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SV9CVY - Big Gun of Crete

SV9CVY - The Big Gun of Crete

I remember when I visited Crete for the first time some 20 years ago, the Amateur Radio activity in the island was quite limited. The island is very long and it is almost impossible to see entire Crete during a week, which is what most holiday-makers spend here. Around Easter 2017 I decided to come back to Crete, and this time to the eastern part in order to see places I had missed on my first stay. And the number of active operators has grown manyfold. I recall when I became interested in Amateur Radio in early 1960's, the only stations in Crete were those at the naval base of Souda using the SV0 prefix. Today there are between 200 and 300 SV9 licensees in the island, most of them gathered around the local radio club in the main town Iraklio. Why is Crete a separate DXCC entity? I do not know. I guess one needs help of a shrewd lawyer to interpret the rules. I do not care, I am interested in the people who share our hobby, not in the points and scores.

I was lucky, this time, to be able to visit a few active radio amateurs in Crete. The most impressive station I saw belongs to Mikhail, SV9CVY. This is fascinating story of perseverance, endurance and determination with a touch of technical skill. Mike received his licence in 1987 when he was about 30 years old. He had lived, studied and worked for a period of time in New York, USA. Amateur Radio was becoming popular in Greece at that time, but it was not his main interest. Unfortunately, a few years later he was a victim of a traffic accident while riding a motorcycle in Athens. His life has changed completely, but Mike has not given up. Today, almost 60 years old, while permanently disabled and reliant on a wheelchair, he lives a very active life. The Amateur Radio plays important role in his life, but is not his only passion.

The present antenna farm at SV9CVY consists of 4 antenna towers. In the past 20 years, Mike has constructed and installed many large antennas. He is well aware of the importance of large and efficient radiators. He showed me a number of archive photographs showing broken, bent and dismembered antennas and rotators. His QTH is on a slope facing the North, but the most dangerous winds are those coming from Africa. The mountain range running from the East to the West is not protecting those living on the northern coast of Crete. On the contrary, the winds from the south are stronger after they have passed the mountain ridge. The air masses are pressed against the obstacle, and when released, the wind velocity is higher.

The radio room is filled with modern commercial equipment and a number of home-made units. It seems to be a messy shack, but after all, a real radio amateur is always experimenting and modifying everything - that is the idea of our hobby. This is not the right place for a guest operator to jump in, yet Mike has in the past hosted some contesters from other countries.

Mike lives a few kilometres from Rethymno, the historical town about halfway between the eastern and western tips of Crete. This island is considered to be the cradle of the present day European civilisation.

The photographs

Crete Island SV9CVY The Four Antenna towers of SV9CVY

The four antenna towers of SV9CVY.

Mike SV9CVY with one of his dogs

Mike, SV9CVY with one of his dogs at the VHF antenna tower carrying both 50 MHz and 144 MHz arrays.

A maze of steel and aluminium at SV9CVY

A maze of steel and aluminium at SV9CVY.

Operating position of SV9CVY Crete Island

The operating position of SV9CVY.

Crete Island SV9CVY Amateur Radio Contest Station

Not easy to find the right switch or knob, but I have full control of everything from 160 meters to 2 meters - says Mike, SV9CVY.

Crete Island SV9CVY The view from terrace, open path to the USA, Europe and Japan,

The view from the terrace, open path to the USA, Europe and Japan.

Text and photographs Henryk Kotowski, SM0JHF
May 2017

SV9CVY - The Big Gun of Crete Amateur Radio Article Henryk Kotowski SM0JHF DXNews.com

SV9CVY - Big Gun of Crete comments forum

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Rating: 5 of 5
  • Callsign: ZL2RX
  • 2019-04-21 03:56:15
Tks for the FT8 QSO on 40 yesterday Mike. Enjoyed reading you QRZ page. 73
Rating: 5 of 5
  • Callsign: AK4QR
  • 2018-11-25 10:49:44
Thanks for the FT8 contact on 160 tonight, Nice station you have there. 73 de AK4QR
Rating: 5 of 5
Robert "Bob" Bentley
  • Callsign: WB3EWP
  • 2018-08-04 09:39:28
Glad I got a chance to work Mike, an ATNO for me.
Rating: 5 of 5
  • Callsign: ON6DSL
  • 2018-04-02 04:00:02
FB Mike. Hpe Cu Nxt whem we visit Creta. Pass regards to all SV 9 friends. We love Crete !!!
Rating: 5 of 5
  • Callsign: SM0JHF
  • 2018-03-10 02:33:37
Mike, SV9CVY – is featured on the April 2018 cover of the QST – monthly journal for members of the ARRL.
Rating: 5 of 5
  • Callsign: wp3mw
  • 2017-05-24 05:58:59
I haved the privilege to meet Mike in person after been talk with him for many years, back in 2010 in dayton hamvention in ohio,u.s.a. ......a very humble person.....always his signal here in kp4,is a monster 20 to 25 over 9......i would líke to see him again someday. Eladio Wp3mw Puerto Rico
Rating: 5 of 5
Dan Cisson
  • Callsign: N4GNR
  • 2017-05-21 09:24:27
Mike is one of the GREATEST guys I know.... always 40/9 !!! Great to be his friend !! Dan N4GNR
Rating: 5 of 5
Dan Cisson
  • Callsign: N4GNR
  • 2017-05-21 09:22:18
MIKE--- one of the BEST GUYS I KNOW !!!!!!!!!!!! A great guy !!!! ALWAYS 40/9 Dan N4GNR
Rating: 5 of 5
  • Callsign: W2RE
  • 2017-05-12 09:45:22
Worked Mike from FJ/N2IEN on 10M and 160M during my DXpedition in April 2017. He was my first Qso in the log on 10M from St. Barthelemy! Ray W2RE
Rating: 5 of 5
  • Callsign: XE2B
  • 2017-05-07 11:03:19
Nice story,narrative and photos. Thanks for sharing
Rating: 5 of 5
John fernandez
  • Callsign: kc4zhh
  • 2017-05-07 10:37:44
Very inspiring story on mike,sv9cvy. A very interesting and motivating person.
Rating: 5 of 5
  • Callsign: sv1fja
  • 2017-05-07 08:07:08
The greatest gun of Greece and the better man !!!
Rating: 5 of 5
  • Callsign: KH7XS
  • 2017-05-07 05:00:23
Nice setup. Good reason for fine signal!
Rating: 5 of 5
  • Callsign: PA5MW
  • 2017-05-07 04:07:27
Great pictures of an epic station 73 Mark PA5MW
Rating: 5 of 5
  • Callsign: SQ6WE
  • 2017-05-07 03:19:36
Hi I wonder When Mike found anyone to help him with this great set up..I has been semi disable since i was born. I cant to find any one to help me with my new antenna instalation for almost 3 years. Even here are many ham radio ops around my QTH.. 73 Good Luck