28 September 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TO ACCEPT DIGITAL CERTIFICATES ISSUED BY THE ARRL'S
"LOGBOOK OF THE WORLD" PROGRAM
Contact: Jonathan Taylor, K1RFD (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ridgefield, CT, September 28
-- EchoLink, the world's leading Amateur Radio Internet linking system,
has announced that it will begin accepting digital certificates issued by the
American Radio Relay League's Logbook of the World program as an
alternate means of authenticating new users.
System security is critical, and all new EchoLink
users must be validated before being allowed access.
In many cases, new users are asked to provide proof of license for verification. EchoLink
system administrators currently process dozens of Amateur license photocopies
each day, received by fax and e-mail.
To streamline the process, participants in Logbook of the World (LoTW) will now be able to prove their identity
to EchoLink using a LoTW digital certificate, as an alternative to submitting a
Under the Trusted QSL technology employed by LoTW,
the ARRL is acting as the certificate authority, or CA. In
accepting digital certificates issued by the ARRL, EchoLink is asserting that
it trusts the ARRL CA's methods of verifying identity.
This simplifies the validation process for new users who are already using LoTW, since they need not prove their
identity (including their callsign) a second time in order to use EchoLink.
Once a Trusted QSL digital certificate is
installed, a special utility developed by EchoLink allows new users to
authenticate themselves to the EchoLink system in a matter of seconds. The
utility "signs" a validation request with the user's private key, and
then transmits the request, the signature, and the certificate to the EchoLink
servers. The servers automatically
verify the digital certificate and electronic signature upon receipt. The
certificate contains the requestor's callsign, as verified by the ARRL.
Once validated, new EchoLink users are able to set
up simplex or repeater links that can communicate by voice over the Internet
with any of thousands of other Amateur stations.
Validated users can also use EchoLink to connect to distant stations directly from their PCs.
"This is a major step forward in
interconnecting Amateur Radio with the Internet," said Jonathan Taylor,
K1RFD, developer of the EchoLink system.
"The merger of these two technologies has always been hindered by the need for strong, reliable
By issuing trustworthy digital certificates, the ARRL is making it easier for systems like EchoLink to leverage
communications technologies that enhance the value of the Amateur Radio
EchoLink is a system for interconnecting Amateur
Radio stations over the Internet.
Now in its second year of operation, EchoLink has been adopted by more than 100,000 licensed Amateurs in 139
The software and access to the system is offered free of charge, and the system is managed by an all-volunteer
staff of hams on three continents.
Logbook of the World is the ARRL's secure
electronic contact-confirmation system. Launched on September 15 of this
year, it will allow its participants to qualify for operating
awards electronically, as an alternative to exchanging and submitting hardcopy
Information on EchoLink is available at
www.echolink.org. Information on
Logbook of the World is available at www.arrl.org/lotw.