Ireland - May 2024

My wife and I are headed to Ireland in May 2024, arriving on May 6th and departing on May 18th. Based on our typical whirlwind of activity primarily focused on being tourists, I will likely not have much time to do any real hikes on my own, or ones where I could persuade her into hanging out with me on the summit while I activate. I also don’t want to leave her alone for an extended period of time, unless she can find something that would keep her occupied for quite a while and she would prefer me not being with her. Ha. Maybe if I start a brutal argument with her the night before, she’d be happy to get rid of me the next day :thinking:

With that said, I likely won’t bring any HF gear, and will likely just bring my HT and a 2M 1/2 wave whip. I figured if we pass by any convenient summits that are “drive ups” or those that don’t require a ton of time or effort, I can possibly squeeze in a quick 2M FM activation and not get the “stink eye” too much, remaining in her good graces.

We don’t have our itinerary figured out yet, but we plan on seeing a decent portion of the country, especially out west. Once I know the cities/counties we will be visiting, along with the number of days/nights in each, I can report back here. It would be fantastic to get any recommendations from the local Irish SOTA folks (or those from outside who are familiar).

In the interim, I’ll peruse through trip reports of the most popular activated summits to get a feel for what kind of summits they are and the effort involved. Even if I get just one activation in as EI/W1NV, albeit quickly and on 2m FM, that would be awesome. I have no idea how popular 2M FM activations are in Ireland (will have to dig into SOTAData as well), but I hopefully would get enough for an activation!

If anyone has any suggested summits for the popular SOTA counties along common driving routes, I’d welcome your suggestions. I know it’s hard to offer things not knowing where we’ll be…BUT, I might just be able to use the information while developing the itinerary. “Oh look babe, there’s a SOTA summit right along the drive!! Who knew!?” :rofl:

Thanks in advance! Sláinte & 73 - Mike


My first ever SOTA activation was as EI/WN3F on Great Sugar Loaf EI/IE-022, which isn’t far outside Dublin.

I was visiting and just had my HT with the stock antenna. Lots of fun contacting operators across the Irish Sea - I was hooked!


Thanks Roy! Just took a look at the summit. If I move quickly enough (maybe get up extra early and let her sleep in) then I might be able to get that one in. We do plan on staying in Dublin a few nights.

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I lived on the Mizen Peninsular in SW Cork, for just over 10 years. Mount Gabriel EI/IS-072 (4pts), is a tarmac drive up - but you’re not supposed to - its a Civil Aviation Radar station on the summit!! There was no enforcement when I lived there and no permanent staff. I’m not aware of any other drive up summit - unless you bring a tractor. If you go anywhere near the SW coast drive you’ll see it from miles away and you’ll drive right past it anyway.

There’s plenty of smaller tops, in the SW some of which are short hikes to the top from the road. But the going might be rough with no paths at all. As for 2M activations, unless you are within sight of some of the larger towns or cities you might spend months trying to contact someone from many of the summits. I’d go to the site and see if you can ascertain the viability of 2m on previous activations. There’s not too many hams in Ireland.

When looking for easy access summits you might want to check out parkings spaces. There aren’t many. There aren’t many public footpaths in Eire and the few which exist are not marked on maps (or at least were not 10 yrs ago.

There is a very active SOTA ham in Eire and if you look at some of the summits on activations of you’ll see who it is. I’d contact him for further specific or general advice.


Thanks for the information David. I have been looking at the data and 2M FM looks sparse :grimacing: I may give one of the summits near Dublin a shot if I can, at a minimum. That way I can hopefully pick up any Hams in the vicinity of Dublin & also shoot across the Irish Sea for a force multiplier with the chasers in England & Wales. I’ll also do a lot of digging around over the next few months, including contacting John (EI3KA). I can only assume that’s the activator you were referencing. Much appreciated.


2M is not worth it if you are away from the east coast. The east coast (Wicklow mountains basically) will work into Wales pretty easily which gives you a better chance of a QSO. You will also probably get enough Northern Ireland chasers on 2m if you are up that way.
There is a repeater network that covers pretty much the whole of the country below a line drawn from Galway to Dublin. You could get on that and try drum up a simplex QSO if you’re stuck.
I’m not aware of any drive up summits on the east coast. There are many that require only a short hike though. There are two (Kippure + Mt Leinster) that have roads up to TV masts, but you have to walk for around an hour. Maybe bring an electric scooter :wink:
Also, I think you need to be an extra to operate here under CEPT rules, but I’m not certain about that. No doubt someone will correct me.


