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

The Operation

So it's May again and Mills on the Air is once again with us. Mills marks the start of the Clubs Special Event season. It presents its own special challenges but gives us an opportunity to ensure that equipment is available and operational, something that was to take us by surprise this year as you will see.

We have a new Special Events Manager this year, Mark M0SKV now handles our Special Events although historically this one has always been the province of one of our members, David G7BYN, who was taking a break having organised this event for more than 10 years, the last 4 years for the Club and prior to that as an independent operation with Don G0NQJ (sk)

David had very kindly allowed us to use the same Special Event callsign GB0SBM that he normally applied for and Andy G7KNA had made the application as Mark had only obtained his full licence allowing NoVs following the May 12 Advanced Exam.

Generator No. 1Never trust a generator by its coverGenerator No. 2

The event started with a bang, quite literally. John M6GTT along with Martin M0JEA, Mark M0SKV and Andy G7KNA were on site somewhere around 10:00 and had set up Johns caravan, the antenna and the generator which had been loaned by another Club member. Everything was ready, the genny was started and the switch mode PSU was turned on. At which point there was a rapid crackling and popping sound as incendiary sparks leaped from the back of the PSU – oops!

Fortunately the IC7000 had not been turned on at the time but the PSU was toast (to use a technical term). Consternation ensued, the genny was checked and to our horror was producing something in the region of 350V.

What now? Clearly we needed a new PSU but more importantly we couldn't plug the new PSU into the genny for fear of the same result. A second PSU was available but no second generator was on site. John M6GTT kindly volunteered to return home and bring his unit as a replacement, in the meantime there was some charge in the caravan, oops shack, leisure battery so that we could get on air in a limited fashion until the replacement genny was sourced.

The shack and antennaThe station operated by Martin M0JEA

Our station was reasonably simple, if slightly different from previous years:

  • 22A Switch mode power supply
  • Icom IC7000 multimode HF/VHF/UHF transceiver with external monitor and speaker
  • MFJ Manual ATU
  • 20m/40m fan dipole coax fed to a 4:1 balun at the feedpoint suspended in an inverted vee configuration with the feedpoint about 10m above ground
  • A 2m half wave dipole

On the Sunday we swapped out the 2m dipole for a 3 element beam but there was enough HF activity to make this more or less redundant.

Getting back to the Saturday, working on the shacks leisure battery we struggled with propagation for the first couple of hours with little or no inter-G working that we had hoped for. We switched around the bands and worked a number of European stations including Finland on 50MHz which was a first for all of us there until around 12:30 or so when the UK started to be workable on 40m. After that it was reasonably good working around 55 stations throughout the afternoon.

During the day we were visited by Cyril G3XED our Club President who gave us lots of encouragement and advice and as the only fluent Morse operator decoded one or two Morse messages we came across. With no key or PC on site we were unable to respond in kind, or more accurately Cyril was unable to reply on our behalf.

Mark M0SKV operating GB0SBMCyril G3XED (left) with John M6GTT (right) and Jack (the dog)Martin M0JEA operating GB0SBM

Sunday followed a similar pattern with the early propagation favouring European contacts until around lunchtime when the inter-G came in. By the end of the weekend we had worked 106 stations including 19 GB Special Event Stations. Once the MotA website has re-published the 2016 registered Mills list we can see how many of these GB stations were registered mills.

