Cretan Blog-May 2014

Greetings from a Crete that is getting warmer by the day.

Co-channel QRM on VHF/UHF TV…
Remember the good old days when you watched Channels 1 and 9 on 405 and during the Summer you would get some really nice co-channel interference? We used to get it down in Eastbourne quite a bit especially on UHF when there was a ‘lift’ on and I think the best DX we ever received was some Swedish TV.

Anyway, nothing much has changed as when VHF and UHF condx are good out here, we get co-channel QRM that can wipe out at least 90% of the UHF channels we get. Of course, in the good old days you had a manual tuner on your TV and you could tune and see what was causing it but these days everything is preset once the station is tuned in and so tuning up and down the band is difficult. Pity, ‘cos I really miss seeing what’s about . . . I assume though that most of the QRM is coming from Greek TV using the same frequencies, however, with the antenna pointing in the general direction of E4, HZ and JY, it could be them thar foreign stations.

Did I hear you say that digital TV will stop all that? Hmm, if only we had digital TV! Still, with Summer here now, TV viewing will be at a minimum for the next six months.

The history of Greek Radio Broadcasting
Prior to all this co-channel QRM, we caught an interesting programme on TV during March. It was the history of Greek Radio Broadcasting – a bit like the history of the BBC. Some really ancient film of the first transmitters, made by Telefunken circa 1923, and how they tuned the antenna with massive tapped coils. Lots of old footage as you would expect but it got quite interesting in WW11 when all the domestic radios were ‘locked’ on one frequency and sealed so that you could not tune to any other station, This, of course, was the same in Holland, France, Germany, Italy etc. However, it also showed how people hid other radios in wells and cellars in order to listen to the Greek service put out by the BBC. There was even footage of the results of an attack by the Greek Resistance in which they blew up one of the, then, two antenna masts just outside Athens.

The whole programme was in Greek, of course, but this did not matter as you did not need to know all that was being said as the meaning of everything was just so clear. Interesting stuff.

Strong language on 10-11m
As you know, I am not much into SSB. I do not have a voice that is easy to copy when using the mode and I stutter. I also find that there is much more bad operating practice up the higher ends of the bands. Anyway, just before the CQ WPX SSB Shindig, a local group got together and were going to have a bash using the call: SX9C. I declined their invitation to join them down near Ierapetra but said I would try and give them a multiplier using my SW9 call.

I listened for them on all bands but did not hear them, probably because they were just that too far away for any ground wave and also the signal would have to jump a small mountain. Anyway, as I had unboxed the microphone and read the rigs instruction manual, I decided to just have a few QSO and to this end, over the two days of the contest, managed a whole 51 contacts – but – my oh my – the bad language! In most of Eastern Europe as well as Italy a lot of CB’ers use high powered rigs that cover 27 to 30 Megs, and then some, and these idiots just cause QRM to all and sundry. Some of the regular calls I work on the key were on SSB and despite not knowing a great deal of English, certainly had most of the swearwords I know off pat.

This behaviour gives all of us a bad name but what to do about it? In my opinion, the authorities should jump on anyone using an illegal CB radio or for using a legal CB outside their prescribed bands, and not only take the gear away but fine them large amounts of money and, if unpaid, give them a prison term.

Yes, this may seem a bit harsh but mark my words, in the UK Ofcom are considering allowing the CB fraternity to use such high powered rigs and on modes other than FM so this does not bode well for you in the UK I’m afraid . . . and, I understand,  the RSGB have raised no objections!

Smart TV’s ?
I have mentioned before about my complete failure to understand these flat screen things that people use these days. While returning from our last UK trip and waiting at Thiefrow, we wandered round Dixons. (Question: Why do they only have expensive items on display?) Anyway, we meandered around and a salesman-type person appeared by our side just as we are passing by these touchy-screeny things. He starts the usual patter and does things to the screen on one of the things. Pictures change, sizes alter and he seems pleased with himself.

“Try it” he says. At this point a look of panic crosses the XYL’s face. She slowly shakes her head.

I hesitate but he insists: “Go on. Try it” he says. I touch the screen. Nothing.

