Cretan Blog-July 2013

Greetings once again from a very pleasantly mild Crete. This afternoon (22nd  June) we have 33°C in the shade at the back of the house, so all very pleasant . . .

This may hit your screens a day or so later than usual as our esteemed Editor is away doing his bit for G-DL relations by trying to empty a local German brewery [I’m back now – Ed]

We returned after our short sojourn to Blighty and the XYL is happy to be back attacking the jungle, sorry, garden once again while I am busy giving the shack a repaint after nearly 4 years of misuse and am also clearing out stuff that I have never used since we have been here, and probably several years before that . . .

Fishing Poles…..
Just prior to our leaving, I was discussing aerials and such with George, SV9DJO. As you know I use ‘fishing poles’ for verticals and general wire supports but these are not the strongest things about when we get really high winds. He recommended a company called ‘DX-wire’. They can be found at and have just the things you need, from poles to guy ropes and even grips to stop one section sliding down into the one below. Yes they are a bit more expensive that SOTA poles but are thicker and stronger, but not as expensive as Spiderbeam or MFJ poles. (Have you seen their stupid prices in the W&S adds? [Page 4 in June and July RadComic])

Dimis, SV9COL, uses a 10m DX-Wire pole on his works QTH building and despite it being up around 6 floors, without any form of guying and overlooking all of Heraklion, he has never had any trouble with it in several years despite the strong Winter winds and gales.

Time to upset a few people I think: In the latest edition of SV NEA (the Greek RadCom), there is a full explanation of D-Star. Yes, it is all in Greek and so I do not understand all the written stuff but the diagrams are taken from an English article and even with my basic  language skills, I get the gist of what goes on.

I must say that this is cheating on a LARGE scale. You talk into your D-Star hand-held. Some Repeater, that you don’t even pay for, hooks you up to the internet, that you don’t pay for, and you squawk to some other idiot with a D-Star hand-held in downtown Timbuckthree and you think that it is Amateur Radio.

Sorry chaps, but it isn’t and never will be. Using a repeater across town is bad enough but world-wide is, as I have said, cheating on a LARGE scale.

I have to say that my local Club in Heraklion have installed a D-Star thing at the Club QTH and with full Internet connection a few of the new licensees have been playing with it but most became bored after a very short while. I think that after the DX Cluster, this D-Star thing would be the next to be banned when I get to be in charge . . . oh, and Skimmer technology would go too . . .

Just a quick word about the RSGB web site thing: I tried recently to find something on the site and could not. I guess this is to be expected with something as crap as it seems to be but on the page I was on it said that of you found a problem with the site you could write in under the ‘Have Your Say’ thing.

Great! Just what I wanted! However, I could not find it. So, and you will love this, I typed ‘Have Your Say’ in the search box and hit the button.

I waited…..I waited some more…..After a while the RSGB new web site thing said it could not find it!!! Just about sums up the site somehow . . .

I had a belated look at June RadComic when we returned and now see that the QSL guy wants us to send our cards direct to an overseas Buro if we have over 2 Kilos of cards. Why not just give us all the overseas Buro addresses and we will do his bloody job for him!

I sometimes wonder if this chap really wants to run the Buro or not . . .

July RadComic arrived an hour before I was due to send this for uploading. A quick look revealed a bit of the ‘Curate’s Egg’, good in parts. No HF or VHF news and nothing of interest in the Last Word section as it just seems to be ‘nice’ letters about Bletchley Park. Why don’t they ever publish letters where people write in and really complain about things?

Anyone join the RSGB for a quid? Seems a good offer but I bet that, come this time next year, when they are faced with a full membership fee, at least 95% of the people will drop out and it will have cost the RSGB a few thousand quid in gaining very few new members.

Of course it goes without saying that you will not be working the RSGB HQ stations in the IARU Contest in a couple of weeks, will you? You may work as many of the other HQ stations as you like, and on as many bands as you can, but GR2HQ? Nah . . .

While in the UK I was amazed at the number of people wandering round with these flat screen things. Totally useless as far as I could see, as you cannot seem to connect anything to it. Where do you plug in your mouse, keyboard or printer? How does it work with your interface and your rig? From what I saw, they just seem to be the latest toy for ‘idiots’.

The ‘idiots’ presumably is the ‘i’ in iPad or iPhone or whatever . . .

. . . and what is with all these people wearing headphones? Not those little plug in the ear type but huge things that look like they should be listening for DX on 20m.

People are becoming very, very strange.

This past month was the last where we could use the special call J49C which was issued to celebrate 100 years of Crete becoming part of Greece. I used the call for the last few days on PSK while a couple of the lads had a few contacts on CW. Although the call has only been used by a few people and not every day, I think we made well over 10,000 QSOs using it which is not too bad in three months.

This past month my own ‘contest call’, SW9FF, has brought me into contact with these Flora and Fauna bods as they like the ‘FF’ suffix and like to use them when they are sitting in a field somewhere watching the daisies grow.. I have been asked to use the call and operate from about 7 sites around Lassithi province but I have yet to decline in a polite manner. I chose the call for contesting but if these Flora margarine bods want to use it next year, I will change calls in January.

Things I didn’t know:

Kent Morse keys are now made in Germany.

. . . and, this month’s Country and Western line is: –

‘It’s the Bottle against the Bible in the battle for Daddy’s soul’.


Dick. SV0XBN.

PS: This UA9 Brandy seems to evaporate as quickly as UA9 Vodka! Spasibo agn Serge!
PPS: Must say I liked the quad article posted on this Blog site by ‘TAZ. Excellent!

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