Operating on the Greek Island of Crete - tips, problems with Police?

We are going on a family holiday (grandkids etc.) to the Greek Island of Crete next summer. My plans are for lightweight QRP HF operations on a few days.

I’ve been slightly unnerved by reports of the Greek police arresting foreign Radio Amateurs and giving them a heck of grilling (in some cases over 24 hours in a Police Station), despite people having all the right paperwork. Admittedly all of these seem to have been people setting up in hotels/apartments and getting some over zealous neighbour calling the Police!

Anyone have any experience operating in Crete? Beyond the usual paper copies of licences, CEPT agreements and proof of ownership of transceivers has anyone got suggestions on any additional documentation (maybe in Greek) that might be useful to take along?

I’ll be much less visible than hotel based operations… but in some ways it could be worse to be “caught” on some remote out of the way hillside… “are you a spy” type conversations!


1 Like

HI Gerald

Yes I have operated from there twice on holidays, in 1994 and 2004 (NOT SOTA but from hotels). I’ll write further about it tomorrow as I’m off to bed just now.

73 Phil SV9/G4OBK/P & J42004Q

1 Like

Hi Gerald

Yes, I have operated twice from Crete on holiday Dxpeditions, before I took up SOTA properly.
This was in 1994 and in 2004. In 2004 the Olympics were taking place, based in the Athens area and so before I went to Crete I applied to the Greek Communications Authority and was issued with the special callsign J42004Q for part of the time. I had a written document for that trip showing the special callsign and my personal details.

On 02/07/1994 I operated as SV9/G4OBK/P until 08/07/1994 from a small single storey hotel in the village of Tavronitis west of Hania. I managed to find and cut a length of bamboo that was around 5m long and use that to support a dipole outside the window of our hotel room. On that trip I made 1214 QSOs in CW and SSB. I cannot recall what my transceiver was. I don’t have any photos on my PC of that trip it was pre-digital camera days for me until I got one in 2002.

In 2004 with the special call J42004Q I operated from the garden of an annexed bungalow in the grounds of a hotel near Perle, Crete. I did not ask for permission to erect my 10m pole on the balcony and 66 feet dipole fed with 300 ohm ribbon. I just erected it and there were no repercussions or questions asked. I guess I took a risk but I wasn’t challenged by fellow guests or the management of the hotel. I have pictures from that trip and I took a lot of gear! Kenwood TS-570, large MFJ ATU and a largish laptop compared with the 12.5” ThinkPad I currently take on planes in the hold luggage. I cannot recall how I shipped the gear, but I wouldn’t carry a 100 watt station on a package holiday now! It must have taken up most of my suitcase space.

The J42004Q operation was a success and I made 1522 QSOs as J42004Q and 1014 QSOs as SV9/G4OBK/P using SSB, CW and RTTY. The J42 licence ran for a limited period from 07/09/04 until 15/09/04 after which I reverted to the SV9 callsign until we left on 21/09/04. Some pics:

I don’t think this information helps you very much in terms of reassurance for SOTA as I was operating a fixed station in hotel grounds . Carrying the paperwork you mentioned when activating is important. Maybe you could contact one of the more active SV activators and they could give you something in writing that could assist if you were challenged and possible their phone number so you could refer anyone speaking Greek to them by phone, to get over the language barrier.

73 de Phil G4OBK


Simple, don’t visit places where you’re not made welcome. Lots and lots of holiday destinations where there’s no problem with amateur radio, so visit them instead.


Hi Gerald,

You can ask him he was reported today

73, Éric


Kids and grandkids picked it… my SOTA activity is very much an after thought.

That’s a great idea… sadly it appears /he/she doesn’t have a reflector account. I’ll QRZ.com


1 Like

Go for it Gerald I would!

I had to turn down a (4 summit) 10 day holiday with my XYL and family in SV Corfu this year as I was already booked for the Friedrichshafen tour at the time they needed to take the holiday.

If you haven’t got your HAREC Certificate (I didn’t have one having passed my RAE in 1981) they can be obtained FOC from Ofcom. I always carry that with my normal licence when activating, text in English, German and French, every little helps. As you licence is newer than mine you may have got the HAREC automatically. I’m not sure how the system works latterly.

73 Phil