Logbook

GB0SBM – South Bristol ARC (Operating from Saltford Brassmill)
Date Time (UTC) Station Worked Band or Freq'cy Mode RST Name QTH Notes
Sent Rec'd
14/05/16 10:12 PI4ZHE 14.1930 USB 59 59      
14/05/16 10:16 9A70IA 20m USB 59 59   Zagreb  
14/05/16 10:26 GB1CWM 40m LSB 55 59      
14/05/16 10:54 GB2MBB 40m LSB 55 55 Hans    
14/05/16 11:04 SA7LOO/P 21.2640 USB 59 59      
14/05/16 11:16 OH2FNR 50.1500 USB 59 59 Jake Finland  
14/05/16 11:59 GB2RAF 40m LSB   58   Norfolk  
14/05/16 12:03 G8HBS 7.1650 LSB     Peter    
14/05/16 12:06 DL8FQ 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Rolf    
14/05/16 12:10 M6MQZ/P 7.1650 LSB 45 56      
14/05/16 12:15 PA2EON 7.1650 LSB 57 53      
14/05/16 12:18 GB2WMS 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Art    
14/05/16 12:22 F4VPL/P 7.1650 LSB 58 58 Dave Southern Brittany  
14/05/16 12:26 GB1WML 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Geoff G6YPJ    
14/05/16 12:34 GB1CWM 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Tom    
14/05/16 12:38 2M0WTN 7.1650 LSB 57 57      
14/05/16 12:42 M0MPT 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Mike Southampton  
14/05/16 12:52 G0GRI 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Ian Bradford-on-Avon  
14/05/16 12:55 M0TWB 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Tony Blackburn  
14/05/16 12:57 MX0VQJ 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Geoff Holmpton  
14/05/16 12:59 GB0SCW 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Keith G1FBH    
14/05/16 13:02 2E0TGF 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Alistair    
14/05/16 13:04 G4OBE 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Robert Enfield  
14/05/16 13:05 G0HLL 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Ron    
14/05/16 13:07 GB1WW 7.1650 LSB 57 57 John    
14/05/16 13:09 G4RAC 7.1650 LSB 59 59 John Burton-upon-Trent  
14/05/16 13:11 GB2GG 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Robin    
14/05/16 13:16 G0WGP 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Ron Brighton  
14/05/16 13:20 M0RSD 7.1650 LSB 59 59      
14/05/16 13:21 G3PRI 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Dave Bishops Stortford  
14/05/16 13:24 2E0JEF 7.1650 LSB 53   Jeff South East London  
14/05/16 13:26 PA7GMU 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Gerard Beist Netherlands  
14/05/16 13:29 G0NBI 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Graham Bromsgrove  
14/05/16 13:32 EI2NCR/P 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Ben    
14/05/16 13:37 2W0KBO 7.1650 LSB 59 59   Snowdonia  
14/05/16 13:40 EI5DD 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Steve Galway  
14/05/16 13:44 F6AML 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Sam South East Paris  
14/05/16 13:45 2E0GHM 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Graham Wirral  
14/05/16 13:47 G0VEO 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Russ Liverpool  
14/05/16 13:50 G0KYB/M 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Mike Morecombe Bay  
14/05/16 13:56 GM4JYB 7.1650 LSB 49 58 Brian    
14/05/16 13:59 PI4WFL 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Johan    
14/05/16 14:01 2E0TWQ 7.1650 LSB 58 55 John Great Yarmouth  
14/05/16 14:04 G4NTN/M 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Peter Norfolk  
14/05/16 14:08 GB2ERW 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Ken    
14/05/16 14:17 MM0GGI 7.1650 LSB 59 59 John Sutherland  
14/05/16 14:20 G0FVH 7.1650 LSB 59 59      
