Location

The Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust are based at the former Midsomer Norton South Railway Station. The postal address is Midsomer Norton Station, Silver Street, Midsomer Norton, BA3 2EY. However, there are some specific details that will be of interest to radio hams:

  • Lat/Long: 51.281077°,-2.482759°
  • IARU: IO81sg
  • IOTA: EU005 (UK Mainland)
  • WAB: ST65 – England

Google Map of Midsomer Norton Railway Station

Introduction and Background

In November 2010 we were kindly contacted by David Wright on behalf of the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust to see if we would be interested in taking part in the 2011 Railways on the Air event from the Trusts property at Midsomer Norton South Railway Station. After taking this invitation through the clubs committee process there was clear support for the project and we committed ourselves to taking part.

We would like to thank the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust for inviting us to take part, especially Shirley who handled most of the Trusts side of the organisation, Colin (G4PYN) who included us on the public tours and the buffet car staff who we kept busy with teas, coffees and lunch on both days.

The event took place over the weekend of 24/25 September 2011, and we operated the Special Event station GB0SDR as one of the 34 registered ROTA radio stations. We were even visited by the local press in the form of the Somerset Guardian; you can find their photograph of the event, taken on the Sunday morning, here.

QSL Card DesignThe picture to the left shows the design of our Special Event QSL card, the central photo was taken from the Geograph Project collection. See this photograph's page on the Geograph website for the photographer's contact details. The copyright on this image is owned by Ben Brooksbank and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

The photograph was taken on 22 August 1959 at Midsomer Norton South Station, with Down express View NE, towards Bath. It shows the Somerset & Dorset Joint line (Bath Green Park – Bournemouth West). The 09.35 Sheffield (Midland) to Bournemouth West Summer Saturday express is headed by LMS 2P 4-4-0 No. 40569 piloting BR Standard 5MT 4-6-0 No. 73051 and is attacking the 8 miles at 1-in-50/60 climb up from Radstock to the Mendips summit at Masbury.

The station closed on 07/03/1966 along with the whole S&D line, but since 1992 has become the headquarters of the Somerset & Dorset Heritage Trust, who now run trains part of the way up towards Chilcompton. Camera location: 51°16'51.58"N, 2°28'58.74"W.

Equipment

As this was our first foray into RotA and HF operations from a temporary location we worked on the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle. Our station comprised:

  1. Rig: Club Yaesu FT-840 HF (160m – 10m) Multi-mode Transceiver;
  2. Power Supply: Club Manson EP-925 Linear 13.8V, 25A constant Power Supply;
  3. Antenna Switch: G0UQT loaned a two way antenna switch;
  4. ATU#1: Club MFJ-934 manual ATU;
  5. Antenna #1: 2E0RCG loaned his 10m Pro-Whip Loop antenna which was set up in the garden adjacent to the operating shelter;
  6. ATU #2: G0DRX loaned his SGC SG-237 automatic ATU;
  7. Antenna #2: 35m end fed long wire suspended from 3.9m scaffold poles attached to the platform fence supports;
  8. Computer: Club Dell laptop running HRD for logging. All rig control was manual;
  9. Mains Power: This was taken from the Signal Box;

Base of Operations

Station setupPro-Whip V antennaLong wire antenna

Our station was set up in the shelter on the north bound platform, more or less at the location from which the central picture in our QSL card was taken from. The photos above show (from left to right) our station with G0DRX operating and David Wright M0DFW/G8BKG President of HARS and life member of S&DRHT assisting, the Pro-Whip loop antenna and the long wire.

The weather over the weekend was unseasonally fine, in fact some of the hottest days of the year were recorded around this period. We had some rain on the Sunday morning which naturally made the temperature fall but despite being outside we managed to stay completely dry. More to the point we kept the rain off the equipment. We persevered through the Sunday morning rain, which lasted about 2 hours in reality, because radio stations we were contacting in Cornwall and parts of the South West indicated that the rain front was moving East having already cleared some of the more westerly operations. Once the rain cleared the temperature quickly rose to shirt sleeve conditions.

