Cretan Blog-July 2015

Hi again from a pleasantly warm bottom right-hand corner of the Med.

Well, the tourist season has arrived but where are all the tourists? Currently numbers are down around 50% which is a heck of a lot of lost revenue which apparently our Government needs to make ends meet . . .

This blog is a bit longer than usual due to some insight into current Greek life out here.


It is with dismay that I read that Charles, M0OXO, has been putting the logs for Robert, 3B8FR on LoTW as Robert still keeps paper logs. First of all, what is wrong with paper logs? And second, why is M0OXO doing this?

I’ll tell you why, he is pandering to this ‘now generation’ who cannot wait for confirmation of a QSO or are just too lazy to send a card and a few dollars to Rodriguez Island.

I have worked Robert a few times from here with various calls but do not need his QSL to prove to myself that I have worked him. If I did want one, I would write a card and letter, enclose more than sufficient postage costs and await his QSL. If it took 3 months because he was busy with his own life, then so be it. I do not need to know within two minutes that my QSO is confirmed like this stupid ‘Now! Generation’.

Just a small aside to all this, I note that M0OXO is the UK sales rep for UX5UO, probably one of the best known, and biggest, QSL printers in the world. Maybe he is trying to put his boss out of business?

You will no doubt have seen the advert in RadComic and PW for the VertiGo vertical in the W&S adverts. While I had access to unlimited internet at a café the other day, I took a look at the details.

First of all, the vertical is not listed on the W&S site so I found it on the Innovantenna web page thing. I do wonder about the hype given to what is basically just a long scaffold pole, albeit tapered a bit, and the claims made for it.

To quote from the blurb: “While ground plane wires are best installed, the visual impact of this antenna (not having any guy ropes) is much less that say a horizontal wire what would need to be elevated and have at least 2 supports. With the VertiGo, you can mount at ground level without the detrimental impact of buildings and trees that you might expect on upper HF and VHF. Additionally, angle of radiation remains low . . .etc”

There is nothing in the details to suggest how many radials to use or even that you really need to install them and the picture showing the base fixing just shows one wire going to a rusty earth spike. To suggest that buildings do not have a detrimental effect on a vertical is plain rubbish. Close or nearby buildings will affect all types of aerial, even VHF beams attached to roofs and the angle of radiation is not as low as suggested either as on 15m it is some 48?.

There is nothing at all on how to fix the vertical either. Yes there are pictures showing a neat installation but there is nothing about what to fix your scaffold pole to or how strong the base fixing has to be or if it should be set in concrete or a garden flowerpot.

So this raises the question: Would you trust a 33ft scaffold pole in your back garden without some form of guying? I know I wouldn’t . . .

Caveat Emptor I think.

Sport Radio. Contesting.
I was surprised to receive a note back from Steve, G3ZVW, that he would include the Kulikovo Poyle contest details in his ‘Sport Radio’ (Contesting) bit in RadComic. Not sure when it will be, probably the September edition, but we will see what he has to say and how he views the need for all participants to send in a log . . .


Greek Life:
Despite all you read, hear or are told, Greek life continues the same as it always has. I must be careful how I say this but this includes allegations of football corruption.

Whilst not of the scale of the billions that FIFA have been moving about, out here the stories are of a similar but smaller nature.
We have referees who have been banned because they took bribes so one team would win and the head of the Greek FA had to resign late last year because of allegations of taking bribes and trying to fix matches.

This past month, up before the Court has been the owner of the top team in the Greek Premiership, Olympiakos. Amongst other things, it is alleged that he and another owner got together a few years ago and ‘fixed’ a match so that his team won 3 – 0. At the time, this would have been a really good result as all the pundits were predicting no more than a 0 – 0 draw.

The owners are alleged to have placed bets with various on-line betting agencies and other bookmakers so that each walked away with around half a million Euros each after the match.He is also accused of running ‘a criminal organisation’ and money laundering.

The hearings continue . . .

As I say, this is being written before any outcome to this financial quagmire stuff that is going on but is just to give you an insight to stuff you do not read or hear about.

Last year the then Government brought in a ‘Property Tax’. This was like the council tax and was based on the square meterage of your house, land etc. Our yearly bill was not a lot more than some of you pay each month in Poll Tax charges. Anyway, the then Government say that this year (2015), the amounts due would be less by about 20%. They then lose the election in January and the new Government say that within the space of a few weeks they will change the Property Tax system to make it fairer.

