Cretan Blog – September 2012

Hello again from a pleasantly mild Crete.

A bit of a strange month just gone as at the beginning we had guests and our days were full and busy, now, at the end of the month, it is quiet, as apart from our guests returning to the UK, the XYL is back in Blighty attending a wedding and I am on my own and not even at the house as I am working at the 2nd QTH.

Radio Stuff:
Because of the above, radio activity has been minimal over the past few weeks. Just six QSOs in the awful IOTA contest as I looked for the local Club station, and only a few in the SARTG RTTY and YODX CW shindigs. However, after our ‘holiday’ to Kos at the end of the month, things should begin to return to what passes for normal around here.

My remarks about the SDR article last time produced some explanations and answers from various people but also some complaints from users about how ‘fussy’ the beasts were to various drivers and connections. I think this just reinforced my belief that ‘Proper Radios with knobs on are far better!’

While ‘Judge’, G4KAR, was here, we talked a lot about this and that and probably touched on everything to do with radio in the UK and elsewhere. Judge is heavily involved with RAYNET and quite a few of the chaps I used to know around the East Sussex area are now also involved. It was good to spend time listening to considered views that are totally opposite to mine on various subjects and we had long discussions about the RSGB, the current Licensing policy, band plans, the issuing of calls, the re-introduction of a CW test and a proper Licence incentive scheme involving certain bands, power and modes depending which Licence Class you have. A must in my opinion.

Early in August I received my UBN report for the UBA CW Contest held in February. Interesting reading. It shows that I cannot read fast CW as well as I thought I could as I lost points, quite a few of ‘em, for not getting serial numbers correct, despite my listening to previous and subsequent QSOs to check my logging. Still, I also get to see who logged me incorrectly as SV0XBM/9 or SV0XBZ/9. These are because the other guy did not listen properly but just assumed the call that he saw on his ‘call partial’ screen was the right one. XBM is SK and Agris, XBZ, is now back as YL2VW and has been for some time. Despite all my mistakes, I still came first in Crete and 48th worldwide so quite pleased with that.

September RadComic duly arrived but did not sit on the desk very long. However, I did like the comment in the Commonwealth Contest write-up that said that single op entries were reclassified to ‘assisted’ as they were using the DX Cluster. I should think so too. If you look at a screen to see were someone has told you where a certain station is, and on what frequency, that is being helped or assisted and, of course, is cheating, plain and simple.

Library Corner:
I am not a great reader. I rarely, if ever, sit down and read a book. However, when Judge visits he always brings out a couple of books that he enjoys and passes them on. This way I do get to read two books a year. The first was “Fighter Boys”, all about the Battle of Britain but without any glory, just fact. In this I never realised how many pilots we lost through inadequate training and the failure to instigate new methods of attack or defence. The other book was called “The Real Dad’s Army” by Col Rodney Foster. This is part of his diaries written throughout the war years and was of great interest to me as he was living in Hythe in Kent at the time and he talks about living in the town and also in Folkestone. Our daughter recently moved from Hythe to Folkestone and nearly all the places are known to us. Of course, reading the book you realise that his information about the war effort and its progress was the same as everyone else’s in that he relied on the newspapers and the BBC for news. He is also scathing about the politicians of the day, including Churchill, Stalin and the rest.

The simple answers are the best:
I read that Qantas, along with a lot of other airlines, do not like a man sitting next to an unaccompanied child while flying from A to B. Their thinking, along with that of BA and the rest of ‘em is that it that all single men on airplanes are child molesters, or worse. Because of this thinking, single men have been asked to change seats to another part of the plane so that a non-molesting lady can sit next to the unaccompanied brats.

The simple answer is one of the following:

  1. Do not accept unaccompanied children on flights unless they are over 18 years of age.
  2. Put all unaccompanied children in the hold with the baggage.
  3. Do not book unaccompanied kids next to a single bloke when allocating seats.

Personally, number 2 gets my vote. Simple.

Avian Happenings:
With the XYL going away, me working up at the 2nd QTH for a couple of weeks and the up-coming holiday, the XYL wanted the watering system in the garden extended to cover more of the plants while we were away. We had the basic shrubs and stuff watered each evening by a series of small drippers but she wanted a better system and so small sprinklers were added, more pipes laid and several test done.

Apart from one small hiccup when the timer died all went well and after a couple of days we noticed that several Tits have learnt about the watering system and have worked out that it means both food, water and a shower.

The watering system comes on, the small sprinklers trickle away between the plants and at the bottom of the garden there are two new sprinklers that water the banana tree and two palms. Not only does the water collects in small pools which attracts small insects, there not being a great deal of fresh water about at this time of year, but the Tits soon learnt that the sprinklers are an excellent shower and now bathe each evening. We do like clean birds in our garden!

Most evenings there are around 4 or 5 Great Tits and maybe a couple Sullen (Sombre) Tits as well. Then, last, but not least, are the Flycatchers who have also learnt that small flying insects are now available on a daily basis and come each evening for a quick shower and a snack.

I was about to close this blog thing but then saw the following and I just had to include it!

Background: In Greece when you buy something, such as a meal or coffee at a Taverna, you should get a receipt. Even if you have not yet paid, the owner should have rung up in his till to show what you have had and the cost. This shows that of the cost so far, 23% is VAT and, when it finally goes through the till, the Government will get the tax due to them. These receipts are often put on your table under a small upturned shot-glass and are totalled up at the end of your meal.

It is very easy for places not to ring anything up and just tell you at the end of the meal that the cost is ‘X’ Euros. This way the owner gets all the cash and the Government get nothing.

Needless to say, this is very common.

This is a précised version of the happenings on one island recently: –

“Residents on the island of Hydra revolted against the financial police on Friday. The controversy was sparked when the economic police began conducting their routine inspections in tourist areas of Hydra. One of the inspectors went to investigate a seafood Taverna, only to find that several tables had not been given VAT receipts, as is lawfully required.

The inspector asked the 55-year-old owner of the Taverna to accompany him to the police station, whereby she fainted, and professing health problems, asked to be taken to the hospital, where she was guarded to prevent escape. Meanwhile a case was prepared against the woman, and the police arrested her 25-year-old son, who worked in the business, instead.

The sight of the young man in handcuffs angered many residents, and throughout the day a growing number of protesters gathered outside the police station demanding that he be set free. By the time night fell at least 200 residents had assembled outside the police station, and cut off the water and electricity, effectively holding the police hostage. Protestors also blocked off the port, believing that the police planned to take the suspect back to Athens.

When the Flying Dolphin [Ferry] came into port around 9pm, they boarded the ship, looking for the young man. This resulted in a brawl between the protesters and the crewmembers, until port workers intervened and escorted the islanders off the boat. Meanwhile, other protesters continued to blockade the police station until the morning.

Early Saturday morning MAT [Greek SWAT] riot police arrived on the island. It was the first time riot police had ever intervened on the island, a fact which further enraged residents, who claimed that it tarnished the island’s reputation and put off tourists. MAT officers with helmets, vests, and shields went to the police station to rescue their imprisoned colleagues.

The islanders verbally protested but did not further intervene in the matter. The Taverna owner’s son was subsequently released as he was not the legal owner of the restaurant. He claimed that he had been intending to write up receipts for the customers.;

But the situation was not completely resolved, until a second wave of MAT riot police was dispatched, and accompanied the financial police on their inspections.”

It’s good out here, in’it?

Joke of the Month:
The wife has been missing for a week now. Police said to prepare for the worst. So I’ve been to the charity shop to get all her clothes back.



Dick. SV0XBN/9 (email:

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