Over the weekend we found 40m best for inter-G work. 80m was more or less dead throughout the weekend and 20m quite noisy. We contacted 67 unique radio stations over the two days in locations as diverse as: Eire, Belgium, Italy, France and Lundy Island. Of the 33 possible ROTA operations we managed to track down (no pun intended!) 16 including: Helston Branch Line, Ravensglass and Eskdale Narrow Gauge Line in Cumbria and the Crewe Heritage Centre. Our full log for the event can be found at the bottom of the page. All radio stations contacted will be sent a Special Event QSL card via the RSGB Bureau. You do not have to be a member of the RSGB to receive cards via the Bureau, just find out who your callsign manager is and send them a number of self addressed, stamped envelopes. Word to the wise, as it may take some time for your first envelope to be filled it is worth adding a note to the envelope saying send at 6 cards or whatever you prefer. That way instead of waiting for a full envelope the QSL manager will post it when the requisite number of cards have been collected. More information about the RSGB Bureau is available at the RSGB Website.

The photos below show (from left to right) another shot of our station setup with G7KNA operating and Colin G4PYN and volunteer at the S&DRHT observing, general interest in our station and our members ready to talk to the visitors and distribute publicity.

Station setupInterest in our stationSBARC members and publicity

The Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust

Alternative commsAlternative commsG0DRX calls for pizza

The Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage trust have a number of interesting museum exhibits that reflect various periods in the railway and local history. The first two photos above were taken in the wartime bunker which contains exhibits from the second world war. There is no truth in the rumour that we intended to use the radio equipment as a backup. The last picture was taken inside the restored signal box which is located on the northbound platform near our operating position.

Signal BoxSignal BoxSignal Box

The restoration process includes the station, ancillary buildings, track and rolling stock. The Trust currently run brake van rides along the restored section of track. They need support and visitation, SBARC is proud to have been able to provide something a little out of the ordinary this year to help with publicity.

Locomotive restorationStation buildingBrake van ride

GB0SDR Log

We will be issuing Special Event QSL cards via the RSGB Bureau, so make sure you have sent your QSL Manager an envelope or three.

