Ham Radio Deluxe Mega Thread via /r/amateurradio


Ham Radio Deluxe Mega Thread

History

Ham Radio Deluxe is software package that has multiple uses for the radio amateur. It was originally developed by Simon Brown (HB9DRV) around 2003 and was distributed as freeware. The software can interface with most transceivers that would allow control from the software. It allows the amateur radio operator to log contacts into a database that could be used later to verify contacts through various online and offline award systems. The software also includes a "Digital" software that allows encoding and decoding of various AFSK, FSK, CW and other digital messages. This is just a fraction of what the software had to offer. The software would combine multiple actions to allow for smoother and more enjoyable on-air experience with HRD doing most of the work.

In 2011, Simon's attention went from HRD to another project (SDR-Radio) and it was possible that development would cease. At this point, three amateur radio operators got together and purchased the source code from Simon. Since many people had financially supported HRD through donations, the last version (5.X) had to remain free.

In 2013, The new owners and developers at HRD released version 6.0. However it's no longer free. HRDsoft was now charging $99 for the software and 1 year of support. In order to obtain updates and support after the first year, the user had to pay $50 annually. HRD has since made improvements to the software and sold many units. Most of the customers were satisfied but there were bugs and issues with both software and hardware. There were customers who had issues with the software and allegedly received poor support from the staff.

Below is what unfolded after a HRD user asked for support just recently.


Thur Dec 15th

  • /u/dlichterman posted a thread with a link to QRZ.com's forums about a user who claimed that the Staff at Ham Radio Delxue (HRD) hacked their computer.

  • OP on QRZ posted documents to his support ticket. According to the ticket, HRD support "blacklisted" OP disabling his software. In order to have access to the software, OP was required to remove a negitive review that he posted on eham.net by staff

  • On Twitter.com, there is history of issues with @hamradiodeluxe.

  • Threads on both reddit and QRZ start becoming active. Others who have issues with HRD support start coming out.

  • Thread on eham was started about this subject on 12/14/2016

  • Known internet archivist Jason Scott (@textfiles) was told by HRD on twitter that the support ticket was "Copyrighted" and was looking into alleged libel issues source. Not certain if thread was directed to Mr. Scott or N2SUB


Friday Dec 16th

  • User on QRZ.com found HRD's license check server. Started querying OP's callsign to return as "Blacklisted"

  • QRZ owner deletes thread, posts his own thread with explanation while omitting possible "blacklist" and extortion (since deleted/merged). Precedes to lock new thread when called out about missing information

  • Another user on QRZ made another HRD thread. This time targeting the actions of QRZ Admin and staff.

  • In 2009, proof that HRD pays QRZ.com money for advertisements. Proof of conflict of interest.

  • Another (More recent) QRZ.com thread where HRD owner claims they pay QRZ for advertising. Claims QRZ owner as partner

  • Rick, One of the HRD owners (out of 3) responded on the QRZ and Eham forums about the incident claiming OP wasn't hacked. Owner attemped to call OP.

  • According to OP, Co-owner (Rick) left voicemail threatening lawsuit for release of "Copywrited" support ticket

  • On reddit, /u/fohdeesha made a thread where he compared reviews about HRD on eham.net against callsigns on the check server. A decent amount of callsigns from "poor reviews" showed up as "blacklisted" on the check server.

  • QRZ.com owner unlocked the original thread and merged all the HRD related threads together. All out Streisand Effect.

  • HRD blocked incoming connections to the check server. ALL "Blacklisted entries" were removed.

  • HRD Co-Owner (Rick) posted on QRZ.com the following

We we have an official statement soon, but we do not condone anyone that blacklisted any ham for a bad review

As of today, Randy, Mike and I went though the license server and removed all blacklisted hams. That's not good business or good policy.

More to come.

  • Lot of discussion continued

  • Ex support staff member of HRD (left on his own in April) replied on the QRZ thread that he was being setup as a patsy for creating the blacklist. He claimed he had chat logs (Citation needed).


Sat Dec 17th

  • 2nd owner of HRD (Mike) posted an apology and information about what happened on both on QRZ and eham forum

I want to make a statement of apology on behalf of HRD Software.

We regret that we have been unable to maintain our high standards of quality in our service to one of our customers. I have reached out to this customer to correct this regrettable situation. I am looking forward to speaking with him.

