Cretan Blog-May 2013

Greetings once again from a pleasantly mild Crete. I say pleasantly mild but during April we had a taste of winter again with cold northerly winds and temperature around 15-16°C. We did not sign up for freezing temperatures like that I can tell you! However, at 26°C as I type this, things are pleasant once again. The tourists have now started to arrive in greater numbers and after our Easter (4th/5th May), things will really get into full swing.

CQ WPX Sideband event
I do not like SSB (washes mouth out) very much but last month there was the CQ WPX Sideband event. I was advised that if I entered and only had a few QSOs, then my ‘contest call’ would get in the ‘Partial Call Database’ a lot quicker and I would not get so much hassle as to which country I am from etc.
So I read the rig’s instruction manual, break out the Microphone, and have a grand total of 35 QSOs over the two-day period. I only work some very strong stations who I know will send in logs (LX7I, EI7M, RL3A etc).
The day after the contest I send in a check log to the CQ people. (Why I do this after their stupidity last time, I do not know.)
A day later the CQ ‘Robot’ says that it cannot recognise the heading ‘Operator’ in the Cabrillo file, apparently it wants to see ‘Operators’, plural, even though there was only one person operating, and it also says it does not recognise Crete as a country!

Compared to the Russian PSK ‘Robot’, the CQ ‘Robot’ is utter crap. Last time the CQ people did not even bother to answer my e-mail regarding a log they requested and I said I would never send them a log again. So be it. There is the CQ-WPX-CW event at the end of May. I will have a small play, I will work a few, I will be a multiplier for most of ‘em and that will be it. I will not send in a log and, within a week, they will ask for one. I will not tell you what my reply will be as it may offend the Ladies who read this . . .

Have had some fun with the J49C call on PSK recently as part of the 100 yr celebrations of Crete becoming part of Greece. I was using Fldigi and after digging around I found that you can save the Macros automatically when you leave the programme, rather than having to remember to click a couple of button as I said in my review of the software some time back. Must say that it has made things so much easier . . .
I guess if I had actually read the destructions when I first tried the software, I would never have had the problems in the first place!
I used the call on the 18th for World Amateur Radio Day and emailed my log to the Polish Magazine on the following Saturday afternoon. I received the award by email within the hour! Now is that fast or what?

UK visit in September
Have just about got permission from ‘The Head Warden’ to visit the UK again at the end of September. My plan is to visit the National Hamfest on 27th. The trip will only be for a few days – Hamfest – Daughter – Work colleague – Home.

RSGB website
Seen the new RSGB Web thingy? If you haven’t, don’t bother.
Again I will not use the words I think are applicable as ‘the Ladies’ may become upset again but for several months (years?) work, it is abysmal.
A look today (20th) revealed that if you try and find a page, you get transfered to the old site in most cases. If you type something in the ‘search’ box the first thing is that you will need to adjust your screen in order to see what you have typed as it is so pale, then, if, like me, you just type in ‘Board Members’, you are offered lots of old information, twice!
The first item was ‘The Latest Board Meeting Minutes’ – this was dated last November but two items further down the page was the same item again and I never did find the list of Board Members I wanted. I was looking because on Page 1 of ‘News’ there is a thank you note from someone called Alan Messenger, G0TLK who says he is a ‘Director’ – I didn’t think that the RSGB had Directors and I just wanted to check this out . . .

Re the above: I now assume that G0TLK is a director of the company that came up with the new web thingy, if so, it is a bloody awful representation of the work his company do . . .

On the ‘new’ site, the picture of the RadComic cover is also two months out of date – this really shows how ‘on the ball’ they are!

I do not follow any of these Forum things (wouldn’t know how to anyway) but gather that the site has been rubbished by all and sundry. Even locals out here think it is awful. More technical people than I have panned it as being too complicated to navigate while showing a totally dumbed down face of Amateur Radio. As someone said “It looks like it was put together by two men in a shed with a budget of 2/6d” For younger members, 2/6d is now 12½ pence, which is about all the RSGB has in its coffers after paying all the Boards inflated salaries and travel expenses.
Those of you who were at the Club Meeting 12 months ago when the subject of the crap web site was raised with Norman, will remember his ‘stock RSGB answer’, that the new site would be all-signing, all-dancing, and be ready within a few months.
Like the new web site, his answer was a load of bo—-ks!
If the RSGB Web Site is the new ‘front’ of Amateur Radio in the UK then as a hobby and a group, we are doomed.

Old XP PC for data…
Acquired an old tower pc this past week from some friends who did not want it any more. They said it was ‘clean’ and only had XP on it. Brilliant!
With no virus software, as it will never go on t’internet, no MS Office or other junk to slow it down, and with just MixW, Fldigi and Digipan on it, it flies along! Best of all is that being in a metal case and sitting under the desk, it is not prone to RF problems like the old XP Laptop was that sat next to the rig. A really good buy at £10!
Used it in anger in the SP DX RTTY contest this past weekend and it passed with flying colours.

Visit from UA9CSA
A regular reader of this column arrived in Crete this week. This was Serge, UA9CSA, and his XYL Irini. We will see them next weekend but this will be after May 1st, so a full report of the meeting may be in the next edition. That is if I can remember all that happens as sometimes when we get together, a fair bit of local ale is consumed and the old memory cells fail to work afterwards!

Basting time
Time to go and turn the XYL over and baste her other side. She is catching some rays and will be cooked to a crisp if I do not attend to her needs.

Dick. SV0XBN/9

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