Cretan Blog – September 2013

Hi again.

Just a reminder here to say that I hope to see some of you at the National Hamfest/Rally up in Newark on the 27th.

OK, so you have taken the courses, you have a brand new call, and you decide to actually build something useful for your new shack. You decide that you will build a proper ATU with SWR meter and all . . . You look at the W&S adverts in RadComic and see that you can build your own ATU (Model MFJ-941EK) for £149.95p.

However, just before sending off your hard earned cash, take a look at the advert next to it.

You can buy the same ATU, ready built (Model MFJ-941E), for £119.95p. I am a simple soul and do not quite understand how W&S can say that you can ‘save money’ on making your own ATU by paying 26 quid more than a ready built one costs. [August RadCom Page 4]

RSGB Speaking With Forked Tongue Dept:
You will recall the piece in the last Blog about the RSGB wanting to reduce the CW portion of 30m by some 25%.

Well, I decided to drop a line to the General Manager and received a reply a few days later from John Gould. The reply is longwinded, bland and never quite answered my questions but did give a link to the IARU meeting held in April [1]. This is where the ‘withdrawn’ paper was actually presented.

A read of this will show you that the subject of reducing the CW portion of 30m has been on the agenda for some time and not only by the RSGB but by several other European Societies as well. The RSGB must have spoken to, or had contact with the other Societies, or they would never have all been able to sing off the same hymn sheet with regard cutting the CW portion of the band..

What gets my goat is the fact that this has been going on for some time but has never been mentioned in RadComic so that people can comment. It seems to be a very secretive way of dealing with things and just goes to prove that the ‘old RSGB’ aka The London Wireless Club is alive and well after all that has been said over the past couple of years about being ‘open and honest’.

[Update August 30th]
A friend has just arrived from the UK with the latest RadComic.

The ‘editorial’ by John Gould (page6) and the band plan half-year update by some called Niman on the following page both mention the IARU meeting but neither have the honesty and decency to tell us that they are planning to change the allocations on 30m.

Could I suggest that when you meet these people on the RSGB stand at the next Rally, you tell them what you think of the ‘open and honest’ RSGB – ‘cos at the Newark Rally, I certainly will, and in no uncertain terms . . .

While on the subject of the RSGB, you may have gathered that I am not impressed by their web site thing. I said before that it is crap and nothing has changed my mind, especially when I look at it for some basic info on this ‘Hamfest’ thing – you know, just some simple info, like how much is it to get in.

Well, the wonderful RSGB web site thing can’t tell you ‘cos it has nothing on it (as of 14th August). It can tell you about last year’s Rally, but not this years. Yes, I know there is a web site for the Rally itself but as the RSGB are co-sponsors, you would think that they might have something on it, or even a link to the other site, but no.

Oh, and also as of the 14th August, the copy of RadComic show as being the ‘latest’ is July’s edition which came out in early June. What an advert for the hobby . . .

Yes, I know there is info in the Sept RadComic but this is no good when you want to know something in mid-August, is it?

Brits Abroad.
We are driving into Aghios the other Monday morning.

We are following the 9.30 bus from Elounda which stops at various places in the town.

At one point, two Brits on holiday, standing at a bus stop, stuck their arms out for the bus to stop.

The bus didn’t. Why?

Well, they were standing on the wrong side of the road and they looked really miffed as the bus plodded on its merry way . . .

We wondered as to what state of mind the Brits were in to not realise that out here (and in all of mainland Europe) we all drive on the other side of the road, and surely when you stand at a bus stop, or just by the side of the road, you realise on which side of the road the traffic is travelling – don’t you?

 Encounter with a Smartphone…
I knew things were beginning to overtake me when they started to put transistors in radios. It got worse when the ‘chip’ came along. Well, things have been going downhill for me ever since and with the introduction of idiot-pads and idiot-phones, I’m afraid that things are just too complicated for me now.

We are out celebrating the XYLs birthday. An English couple arrive and sit at the table behind us. He takes a photo of his wife in the posh place. She takes a photo of him in the posh place.

