Location

Saltford Brass Mill is situated on the banks of the River Avon in the village of Saltford, 5 miles west of the City of Bath in the South West of England. Its postal address is Saltford Brassmill, The Shallows, Saltford, BS31 3EY . However, there are some specific details that will be of interest to radio hams:

  • Lat/Long (Brassmill): 51.401219°,-2.451116° – label “S” on map
  • Lat/Long (Operating Position): 51.401754°,-2.451437° – label “O” on map
  • IARU: IO81sj
  • IOTA: EU005 (UK Mainland)
  • WAB: ST66 – England

Google Map of Saltford Brass Mill

Introduction and Background

Dave G7BYN and Don G0NQJ have taken part in this event for a number of years as individuals. This year we agreed as a club to support the event which would give the regular team access to additional equipment and operators.

Building on the experience of Don and Dave the selected Mill was Saltford Brass Mill. This Mill is situated on the banks of the River Avon in the village of Saltford about 5 miles west of the City of Bath. The Brassmill is the only surviving building still with a furnace and working water wheel remaining from a group of eighteenth century mills making brass and copper goods in the Avon Valley between Bristol and Bath.

Saltford Brass Mill

Saltford Brass MillSaltford Brass Mill

The site at Saltford Mill has been in use since the time of the Domesday record when two watermills were listed in Saltford. The mill is known to have been used for the manufacture of brass from 1721. From then many additions and alterations took place. Photographs from the late 1800s and early 1900s show the mill stretching from the present roadside almost to the river.

Saltford Brass Mill was one of a series of Mills working in brass in the Avon Valley during the eighteenth century. Many of these Mills, as at Saltford, employed waterwheels to power processes used by the company. River transport was used to deliver brass ingots and coal up to Saltford; Weston Mill, Bath and other mills of the company.

At its height, Saltford Mill housed five undershot waterwheels: two driving battery hammers; two driving rolls; and a fifth driving a grinding wheel. One of these wheels remains functional, driving a dynamo installed in 1928 after the Mill ceased operation as a brass mill.

The newer Birmingham brass works adopted many more modern methods in the early nineteenth century, which the local company ignored and so lost its complete supremacy in the trade. Many of their mills closed but the old Saltford battery hammers continued working until 1908, the last in this country. Their rolling mills, still powered by waterwheels, kept working until 1925.

Saltford Brass MillSaltford Brass Mill

Radio Operations

The Mill lacks any real space to set up a viable radio station that won't be in the way of other visitors and demonstration activities so building on the past experiences of Dave and Don we set up a temporary station in Daves van just outside the entrance to the Mill.

We kept the system simple reflecting: the temporary nature of the station, a desire to be unobtrusive, the requirement to operate from battery power. The equipment comprised:

  • Icom IC-706 HF/6m/2m Transceiver
  • 12V Car Battery
  • Pro Whip Delta Loop Antenna on tripod base
  • SGC Smart Tuner at feedpoint

Alfresco Operating Pro Whip AntennaDave G7BYN Operating

One of the inherent problems associated with the positioning of a water mill is that they are, of necessity, always adjacent to rivers which in turn means that they are always in valleys. Naturally this tends to compromise their effectiveness as sites for the operation of radio, something even a special event callsign is unable to fully compensate for. Despite this we happily ticked off contacts over the two days, successfully contacting more than the required 10 Mills to obtain a certificate for the event.

Logbook

Date Time (UTC) Station Worked Band or Freq'cy Mode RST Name QTH Notes
Sent Rec'd
12/05/12 10:40 GX6LD 7.151 J3E 59 59 Richard Golcar Brewery  
12/05/12 11:09 PA6DEZWAAN 7.175 J3E 59 59 Geert   The Swan Mikll Ouderkerk
12/05/12 11:15 GS5NB 7.092 J3E 59 59 Ed Ness Battery from WW1 and WW2 Orkney Island  
12/05/12 11:22 PI4ET 7.09 J3E 59 57 Yaap   De Witte Molen Mill Netherlands
12/05/12 11:28 PI4ETL/P 7.087 J3E 55 57 Paschi   De Oude Molden Mill Netherlands
12/05/12 11:35 PD6MILL 7.067 J3E 59 59 Bernard   The Eendracht Windmill Netherlands
12/05/12 11:35 PD7BZ 7.067 J3E 59 59 Bernard   Home call of above requires QSL Card
12/05/12 13:04 ON2CYV 7.139 J3E 54 44     Mill WIM 2025
12/05/12 13:10 GB4MPW 7.142 J3E 59 59 Cliff   Mount Pleasant Mill
12/05/12 13:34 G0BJX/P 7.12 J3E 59 59 Barry North Essex  
12/05/12 13:39 GQ8CKK 7.12 J3E 59 59 Tony (G8CKK)    
12/05/12 14:32 GB0CMW 7.112 J3E 59 59+40 Mike   Cattells Mill Willingham
12/05/12 15:10 GB0LSM 7.15 J3E 59 59+40 mike   Lynn Slitting Mill
12/05/12 15:30 GQ0OOO 7.111 J3E 59 59 Nick Scarborough  
13/05/12 10:00 GB2GW 7.105 J3E 47 57 Bill   Gleaston Water Mill
13/05/12 11:05 GB2BHM 7.095 J3E 59 55 Eddie   Benholm Mill Aberdeen
13/05/12 12:44 GB100GGM 7.84 J3E 59 59     Gelligroes Mill RX Station
Artie Moore received Titanic's distress call
13/05/12 12:52 EI2EWM 7.12 J3E 55 55 Bryan   Elphin Wind Mill County Roscommon
13/05/12 13:50 GB2WPM 7.143 J3E 59 59 David   Wrawby Post Mill Brigg North Lincolnshire
13/05/12 14:35 GB2TMI 7.11 J3E 59 59 Gerald   Thwaits Water Mill
13/05/12 14:37 GB4DM 7.11 J3E 59 59 Mark   Daniel's Water Mill Bridgnorth Shropshire