That was over 6 months ago. Since then we have heard nothing. Because the Government cannot make up its mind about this, and a whole lot of other taxes, they have received very little tax revenue. Without income they cannot pay for Doctors, Nurses, Council workers etc. An example of this is that on the 15th June they paid the ‘On-Call’ Doctors their on-call wages for last December.

Tax avoidance in Greece is a national sport. When you buy something out here you must get a receipt. This assures the authorities that the sale went through the books.

For example, when you buy a drink in a Club, the barman should ring up the price, take your cash, give you the change and the small receipt that the till throws out. This shows the amount taken and gets recorded so when the books are done the correct amount of VAT can be paid to the Government.

A friend worked in a club in Malia. His job was to watch the CCTV cameras that were focused on the tills, there were six of them. At all times the six tills were left open and money put in them for drinks etc but at no time was the amount recorded or receipts issued. Then, early one evening, a Club at one end of the street had a visit from a tax inspector. These people work all hours but there are not many of them and so when they visit one bar or Taverna in an area or town, word spreads quickly.

In the case in Malia, in Beach Road a red laser beam is flashed down the street to warn all the other bars and clubs. As soon as this happens, the tills are closed and two of them start to issue old receipts. These are then scattered around the bar and over the floor.

When the tax inspector arrives, if he does at all, he finds receipts and tills working properly. Within 10 minutes of his leaving, things return to normal and the Club owner can get back to the business of making money while only paying tax on those proper receipts that were issued.

In order to gather extra tax revenue the Government have said that on 27 islands, Crete is excluded, in future when a purchase is made for over 75 Euros, you must pay by credit card. This is because the card transaction will go through the books and as the bank records all card transactions, as they charge about 5% to the shop owner for card usage, thus the correct amount of VAT will be recorded and paid to the Government and the banks also make money.


So you want to buy something that costs 90 Euros. What do you do?

This is how it works.

You make two cash payments on separate days of 45 Euro, or really 40 Euro as it is cash, and you walk away having got something cheaper than you expected and the shop owner does not have to record the sale through his books as no credit card was used..

The chances of a tax inspector checking the books and accounts for a business are in the order of 10,000 to 1 so the chances of getting caught are quite slim. Greece is a cash-based society and it is estimated that not even 50% of people have a credit or debit card anyway.

With all the financial brew-ha-ha going on, the Greek Orthodox Church has made the momentous decision to ban Yoga. It has done this, it says, because Yoga is a form of Buddhism and not a part of a fitness regime.

Good ‘ere init?

Not much radio done these past couple of weeks as we have been laid up with a bad back.

Missed a few contests and also a few cold ones as the knock-out tablets I have to take preclude alcohol. Still, in a few days time I will be back to normal.

Windows 10?
Just before sending this to Deez, Mr Gates and his people have put a thing on my laptop about Windows 10. I did not ask for it but I now have this ruddy icon in that tray thing at the bottom of the screen. How do I get rid of it?

July RadComic arrived, was read and forgotten about just as quickly. How come, once again, a review of a piece of equipment can be quoted in an advert in the same edition of the magazine? (Vine antennas) Also, how come the review of the same linear can be met on the opposite page with an advert from another supplier of the same linear?

More collusion from the editorial department I expect in as much as they can squeeze another full page advert out of someone, this time, Lynchie . . .

Reviews should be put in the magazine without first being handed to suppliers to pick over and comment on.

This whole practice is WRONG.

Doesn’t that QSL chap go on and on and on? If some people do not send stuff to him in the correct manner, write to them direct – there is no need to moan at all of us . . . I still think the guy doesn’t want the job anymore but the Radio Society of Greater Bedford can’t find another idiot to take it on . . .

Talking of QSLs, I still await my new QSLs and hope that these will be with me within the next week as already I have had several direct requests for cards for JT65 QSOs. It would seem that, despite all the hype about LoTW and eQSL, most guys would prefer to receive a proper QSL card, and rightly so . . .

Take Yer Picture Guv?
Bought a new camera this week. It is a small Nikon and is meant to be very good. The manual is in every language except English. I go to the webpage thing and download the English manual. So far so good.

I read and re-read it. It is very complicated with lots of funny icon things but the biggest problem is that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, about how to get the picture you have taken, out of the thing!

If anyone has a Nikon Coolpix S2900, can they please tell me how I do this please?

Time I left you to your own devices.



Dick. SV9RPE.

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