Cretan Blog – March 2012

Hello again . . .

Just after sending my last ramblings, my copy of SV NEA arrived. Several pages were devoted to IOTA stuff and this IOTA Marathon which is currently running. You didn’t know about this? No, neither did I . . .  Anyway, I scan the magazine and come across an advert for the Dynascan DB48. Upon reading the advert, I learn that this is exactly the same as the Wouxun KG-UVD1P which is also sold under the brand name Midland, model CT-790 and also as an Albrecht, model DB-270R1 – and there I was, probably like you, under the impression that Lynchie had sourced an independent manufacturer. While the Wouxun is popular in Germany, the Dynascan DB48 is very popular in Spain and Portugal I hear. (see review here with yet more aliases)

Also in SV NEA I spied a ‘new’ TYT TH-F8 2m handheld thing. Not seen this advertised before but there is blurb about it on T’internet . . .

February RadComic duly arrived (via TNT again) and did not sit on the desk very long. First dumb question: Why are they reviewing an ‘Amateur’ transceiver that is obviously a modified CB radio? Second dumb question: Why would anyone buy such an expensive piece of junk [Equipment – Ed] when, for a few extra quid, you could have a proper radio, covering more bands and modes? I mean, there was an Icom 706 Mk 11 G advertised in the Mag for 400 notes which would knock that CB junk [Equipment!-Ed] into a cocked hat.

I see that G3LDO was on about loops again in his antenna column. OK, so the loop is bigger than usual and also laid on its side but what has it really to do with Amateur Radio?Absolutely Nothing.

My last word about the February edition must be about the Start Here article. If I did not know CW, this article would not get me interested in any way. The whole thing could, and should, have been better presented, and preferably by someone who actually knows about teaching CW and using it on the bands. Telling a newcomer that you can use software like CwGet to read CW for you is not the way of getting people to use the Code. No computer programme can copy CW like the human ear/brain combination and it is reckless to suggest that it can.

I really think it is time that M5FUN and his ‘bit of stuff’ were put out to grass.

Other Stuff: In early February we had a talk at the ‘Gardening Club’ by Don the Curator of the Knossos site near Heraklion. You may recall that I mentioned our visit to Knossos in my December blog. Anyways, Don comes along and gives the assembled masses a talk – again more fascinating facts and, better still, updates on what we saw and heard about last year.

Over the past couple of months they have completed surveying of the whole area with ground radar. This penetrates the earth to a depth of several metres and the resultant displays can be ‘read’ to show buildings and other items of interest. In a joint effort between the Greek Authorities, the Americans and the British School (the people who do the archaeological stuff at Knossos) they have just finished ‘mapping’ the whole area which does not just include the Palace but all the surrounding terrain and up to several kilometres distant.

From this they estimate that the population of the Knossos area was not the 10,000 it was thought to have been but could be as high as 25,000 souls. The area so far excavated around the palace and the surrounding area only touches about 2% of what is now thought to be the size of the city.

With modern technology, items such as pots, thought to be made locally, have shown to contain matter that is not local to the area, inferring that items such as vases and the like were imported or brought in from areas close by. For example, a vase, thought to be local to Knossos, has now been found to contain traces of minerals that are only found in the area around modern day Pachia Amos, at least 150kms away.

Don also gave us details of some of the Strontium tests that have been carried out on teeth.It seems that teeth contain a history of where you were brought up in your early years, to the sort of things you ate in later life and obviously where you were buried. Some of these tests have shown that there was a great diversity of peoples living in and around Knossos, not just Minoans. We were shown results that showed that people came to Knossos not only from mainland Greece but also the area now known as Georgia (4L), Alatay (UN) and the Sudan (ST). There were, of course, also traders who came from Italy, Egypt, Libya and other parts of the Mediterranean. Some limited DNA testing has also been done and this has confirmed the Strontium test results.

There is another, smaller Minoan site at Gournia, not too far from us, and it is hoped to get special permission to visit the site in late May or early June. Again Don will do the organising and the plan is for an afternoons lecture about the place on one day and then the following day to visit the site. Although the site is open to tourists, we hope to have a few hours when we could visit the restricted areas.

I must say here that I am not much into history but do find that some of this stuff is fascinating . . .

Agris, SV0XBZ, (info here) is returning to Latvia in March and, as a parting gift, gave me his 10m Moxon beam last week. He will be missed out here as he is an excellent CW operator and has helped out the Club a great deal in various events and contests. When he gets back to Latvia he will revert to his old call, YL2VW, but his SV0 call is valid for 10 years so he will use it when he returns on holiday. He could well return for good anyway in a few years as the organisation that he works for will need a person based in Heraklion in the future.

The only good thing about his leaving is that he and I will no longer be confused in contests and we will not get the ‘WKD B4’ message when we both know we have not worked the station in question.

I will see how I can fit the Moxon on the roof over the next couple of months. I have no rotator so will probably fix it facing East in the mornings and then swing it round to face a more westerly direction in the afternoons.

Our Dongle Died.  Just over a week ago our Dongle just stopped working. It had not been dropped or bashed, but just stopped doing anything, so it is currently away for ‘repair’. Although we just use it for checking emails and the odd look up on t’internet, it is amazing how you miss it.

So we are currently back to visiting our friendly I/net Café down in Elounda a couple of times a week. Inconvenient, yes, but there is always a cold beer to be had!

Our Art lessons continue to fill our Tuesday mornings. You didn’t know we took Art lessons?

Well, we do, although Art is too long a word for what we actually do. For several months we have been plodding along to a chap we know from the Gardening Club who used to be a Lecturer in Art and some University or other. We started at the very beginning learning to draw with a pencil and have now progressed to learning how to rub the stuff out. Most of the stuff I do is unrecognisable as anything in particular but we have fun throwing the paint at the paper/wall/floor or each other . . . Still, it keeps us off the streets and I get to wear a beret at a jaunty angle!

Time to send this off. Oh dear, I will need to go to the Internet Café to do this. “Judith! One Mythos please! I have an email to send”


Dick. SV0XBN/9.   (email:

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