Cretan Blog – October 2012

Greetings from an unseasonably warm Crete. During September temperatures usually cool off slightly but instead of the expected 27°C – 29°C, recently we have been having afternoon temps around the 34°C  mark. This is all very pleasant as it allows us to go swimming most afternoons when we have nothing planned, but, we did have a shower of rain on 17th, our first rain since June 2nd.

The number of tourists drops off at the end of August when the Greeks return to work [Somewhat like the French taking the month off] and so the place is a little quieter. September is also the time when the more mature tourist, those without school-kids, arrive and those that chose the end of the month have been rewarded with some excellent WX.
However, during October we should get some welcome showers . . .

Kos Vacation:
Kos is very different from Crete. Crete is all mountains with very little in the way of flat areas whereas Kos is mostly flat apart from a range of hills. Because of the ‘no traffic’ policy in Kos Town and with the flat landscape, you could be misled for thinking you were in Holland as there are so many cycle lanes and bikes everywhere. Radio-wise there are some very good sites on the North coast which has a long (20 mile) sandy beach and there are also some good sites near the airport.

As arranged, on the first evening of our visit we met up with Jean-Jacques, ON3ND, and his XYL, Yolande. A most charming couple, and, despite our language worries, everything seemed to work out OK. JJ speaks some English, my XYL speaks some French while I just grunt from time to time, but all went well . . . We met each evening and generally put the world to rights, as you do. Of course JJ and I spoke mostly radio while the XYLs spoke mostly about other stuff. JJ and I sing off the same Hymn sheet when it comes to direct QSLs, Contests, deliberate QRM, cheating by using the Cluster etc and so we often found that as one was about to speak or comment on something, the other one of us would know what was going to be said and agree before the comment was fully made. The XYL and Yolande seemed to chat about most things, and despite the XYL’s ‘schoolgirl’ French, they got on like a house on fire with Yolande being very tolerant of the XYL’s mistakes.

JJ has been to Kos before and advised us on places to visit including the nearby island of Kalymnos. We did this trip on a Sunday and despite what the Internet said on the Saturday evening, the boat times were wrong, the bus timetable was wrong, and several places we intended to visit were closed. However, after catching a later ferry and having an early lunch we met up with a local taxi driver who took us round and about for most of the day, stopping here and there for loads of photos, showing us places of interest and letting us lounge about on a beach for an hour, and all for less than 30 quid. We expect that he was a better guide to the place as well.

The following day we were to return the hire car but with other things going amiss, I extended the hire by a day. This was OK except that the place we set off to see was closed on a Monday! Undaunted, the XYL suggested we drove to a town on the southern coast.

After an hours’ drive through some spectacular scenery we arrived at the town and parked up. The XYL crossed the road, tripped up the kerb, fell flat on her face, damaged her nose (and the pavement) and so after getting a local doctor to stop the flow of blood, we drove back to Kos Town to the hospital. A really good day out! (*)

Overall though, the whole Kos trip was a great success due mainly to Jean-Jacques and his wife Yolande who have both became true friends.

Radio Stuff:
A few weeks ago I received details of some more Russian CW Club Awards. These are an on-going series and are based on the signs of the Zodiac. Using the first letter of the Suffix, you spell the month and Zodiac sign, depending on the dates, e.g. ‘September Virgo’ and so on. I thought this would be quite easy but even after a couple of contests and some casual operating I failed to get my first month/sign combination and so will have to try again next year. Meanwhile, I’m now onto the next month – October Libra.

Although September RadComic did not stay on the desk very long, sometime later I found myself looking at the ‘Around Your Region’ bit and the goings on at various Clubs. This is when you miss being in the UK. Out here, our Club meets on a Wednesday and we sit and chat and then go out to eat. There are no lectures or talks as, in order to get anyone to talk to us, you must first fly them in from Athens or Thessaloniki. Over in Blighty you have a really rich vein of talks available to you, even if it means an hour or so’s drive down the road. Although not all subjects would interest me personally, recently, regionally there were talks about SOTA, Digital Amateur TV, HF propagation, SDR receiver kits and various visits. Your Club Committee does a brilliant job in organising various projects, outings and events and you should be grateful and support them in any way you can – believe me, without their enthusiasm, life at the Club would be very different . . .

October RadComic arrived and apart from the K3 review, had little of interest. I do not know why we needed to see a picture of someone’s bum [Page 70 ] but was intrigued to see the advert for the new Icom 7100. This is basically an updated Ic-7000 but with a touch screen, however, with the same IF, 124 Mc/s, I think that at this QTH we would still have the IF breakthrough problems from the marine relay on yonder hill. Would still like to play with one though!  [more photos here – recent trip by John G8DZH to the Newark hamfest and the opportunity to play with the IC-7100 on the Icom stand]

‘Not A Lot Of People Know That’ Dept:
Chatting to a lady who gives talks on the local flora and fauna the other day, she came up with a mind-boggling statistic: – There are some 35 million Olive trees on Crete and in this total there are 75 different varieties. However, she failed to answer my follow-up question: Who counted ‘em?


Music Muse:
I am not much into music. I like some, and dislike other stuff. Some classical is Ok while most other bits just sound awful. But how about you?

Question: Do you like the Ukulele – like George Formby used to play? (Younger members might like to look him up on Google)

T’other day the XYL received an email with a link to The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on YouTube. Look them up and watch them playing the theme tune to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Brilliant! Some of the other clips are really funny (You Don’t Bring Me Flowers) and show that not all orchestras are fuddy duddy – Enjoy!


Radio Stuff Part The Second:
On the last weekend in September, RASC, the local Radio Club, held its first ever ‘Hamvention’ as they liked to call it. It was really a junk sale with several people selling stuff from tables. However, although I saw nothing to interest me, I was amazed at the turn-out. On the Sunday morning (I did not go on Saturday, CQWW RTTY Contest) there must have been around 75 people in the venue, and 90% were licensed SV9s. I was introduced to so many people that I cannot begin to remember all the calls but they came from all four corners of Crete which meant a good three hour drive for some people.

Although the Club did not sell a lot of the items we priced up last Wednesday, I think that overall they were pleased with the attendance and will look to expand next year.

Horror of horrors – I have been asked to break out the microphone that came with the rig and work a local who needs SV9 on all bands, except 30m – on phone!

Off now to pour a cold one. It is still quite warm this evening at 28°C (20.00 local), so I think it is deserved. Will also need it to calm the nerves when I unpack the Mic . . .



Dick… XBN/9


(*) The pavement has recovered physically but is still suffering mental distress.

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