Cretan Blog – July 2012

Ah, the joys of summer! The happy sounds of people enjoying time outside with their barbeques or splashing about in the sea. The hum of bees in your flowerbed and the sounds of distant static crashing through 80 meters.

Four Meters and Down (for all you old timers out there)
I have continued to play on 6 meters this past month but with limited success. I do, however, understand why six is called the ‘Magic Band’ – when I get on it, everyone disappears – like magic! I have not been able to replicate my best distance contact of over 2,800kms despite some long hours just listening to noise. I kept the vertical wire dipole up for the Sporadic E contest but only worked four stations in 6 hours of operating and these four were all in a ten minute period. After this I built a dipole out of some aluminium tubing and fixed this in a NNW/SSE direction in the vain hope of hearing/working a fair chunk of Europe. A couple of days later I got close to my maximum distance by working ST2AR at just over 2,100kms with the ali dipole so it could be working ok!

Still, with this very simple antenna system I have still managed 10 countries and 14 different grids so I can’t really complain and I will keep at it for most of July before returning to the insanity of the HF bands. [See later for update]

While on the subject of six meters, not knowing much about the band, I sought advice from the UK Six Meter Group web site.

Must say I am not much impressed. I know nothing about ‘cookies’ and the main item on their site is all about these, whatever they are, and the fact that they have to have them apparently due to some new law or other. I do not understand any of this but all I know is that each time you go to one of their pages you get a box appear asking if you accept them. If you click on No, you find yourself back looking at Google again. Even clicking yes all the time does not reveal a great deal about operating on six meters as the site seems aimed at members only . . .

Oh, and they never did acknowledge my contest entry, so they are off my Christmas card list.

[Just prior to sending this to Deez, I received a very nice email from Trevor, G3ZYY, apologising for the cookie thing, the bad condx and just about everything else. I will reserve judgement for a while as apparently they have been having some problems . . .]

Cheap vs Scheduled
The XYL is returning to the UK for a wedding at the end of August and she will be flying in with Aegean but flying back with Not-soeasyJet. She booked both flights on-line. Why do Not-soeasyJet want far more information than Aegean? Not-soeasyJet say that unless she gives them her passport number NOW, ON LINE, she cannot fly, whereas Aegean don’t seem to want this information.

Anyway, she gives Not-soeasyJet this info when she books but next day receives an email saying that she had not given it and referring her to another page on their Not-soeasyJet web site, where, you’ve guessed it, there is the information they say they do not have!

What a useless excuse for an airline.

Award Stuff
As promised, here are the basic details of the Welsh Award issued by The Cleddau ARS.

The club issue quite a few awards and you do not need QSLs to claim any of them. Their main web site is and the site seems a bit outdated but you can get all the details you require. The Welsh Award requires you in the UK to work 10 Welsh stations while out here we need 5. Readers outside Europe need three.

Download and fill in the pdf form and send it with your cheque for six quid to John, GW0JRF, and within a few days, the parchment will appear. Cheques are made payable to the ‘Tenby Radio Repeater Group’ which is one of the ways they fund their local repeater [Whatever they are…]

You can also look at the following – all start www, of course, and all end

six-continents-award: european-award: vhf-award: region-one-award: welsh-award: zone-award and www.special-event-award.

I have claimed a few of their awards and will send in my European and Region 1 award claims within the next couple of months.

The Russian CW Club have also issued some new awards recently. These include a series of European, Asian, American and an Oceanic Prefix awards. Apart from the Oceanic the levels are 100, 200, 300 etc. Again these are free if you receive them via email.

As an update to the above, on Saturday 16th I send off my application for over 100 Asian prefixes and also 500 European ones. All six awards arrived by e-mail the following day.

Pretty good service I’d say!

I also received an All-Asia contest award in the past couple of weeks for being the 1st in Crete in the 2011 contest as J49XF. Did not play in this year’s event as I was struggling on 6 meters. (See later). Back in April I played in the Yuri Gagarin Contest and the results were sent to me on 19th June which is really quick. Seems I came 1st in Greece in that one but was still beaten by my old buddy, ON3ND, who just runs 10 watts to a 5RV.

