National Mills Weekend - 12th and 13th May 2012
There’s only one stone windmill with 6 sails working in the UK and that’s at Heage near the town of Belper in Derbyshire. Nunsfield House Amateur Radio Group (NHARG) has operate from that site for several years using GB5HW and once more DADARS were invited to go and assist. Once the tent was up, mains connected, kettle on, mast extended with the 80/40 dipole and the Cushcraft R5 vertical aerials connected to the Groups radio by about 10:45 - after a coffee of course! With quite restrictive opening times we tried what we could to work as many other Mills stations as possible and over both days with yet again awful band conditions 38 stations on 40m, 5 on 80m, 10 on 20m, 1 on 15m and 2 on 17m.
We could hear stations in East Coast USA, Japan, Greenland, Canada, etc., but just couldn’t work them. However there were visitors asking what it was all about so a bit of ‘public enlightenment’ was the order of the day. Thanks to NHARG for asking us to assist once more and it’s good that two clubs can work together.
National Mills Weekend - 11th and 12th May 2013
Saturday, 11th May 2013 saw a group of radio amateurs from various radio clubs arrived at Heage Windmill near Belper about 10 miles North of Derby to assist the Nunsfield House Amateur Radio Group (NHARG) to put their GB5HW station on the air. Your Scribe arrived Saturday just in time to help put their frame tent and erect the mast with the 40m half-wave dipole. A check was made to ensure the electricity supply was working by putting a 1.7ltr dummy load across it and before long the kettle had boiled and tea or coffee flowed.
We hooked up the HF transceiver as well as a TS2000 and a linear to give 100W of 2m FM and off we went. First contact on HF was with a station who was suffering S8 noise (obviously lives in a town then) and as we drew the contact to a close he said he was to move to another part of the band with less noise so we were able to use that frequency. Within minutes we had a pile-up and it continued unabated until we closed just before 16:00 BST. As the log is kept by the organisers I can’t recall how many were worked on the Saturday but we didn’t do too badly. I had a message from one of the DADARS membership to say we hadn’t got a pile-up, but a pile-up and a half!
Trying to sort out callsigns to work was a struggled and there would be many who were disappointed that we couldn’t work them. We all arrived for the 10:00 opening on Sunday to find that there was also a vintage tractor event so old Fordsons, etc., were lined up for people to see and drool over. Even the owners were dressed in the period of the machine. Impressive.
Job number 1 was a re-checking of the kettle for mains leakage (in other words, tea’s and coffee’s all round) then attention was turned to operating. Ditto re the pile-up on HF. The 2m station was making several contacts as well and I was told that there had been about 100+ stations worked on HF, but I wasn’t aware how many were worked on 2m so there I can’t help. They sounded nicely busy anyway.
So next year if DADARS are asked to assist please volunteer to assist with either operating or logging, or if operating from home then to work as many of the Mills as possible., Details are usually available from the internet as to which stations are on the air and there is an award available which would look good amongst the QSL cards on the shack wall.
Thanks to friends at NHARG for inviting the members of DADARS to assist with the running of the station again and making us welcome once more.