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Christmas 2017


Well, carrying on with my daily walking-up-a-hill regime through the week between Christmas and New Year. This has always been my favourite bit of Christmas; plenty of downtime to play with presents and toys, people in a good mood, still a general “Christmassy” feeling and decent stocks of nice food and drink in the house.

It took some doing getting out on Friday 29th December 2017. I spent most of it lazily lounging round after my gig last night. The video above shows a bit of footage of Liam singing with the band! (Cameraman M0HGY). By the time I managed to leave the house, it had already gone dark!

The walk up and down The Cloud was tricky to say the least. Some of the ice had thawed, while more was in the process of thawing - but facing up to the inevitably of refreezing as night set in. That triple layer of ice-slush-running water was lethal to walk on, and my overall walk time was doubled as I concentrated on remaining vertical!

Anyway, up to the summit, 4 VHF amateur radio contacts, and back down to the car with no slips. Result.


Penultimate Christmas season activation of the year. Well I know Christmas runs traditionally to January 5th, but from the 1st it always feel more like New Year than Christmas!

A bit slow out of the blocks again, though not as late as yesterday. I was going to the Macclesfield Town vs Sutton United match at the Moss Rose at 3pm, and set off there, via The Cloud G/SP-015 just before 1pm.

I noticed a group of five lads with mountain bikes at the parking spot. I wondered if they would notice the signs, or indeed comply with them.

After a short brisk walk to the summit, I made only 2 QSOs. 2m FM was very quiet. It will pick up again in the New Year.

Halfway down, I met the five mountain bikers all riding up the muddy paths. I pointed out to them that cycling was not allowed on The Cloud. They claimed not to have seen any of the five or six signs pointing out the prohibition, and quickly descended into giving me a torrent of foul-mouthed verbal abuse. Delightful young men.


Anyway, so I managed to track down the identity of the main protagonist, and established a channel of communication with his mum. Apology received and accepted, so drawing a line under the incident.

Turns out though it wasn’t the penultimate activation - it was the one before that. The penultimate was back up The Cloud G/SP-015 this lunchtime, where it was very busy with walkers. Just three contacts made on 2m FM.

Hoping for at least one more than that later for my final activation for 2017 - Billinge Hill G/SP-017 - on the way to Blackpool for a New Year’s Eve gig with Joe Longthorne.

I’ll be QRV /M from now to around 3pm, then the SOTA activation, then QRV /M again around 4pm to 5.30pm the rest of the way. SOTA friends - come have a chat!


Sunday 31st December 2017 - New Year’s Eve

Off to Blackpool for a NYE gig with Joe Longthorne. Only the other day, I noticed that I hadn’t activated Billinge Hill G/SP-017 at all in 2017. Thus I figured I could grab it on the way to my gig.

Weather forecast was for torrential rain courtesy of Storm Dylan. Thankfully, I experienced not a drop. I parked on Crank Lane and followed the trivial walk to the summit. It was very muddy in places though.

I only had my VX7 with me and no other (HF etc) options or proper aerials, so I was worried on two counts: 1. Activity levels, and 2. Breakthrough from the commercial masts on this hill.

I needn’t have worried. There was but a brief murmur from the masts, and plenty of people with their radios on. I made six contacts in seven minutes, all 2m FM and nearly all 59 signals both ways. Easy peasy.

That concludes my run of Christmas activations. Next: a run of New Year activations. Have a great evening everyone! Finally a photo of my “office” for that evening at work…


Last post in this topic; photos have been added above ^^^