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

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 and 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.


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 (a station on a station), 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 un-seasonally 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.

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


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 of Contact Time Station Worked Band or Freq (MHz) Mode TX RX Operator’s Name QTH IARU Locator Distance (km) Notes
24/09/2011 10:14 GB0TLR 40m SSB 59   59   Keith       Tyttenhanger Light Railway
24/09/2011 10:26 GB0LVR 40m SSB 59   59   Frank       Lappa Valley Railway
24/09/2011 10:35 GB2CPM 40m SSB 59   59   Peter       Amberley Narrow Gauge Railway
24/09/2011 10:50 GB0HBL 40m SSB 59   59   Cliff       Helston Branch Line
24/09/2011 10:54 GB0BAB 40m SSB 59   59           Burtonwood Airbase International Museums Weekend (19-20/06/2011)
24/09/2011 11:03 GB4CHC 40m SSB 59   58   John       Crewe Heritage Centre
24/09/2011 11:11 GX3ERD/P 40m SSB 59   55           Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust
24/09/2011 11:15 GB2LHR 40m SSB 59   59   Bill       Lakeside & Havethwaite Railway
24/09/2011 11:21 MW6GWR 40m SSB 59   59   Ricky        
24/09/2011 11:25 M3YSB 40m SSB 59   59   John        
24/09/2011 11:32 2E0DJR 40m SSB 59   58   Julian        
24/09/2011 11:34 G3IBI 40m SSB 59   59   Peter        
24/09/2011 11:36 M6NNC 40m SSB 57   57   Nigel        
24/09/2011 11:40 G5FZ 40m SSB 59   59   Chris        
24/09/2011 11:44 M0REJ 40m SSB 59   59   Ray        
24/09/2011 11:47 G0CJX 40m SSB 59   59   John        
24/09/2011 11:48 G0UTP 40m SSB 59   59   Tony        
24/09/2011 11:53 G4PKW 40m SSB 57   59   John        
24/09/2011 11:55 GM4NFI 40m SSB     57   Dave        
24/09/2011 11:58 2E1IGI 40m SSB 59   59   Dougie        
24/09/2011 12:06 M0DKN 40m SSB 59   59   David        
24/09/2011 12:10 G8WPL 40m SSB 59   59   Don        
24/09/2011 12:11 G0COC 40m SSB 59   58   John        
24/09/2011 12:14 G7DSU 40m SSB 59   59   Chris        
24/09/2011 12:21 MW1ARM 40m SSB 59   59   Dave        
24/09/2011 12:27 2W0XTP 40m SSB 59   59   Dean        
24/09/2011 12:29 GB2NPR 40m SSB 59   59   Fred       Normanby Park Miniture Railway
24/09/2011 12:35 GW6STK 40m SSB 59   59   Robert        
24/09/2011 12:37 G7TCW 40m SSB 57   58   Chris        
24/09/2011 12:41 GN3XRQ 40m SSB 59   59   Bill       Drumawhey Miniature Railway
24/09/2011 12:45 G0TRB 40m SSB 59   57   Roger        
24/09/2011 13:00 G3KAG 40m SSB 52   54   Tony        
24/09/2011 13:06 F5VIG 40m SSB 53   42   Mike        
24/09/2011 13:09 GB4BLR 40m SSB 53   55   Jerry       Battlefield Line Railway – Shackerstone Station
24/09/2011 13:30 G4KEE 40m SSB 53   58   Victor        
24/09/2011 13:50 2E0WKX 40m SSB 55   59   Kevin        
24/09/2011 14:06 GB2PPS 40m SSB 57       Paul       Papplewick Pumping Station
24/09/2011 15:00 GB0GCR 40m SSB 59       Keith Nottingham     GC Railway
25/09/2011 09:43 GB0GWR 40m SSB 59   59   Derek       Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
25/09/2011 10:10 IN3KIS 20m SSB 37   55            
25/09/2011 10:55 2W0XTP 40m SSB 59   59   Dean 25k N Cardiff     FT920
25/09/2011 11:00 M0TWW 40m SSB 59   59   Tim Southend      
25/09/2011 11:09 ON3AFC 40m SSB 55   56            
25/09/2011 11:12 M0NAS 40m SSB 59   59   Neil Colchester Essex      
25/09/2011 11:13 2E0MTR 40m SSB 59   59   Mike Folkstone      
25/09/2011 11:22 G3KAG 40m SSB 59   57   Tony Royston      
25/09/2011 11:35 GB2RER 40m SSB 59   59   Glyn       Ravensglass and Eskdale Railway
25/09/2011 11:44 GB2HSC 40m SSB 59   59   David       Hollycombe Steam Collection
25/09/2011 11:56 GB1NNR 40m SSB 59   59   Paul Sherringham     North Norfolk Railway (NB jointly with Bittern DX Group)
25/09/2011 12:18 GB5RSR 40m SSB 59   59   Peter Preston     Ribble Steam Railway
25/09/2011 13:08 G3KYF 40m SSB 59   59   Keith        
25/09/2011 13:11 G4STH 40m SSB 59   59   Tim        
25/09/2011 13:14 G7SSG 40m SSB 59   59   Jeff        
25/09/2011 13:32 G7NPT 40m SSB 59   59   Joe        
25/09/2011 13:38 G0DRA 40m SSB 59   59   Derek Coniston      
25/09/2011 13:38 M0DCY 40m SSB 59   59   George        
25/09/2011 13:41 2E0GBA 40m SSB 59   58   Ian        
25/09/2011 13:48 M0VLC 40m SSB 59   59   Malcolm        
25/09/2011 13:49 G4LWN 40m SSB 53   54            
25/09/2011 14:01 G4CIB/P 40m SSB 59   59   Brian Lundy Island      
25/09/2011 14:18 G4AYO 40m SSB 59   59   Mike        
25/09/2011 14:18 G6GWR 40m SSB 59   59   John        
25/09/2011 14:19 G8ISI 40m SSB 59   47   Frank        
25/09/2011 14:19 M0HTB 40m SSB         Henryk Backwell      
25/09/2011 14:24 EI7HX 40m SSB 59   59   Jack Dublin     20 Watts
25/09/2011 14:45 G0BOR 40m SSB 59   59   David Bolton Manchester      
25/09/2011 14:50 GW0BBO 40m SSB 59   59   Jim        
25/09/2011 14:53 M0MDA 40m SSB 59   59   Nick Leeds      
25/09/2011 14:55 MM1BHO 40m SSB 59   59   Richard Dumfries