14/05/16 14:36 PE4BAS 7.1650 LSB 59 57 Bas    
14/05/16 14:42 MM6FCN/P 7.1650 LSB 44        
14/05/16 14:46 PE1KXY/P 7.1650 LSB 57 58      
14/05/16 14:48 PA4MRS 7.1650 LSB 57 55 Martin    
14/05/16 14:51 DL1BSH 7.1650 LSB 58 58 Frank    
14/05/16 14:56 PA6MILL 7.1650 LSB 56   Peter   QRM/QSB
14/05/16 15:02 GI4CBG 7.1650 LSB 57 59 Ray Belfast  
14/05/16 15:05 GM6KON 7.1650 LSB 59 59 Tom John O'Groats  
15/05/16 10:22 PE2HF 7.1490 LSB 59        
15/05/16 10:24 MI0TMW 7.1490 LSB 56 57      
15/05/16 10:29 DF9OO 7.1490 LSB 59 59   Hanover  
15/05/16 10:31 PA2NJC 7.1490 LSB 57 59 Nick South East Netherlands  
15/05/16 10:36 M6TEP/P 7.1490 LSB 55   Tracey Westbury Wiltshire  
15/05/16 10:43 PA1MV 7.1490 LSB 55 57      
15/05/16 10:48 SK6NP 7.1490 LSB 44 59      
15/05/16 10:52 DK8EQ 7.1490 LSB 56 58 Uli    
15/05/16 10:59 HB9FEG 7.1490 LSB 45 47 Jakob    
15/05/16 11:04 PA3GSA 7.1490 LSB          
15/05/16 11:06 PA1AT 7.1490 LSB 58 59 Terry    
15/05/16 11:22 F4VRE 7.1490 LSB 45 57 Stephen La Rochelle  
15/05/16 11:33 G3PXT 7.1490 LSB 57 59 Gordon    
15/05/16 11:34 HB9BQR 7.1490 LSB 57 58 Roland    
15/05/16 11:36 G8HBS 7.1490 LSB 44 59 Julian    
15/05/16 11:43 PE7URK 7.1490 LSB 57 59 Peter Urk  
15/05/16 11:50 PE1ECO/P 7.1490 LSB 47 59 Hans    
15/05/16 12:30 F8KHU/P 7.1490 LSB 59 59      
15/05/16 13:04 HB9OK/P 7.1490 LSB 59 59 Claudia    
15/05/16 13:07 G7ENA 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Daphne Louth Lincolnshire  
15/05/16 13:14 F4GZU 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Michael    
15/05/16 13:19 GB0KLM 7.1430 LSB 55 59 Tim Pennines  
15/05/16 13:24 2E0EBM 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Bob Essex  
15/05/16 13:30 GB2WTM 7.1430 LSB 59 59 David Suffolk  
15/05/16 13:35 G0XTA 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Ray Cambridgeshire  
15/05/16 13:43 G0MGU 7.1430 LSB 59 58 Colin    
15/05/16 13:49 GB2TMI 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Robert Leeds  
15/05/16 13:56 GB0HSM 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Pete    
15/05/16 14:00 GB0SIU 7.1430 LSB 57 59 Brian Shoreham by Sea  
15/05/16 14:05 M0ZSS 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Mark    
15/05/16 14:07 GB2WWM 7.1430 LSB 59 59 John Leicester  
15/05/16 14:16 2E0EII 7.1430 LSB 59 59 John Leicester  
15/05/16 14:19 GB0SM 7.1430 LSB 59   Mike Kingston-upon-Hull  
15/05/16 14:23 GB2PW 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Tony    
15/05/16 14:28 G3TGB 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Brian Braintree  
15/05/16 14:31 G4TZX 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Gordon Rodney Marsh  
15/05/16 14:33 G0RKT 7.1430 LSB 59 59 David Busckstone Derbyshire  
15/05/16 14:36 GB8WW 7.1430 LSB 57 57 Peter Ashford Kent  
15/05/16 14:39 GB2WM 7.1430 LSB 58   Ian Sandwich Kent  
15/05/16 14:42 M0BJX 7.1430 LSB 56   Robert Middlesborough  
15/05/16 14:45 G7HNG 7.1430 LSB 59   Andy Chesterfield  
15/05/16 14:49 GB2ERW 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Barry East Runton Cromer  
15/05/16 14:55 G4NYC 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Jerry    
15/05/16 14:59 GJ3WMR 7.1430 LSB     Frank Jersey  
15/05/16 15:02 G7SYW 7.1430 LSB 58 59 Roger Exeter  
15/05/16 15:04 M1EQA 7.1430 LSB 55 59 Nigel Falmouth  
15/05/16 15:07 DK2AY 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Brand North Germany  
15/05/16 15:11 GJ7LJJ 7.1430 LSB 55 58 Nigel    
15/05/16 15:16 PE1OCC 7.1430 LSB 58 57 Philip    
15/05/16 15:20 M0RBM 7.1430 LSB 59 58 Rodney Bude  
15/05/16 15:23 DL0DF 7.1430 LSB 59 59 Joerg Witten