EI/IN-087 Binnion 14.07.18

Today – 14-07-18 Ian and I headed out to Donegal to climb Binnion in North Donegal. It’s a 1 pointer but had never been activated before. I had been looking at this one for the past year but took a closer look at it when I got the Irish Ordinance survey map for Donegal. The track that I could see faintly on satellite maps was clearly marked but didn’t go all the way to the summit. We were able to park up at Annagh Upper with permission from the land owner from whom we also got permission to take our dogs up as there were no sheep on the hill at the moment.

We went up the lane past 2 cottages with my now usual odd Irish farmer sighting – this time at the clothes line in his PJs and wellie boots taking down the washing as “the rain’s coming”. We had been told by the landowner to go through the gate and when we came to the dipper (sheep dip) to turn right across the field to the track which would take us to the summit. The track was like the Giants Road in the Narnia tale “The Silver Chair” – I couldn’t see over the sides it was that deep into the mountain side – Ian thought it was a dried-up river bed! At this stage we lost the dog leads somewhere! After 3/4 mile we turned turn east to head for the summit. There is another track that goes further round to the left around the final summit area and I think either would do. As we climbed the wind off the Atlantic got stronger and stronger, so we stopped just below the summit plateau at 246m. I had texted Victor GI4ONL earlier and he was our first contact on 2m. We tried for an S2S with David on Slievelamigan GI/MM-006 but couldn’t hear him. VHF was poor with Ian just getting 3 on 2m and I got none on 70cms. We got the long wire set up despite the wind and I saw that David was on 40m but couldn’t hear him again – much too close this time! As I was moving up the band listening for a clear frequency I heard Andy, G7SQW on a GFF so called in and exchanged 59 59 reports. I then spotted on 7.106 and managed 8 more on 40m starting with Phil G4OBK.

Time Call Band Mode Notes
13:05z GI4ONL 144MHz FM s59 r57
13:27z G7SQW 7MHz FM s59 r59
13:31z G4OBK 7MHz FM s59 r43
13:33z ON4FI 7MHz SSB s59 r57
13:34z EA2CKX 7MHz SSB s59 r52
13:38z G1OCN 7MHz SSB s59 r44
13:40z G0RQL 7MHz SSB s55 r52
13:41z G4OOE 7MHz SSB s59 r33
13:41z GW4VPX 7MHz SSB s55 r55
13:55z G0FEX 7MHz SSB s59 r58

We then took some time around the summit taking photographs and videos before packing up and heading back to the landy.




GI/SM-022, Holywell Hill, 21-04-18

Today’s Sota was Holywell Hill near Londonderry, GI/SM-022. The approach is from the Irish Republic up the access path to the RTE TV mast. Once at the summit we climbed over the Border fence back into the UK. The trig at the summit is 5 yds inside Northern Ireland – there has been debate over which country it is in. It was a lovely sunny day but there was quite a strong wind and the mast fell over before we even went on air!
We started on 2m an 70cms – calls were slow to start but soon had a S2S with Victor on EI/IN-009 and there were 5 other S2S as well.
It was a very relaxing morning and afternoon and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed it!
Time Call Band Mode Notes
11:02z M3FEH 3.5MHz SSB
11:08z M0OAT/P 3.5MHz SSB s2s
11:19z HB9BIN/P 7MHz SSB s2s
11:20z G4WSB 7MHz SSB
11:22z GB1PBL 7MHz SSB gff-0331
11:26z GB2NH 7MHz SSB TQ40
11:28z EA2CKX 7MHz SSB
11:29z ON4FI 7MHz SSB
11:36z G4IAR 3.5MHz SSB
11:40z GW4VPX 3.5MHz SSB
11:48z G0GWY 5MHz SSB
11:49z G4IAR 5MHz SSB
11:52z MI0AEY 433MHz FM
12:00z EI7KP/P 144MHz FM s2s
12:18z GI4YWT 433MHz FM
12:21z MI6BLW 433MHz FM
12:29z GW4GGP/P 5MHz SSB s2s
12:32z HB9GKR/P 14MHz SSB s2s
12:42z MI0JST 433MHz FM
12:57z DL8DBW 7MHz SSB s2s

GW/NW-043, Cyrn-y-Brain 24-09-17

We headed away from my niece’s home to head for the Ponderosa with the intention of maybe trying for both summits accessible from the Horseshoe Pass but as the craic had been mighty with Aenone and Dave we were later away than expected and only managed Cyrn-y-Brain. The Ponderosa was packed out with bikers when we arrived after 11am but we managed to get pulled up on the other side of the road, got our gear on and headed to the shortcut to the track behind the car park.

