April 27, 2010

Heron Corn Mill

Hello folks,

If you want to view more detail in an image, clicking once on an image will enlarge it, a second click will enlarge it further hopefully giving more detail)

(This image produced by the staff at Heron Corn Mill)

Its not long now before (National Mills On The Air Weekend) and Sands Amateur Radio Contest Group have the privilege of taking part in this event for the first time from Heron Corn Mill in Beetham. The event takes place on Saturday the 8th and Sunday 9th of May and the mill will be open between 11am and 4pm each day.

Lets take a look at the mill and whats on offer!

Heron Corn Mill and Barn

The picture above was taken by me earlier this year when construction of the Hydro Electric Turbine housing was nearing completion. Don't let the bland looking buildings put you off, there is a treasure trove of things to explore inside the mill and a fascinating history to discover.

To the left of the picture you can see a newly renovated barn where you will be able to buy tea and coffee etc, and to the right is Heron Corn Mill itself. You will also find many but not all of the exhibits that Sands will be offering over the weekend, more on that later in this blog.

The mill is powered by water from the River Bela in Beetham

Looking upstream

As you look at the tranquil waters upstream its hard to imagine the power of the river that drives the water wheel in the mill

The Fish Pass was developed in 1990 by the Environment Agency to allow Sea Trout and Salmon to reach and breed in the River Bela.

(Diverted water coming down the Fish Pass)

(Turbine Housing under Construction)

The water flow down the fish pass is nothing compared to the water that falls over the weir just a little way beyond the swans.

Displays by Sands Amateur Radio Contest Group

The Mill

Both floors of the mill are full of exhibits and interesting information on the history of Heron Corn Mill that has an operational history going back to the 18th Century .

The first of our two radio stations will be operating from the top floor of the mill where the radio operator will hopefully be talking to more distant stations in Europe and around the world. Its also hoped that a demonstration of data communications will be set up to show some of the digital mode of communication we use.

The Callsign for the weekend is GB4HCM

Our second radio amateur station will be operating at ground floor level in the Barn on the 40m and 80m Amateur Bands. The operators will hopefully be talking to stations at other mills around the country and radio amateurs who would like to work us. There should be somebody near the station who can explain what is happening.

The Barn will also contain:

  • A video showing images of other events we have been involved in and will be running throughout the day. Pictures of other special events we have done like "The Abolition of the Slave Trade" and DX-Peditions to the Isle of Mull, and the Isle of Jura will be included in the program. (A Dx-Pedition is formed when a group of radio amateurs travel to distant places and run radio stations in that area where radio is rarely heard)

Special Event at Sunderland Point GB7AOS
(artwork by G0RDH)
  • A display covering what you need to do to become a radio amateur along with information about the Radio Amateur Foundation, Intermediate and Full Licence courses will be available along with a member of the group you can talk too and may be able to help out on courses local to you.
  • A Display of Radio Equipment of the type used at Bletchley Park and the Y stations during WWII and a little on the SOE in the form of a Replica Code Hanky etc.
If you would like to see some great video detailing the building of the Micro Hydro Electric plant there are two excellent video's made by R.G Parkins/IHT. The first was made 5 months ago showing the embryo of construction of the turbine housing and the second was taken just one month ago showing the arrival of the Turbine.


More on the history of Heron Corn Mill at Beetham can be found on their excellent website including the links listed above. http://www.heronmill.org/mill.shtml

Heron Corn Mill Blog http://heronmill.org/blog.shtml

You may have noticed a lack of images from inside the mill, I don't want to spoil your experience if your able to visit Heron Corn Mill, but I will publish them in the future.

If your within traveling distance of the mill pay it a visit, you will not be disappointed. The mill will be open to the public between 11am and 4pm each day. if you would like to try and work GB4HCM on air, we hope to be active from around 10am each day.

Best 73

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