Cretan Blog-Aug 2013

Hello again from a pleasantly mild Crete  . . .

July RadCom
I have now had longer to digest “The Bull” that arrived just as the last Blog was being sent for uploading. I spotted John, G3WFM, in the picture taken at the AGM this year (a third of the way in from the right hand side, standing by the pillar) with Marjorie standing just in front, and of course there was the Loughton Club picture that Frank spotted. It was also good to see a picture of Margaret Mills, G3ACC, even though it was mainly her back, as she wrote the RSGB book on learning CW. And yes, I still have my copy!

No doubt you saw that, on the front cover, in the shack, there was a map on the wall. Even a quick glance revealed that it showed both East and West Suffolk and also Middlesex. [Now that goes back a ways!]. However, if you look deeper into the map you will not only see the old counties of Huntingdon and Rutland shown, but also the three old areas that now make up Lincolnshire: Holland, Lindsey and Kesteven. [Not a lot of people know that – Michael Caine]

I though some of the old articles were actually quite good but the first ever Technical Topics was cut really short while other stuff, mainly the ‘Television with and without wires’ went on for ruddy ages.

I failed to see why the Editor could not have included some of the usual RadComic stuff, HF and VHF news etc and did we really need four separate pages of GV3PJT QSL cards being shown for advertising purposes? [Pages 6, 13, 15 and 71]

SV Driving licence for the XYL
After several months of trial and tribulation, the XYL has finally exchanged her English driving licence for a Greek one.

This now entitles her to:

  1. Overtake other vehicles while crossing the double white lines.
  2. Overtake on blind bends.
  3. Triple park while picking up bread.
  4. Cease using traffic indicators.
  5. Ignore all traffic lights,
  6. Ignore all ‘No Parking’ signs.
  7. To drive round with no brake or rear lights.
  8. To stop when a friend is seen and for a 10 minute conversation to ensue despite being stopped in the middle of the road.
  9. To drive while holding a cup of coffee in one hand and a mobile phone in the other.

While we were in the UK, the XYL bought some stuff in Markus and Sparkus and had them ship it out to us. They do this for a very reasonable amount and it only takes a few days. It also is cheaper than paying excess baggage rates when the suitcase is overflowing.

Anyway, this time the box of clothes has taken well over a month to reach us. Not because M&S did anything wrong – except give the box to Drop It, Hide It, Lose It. Because they are basically a crap company, and did not realise that Crete is (a) part of Greece and (b) that Greece is in the EU and so does not need the full array of Custom Declarations that they applied to our shipment. This resulted in the box being held in Customs in Athens for at least ten days while we tried to inform DHL of a and b above. Mind you, it still took DHL three bloody weeks to get it from the UK to Greece!

Markus and Sparkus have been very nice to us after we informed them of the courier cock-up and will now review their use of Drop It, Hide It, Lose It, who incidentally, will not deliver to our village but will only come as far as Plaka, so you have to meet them halfway between where you live and their depot.

Some courier company they turned out to be!

2nd QTH sold….
Well, at long last, and after lots of false starts, running around like headless chickens and understanding the meaning of ‘Catch 22’, we have finally sold the 2nd QTH in Kritsa.

It has taken since February to get everything done and dusted. Most of the delay has been caused by Greek Bureaucracy and their totally inefficient way of dealing with the most simplest of things.

But, despite their best endeavours, we won through . . .

30m CW bandplan 
The following it taken from the latest FISTS Magazine and written by Graham, G3ZOD. I do not apologise for including it here as it would seem that the RSGB is being somewhat underhanded again. I have added the Italics:

“In March we were very surprised when one of our member’s resident outside the UK, Martin IK2RMZ, discovered on a Swiss website a paper that the RSGB had submitted for an IARU meeting, proposing the reduction of the 30m exclusive CW sub-band from 10.100-10.140 MHz to 10.100-10.130 MHz, i.e. take away one quarter of it in favour of data modes. The RSGB position was in essence that data modes were already in use in between .130-.140 in violation of the 30m band plan, so why not ratify their use, and that CW can quite happily coexist with up to 500 Hz-wide data modes in the 10 kHz, so it was not a loss for CW operators.

Well, my experience is that data modes and CW modes do not coexist well, and it’s much worse when there are wider bandwidth data modes.

We encouraged members to write to the RSGB with their feelings on this matter—for or against. As a result, the RSGB decided to withdraw the paper. You would have thought that would have been the end of the matter, but no: we have been told that at the conference, the RSGB discussed their withdrawn paper anyway and said that they still fully supported it.

You have to draw your own conclusions about this. My personal feeling is dismay that the RSGB should decide to act preferentially for one part of its membership and against the interests of another. Also it’s disturbing that the paper was created with what looks like secrecy, and that despite comments received by members, the RSGB is apparently still intent on pursuing this change.

During all the goings on, we discovered that there are two RSGB online groups that relate to IARU band plans, and I strongly encourage FISTS members to join both (RSGB membership is not required):

C4 (HF)

C5 (VHF+)”

August RadCom
Well, August RadComic arrived and failed to impress yet again.

Why the **** are they stocking, advertising and even reviewing a ‘Thunderbirds Manual’? It really cheapens the image of the RSGB, not that the image has been very good of late anyway (see the above paragraph) . . .  I looked at the ‘Getting started in APRS’ article but it was so confusing and complicated that I am surprised if anyone reading it actually got going on the mode. (Is is a mode?). And why would anyone want to look at a map of greater Manchester on a computer screen just to see little car images moving about, I do not know.

Avian Happenings
Have not mentioned our feathered friends recently but over the past few weeks we have had our pair of local Buzzards teaching their young chick how to fly, land, take-off etc. The youngster is not the quickest of learners and most days ends up in a tangled heap in some olive tree. No doubt he will get the hang of it in time . . .

Other recent visitors have been the Spotted Flycatchers again who are great to watch and the Eleonora’s Falcon which appeared a week or so ago and snatched a young Sparrow while passing.

This months’ Country & Western line is probably something we have all thought at some stage:

“I don’t know whether to kill myself or go bowling”.


Dick ‘XBN

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