This one has a good track all the way to the summit and we ignored the shortcut through the heather as we get enough of that at home in the Sperrins! We were thoroughly entertained by sheep, birds of prey and grouse on the ascent. At the summit the end fed long wire was quickly set up and I started on 40m and quickly got 4 contacts to claim the points. I moved to 80m and onto the WAB frequency for the usual suspects – Karl, Graham, Geoff and Ken. Ian could not get any contacts on 2m so he took over on HF to get qualified. It transpired later that everyone could hear him but there was a lot of bleed over from the masts. After our coffee (thanks Dave) we took down the hf gear and moved away from the masts staying in the AZ until we could hear replies to our calls. Thankfully both of us qualified with 2m as well. At 3.30pm we started on the road back so as we had our ferry to get we packed up when we got back to the Jeep and headed for Birkenhead. This was to be our last summit in our mini trip to North Wales which saw us reach 100 miles climbing for Leukaemia Research.

GI/SM-004 Carnanelly 562m / 1844ft 18.04.17

After climbing Mullaghclogha GI/SM-002 yesterday I was determined that we would activate Carnanelly today. Ian had already activated this one last year but I was at work that day and now needed this one to complete the Sperrins. We didn’t get away until the afternoon as there was a bogged tractor to pull out of the bottom of the Pump field – I would know how that felt later this afternoon! Mountain dog aka Poppy accompanied us with her sidekick staying at home much to her disgust. We arrived at the start point H68214 94093 Goles Forrest at about 1:30pm. The start was fine along forest tracks but at 1.2 miles we had to set off into the forest along a fire break. First there was a large shough to get over and then the fun started! There was a faint path as this track was used by geocachers to get to the summit but there were fallen trees every 20 yds! This meant that I had to constantly make detours as I couldn’t step over anything more than a foot in height. The moss was amazing in here – our sticks would disappear into apparent solid ground up to their handles which made it very dangerous walking indeed! Unlike our recent summits in England there wasn’t a soul to be seen or voice to be heard – just constant birdsong. After 0.6 mile which seemed to take for ever we emerged onto the hillside and clambered up to the summit – at this point I swore I would never ever be back on this hill and renamed it Carnage. We also didn’t realise that we couldn’t spot ourselves nor could anyone else – thanks to the WAB guys for trying – but it was Victor GI4ONL who got it sorted eventually and we finally got it activated. Many thanks to everyone who contacted us on 2m, 40m and 60m. Just after we arrived it started raining but we stayed after the activation to get revived with coffee, brioche and traybake as a celebration!! We then started the long descent with a few disappearing tricks into bogs and shoughs and arrived back at the Landy at 7:30pm.

Esther’s Log:

15:25 7MHz SSB G0FVH 7.165
15:53 5MHz SSB MI1AIB 5.335
15:55 144MHz FM GI4ONL 145.4
15:58 5MHz SSB G4OBK 5.335
15:59 5MHz SSB G0RQL 5.335
16:01 5MHz SSB G0VWP 5.335
16:02 5MHz SSB G3RMD 5.335
16:03 5MHz SSB MI5UTC 5.335
16:04 5MHz SSB M0BVK 5.335
16:05 5MHz SSB G6ENN/P 5.335
16:07 5MHz SSB G4IAR 5.335
16:08 5MHz SSB G8VNW 5.335

Ian’s log:

15:27z GI4ONL 144MHz FM
15:32z MI0KOA 144MHz FM
15:36z MI0KXT 144MHz FM
15:37z GI4AHD 144MHz FM
15:40z MI5UTC 144MHz FM
15:44z MI3CXM 144MHz FM
15:50z 2I0NIO 144MHz FM
15:51z MI0GDO 144MHz FM
16:00z G0RQL 5MHz SSB
16:02z MI0RTY 144MHz FM



GI/SM-009 Benbradagh 465m / 1526ft 15-04-17

On Easter Saturday I set off at 10am to activate our local SOTA Benbradagh which is 3 miles from our home. There had been showers earlier but the sun had come out just as I left the farm. Mountain dog and her sidekick accompanied me today but I left Ian at home to deal with the boiler engineer! My destination is the top of the Curragh Rd where it meets the old access road to the abandoned US Naval Listening Station C72807 10287. From here its a lovely walk along the old road past many of the concrete blocks to which stays were attached from the masts for the listening station crossing over several gates. At C72448 10947 beside a phone mast continue straight on onto a grass track that will take you to a stile on the left that leads to the final track to the summit. I had decided as this was to be a quick activation before doing Donald’s Hill in the afternoon that it would be VHF only on 2m FM, 70cms FM and DMR.

