, a Sparcstation 10 with two 50 Mhz CPU's and 256 MB of ram. It doesn't get used very much. Next, there are my personal workstations, a 167 Mhz Sun Ultra-1 and a 900 Mhz Compaq PC. I run the Solaris (UNIX) operating system on all of the machines except for the Compaq on which I run Windows ME. Besides having better graphics than the Sun, the Compaq is the machine that I use to create and test the software that goes on the QRZ CDROM. The CDROM itself is created on the Ultra-1 under UNIX. All of the machines are wired into a 10/100 Mbit local area network that is connected to a Cisco 2501 Router and a full time T1 network line that goes direct to the internet backbone through my provider, Cable and Wireless Inc.. At first they had doubts about bringing a T1 line into a residence location, but, I wrote them the check and that made them do it. </blockquote> Our Staff <blockquote> We have no full time employees. Every single person on our roster (including the founder) have real, paying non-ham-related jobs that support them and their families. People have at times asked why we don't publish a telephone number for QRZ. Well, who is going to answer it? Any of our editors would tell you that, based on the amount and type of email they get, that nobody would take the job if offered. Our distinguished staff includes: Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ, founder. Duties: website design, software engineering, network engineering, CDROM production, hardware installation and repair, editorial management, advertising sales, bookkeeping, writing, apologizing, chief pilot, paramedic, mercenary. Fred wrote and maintains all of the software that runs the website and database, as well as the CDROM. Brigitte Lloyd, administrative assistant. Duties: shipping and handling, order tracking, CDROM sales. Mark Krotz, N7MK, volunteer editor. Duties: answering email sent to email@example.com, monitoring swap listings, censoring biography listings, fixing messed up user accounts, listening to petty complaints, breaking up fights, and badly deciphering Chinese and Korean emails. Steve Thompson, N7TX, volunteer editor. Same as Mark. See above. Willie Peloquin, N8WP, volunteer editor. Manages front-page articles, luckily not responsible for firstname.lastname@example.org email. David Mason II, KB7ISR, trivia editor (volunteer). Manages our trivia database. Larry O'Toole, K3LBP, clubs editor (volunteer). Keeps our club listing pages up to date. Manfred Meier, DF6EX, QSL Database Manager (volunteer). Maintains the QSL database. Please take note of the word volunteer in most of the titles above. That means that these people do not get paid. They do it for you, for us, and for the hobby. If you're not satisfied with their service then perhaps you should apply for a refund. So what's the most difficult part of the job? Without a doubt it's answering the daily email that comes in for the "editor". We're talking at least 100 emails per day here. Our hard working editors have learned to be patient and to take nothing for granted when trying to assess user capabilities. It's not a particularly thankful task, especially when handling complaints. Naturally, there are people who don't bother reading the directions before they complain, and there are others who think that we exist only to please them. Sometimes I remind them that our money-back guarantee applies. For some reason, they don't think it's funny. Just about the time that we get totally frustrated and remind a user that everything works fine, "IF ONLY THEY WOULD FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS...", he or she writes us back with humble thanks and mentions that it's their 90th birthday and this is their first computer. That makes us feel like jerks. Sometimes, it helps us to keep our cool by assuming that everybody is 90 years old but, it's clear that some of our users abuse this assumption. It's only human nature that most of the email that we receive is the result of a problem or complaint of some kind. Although rare, we do get messages of praise, which we treasure and share amongst each other for encouragement. We've been often confused as belonging to the ARRL, and of being a branch of the FCC. We try and manage over 1 million callsigns and yet when someone notices that the FCC has posted their new upgrade and we don't show it yet, we catch hell. Never mind that it's been less than 24 hours and the FCC hasn't posted the new data to their FTP site yet. Frankly, it's hard for me to get excited about a single inaccurate listing. Sure, I'll do what I can to help the user out, but, it's not a four alarm fire. Some users even demand that we call them on the telephone to set the record straight. For some reason, they never suggest that we call collect. And then we get those thoughtful little emails that say: "Hello. My email address has changed to email@example.com", and nothing else. Our batting average at guessing the callsign that goes with such messages remains at .000. Others, when replying to an earlier email, leave out all of the previous context. We've received messages like "OK, then, please help me fix that." and nothing else. They assume that we remember the previous email. Here's a news flash: we don't save old emails. We smile while thoughtfully clicking on the DELETE key. Or how about the one that said "I GIVE UP". Nothing else, just "I GIVE UP". Our response: " Okay, thanks. It will be easier for both of us that way.".... Such is the story of the mega-monolithic corporation known as QRZ.COM. Please don't tell our competitors that we wrote this and subsequently broke our cover. We really are big, all knowing, and powerful. </blockquote> 73, -fred, AA7BQ P.S. I met Bill Gates once.