Cretan Blog-June 2014

Greetings once again. This missive comes with a health warning. All being well, I should be at the Club Meeting on Friday 13th. I say ‘all being well’ as at the moment, my plans could change at short notice. However, flights are booked, car hire arranged, hotels paid for and, more importantly, a full pass signed by The Station Manager.

A lot of tourists seem to think that it is sunny here in Crete all the time. They arrive on holiday and just assume that we have all-year round sunshine and it hardly ever rains. Well, from early June to about the last week in September, we rarely see a cloud in the sky, let alone any precipitation, so this may appear to be true but …

Most of our rain falls in the Winter months with February being about the wettest and coldest. We get rain and cool WX at other times, of course, but sometimes things a bit awry. In April, for example, we had 12mm of rain, about half an inch. The usual average for April is just over 195mm or nearly 8 inches.

This has left us quite dry and although we get the odd shower from time to time, because of the then mild spell, everything in the garden is between 5 or 6 weeks earlier than it should be. Our Olive tree has been in bloom since before Easter, a lot earlier than usual.

The early tourists, or independent travelers, have had a really good few weeks recently with daily temperatures in late April and early May of around 24 °C  most days with only the odd shower to contend with. This has really enforced their view of our weather but we could really do with some heavy rain in the few weeks just to help top up the wells and aquifers.

[Two days after writing the above, we had steady, heavy rain for over 12 hours. This did some good but we could really do with the same every day for a month. Of course the tourists would not be too pleased . . .]

Awards & Diplomas:
Despite having limited operating time over the past couple of months I have been able to add another 50 Russian Prefixes to my total so can now claim for the 150 Award from the Russian CW Club.

Apart from limited operating time, we have also had limited operating power as the linear died. Suddenly having to revert back to 50 or 100 watts is a real shock to the system and is like suddenly running QRP.

However, in the skilled hands of Dimis, SV9COL, the linear was repaired and used to good effect in the CQ WPX Contest the other weekend. Not that I had that many QSOs but with me being the only SW9 in the contest, each QSO was a multiplier for the chap I worked. Not having all the skills needed to have a set-up where you just type in a call into your keyboard and the software throws out a serial number, I rely solely on pencil and paper and manual keying. This is OK for me as I just do ‘Search & Pounce’ but having called and worked someone, I often get called by someone else wanting my prefix multi. They will send my call and ‘UP’ ‘UP’ in the hope that I will slide up the band a little and they can work me.

I do not play that game.  I have tried it but always seem to have to ask for the serial number again as the person who called me is always just too damn quick. The idea that you slow down to the other guys speed is laughable in these contests as no one ever does. [*]

Despite my recent lack of power I have also managed to work all the Hetman names with both the SV0 and SW9 calls. Who Hetman?   “A ‘Hetman of the Ukraine’ is a former historic government office and political institution of Ukraine that is equivalent to a head of state.

As a head of state the position was established at first by Bogdan Khmelnytsky during the Cossack Hetmanate in the mid 17th century. During that period the office was electoral. Later in the late 18th century it was liquidated by the Russian government during the expansion of the Russian territory towards the Black Sea coast.” (Thank you Wikipedia.)

There were five people and you have to work stations and use the last letter of their call to spell the names. Any mode will do and it is not too difficult but with names like the aforementioned Bogdan Khmelnytskyi or Petro Sagaidachnyi it is not a 5 minute exercise!

All calls used in the award claims must be from the Ukraine, UR5AB, US2RO, UR7RG, UT4ED etc

June RadComic:
Not much to impress one in the latest edition. Yes, there were some bits of interest, but nothing to get excited about. The usual non-answers from the General Manager who says it is “not economically viable” to put RadComic in WH Smith. Ok, so why put a price of £4.95 on the front cover then? As expected the construction of the vertical was far more complicated that earlier suggested. Building your own UN-UN and terminating load are not for the faint-hearted and as for the results, well, only 1 or maybe 2db better than any commercial vertical? Hmm, not really worth all the effort then . . .

I did like the bit about logging when mobile (Getting Started Page 27). Apart from trying to find a place to mount your mobile rig, according to G4ERP you also have to fix up a ruddy video camera as well so that you can record your QSOs while driving. Is this stupid or what, and as for the ‘halter’ for the Mic, (Photo 3 Page 30) it looks like it is strangling the poor guy. There are far better ways of logging and fixing the Mic without all that fuss . . . and what about that PTT switch? I see a lot of Duct tape in use and also the problem of not being able to alter the speed of your intermittent wiper function . . .

What a splendid article for putting people off . . .

So as to upset the maximum number of people in the shortest possible time, how about the way that the ZS authorities deal with their foundation equivalent licence? Get the basic (Class B) licence but when you get to 25 you MUST gain the higher qualifications to get a full licence,otherwise, zilch. You are QRT.

This is similar to the way the UK licensing was meant to be when we were sold the idea by the Radio Society of Greater Bedford, but they chickened out . . .

Late RSGB thought:
In a moment of weakness I had a look at the Annual Report from the RSGB (page 36 of April RadComic). So, a question – Has the LEFARS Club got a Treasurer?
Answer: Yes, of course.
Next question – At the years’ end, who does the Audit of the books?
Answer – Not the Treasurer.

Why then does the RSGB have a Treasurer, one G4AOJ, who also serves on the Audit Committee? After all the financial jiggery-pokery going on recently, it does not seem right somehow, does it? Could be a good question to ask your Regional Manager if/when he deems to visit the Club. However, after the mauling he got last time, I doubt if he will appear before at least 2020!

[*] Would you believe that in the WPX, where I worked just less than 200 QSOs, three people actually slowed down to my (18 WPM) speed! One for the whole QSO including sending my call, and the other two really slowed down the number sent. I was amazed!

This Months’ Thought:

Remember: An apple a day will keep anyone away if you throw it hard enough.

Hopefully we will see you on the 13th.


Dick. SV0XBN/9

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