Cretan Blog-April 2014

Hi again from a very pleasant Crete. It was good to get back to the warm sunshine (24°C as I write this) after a quick 3-day visit to the UK to see our Daughter. The original trip in January was cancelled ‘cos the XYL was in hospital and this time, due to time restraints, we just stayed over in Folkestone and did not travel to visit friends or Radio Emporia 🙁

Anyway, we had a good couple of days where it was nice to have a pint of Bitter and some Cod & Chips. Don’t usually miss stuff like that but when back in the UK, you just have to have some, and, despite what we were led to believe, it did not rain on us!

World Amateur Radio Day 18th April….
Of course you do not need reminding that Friday 18th April is World Amateur Radio Day.

By the time this hits your screen the Polish Magazine, QTC, should have issued the details of their award which is usually along the lines of 20 contacts on HF or 10 on VHF all to be made on the 18th. The award is free . . .

Preparations for Easter…
At the time of writing, it is March and Easter arrives next month. This is the time when all the places that have been closed for the Winter start to re-open for the tourists. First, around Easter the Greeks, then the rest of Europe.

To this end, lots of places are having a spruce up. New paint, new furniture or whatever. This is all very good except for one thing, the roads. Between Aghios and Plaka, a distance of around 15 miles, there has been a lot of pipe-laying. The roads have been dug up, pipes laid and in some cases, if you are lucky, the road surface has been replaced. But it is a mess. One giant mess.

Work like this has to be done in the Winter as there is too much traffic on the narrow roads in the Summer and you would think that the sooner the job was completed, the better. Not so. The longer the job takes, the more money the workers get and so things are just ‘hung out’. So we are now approaching Easter and most of the work has not been completed. There are vast lengths of road with deep trenches on one side of them which have been like that for several months. Areas that have been completed may have had Tarmac laid down but the care with which this was done leaves the impression that you are driving over a cobbled street.

Like most things out here, it will be just finished on time but the lasting effect will be of bumpy roads and piles of rubble by the sides of many roads.

As someone once said “Crete will be very nice, when it’s finished”

Small World Dept:
Listened on 30m the other evening. Heard an RX6 calling CQ. Called him. Got his details and gave him mine. Back he come with – “We stayed in Elounda last year and hired a car and drove round a bit. Came to your village and saw your antenna. Did not like to call in”

Told him to bang on the door next time and all being well he will when he returns . . .

Soggy humour…
So here is a joke that has been doing the rounds over here:

Fred dies and waits in line for judgement. He notices that some souls would go straight into Heaven while Satan throws others into the burning pit. However, every so often Satan, instead of hurling the soul into the pit, just tosses it to one side. Curious, Fred asks Satan: “Excuse me, but why are you putting those to one side instead of throwing them in the burning pit?”

“They’re from England,” Satan replies, “They’re too wet to burn.”

RadCom
I am glad to see that I was not the only person to think that the articles on the future of Amateur Radio by G3RVC were a load of rubbish (The Last Word Feb RadComic Page 96).

Overall Feb RadComic covered quite a bit of ground this time as articles ranged from 136kc/s to 10 gigs. Peter Hart’s review does seem to be just a comparison between the FT-1200 and FT-3000 as he made the 1200 seem like a poor relation.

Must say the second part of the EME article was as good as the first and makes it sound ‘relatively’ easy to have a QSO or two. However, I have no 2m rig or antenna and do not have access to full-time broadband for the timing of JT65B which seems essential.

After re-reading the EME article, I looked up some of the web links mentioned and the link to EA6VQ’s site reveals how to set everything up including WSJT which must be timed exactly.

(Andy Talbot please note)

Awards
I do not know if any of you collect awards. These days the cost of sending your QSLs away or getting your award fee stolen in the post has made ‘electronic’ awards very popular. With these you send a list of the people worked and the details required and the award is send to via email ready for you to print off.

Because they are ‘electronic’ they cost very little to administer and send compared with the parchment equivalent – so it seems strange that the money-grabbing people who run IOTA have put the price of claiming an electronic award up by 35%! I read that because of putting their prices up by such a ridiculous amount, that claims have dropped off by 12% over the past year. Could it also be that people are getting fed up with the stupid idea of chasing bits of rock anyway . . .?

SDR
Just another thought about this SDR stuff: I see that in March RadComic that this VK6 chappie who reckons that SDR is so fantastic, finally admits that you do need knobs on your radio to make it work effectively. Also, despite paying over 200 quid (you must be joking!) for a box with knobs on, you still have to put sticky labels on it yourself to show what the knobs do . . .

In reading his piece, I think I now know why I am not interested and why I am put off this SDR thing – he writes it, as he did with previous articles, in such a way as to make you feel that, because you are not on the SDR bandwagon, you are some form of second-class citizen.

A few days after writing the above paragraph, my latest copy of SV NEA arrived. By chance, it had in it a proper review on the WoodBox Radio box that the VK6 chappie mentions. Although the article was all in Greek, even if it were in English, I do not think most people would understand it. Several screen shots of the set-up windows are shown and some are very confusing. For example: There are sliders with the title ‘RX back G’, or ‘RX back R’ or how about ‘MultiRX Back B’? Maybe ‘DigL/U Returns’ means something to you, or even the ‘AL’ command but I doubt it. There are things about a ‘Data Pipe’ and ‘Client applications’ all of which sound like some form of torture.

Oh, and the picture of the box shows no labels – so that is the reason why the VK6 guy had to put sticky labels on his.

No thanks – I’ll stick (no pun intended) to a PROPER radio thank you.

XP RIP??.
So, from next week Microsoft will stop supporting XP.

I guess, like me, XP is your favourite operating system and much better than any of those that followed it. However, it is estimated that 95%, yes, 95% of all ‘hole-in-the-wall’ machines use XP and that without the security patches each month, they could be vulnerable.

I think I will withdraw all my remaining few quid a few days before, and wait and see what happens . . .

 

This month’s thought:

“I have CDO. It’s like OCD but all the letters are in alphabetical order – as they should be”

 Enjoy your Easter eggs.

Yammas!

 

Dick SV0XBN/9

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1 Response to Cretan Blog-April 2014

  1. John says:

    Not sure about CDO or OCD, I prefer COD especially with chunky chips.

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