Cretan Blog-February 2014

Hello again from a cool-ish Crete. I say ‘cool-ish’ but it is all relative. As I send this to Deez we have high cloud and 17°C which is not so bad for the end of January but not as good as the past few days where we have had wall-to-wall sunshine and over 20°C.

Well, this year started off in great fashion with the XYL being taken into hospital with a lung infection. Although it was a worrying time, there was a bright up-side as she lost her voice and was unable to speak for two weeks.

Her being in a hospital bed meant the cancellation of our UK trip and so I missed all the radio-related events I was due to attend. Still, health comes first I guess . . . She returned home after a week with instructions to stay indoors until she had finished the medication she was on. This would have been ok but with the temperature around 20c for the first few days after she returned home, it was a struggle to keep her out of the garden . . .

2014 Winter Olympics
I see that the Ruskies are in full swing with their special calls for the Winter Olympics. I have worked a few of them but some of the PSK63 signals have been awful. Some of the operating has not been too hot either. Yes, I know if you have a special call you will be popular but to call CQ on PSK63 and say UP! UP! and then still struggle to separate the calls is not very good at all. However, most operators were slick, polite and a pleasure to work especially on CW.

Talking of the Ruskies, I have joined (Member #149 and the first SV) the CQCW Group based in UA6 (link below) so as to try for some of their free awards. For example, in their European Award, using the last letter of a call, work A-Z from a single country. Say I chose the Ukraine; I could, for example, work UR3RA, UT2IB, UY7C etc until I have all the alphabet. I will see how we get on over the next few months. Looking back through my logs is no great help as all contacts must be made after September 21st 2013. Check out for how to join up and the other free awards that they do.

January RadCom
January RadComic arrived very late this time. In fact, I think it got here as you received your February edition, anyway, a look through reveals a super deal on an HF beam! Walters & Stanton have an ‘offer’ (?) on an 8 ele beam covering from 6 to 20m for only £99.95. See the top of page 4.

Peter Hart’s review of the FT-3000 was comprehensive as usual but it was good to see him being critical of Yaesu for a change. He moans about the menu system which must be a first for him as this is always something he complains about on other manufacturers radios but never before on a Yaesu rig.

Of course the only other article of note was the future of Amateur Radio piece by Peter Cochrane, G3RVC. (Why do we need to see the alphabet soup after his name?) I know it was based on his talk at the RSGB Convention but what planet is this man on?

Some of the article was totally incomprehensible and not really about the future of Amateur Radio at all. His idea of ‘turning established norms upside down’ is total twaddle and to do what he suggests would involve starting again from scratch with, not only Amateur Radio, but all forms of communication – TV, radio, mobile phones, satellites etc.

If Part 2 is anything like Part 1, it will be straight out of fairy-land.

Clever speakers?
Got an extension speaker for your rig? Probably, and I guess it is nothing too fancy and just gets on with the job. For those with more money than sense, I see the extension speaker from BHI is available for only £179.95 and it comes with DSP, just like your rig does. Err, so why buy a bloody expensive speaker so you can have even more DSP?

As it is about time for the Oscars, the RSGB is getting in on the act by giving awards for the best books it sells. And the winner is: ‘Flying Saucer Technology’. Give me a break.

Talking of the RSGB, I see that their entry in the IARU contest in the Headquarters Section went a bit flat last year as they dropped to 7th place. Good to see the German group, DA0HQ, winning again.

Bird watching……
Avian happenings recently have been few and far between until t’other day when we had a female Redstart in and out of the garden. How do we know it was a female? The brown plumage and red tail feathers. Quite a pretty little thing. A day later we had a pair of Olive-tree Creepers in the Olive tree. We hope they were not looking for a nesting place as the tree is not that old, maybe 50-60 years, and so does not have all the nooks, crannies and holes of an older tree which make ideal nesting places for the little Creepers.

This past week it was good to see the Griffon Vultures return with two slowly circling overhead. These are really big birds and it is surprising how graceful they are.

Saying of the month:

“Remember when phones were stupid and people were smart?  Good times…”



Dick. SV0XBN/9

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