Cretan Blog-March 2013

Greetings from a pleasantly warm Crete where today (27thFeb) we have 21°C and not a cloud in the sky

I now have to hang my head in shame. I have to admit that, after over 25 years, the other weekend, I actually (and this is really hard for me to admit) had QSOs on single sideband . . . (Washes mouth out)

Please forgive me! It was not really my fault, honest. Two of the Club members were involved in the formation of the first SV Triathlon Contest earlier in the month. This is one where the first eight hours are RTTY, the second eight are SSB and the last eight are CW.

Like all members of the Club, we were asked to enter and have a few QSOs on each mode as Crete was a multiplier and the more people we could get on from SV9, the better. I had seven SSB QSOs, including a ‘sked’ one with my old friend JJ, ON3ND.

I would hope that will be the end of it at least until the next Triathlon Contest . . .!

Contests Pt. 2
I had a small play in the Russian PSK Contest the other week. Not really into PSK contesting [See comments in next Newsletter] but gave away some points. After the contest, as usual, you send in your Cabrillo log, however, in the Russian, you only have 5 days to do this and you send it to a ‘Robot’ computer in Siberia. This was amazing as soon as my log went off, a notice appeared saying that I needed to change my class of entry. I did this with one click and less than a second later the machine said that it had checked my log, it was all in order and my claimed score was so many points. Not only that, it gave a list of points, multipliers and totals for each band! The best thing? It gave me 200 points more than I had worked out!

A really neat piece of software that was far better than most ‘Robots’ used by other contest organisers that just send an acknowledgement after a few days. Here one thinks of the CQ organisation whose ‘Robot’ cannot even understand the words: ‘Check Log’!

Oh, by the way. I entered the CQ-WPX RTTY contest earlier in the month. On principle I did not send in a log and, lo and behold, I get an email from them asking for one. The reason? Well, I was the only person to enter with an SW9 call and more than half of the people I worked submitted a log. I had several queries about the call while in the contest because (a) not all logging programmes recognise SW9 as Crete, (b) I had not put out an advanced notice of the call and the bands I would be on and (c) being the first time the call was aired, it was not in any ‘Partial Call Database’ and so people asked if the call was new.

Greek lessons
The XYL now goes to two Greek classes a week, once on a Thursday with a group of other like-minded idiots but also on a Tuesday afternoon for an hour on her own so that she can ‘talk’ with Manolis, her teacher, rather than just be in a formal lesson.

This is helping her speak the language much better but each week she has fresh words to learn and use in sentences. She writes the English word down and puts the Greek one next to it. She then wanders up and down the lounge muttering to herself while she tries to learn the words. After a while she asks me to test her.

I say the English word and she says the Greek equivalent. Of course the Greek words are written in Greek and I have to do my best at listening to what she says and seeing that it ‘matches’ the Greek word. In doing this I have to remember that P in Greek is really an R, there is only a capital B, no lower case one, that a backwards looking y has a sound like a ‘mew’, an ‘n’ that is really an ‘s’, and so on . . .

Anyway, it went like this:

I said the English word.

The XYL said the Greek word.

I did not understand.

She said it again.

I still did not understand.

Here is the reason I did not understand and why I will never learn Greek: –

The Greek word was 6 letters long and had in it, 3 ‘u’s. Each of the three letter ‘u’s was pronounced differently. The first was pronounced as an ‘e’, the second as an ‘i’ and the last one as a ‘u’. Now how the hell is anyone meant to cope with a language like that?

The Olive picking went on a lot longer this Winter. Word has it that all over Crete the Olive harvest has been the best for a number of years, the quality is very good and the price received from the processing plants has also been higher this year, partly due to the failure of the Spanish Olive harvest. From the oil we have been given, we can certainly vouch for the quality!

Seen the Operational Plan for the RSGB?

There is a lot of ‘management speak’ in it and if you read it all, you will see that they should have been doing 95% of it anyway. One wonders what will happen if, after the AGM, there are a host of new people on the Board who have differing ideas about where the RSGB should be going and how to get it there. With any luck the new people will divorce themselves from anything to do with IOTA and will also look again at why the RSGB are constantly promoting this stupid ARDF thing that less than 2% of the Membership are interested in.

[The last paragraph was written before RadComic arrived]

Around the 19th, March RadComic arrived and while waiting for some paint to dry, and with nothing else to do, I took a quick look. Again I feel that the RSGB are still ‘finding their way’ about lots of issues. There are adverts for a Software Support person (bloody IOTA again), someone to edit the Yearbook, QSL managers wanted and they are still asking for ideas for the Centenary thing. The AGM is only a few weeks away but there is little on it. Yes, I know there will be more next month but they do not seem to have pushed for nominations to the Board, do they? Only three people have applied for the vacancies which means that some of the current incumbents will still be in post in a months’ or so’s time. Also, no one has applied for the Presidents’ position. If no one comes forward, then the current chap keeps his job for another year. This means that the actual Board and the people at the top will not have changed very much and so the same old nepotism will continue.

On the positive side, in the last paragraph of the IOTA Steering Committee report it is good to see that no one wants to take up a couple of vacant positions, the IT one (see above) and a Managerial one.

I read that GB4FUN is being scrapped. About time . . .

Avian Stuff: It would appear that Spring is here as for the past couple of weeks we have been fending off Sparrows who wish to nest in the air-con units or the top of the boiler flue. There is a Chaffinch singing its heart out on one Almond tree while a few hundred yards away there is another one shouting back. We seem to have a family of Blue Tits in the Carob tree next door who just chase each other about all day. They will wear themselves out by the time they get round to building a nest . . .

We had some warmer weather (23°C some days) around the middle of the month and with the wind coming from the South we had some early migrants coming through. Although we have seen swallows this early, this year we saw some Red-breasted Fly Catchers. There were a group of about six of ‘em in an Almond tree just down the lane where they were busy jumping up, catching bugs, and returning to their perch. They must have spent several hours just feeding before flying off . . .

Our young Eagle would appear to be camera-shy. Each time he appears and I try to get a decent picture of him, he moves away. The closest he has got to us was earlier in the month when he sat on a telegraph pole that sits near a house below us. We reckon that he was 60ft away, but again, as soon as I even move towards the camera – he’s off!

A few days later the XYL was driving up from Plaka when she saw ‘our’ young Eagle being mobbed by two Buzzards as he had obviously impeded into their territory. They chased him off but he returned after a couple of days and was seen up by the old mills waiting for some small rodent or lost French tourist to pass close by . . .

I’m off now to enjoy some fresh lamb chops. Enjoy your Horseburgers . . .



Dick. SV0XBN/9

As usual:

“These are my opinions and only my opinions, unless you share them as well, which would make them our opinions, but I am not of the opinion that I can express your opinion as my opinion without your prior expression of said opinion, and then my re-utterance of that opinion would, in my opinion, be foolish unless I were expressing agreement to your opinion, and then it wouldn’t be my opinion but your opinion to which I only agree.”

Blog Update

 The RSGB must be getting desperate. The latest edition (#1821) of the DX Newsletter from the DARC contains the following:

G, England:
GB3RS is station located in the “National Radio Centre” in
Bletchley Park, an exhibition of the history and technology
of radio communication. The RSGB is always looking for volunteers
for the operation of the station. Please contact

How come the RSGB are putting adverts in a DX newsletter for volunteers to run the Green Shed?

Can’t they fill the vacancies any other way? Maybe they shouldn’t have upset the Milton Keynes group by getting them thrown out of Bletchley Park, then they would have their volunteers . . .

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