Date Time (UTC) Station Worked Band or Freq'cy Mode RST Name QTH Notes
Sent Rec'd
24/09/11 10:14 GB0TLR 40m LSB 59 59 Keith   Tyttenhanger Light Railway
24/09/11 10:26 GB0LVR 40m LSB 59 59 Frank   Lappa Valley Railway
24/09/11 10:35 GB2CPM 40m LSB 59 59 Peter   Amberley Narrow Gauge Railway
24/09/11 10:50 GB0HBL 40m LSB 59 59 Cliff   Helston Branch Line
24/09/11 10:54 GB0BAB 40m LSB 59 59     Burtonwood Airbase International Museums Weekend (19-20/06/11)
24/09/11 11:03 GB4CHC 40m LSB 59 58 John   Crewe Heritage Centre
24/09/11 11:11 GX3ERD/P 40m LSB 59 55     Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust
24/09/11 11:15 GB2LHR 40m LSB 59 59 Bill   Lakeside & Havethwaite Railway
24/09/11 11:21 MW6GWR 40m LSB 59 59 Ricky    
24/09/11 11:25 M3YSB 40m LSB 59 59 John    
24/09/11 11:32 2E0DJR 40m LSB 59 58 Julian    
24/09/11 11:34 G3IBI 40m LSB 59 59 Peter    
24/09/11 11:36 M6NNC 40m LSB 57 57 Nigel    
24/09/11 11:40 G5FZ 40m LSB 59 59 Chris    
24/09/11 11:44 M0REJ 40m LSB 59 59 Ray    
24/09/11 11:47 G0CJX 40m LSB 59 59 John    
24/09/11 11:48 G0UTP 40m LSB 59 59 Tony    
24/09/11 11:53 G4PKW 40m LSB 57 59 John    
24/09/11 11:55 GM4NFI 40m LSB   57 Dave    
24/09/11 11:58 2E1IGI 40m LSB 59 59 Dougie    
24/09/11 12:06 M0DKN 40m LSB 59 59 David    
24/09/11 12:10 G8WPL 40m LSB 59 59 Don    
24/09/11 12:11 G0COC 40m LSB 59 58 John    
24/09/11 12:14 G7DSU 40m LSB 59 59 Chris    
24/09/11 12:21 MW1ARM 40m LSB 59 59 Dave    
24/09/11 12:27 2W0XTP 40m LSB 59 59 Dean    
24/09/11 12:29 GB2NPR 40m LSB 59 59 Fred   Normanby Park Miniture Railway
24/09/11 12:35 GW6STK 40m LSB 59 59 Robert    
24/09/11 12:37 G7TCW 40m LSB 57 58 Chris    
24/09/11 12:41 GN3XRQ 40m LSB 59 59 Bill   Drumawhey Miniature Railway
24/09/11 12:45 G0TRB 40m LSB 59 57 Roger    
24/09/11 13:00 G3KAG 40m LSB 52 54 Tony    
24/09/11 13:06 F5VIG 40m LSB 53 42 Mike    
24/09/11 13:09 GB4BLR 40m LSB 53 55 Jerry   Battlefield Line Railway – Shackerstone Station
24/09/11 13:30 G4KEE 40m LSB 53 58 Victor    
24/09/11 13:50 2E0WKX 40m LSB 55 59 Kevin    
24/09/11 14:06 GB2PPS 40m LSB 57   Paul   Papplewick Pumping Station
24/09/11 15:00 GB0GCR 40m LSB 59   Keith Nottingham GC Railway
25/09/11 09:43 GB0GWR 40m LSB 59 59 Derek   Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
25/09/11 10:10 IN3KIS 20m LSB 37 55      
25/09/11 10:55 2W0XTP 40m LSB 59 59 Dean 25k N Cardiff FT920
25/09/11 11:00 M0TWW 40m LSB 59 59 Tim Southend  
25/09/11 11:09 ON3AFC 40m LSB 55 56      
25/09/11 11:12 M0NAS 40m LSB 59 59 Neil Colchester Essex  
25/09/11 11:13 2E0MTR 40m LSB 59 59 Mike Folkstone  
25/09/11 11:22 G3KAG 40m LSB 59 57 Tony Royston  
25/09/11 11:35 GB2RER 40m LSB 59 59 Glyn   Ravensglass and Eskdale Railway
25/09/11 11:44 GB2HSC 40m LSB 59 59 David   Hollycombe Steam Collection
25/09/11 11:56 GB1NNR 40m LSB 59 59 Paul Sherringham North Norfolk Railway (NB jointly with Bittern DX Group)
25/09/11 12:18 GB5RSR 40m LSB 59 59 Peter Preston Ribble Steam Railway
25/09/11 13:08 G3KYF 40m LSB 59 59 Keith    
25/09/11 13:11 G4STH 40m LSB 59 59 Tim    
25/09/11 13:14 G7SSG 40m LSB 59 59 Jeff    
25/09/11 13:32 G7NPT 40m LSB 59 59 Joe    
25/09/11 13:38 G0DRA 40m LSB 59 59 Derek Coniston  
25/09/11 13:38 M0DCY 40m LSB 59 59 George    
25/09/11 13:41 2E0GBA 40m LSB 59 58 Ian    
25/09/11 13:48 M0VLC 40m LSB 59 59 Malcolm    
25/09/11 13:49 G4LWN 40m LSB 53 54      
25/09/11 14:01 G4CIB/P 40m LSB 59 59 Brian Lundy Island  
25/09/11 14:18 G4AYO 40m LSB 59 59 Mike    
25/09/11 14:18 G6GWR 40m LSB 59 59 John    
25/09/11 14:19 G8ISI 40m LSB 59 47 Frank    
25/09/11 14:19 M0HTB 40m LSB     Henryk Backwell  
25/09/11 14:24 EI7HX 40m LSB 59 59 Jack Dublin 20 Watts
25/09/11 14:45 G0BOR 40m LSB 59 59 David Bolton Manchester  
25/09/11 14:50 GW0BBO 40m LSB 59 59 Jim    
25/09/11 14:53 M0MDA 40m LSB 59 59 Nick Leeds  
25/09/11 14:55 MM1BHO 40m LSB 59 59 Richard Dumfries