We apologize for what has happened here. I have stepped in and personally taken corrective actions to ensure that this mistake does not get made again.

It is not the policy or practice of HRD Software, LLC to retaliate, in any way, when negative reviews are made about our company, its products, or our employees. If this has happened in the past, I'm sorry. It won't happen again. We will strive to avoid, even the suspicion of, such things in the future.

Best wishes in your continuing enjoyment of our hobby.

Regards, [Contact info redacted]

Jim,

No one is going to be sued. I made a serious mistake and error of judgement in this and many cases and I am truly sorry.

Jim, I apologize publicly to you. I do have diabetes and sometimes this affects my judgement and it did in that voicemail I truly regret it. I'm talking to my Doctor about changing my medications so I wont have any more low sugars.

Randy, Mike and I are discussing my future with HRD.

Rick – [Redacted]

  • Apologies also posted to their twitter feed @hamradiodeluxe and their Facebook account

  • Facebook user claims he was hassled by HRD staff when he wanted a refund

  • Some users were not happy with the apology and diabetic excuse. HRD owners not acknowledging blacklist

  • Lots of discussion with 2nd owner of HRD trying to define what "blacklist" means

  • HRD deletes Facebook apology after critical replies.

  • 2nd owner of HRD explained in detail about the retailation and blacklist in a post on QRZ.com

  • Co-owner of HRD (Mike) stated on the QRZ.com forums that they will edit their EULA and "fix it"


Sun Dec 18th

  • News of what is going on making its making its way to other circles

Mon Dec 19th


Tue Dec 20th

  • Wronged users of HRD are starting to come forward

  • The Register is looking into Tips about deceptive statements from HRD

  • Another (former) HRD user steps forward. User ordered renewal, loaded software to be "Blacklisted", User asked support, HRD refunded user and stated he was blacklisted for being a member of certain Yahoo group(s). Source


Wed, Dec 21


Thur, Dec 22


Thur, Dec 29th


Fri, Dec 30th

  • User comes forward stating he was blacklisted and wasn't welcomed to use the software, even if he paid for it because user asked for discount because he was disabled and out of work. Support staff member claims they are also disabled and was able to find a job.

  • OP From original thread claimed that after HRD co-owner threatened to sue, he would have the owner of QRZ remove the thread on his behalf. Moments later, the thread was deleted (see Fri 16th). However thread was undeleted after QRZ owner reached out to OP

  • HRDsoftware LLC released a statement that Rick (Co-owner) has stepped down and retired. The press release also stated that they are revising their End User License Agreement shortly "to modernize and renew our commitment to our customer (Reddit Thread About Subject"


Recent Updates


More Links and Information

Reddit ( u/disgruntledham) posts – HRD Owners just don't get it

Reddit ( u/Souncreativeithurts) posts Ham Radio Deluxed Released A Statement

Reddit ( u/root_127-0-0-1 ) posts HRD Memes

Reddit ( u/Stantheman822 ) posts Uninstall Screen Shot

K3NG ( u/radioartisan ) blogs about Software mentioning HRD and other Software

KD8TWG ( u/ ) blogs about the HRD situation

Slashdot blurb about HRD

Facebook HRD group page – Public, group fan page. Not affiliated with HRD. Has discussion about this topic.

Reddit X-Posted to /r/stallmanwasright

Reddit X-Posted to /r/linuxmasterrace

Reddit X-Posted to /r/technology

SoylentNews's article on the HRD Situation

K6NQ's (Paid HRD User) Open Letter To HRD

LHS Podcast talking about HRD, The Blacklist and OSS

Phasing Line Podcast Bonus special about HRD

BoingBoing Article

NT1K.com Op-Ed Article about HRD

CNBeta (China) Article on HRD

Genk.vn (Vietnam) Article about HRD

Silicon Angle Article about HRD

g0wfv's blog post about HRD

Youtube Video of HRD Board Meeting (Satire)


Purpose

Please post any updates you have with a source and it will be added to this megathread. Please avoid posting new threads unless it's of great significance to the situation.

Since this thread is being linked to in other places, I would like to personally say that the events above is a rare occurrence. This is result from years of problems with what appears to be one person or one company. It does not represent amateur radio as a whole. Please check out our other threads to see what we're about.

Submitted December 20, 2016 at 12:15PM by ItsBail
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