Nixons Mill and the 2018 Mills on the Air Weekend

The weekend just gone (Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th May 2018) was the annual Mills on the Air Weekend.  The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (S.P.A.B.) in the United Kingdom runs the National Mills Weekend each year in May, and as part of the event the Denby Dale Radio Society co-ordinate the amateur radio side of this event, the Mills on the Air Weekend.

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 8.19.11 pm.png

Last year was the first year I had taken part in the event.  On the Saturday I activated Nixons Mills at Hahndorf, and then on Sunday I activated the old Laucke Flour Mill at Strathalbyn.  Both times I used the VK5WOW callsign to celebrate the upcoming AGM for the WIA.

Unfortunately this year I was on Afternoon shift, so I limited to just a few hours at the historic Nixons Mill at Hahndorf.

My post re last years activation has a huge amount of information on this, South Australia’s oldest surviving windmill tower which was built in 1842.  You can read about the mill’s interesting history and view some historic photos at…….

Nixons Mill is located on the eastern outskirts of the historic town of Hahndorf, just a short drive from home.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Mill, just a short distance from my home.

The mill was restored many years ago, including the fitting of blades to the mill.  But sadly vandals got to the mill.  In recent years some restoration of the mill has taken place and there are a number of interpretive signs detailing the history of the mill.

It is just a short walk up a flight of stairs to the mill.  I made a few trips carrying the radio equipment up to a cleared area alongside the mill structure.

The mill is located alongside the Hahndorf Farm Barn, so I had a few interested onlookers, both human and animal.

I found 7.150 on the 40m band and started calling CQ.  First in the log was Stef VK5HSX/3 in the Cape Patterson Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2063.  Next up was Gerard VK2IO, followed by Andrew VK7DW/p operating portable in the Narawntapu National Park as part of the VK7 WWFF day organised by Jonathan VK7JON.

It was quite a slow morning, with band conditions being quite average.  I had a steady trickle of callers but it was clear that there was again no close in propagation on 40m.  Contact number 17 was David VK3CMZ activating the Andersons Mill at Smeaton in Victoria.  My first Mill to Mill contact for the day.  A few QSOs later I was called by Ivan VK5HS/p in the Cooltong Conservation Park 5CP-046 & VKFF-0923.  Ivan was very low down but we successfully exchanged signal reports (3/2 sent and 3/3 received).

It was quite a brisk morning with the temperature being about 11 deg C, so I was rugged up in my thick jacket which I bought in New Zealand a number of years ago.  A few QSOs after Ivan I logged some more Tasmanian park activators, Angela VK7FAMP/p and Tony VK7LTD/p in the Ida Bay State Reserve VKFF-1807.  And a few QSOs later Mick (VK3GGG) VK3BI/p gave me a shout from the Maryborough Flour & Chaff Mill in Victoria.

Unfortunately shortly thereafter I had some VK6 guys come up on the frequency, clearly for a sked, and without asking if the frequency was in use.  I did hear them mention that they thought the frequency was being used, but despite that they continued their chat.  As a result it made it quite difficult to log some of the lower down stations that were calling me.

After logging a total of 41 stations on 40m I moved down to 3.610 on the 80m band wgere I logged 4 stations, including Ivan VK5HS/p in the Cooltong Conservation Park.  Sadly I had a strength 8-9 noise floor on this band.

To complete the activation I headed back to 7.150 and called CQ which was answered by Frank VK7DX.  I logged a further 8 stations including Colin VK3NCC/2 in the Dthinna Dthinnawan National Park VKFF-0587.

Time was marching on, and I needed to pack up and head home for some lunch, a shower, and then off to work.  So In around 2 hours at the mill I had a total of 54 stations in the log.  Unfortunately I had no visitors to the mill during my activation, no doubt due to the very chilly weather conditions.  This is a fun event and I would encourage everyone to get involved in next years event.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5HSX/3 (Cape Patterson Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2063)
  2. VK2IO
  3. VK7DW/p (Narawntapu National Park VKFF-0005)
  4. VK7QP
  5. VK3ARH
  6. Vk1MIC
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK3MET
  9. VK3KMH
  10. VK5MK
  11. VK2RP/m
  12. VK2BDR/m
  13. VK3FSTA
  14. VK1HW
  15. VK3XL
  16. VK2NP
  17. VK3CMZ/p (Andersons Mill, Smeaton)
  18. VK3WAC/m
  19. VK5MR/m
  20. VK2GKA
  21. VK5HS/p (Cooltong Conservation Park 5CP-046 & VKFF-0923)
  22. VK3HBG
  23. VK7FAMP/p (Ida Bay State Reserve VKFF-1807)
  24. VK7LTD/p (Ida Bay State Reserve VKFF-1807)
  25. VK3NXT
  26. VK2VW
  27. VK3BI/p (Maryborough Flour & Chaff Nill)
  28. VK2JNG
  29. VK2IPK
  30. VK2KYO
  31. VK5KFB
  32. VK2NEO
  33. VK2QK
  34. VI2WG50
  35. VK3OV
  36. VK3CTM
  37. VK2USH
  38. VK6GLX
  39. VK3AHR
  40. VK2PKT
  41. VK3TKK/m
  42. VK7DX
  43. VK2VOM
  44. VK7FOLK/m
  45. VK7JON/m
  46. VK3FLES
  47. VK3NCC/2 (Dthinna Dthinnawan National Park VKFF-0587)
  48. VK3FVIC
  49. VK7ME
  50. VK2HHA

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS/p (Cooltong Conservation Park 5CP-046 & VKFF-0923)
  2. VK5KFB
  3. VK5BJE
  4. VK5FANA



Denby Dale Amateur Radio Society, 2018, <>, viewed 14th May 2018.


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