Cretan Blog-December 2012

Greetings from a decidedly cooler Crete. We have had some topsy-turvy weather these past few weeks with temperatures ranging from 31°C down to chilly 17°C. We have also had the first of our Winter storms which broke one of the ties on the antenna system. No real damage as the aerial wire held the pole in place but I had to wait for four days for the winds to die down before I could get on the roof to effect a proper repair.
Despite the odd weather, we have still been able to go swimming a couple of times but the sea is somewhat cooler than we have been used to! Some of the locals have started to harvest their olives in the past few days. The olives are taken to a pressing ‘station’ where they are crushed and the acidity recorded. The lower the acidity, the better the oil, so if the average is 0.3 and you can find a 0.1 bottle, it will be expensive but well worth it! The blended stuff, Tesco’s own and most Italian oils, are pale imitations of what olive oil should be.

Digital Radio:
I see that the switch over to Digital is on hold as according to Ofcom, not enough people have already been conned to buying new strange-looking radios. I read that: “A new advertising campaign has been devised by Digital Radio UK, the industry body, in an effort to convince the public of the merits of the new system. “. A lot of people still don’t get it – they don’t understand what digital radio offers and why it’s important,” said Ford Ennals, its chief executive”
May I offer Mr Ennals a simple answer? Well, Mr Ennals, basically Digital Radio is crap.
The quality is worse than FM, you still get QRM from other stations and the idea of moving all broadcasters to Digital is so that the Government can sell off the VHF frequencies currently occupied and make a few quid. One again the populous are being conned into believing something is better that it really is because ‘those in power’ say so.

I also read that when the switchover does eventually come (probably around 2020, that’s the year, not the time), an estimated 25 million motorists will be left with no radio signal as Digital radios are only fitted to about a quarter of new cars.

In the last Blog I mentioned that the RSGB web site thing was meant to be changed by the end of September. I see however, that at the Board Meeting on 22nd Sept, it was decided to shift this commitment to ‘by the end of March 2013’, as they are having to overhaul their IT structure. OK, I understand this but why must they incorporate the new IOTA database and logging system that is being dreamt up as well?

The RSGB are looking at cost savings everywhere and they jumped onto the IOTA bandwagon some years ago by being persuaded that this was the best thing to do. It is time they told the IOTA mob to run the whole shebang themselves and not rely on the National Society to do it for them. In Russia, the group that run the highly successful RDA series of awards do not go to the Russian RSGB equivalent to get them to do things for them, so why should IOTA be any different? The rich buggers at the CDXC should put their hands in their pockets and pay for their own IT system themselves.

I also read that the RSGB cannot get enough volunteers to help run The Green Shed. Is it any wonder when they stitched up the Milton Keynes Club and their position at Bletchley Park? If I were a member of the MK Club, or any Club close to Bletchley, I think I’d tell the RSGB what they could do with their volunteer requests!

Oh, and talking of IOTA, did you know that should you live on an island, the UK for example, and you decide to up-sticks and operate as an ‘DXpedition’ to the Essex Marshes in the IOTA Contest because it is better for your 80m activities, that you cannot claim to be a ‘DXpedition’ as you normally live in the country you are operating from. You didn’t know this? Neither did our local Radio Club! Seems you have to read the very very small print in the rules . . . and they must be small as we haven’t found ‘em yet!

Missed Opportunity:
On page 11 on December RadComic there is a short news item about the Wakefield District RS running a special event station, GB0IDD, to raise awareness and understanding of disability issues. This is a fine ideal and should be commended, however, they missed a great opportunity to spread the word by not using QSL cards and opting to use only the faceless eQSL. Why? On their QSLs they could have publicised the whole idea of the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, but now they can’t.

So, the Special Resolution was passed overwhelmingly at the RSGB EGM meeting on 17th. I am afraid I still have my doubts about it all and see no real change in the running of the organisation for many years to come. It will still be a ‘job for the boys’ organisation I fear.

Have only been playing on 28Mc/s for the past few weeks. Put up two different aerials and switch between the two depending on condx and QRM. One aerial is a 7.6m wire fed through the 9:1 UnUn while the other is a Delta Loop set in a triangle shape and fed in the corner via a 4:1 Balun, and, being corner fed gives it vertical polarisation. Used them in the CQ-WW CW event at the end of November but condx were not too good at this end of the Med.

The CQ-WW event is an easy contest to enter as if you use a simple contest logging programme, such as N1MM, just for recording your QSOs, when you type in a call, the logging window puts in the CQ Zone for you. Even old versions of SD do this, so why then do a lot of Russians ask for a repeat of your Zone? Most odd . . . It was the same the previous weekend in the LZ CW where you exchange ITU Zones. Again SD and N1MM fill the Zone in for you but several Ruskies seem not to know this.
After these contests I see that my uncollected eQSL total has reached over 1,200.

We have several local TV stations here on Crete. Their content is ‘variable’ to say the least. There are the usual programmes, news, current affairs, quizzes etc but in order to fill their schedules they often use older programmes to fill a slot. KPHTH TV (Crete TV) used an old travel programme the other Sunday. You know the sort of thing, places to go to on holiday etc. Anyway, it showed old Palaces, huge marble floors, Souks, ancient buildings and statues. It looked quite impressive with the presenter walking around showing us the local markets and spice stalls – pity then that it was Aleppo in Syria.
Think the schedulers got that one a bit wrong!

I am waiting to hear about my ‘Contest Call’, J49XF, as the J4 series of calls are being withdrawn and only issued, so we are told (26/11/2102), to Greek Citizens. As of a few weeks ago we all thought that the rule meant Greek Callsign holders, SV1, SV6, SV0 etc, but now we are not so sure and await clarification. If I cannot us the J49 call, I will have to think of something else . . .

I have my flights and hotel booked for my January trip and a very kind soul (Tnx John!) has paid for my place at the Christmas Bash. With luck I should also be at the previous Friday meeting as well.

I mentioned last time about the Raki making that has been going on. I can now report that this years’ brew is as potent as last years and should not be consumed when (1) you might drive in the next 48 hours, (2) you might want to walk in the next 48 hours or (3) you intend trying to stand in the next 48 hours. Other than that, enjoy a glass or two!


Dick.. ‘XBN.

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