My XYL, never backwards in coming forwards, says to the couple: “You always get a photo of just one of you, why don’t you let my husband (me) take a picture of the pair of you?” That would be really nice they say and he gives me his ‘camera’.

I look at it and ask what it is. He says it is a ‘phone. I stare at the thing in my hand. I have not seen anything like it before.

It looks like an oblong piece of dark glass. There are no buttons. There is no little window to look through.

I am lost. The chap, probably not used to dealing with a Neanderthal like me, says it is very simple and explains that I just press this piece of the glass while looking at the screen.

I look at the glass and there is a picture of the couple. I press where he says to press. The picture on the glass thing gets bigger and bigger until all I can see is up the ladies nose.

I keep pressing and tell her she needs a Kleenex.

He takes the thing from me, utters something under his breath and hands it back. I try again. I press where he says to press.


I press again.  Still nothing. Now I don’t even see an image on the piece of glass. Not even of the ladies nose, or her new box of Kleenex. I seem to have broken it, whatever ‘it’ is.

At this the couple say thank you very much, he grabs the piece of glass from my hand and they do not talk to us anymore.

I never actually knew what it was that I was holding and I guess they never did get a picture of the two of them but what do you expect when the technology is now so complicated?

If you have one of these glass phone/camera things, and can actually use it, then good on you. You must have an IQ up in the several thousands and must carry the 3,000 page instruction manual round with you in a laptop bag for reference . . .!

Contests, love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are here to stay. (unless you read all of [1])

I enter the odd contest and give away some points but could never enter a long contest or try to win anything. I now prefer the shorter 12 or 24 hour contests, or shorter sections within a contest.

One of the annoying things about 99.9% of all contests is the time you have to wait for the results. In small national contests like the 80m series run by the RSGB, the results are usually out within a month, which is not so bad, but larger contests are a different matter.

That is unless you are organising the contest in Russia!

There is a Russian RadioSport Team Competition where there are 25 Russian stations all set up exactly the same and within half a kilometre of each other. All have the same tent, generator, mast, beam and long wire, and they all run no more than 100 watts. (The World Team Championships came from the same idea) The difference with the Russian Championship is that each team is issued with a special call, say, R34L, and their exchange is a 3 letter code, say, ABC, and then, after 2 hours, all Team stations change their callsign and exchange code so in the 8 hour contest, each Team uses 4 different calls and 4 different exchange codes.

OK, so it is fast and furious on both CW and SSB, and you must send in your log in Cabrillo format with 4 hours of the end of the contest. The average number of contacts for each Team during the 8 hours of the contest is around 1,000 QSOs – so they are really shifting!

However, the best bit is yet to come.

Allowing for all the Teams and all the world-wide participants, sending in their logs within 4 hours, the results are out within just 24 hours. Yes, 24 hours!

I just can’t see this happening with any other large contest. The CQ mob or the ARRL cannot do it and the RSGB certainly can’t, as even their IOTA shambles takes months and months even though they have reduced the time required for you to send in your log.

As an aside to the above, I only had 25 QSOs in the said contest as I was trying out the new linear and sent in a check-log. Once again the contest ‘Robot’ was excellent and I did not have to wait a day or two for an email answer to say that my log was OK. The following day, some 20 hours after the end of the contest, the results, including my Check Log (and the score I would have got if I had entered) were available. Bloody Brilliant!

Olive Harvest:
This coming Winter, the olive harvest in Crete will be bad.

Because of the lack of rain in the Spring (we only had about a quarter of what we usually get), most of the 35 million olive trees on the island are only showing around half of the olives they should be showing at this time of year. When we start to get some rain in the Autumn they will swell but the amount of actual edible olives or those for pressing into olive oil will only be about 40% of what they were last year.

I just warn you as the cost of your bottle of olive oil will rise next year!

This month’s Country & Western line has been heard before but how it gets to be in an actual song beats me. It’s:

“My wife ran off with my best friend, and I miss him.”

Hope to see some of you at the ‘National Hamfest/Rally on the 27th.



Dick. SV0XBN.



This entry was posted in Cretan News from SV9RPE. Bookmark the permalink.