Cretan Blog-December 2013

Hi again and may I be the first to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! December all ready – where does the time go?

New Battery Needed…
You have all probably seen those greetings cards with either lights or music and when you press a part of the card, things happen. Well, the XYL was given such a card, a birthday card, which had an image of a peacock on it. Press a part of the card and the peacocks tail feathers lit up. However, these cards do not last very long before the battery dies.

The XYLs card sits on the top of the microwave and each morning she presses the button thing, the card lights up and she is happy.

A couple of weeks ago, the card died. No lights. The XYL was quite upset about this as it had worked every morning for the past three years, three months and two weeks. Not bad for two quid card!

Question: Why doesn’t my phone battery last that long?

White Screen I
Talking of phones, the XYL went into a shop in Aghios in the week to put some money on her phone. [We both have pay-as-you-go phones out here – cheap & easy.] Anyways, she has to queue and I stand waiting by the displays. In the shop are laptops, cameras, phones, of course, and a display of these funny touch screen things.

There were three of them called ‘something Mini’ (I don’t recall the name) and I looked at them with a puzzled look having never seen one before, in real life. I had seen them in adverts but have never really understood what anyone would use one for as they seem to be one of those things that one person has and everyone else has to have one to ‘keep up with the Jones’. . .

Anyway, I looked at the things for a while and one had an image on it which looked like a poster for a film and, having never played with anything like this, I tentatively pushed the screen. The image moved! WOW! Then the screen went white. No image. Nothing. Oh s**t!

At the top were some symbols and one looked like a ‘go back’ arrow. I pushed it. Nothing. There was a large X in the corner, which I assumed to be a turn off or cancel thing. I hit this. Nothing. The screen stayed white. I slowly moved away from the display area and stood by the door. The XYL eventually arrived and we left.Around 20 minutes later we happened to walk back past the shop. An assistant was now trying to get the thing I had been playing with working and was failing miserably.

This modern technology stuff is too clever for its own good . . .

White Screen II
Finally got the Windoze 7 laptop working on RTTY and PSK through the SignaLink thing. Thought this was pretty good, and, seeing that the old XP beast is on its last legs, the timing could not have been better.

Set everything up for the JARTS RTTY contest, worked three people, then some RF got in the laptop… The thing threw a wobbly and promptly showed a white screen and nothing else. [What is it with these white screens?]

After a reboot and some very choice words I found that I had lost all my logs, SV0 CW, SV0 Data, SW9FF, J49XF, J49C and G3URA logs, all gone. Word and Excel only did basic functions, scratch pad thing did not work and the TopMost Clock had vanished.

It took over a week to get everything back working as it should. I got all my logs reloaded after downloading the logging software again, (ALWAYS keep back-ups) and Word and Excel now work OK. However, no matter how I tried I could not get the TopMost Clock software to load from t’internet as Avast thought it was a virus. Even taking it from the XP machine made no difference. Shame really as it was a neat clock that always sat on top of whatever was on the screen.

CQ Classic Class
I see that the CQ people (Not my favourite bunch) have revised the rules for their contests. They have done away with a couple of categories but have added a new sub-class called ‘Classic’. This is so called because a lot of people do not [Cheat] by using the cluster, or [Cheat] by using Skimmer etc. They just use one radio, one antenna, use simple, proper logging systems and do not rely of other people to do half their job for them.

This is an excellent step forward and allows normal people to have a go in a contest without being put up against the 3kw, multi-op station with all internet connectivity to clusters and reverse beacons that they use in order to cheat/win.

A more level playing field for normal people . . .

December RadCom
December RadComic duly arrived and I see that, despite what I was told, most of my comments about the Data Column have been shown. In the contest list on Page 5 it says that “Andy Talbot responds to his bumper postbag”, however, just quoting from 4 letters does not seem very ‘bumper’ to me. I have removed him from my Christmas card list . . .

I see we have another ‘brochure review’ from Giles Read, this time for the new Yaesu FT-252 2m handheld. Just a point before you rush out and buy one: I see there is no way you can plug in a speaker/mic. So in order to hear anyone, you have to have the thing held against your ear.

I might be being a bit pedantic here but I thought an accessory was something you added to your purchase. You buy a new car but you buy a roof rack as an accessory – yes?

Why then is the battery that the handheld runs on classed as an accessory? Likewise the charger . . .

Again we have more SDR stuff this month. This time it is something called the Zeus. All the usual blah blah blah, most of which went over my head until I saw the price – 1500 quid. That’s about 100 quid a watt! Even my Kenwood TS-590 only works out at £12 a watt and it is far easier to use than that Zeus thing and has no need for any ‘virtual’ this or that. Still, the only good thing about it is that they use a SO-239 socket on the back and not a stupid BNC thing.

Don’t you just love some of the advertising blurb in RadComic?

W&S say in their P3 advert (Dec RadCom Inside Back Cover) that: “Modern operating often involves tuning up and down the band looking for signals…” Um, I hate to tell them but we have been doing that since the VFO was invented! It is not quite a ‘modern’ phenomenon . . .

Free Raki
Here, the highlight of the month was going with some friends for a ‘gentle walk’ around the village of Mochos, up in the mountains behind Stalis. A gentle stroll with some good company . . . then we happened on the place where they make Raki, the Cretan firewater. A look around the process was all very interesting, as was the sampling that came afterwards. As our bottle of Raki at home is getting rather low, the XYL then asked the owner if she could buy some.

He went away and came back with a 2 litre bottle and said it was free!

This is a bit like you saying to the barman that the 12 year old Scotch you just had was very pleasant and him giving you a full bottle for nothing!

I will leave you with this little phrase which is my favourite phrase of the month:

“Dinner is poured”


Dick. ‘XBN

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1 Response to Cretan Blog-December 2013

  1. G8DZH says:

    Hi Dick,

    With your “white screen” track record, I won’ be letting you play with my new Kindle Fire tablet when I see you next at the LEFARS meal in January!!


    John G8DZH

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