The following contacts were made:

09:54 144MHz FM GI0AZB Ian
10:00 144MHz FM MI0KXT Steve
10:05 144MHz FM MI3PDL Pat
10:15 433MHz FM GI0AZB
10:20 433MHz FM MI0KOA Harry
10:25 433MHz FM GI4AHD Ray
10:40 144MHz FM MI0JST Victor
10:45 144MHz FM GM3COX/P Jack S2S
11:00 433MHz DMR GI0AZB
11:05 433MHz DMR MI1AIB

No cup of tea on this activation – just straight back to the jeep with the 2 amigos to get ready for Donald’s Hill this afternoon.

GI/SM-005 Mullaghmore 542 M / 1778 ft

On Saturday 3rd December we set off on our first Winter bonus activations, this time accompanied by Steve 2I0VTZ and Mountain Dog of course. Mullaghcarn is very close to our home QTH so little travelling today! We parked on the Birren Road next to the access road to the BT site. After gathering up the gear we set off up the access road after clambering over the gate – I had told Ian to bring the stepladder in the Landy as I knew I couldn’t climb the gate!! It was a steady walk up the road – initially heading away from the summit – but then round a horseshoe bend and we were heading for the summit again. Little in the way of wildlife today apart from 2 crows on the ascent and an unidentified bird in the heather on the way down!

Once arriving at the transmitters we had to negotiate the mud around the site to get to the summit. we set up the 2 HF aerials on the one pole – Steve had a linked dipole and I had the end fed long wire. Steve put up his tent as the wind was bitter and we tried out our new tarp as a wind break for which it was excellent. Ian and Steve started on 2m whilst I went on the WAB net on 7.160 and immediately worked Dave G4SQA followed by the following:

1239 7MHz G4SQA
1242 7MHz 2E0KVJ
1242 7MHz G4IAR
1243 7MHz G0RQL
1244 7MHz MK3FEH
1245 14MHz G7BGA
1249 14MHz OE9EGI/P
1309 14MHz EA2IF
1311 14MHz EA2DT
1312 14MHz DL8DXL
1316 14MHz GI4ONL
1316 14MHz OK2PDT
1319 14MHz SP9AMH
1350 14MHz OF9X
1354 14MHz GI0IOT

OE9EGI/P provided a S2S for us all. After a lovely cup of tea and a few yoghurt biscuits we packed all up and headed down again. Mountain dog had her coat on at this stage as she was getting cold. We quickly descended and when approaching the Birren Rd debated going for the nearby Geocache but the thoughts of a warm coffee back at the farm won and we were soon heading back into Dungiven.

Many thanks to all our chasers today and to Steve for joining us!

GI/SM-023 Clondermot Hill 221m

This is one of the smallest summits in the sperrins at just 725ft but one of the most awkward in several respects! It has been notoriously difficult to get access and is very steep. The easiest route is via the access road to the transmitter site but despite all the locals saying that it was a right of way to the top the farmer does not allow any walkers access. There is another route at the north side but Tom (M1EYP)and Jimmy (M0HJY) found that it was barred by impenetrable gorse and a very high barb wire fence. We therefore went directly to Walsh’s Farm and asked permission from the farmer to park on the farmyard and where was best to climb the mountain. In true Northern Ireland form he talked to me out of the bathroom window and we soon found common friends!! He told us to go up the road slightly to start from there as there was a ram in the field who would hit us!

The unfortunate problem with this side is that it is extremely steep and the ground is made up of very sticky clay. However we were on the summit within 40mins and were soon setting up. I worked a few on the WAB net on 40m initially whilst Ian got it  activated with 2m.  I moved then to another frequency on 40m and got the activation there followed by several on 20m.

Time   Call
12:58z G0FEX
12:58z G4SQA
13:09z PA7ZEE
13:10z EA2CKX
13:20z 2E0YFF
13:20z G4IAR
13:23z G0FVH
13:23z MI3TIM
13:36z SP9AMH
13:37z OK2PDT
13:38z LZ1WF

No summit to summits today – tried hard with Andy GM8OEG on 40m and 2m but nothing heard. We packed up at 2pm to go and try an EI summit but as it took me so long to get back to the landy we gave up on that for today – the hill is so steep it was too sore on my knees! Thanks to everyone who was in contact today!

Esther & Ian GI0AZA &GI0AZB