“Touch it and move your finger” he says. I do this. Still nothing.

“Like this” he says. He tries to demonstrate the thing, but nothing happens. The picture stays as it is. He gets into a little panic and starts to mumble.
I say not too worry as I don’t understand what anyone would use them for, and we wander off.

We sit down nearby and watch the poor fellow try to get his precious flat thing working but we get bored after a few minutes and stumble towards our departure gate. I do wonder if all these things are worth all the hype they are given as I can see no benefit from them at all.

On a semi-related subject I see that Samsung say their profits are down as people are not buying as many smart phones as they were. Now, I may not be some high-flying business executive but even I know that once you have bought a stupid smart phone for several hundred pounds, you are not going to change the damn thing every couple of months just to keep Samsung’s profits up, are you? And of course then there are those who do not want such ‘phones and will never buy one, so why don’t these so-called experts understand that the market is probably saturated already . . .

Tourist season looms – road update…..
With Easter out of the way, the tourists are arriving once again. It is a pity then that all the work that should have been finished, has not been. Piles of rubble remain and trenches have yet to be filled in. Some roads have actually been resurfaced, which was very pleasing to see, pity then that after three days another group of people turn up and dig a trench across the newly laid Tarmac. Is this filled in so as to make it smooth as before? You must be joking.

It is just like the UK where the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.

Oh, and then there is the reading of the plans. Outside of Elounda there is a petrol station. The access and egress are not the easiest and could do with some fresh Tarmac or concrete. So, about a month ago, the whole entry and exits were dug up. Fresh kerb stones were laid, concrete poured and some landscaping done.

However, when you drove past you did wonder (a) who designed it, and (b) did anyone bother to look at the plans before pouring the concrete. A footpath has been added but instead of this being from the kerb inwards, it has been laid from the kerb outwards so it juts out into the road by at least a metre, The best bit is that no-one seemed to notice this until after the concrete was poured (and set) and the landscaping done.

The joke here is that the cheap Albanian labour do not understand any form of plan and just do things as they see fit! As I said last time: “Crete will be very nice, when it’s finished”

May RadComic duly arrived and it seemed a waste of energy opening the wrapper.

The ATV Shack bit (Page 30) reads just like a flyer you would pick up at some rally or other and of no real value to anyone. The HF Vertical article (Part 1) was all theory and I await the next part on how to build it. I expect however, that, despite what is claimed, it will be complicated.

Despite the RSGB saying that it complies with UK law and cannot sell insurance, I see they still ‘sold’ a page of advertising (a so-called ‘article) to SW Broking. The Last Word contains nothing of note. I mean, a column and a half of ‘How I Got Started’ by no-one of interest was a total waste of paper and a picture of someone holding a piece of paper is again a waste of space. However, two letters knocking G3LDO were worth the admission price alone.

As ever, the RSGB are bang up to date. Witness on Page 10 that: “the RSGB submitted a paper for the RAEN”. It has not been the RAEN for years and years as it is now called RAYNET. Good to know that the RSGB have their finger on the pulse of change then . . .

RTTY Contest program wanted…
Can anyone recommend a decent RTTY Contest program that is simple to set up and use?

I have just about given up with MixW as it only operates as it should when it feels like it. This past weekend I tried to play in the SP RTTY contest but MixW kept giving me numbers from the last contest despite me having deleted all the info. I changed some of the Macros as well but these also reverted to a different contest entirely and not even the previous one entered. Please do not recommend RCKRtty as this does not work on Windoze 7 64 bit.

N1MM working with MMTTY could be a possibility but I would need some computer expert to try and understand how to set it all up as the instructions are written in some form of computer gobbledegook or ancient script.

Anyone got any ideas?

Back to G in mid-June
There is a possibility of me hitting the UK in June.The XYL was meant to attend an anniversary bash but having just had a couple of stays in hospital this past month, it not up to flying anywhere, so it looks like I will have to take her place. This is assuming that she is able to look after herself and not get into any trouble (some hope). We will see, but I could hit the Club on the 13th June . . . Watch this space . . .

My thought for the month:

“We never really grow up – we just learn how to act in public.”


Dick. SV0XBN/9

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