Non-decision making – by the experts in non-decision making:

Halfway through this and still no dig at the RSGB! You just knew it was too good to be true, didn’t you? Well, the Board published the minutes of their meeting on the 18th & 19th May recently and I must say that they did not seem to get down to much nitty-gritty in two days of chatting.

However, my dig is at their inability to decide what to do about putting RadComic on line, like they used to. In item 10.2 of the Minutes they say:

“The concern is the opportunity for uncontrolled digital distribution by users especially non?members. Watermarking and a “terms and conditions” acceptance before downloading might deter casual pirates.” (My italics).

This subject has been kicking about for two years now and they still have not decided what to do. Early suggestions about ‘watermarking’, which I understand is cheap and effective fell on deaf ears because, probably, no one at Bedford thought of the idea and they do not want to be seen to be acting on Members suggestions as this might imply that people outside Abbey Court have more coherent thought than they do. [Yes, I have read that the ARRL have started doing the same with QST.]

Last Autumn we were told that things had to change, and fast. This and that needed to be sorted straight away. In the nine months since then, what has happened? Virtually nothing. The Green Shed has opened and apart from a partly improved web site that is due to appear at the end of September, that is about all. A couple of months ago we were told that the cash in the kitty amounted to about 16k. Seeing as they have now agreed to spend 2.5k on getting some Minister (who has probably never even heard of Amateur Radio) to officially open the Green Shed, and we also have a new General Manager whom I expect will want paying – and I bet he will not be doing the job for ‘minimum wages’ either – so I guess we are back in debt again.

I also read that only 26 non Members have paid up the have their QSLs delivered and according to the report: “The provoked a discussion as to the long term future of the QSL

(My italics again and I assume it should read ‘This provoked..’)

I can see that pretty soon we will be asked to pay for incoming QSLs, just like the Ruskies and the Yanks do. Just remember, you read it here first!

Proper Radio Stuff

Away from the RSGB and back to proper radio stuff.

I see my Club are going to run J49A from Crete in the IOTA Contest at the end of July. They will be at the very western end of the island, at Falasema Beach. As you know I am not a fan of this island chasing and only reluctantly have the details on my QSL card but the guys at the Club really enjoy putting in a decent effort for this contest.

Something that has got to me recently are these ‘FF’ stations. OK, so they operate from some park or field or some such, but why do they think themselves so important? Most just send 599 and do not even tell you what field they are in, should you be into saving grass numbers.

They could be sitting in their own back garden for all I know . . . Funny lot.

I had a look on 20m early one evening the other day and heard one of these football special calls from the Ukraine. I called him but he went back to Frank, ‘LWI! I worked the chap next QSO but it was nice to hear Frank and at well over the 9 . . .

Do any of you play on 6 meters CW?
Reason for asking is that the other weekend in the 50Mc/s Trophy contest, I worked a few stations which was fine. I would hear them, tune them in, and call just like on HF – but, if I sat and called CQ, when people answered, and often two or three at a time, no-one was on my frequency or anywhere near it. Some were over 1kc away because if I narrowed my filter settings down to, say 600c/s, there they were, gone!

Could it be that those in the contest were using a rig with no filters for CW and so tuned me in with a 2.4Kc filter width and just hoped for the best? This is the only reason I can come up with but if you have any other ideas, please let me know . . .

Despite these ‘problems’ we are now up to 17 Countries and 26 Grids with our 30 watts and dipole.

It was good to read the reports from Friedrichshafen by Deez and Dick. I really must try and get there one year. I did like the way the organisers put the Turkish and Greek societies next to each other but I guess this was safer that putting the Greek stand next to the German one!

Not long now before you can add the superbly thought out ‘O’ to your calls. I am still thoroughly underwhelmed by the people who thought that one up!

Oh, and still no answer from the RSGB Regional Rep chap. Two months, and counting.


Dick. SV0XBN/9.

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