Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society

Jack Binns Event - January 2009 at Sandford Mill


The Institution of Engineering & Technology, (IET, formerly the IEE) published a 2 page article on Jack Binns in the 25th April 2009 copy.

  • IET Article: Saved by Wireless - by John Bowen

    R.M.S. Republic in Algiers
    Picture by courtesy of Capt Martin Bayerle, New York

    Three years before the loss of the Titanic, on 22nd of January, 1909 the R.M.S Republic left New York and headed towards the Mediterranean with 410 passengers and a crew of 300. Early the next morning in very thick fog it was rammed broadside by the Italian Liner S/S Florida.

    The Marconi Wireless Operator, Jack Binns sent the code letters "CQD" created by Marconi for such an emergency in 1904, but not used before in need/

    This started a tremendous rescue at sea which caught the public's attention and saved in the end possibly 1,625 lives (with no further loss of life after the initial crash). It involved the largest transfer of passengers at sea - still a record today.

    R.M.S. Baltic approaching Liverpool, England
    Picture by courtesy of Capt Martin Bayerle, New York

    The Chief Marconi Wireless Operator on the RMS Baltic, Henry J Tattersall was a Chelmsford man who lived in First Avenue until his death, in 1980, aged 94.

    As part of this 1909 centenary commemoration, Sandford Mill opened on Friday, 23rd & Saturday 24th January to transmit using Morse using the Special Event Call-Sign GB0MWT (this is because all messages were all sent in Morse 100 years ago). On Sunday, 25th January, SSB was used although if the Operator wished to use Morse it could be used.

    Reports below: Click for Friday, Saturday Sunday

    Sandford Mill - Jack Binns Event - Updates

    A Special QSL Card will be issued to anyone who sends us one or has requested one during the QSO.

    Friday, 23rd January 2009

    A new RF Earth had been provided and Gwyn G4FKH fired up his own rig and contacted Australia (Sydney). Gwyn is CARS Morse expert and co-ordinator of the CW event for Friday & Saturday - thanks Gwyn.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    CARS Chairman, John, G8DET presenting Dr Geoff Bowles with a copy of David Barlow's "CQD Binns" Book

    Gwyn G4FKH opening up the Marconi Hut - repainted by friends of the Museum.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Gwyn, G4FKH opening up air waves on Friday, 23rd January, one hour
    before the CQD Signal was sent by Jack Binns, 100 years ago.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Peter Hale, G4OAD operating left handed (as did Jack Binns)
    Peter was an Army RO and a RSGB Morse Examiner for Essex.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    CARS Vice President, Charles Shelton talking to RO Association Member Ian Channing & his Wife.
    CARS Publicity duo Myra & David Davis to the right.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Tony G4YTG talking to Andrew G0IBN (centre) and Peter G4OAD about their similar Morse Keys.
    Andrew has a Gold one and an original (and worth a lot of money) while Peter's is an exact copy in steel.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Andrew, G0IBN (on the key) with John, G8DET talking to BBC Essex (Radio) with Peter listening.

    This was transmitted by BBC Essex (Radio) on the Etholle George Show from 1305 to 1325 on 23rd January.
    Andrew was requested by BBC Essex (Radio) to transmit the Morse message Jack Binns sent.

    If you would like to hear the interview, click below.   It is a MP3 download You will need a media enabled browser or Media Player for this

  • BBC Essex Interview:   Click here to play   Size: 10MB, time: ~10mins

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Andrew, G0IBN transmitting at 11.40GMT, 100 years to the minute when Jack Binns sent his first CQD Call.
    Note - America at this point is 5 hrs behind England (it was 6.40am EST then).

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Charles standing by his 19" Monitor which he presented to Sandford Mill - displaying
    the Web Site provided by Virginia Binns - Jack's Great Grand Daughter.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Gwyn working the Lizard Radio, Cornwall.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    The Feeder to the Pond at Sandford Mill after inches of rain
    This point is about 8 foot higher than normal.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    The Pond with Sandford Mill behind in the setting Sun.
    The 80m Aerial Doublet from the chimney on top of Sandford Mill spans
    this Pond to a lattice mast 30 metres behind the photographer.
    Pity the water is not Sea Water - we could then work the World on 1 Watt.

    GB100MSC QSL Card from Lizard Radio, David Barlow for the contact using Morse on 23rd January 2009.
    MSC (or"Old SC" as it used to be called) is the callsign for Siasconset, Nantucket Island, Mass.
    This is the Marconi shore station manned by Jack Irvin 100 years ago.

    QSL Card from Cape Cod - worked by Geoff, G3EDM using GX0MWT on 23rd January 2009.
    MKC is the Call-sign for the RMS-Republic while BC or MBC is the Call-sign for the RMS Baltic, the saving ship.
    All Call-signs were originally 2 character but became 3 character with a "M" inserted
    before the Call-sign. This took place on the 1st January 1909 and it took a little
    while to use the new 3 character Call-sign.

    Saturday, 24th January 2009

    Global Warming? - What Global warming.   Friday started off wet and finished with a severe frost at night while the road to Sandford Mill was flooded to the depth of 1 foot for 30 yards!

    The Marconi Hut was very cold even with the nice heater provided - we were afraid to switch the second bar on incase we blew a main fuse - not knowing where the fuse box was - we need not have worried - when Geoff, G7KLV turned up he said the second bar did not work anyhow!

    Using Gwyn's rig and all the set up as left the previous day the power was soon surging up the Aerial feeder.

    14 MHz was used for most of the day regardless of what Band was open - this is the Band advertised so that is what we were going to use.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    The Feed Pond with Colin, G0TRM standing on the bridge - the water level higher than Friday.
    Would we be able to continue?   A Clause had been agreed with Ofcom that if Sandford Mill was flooded, etc we
    could work from one of a number of nominated QTHs.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Rick, G3YEC operating in the early morning.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Andrew, G0IBN operating with Colin, G0TRM (left),
    Rick & Steve, G4ZUL; CARS Radio Sport Manager looking on.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Peter, G4OAD (left), Gwyn, G4FKH and CARS Chairman, John, G8DET by
    the computer display showing Jack Binns Web Sites.
    Note the curtain & bottom of a table covering an open door to stop the cold coming in.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Andrew, G0IBN operating.   Note, he is Left-Handed as well as Jack Binns.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    General discussion about progress - note, only one bar of the Infra-Red Heater is on.
    It is interesting to note that The Marconi Hut was in use just 10 years after the Jack Binns event.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Andrew, G0IBN working KM1CC (Cape Cod, America) on 14.044MHz at 12.25GMT.
    It was a long QSO with deep fading but greetings were sent to Virginia from CARS Chairman and President.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Gwyn really getting down to writing an interesting QSO.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Martin G4TOO concentrating in the job in hand.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Steve G4ZUL looking startled having a "Photo Call".

    After a very good social day with many more visitors than shown the day ended on a high. We had contacted Australia, Queensland - an Ex RO, KV4BUE, America and a Jack Binns station at that!

    Gwyn counted up we had worked 287 CW stations in the two days including KM1CC & II1CQD from Giulano - an Italian "Special Event Station" - we have been in E-Mail contact about Jack Binns so this was a thrill.

    CW Operators over the 2 day event were: -
    Gwyn - G4FKH; Charles - G0GJS; Rick - G3YEC; Steve - G4ZUL; Andy - G0IBN; Peter - G4OAD and Martin - G4TOO.   Thanks to them all.

    Thank you to everyone who took part in Chelmsford for the two days of CW.

    Sunday, 25th January 2009

    Sunday proved to be as wet as Friday but this did not stop a steady steam of visitors including Mr Peter Turrall, Chairman of the Marconi Verterans Association coming in the afternoon.

    Sunday was SSB day - remember the RMS Republic had already sunk by now!   This was the time to talk to the non CW types.

    Brian G3CVI set up the Club FT 847 and with heating on - we were away.   Peter Hale G4OAD brought Norman Crampton M0FZW from Canvey Island - Peter being the only person to attend all 3 days - well done & thank you Peter.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Martyn G1EFL Logging, Brian G3CVI (centre) on the mike with
    CARS Committee Member, Programme Sec John Yates G1UZD looking on.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Peter G4OAD Logging with John G1UZD on the mike and visitor Adrian
    from Wheathampstead looking on.   Club Chairman John G8DET is looking at the camera.
    Photo taken by Martyn G1EFL

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Peter G4OAD still Logging for Norman M0FZW on the mike.   Norman likes his tea without milk.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Enjoying a rest with a cup of tea and a wad.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Patrick M0XAP Logging, Malcolm on the mike but being shown how to arrange
    "Split Frequency Working" by Brian with John G1UZD looking on.
    Standing is James 2E1GUA in his 'high-vis' cycle jacket with CARS Member Adrian Soane M0ABY looking on.

    Jack Binns event - at Sandford Mill
    Mavis, Wife of Adrian from Wheathampstead trying not to be photographed - some hopes!
    Mavis is G0XBC, while Adrian her Husband is M0ABY.
    They are very good and support every Sandford Mill event - round trip of some 65 miles.

    We packed up at the sunset after three hectic days - good fun with hard work.

    • On SSB we worked 85 stations on Sunday.

    • Over 365 contacts made over 3 days to spread the word regarding Jack Binns & the RMS Republic.

    • CARS Vice Presidents Geoff G3EDM and Charles G0GJS used the CARS Club Call-sign GX0MWT and worked a number of stations during the Jack Binns Event.

    • Geoff worked VE9AR (Archie) in Kingsclere, New Brunswick;   VO1RYL (Rendyl) in Newfoundland;   WB4CCQ (John) in Shelby, Alabama;   K1WCC (Henry) in Cape Cod;   W1TPB (Ted) near Boston, Massachusetts;   W1AA/MKC (Whitey) in Cape Cod for RMS Republic;   W1AA/BC (Henry) in Cape Cod for the RMS Baltic .   The suffix indicating the call letters of the ships involved in the rescue.

    • Also worked were GB0MWT at Sandford Mill (John, G1UZD) and Peter, G8BLS/P, at East Mersea

    • Charles at different times worked 20 stations including Halifax, Canada - but no CQD Stations.

    Our thanks to Dr Geoff Bowles, Keeper of the Science & Industry Museum, Geoff Lovegrove, G7KLV (Liaison Officer) & all the Friends of the Museum who painted up the Marconi Hut so nicely.

    Thanks also to Gwyn, G4FKH, Andrew, G0IBN and Brian, G3CVI for their involvement setting up the station. Special thanks to Peter Hale, G4OAD who turned up on all 3 days for the whole time - "Well done, Sir".

    This Event has been reported in the Essex Chronicle dated 29th January, 2009 and may well be featured in the April addition of Practical Wireless.

    Less than 2 weeks after the Jack Binns weekend the heaviest rains for years fell & Sandford Mill (and many parts of Chelmsford) were flooded.

    Floods at Sandford Mill approach road Floods at Sandford Mill approach road
    Left photo is the approach road to Sandford Mill as seen from its gates.
    Right hand photo is looking the other way - yes the boat is alongside the road, NOT a river!
    Photo by Nigel Bowen, LMPA

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