Thanks for the info Colm! Both U.S. Advanced and Amateur Extra license class holders are granted CEPT Radio Amateur License privileges in accordance with recommendation T/R 61-01. As an Extra, I’m covered. Short hikes shouldn’t be an issue. I’m sure I’ll have a decent list going soon. Thanks again.


If you’re heading west, Achill is pretty spectacular, and there is a drive up summit - Minaun - EI/IW-035


Looks awesome Colm! Thanks again!

I’m clearly unaware what gear you have but if it’s easily transportable, bring it. It’s very enjoyable and quite different to operate in Europe, not least of which is all the “weird” call signs!!

HT’s are great but you might become seriously disappointed as “locals” might or might not be readily available.

However, once found things aren’t always a winner…I operated once in England (which I realize isn’t the Republic) and had an earful about how I didn’t know about call signs and it wasn’t M/W6PNG I should use but M6PNG. Silly me, I had no idea what I was doing.


Thanks Paul. Yeah, I may bring the KX2. I feel I’ll be able to find the time and/or right location(s). On another note, I didn’t understand your last paragraph. Did you intend to reverse what you wrote? It would in fact be correct as M/W6PNG (at least in England) and not M6PNG…and one would use the RSL elsewhere (MM/ in Scotland, MW/ in Wales, etc). The local call signs in that region change dependent on locale (M7ABC, MM7ABC, MW7ABC, etc.) but not for U.S. call signs operating in those regions/countries. We add the prefix modifier to adjust based on location. I know there were recent changes just announced, but I’m pretty sure that didn’t affect U.S. Hams operating in the United Kingdom. It looks like you’ve spent significant time in England and would know a lot more than me, so I’m guessing that was just a typo. Haha. Thanks for your suggestion, regardless. I’ll regret it if I don’t bring the HF gear!


No, my idea of a joke…not very funny except to me!!

Fuller story here… You’ve got your callsign wrong! – Paul Gacek

I would take the KX2 as I think the extra volume/weight absolutely justifies the fun you will have working people all over the Republic, the UK, EU and of course back to the US.



Pack the KX2 and a small wire Mike, you will have a ball. Depends on where you hope to travel in Ireland or if you hope to venture into Northern Ireland? 2M activations in Northern Ireland are fairly easy as there are quite a lot of chasers that will be keen to work your call. As Colm has highlighted the most 2M activity will be around EI/IE and Dublin. There are some drive ons in both regions and some with short walks, with fantastic views, May is a nice WX time, usually.


Hi MIke,

as already stated by Colm EI9KY 2m is likely to disappoint. If you are on an East Coast summit on a weekend you will probably qualify it with the help of some GW guys. Away from the East coast 2m activating is pretty much a waste of time. Alex EI4JY is one of the most regular vhf activators and often needs to spend extended periods on the summits or bring sat gear. If you want a quick qualification most definitely bring HF gear and even the simplest of antennas.


Declan EI6FR


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Thanks Ian @GI0AZB and Declan @EI6FR - My kit is pretty small so I’ll bring the HF Gear as well. After discussing the trip last night, I’ll make time for some quick activations! I need to brush up listening for the fast CW European call signs. I always get thrown for a loop with a fast DX call coming in at 25/30 wpm :wink: I’ll probably still bring the HT as I’d love to try activating on the East coast, getting some chases from across the sea into Wales/England, in addition to those in Ireland and Northern Ireland. I think that would be awesome. I dropped Facebook over a decade ago so no luck there, unfortunately. I appreciate the feedback everyone!


If you are lucky and make a bit of noise that you will be on 2m then you may be able to work 6x DXCC on 2m from the one activation: EI, GI, GD, GM, G and GW.


@MM0FMF Now that would be interesting Andy! That would be a great shot into Scotland, especially from the Dublin area, but there’s not much in they way except for some choppy water :wink:

I’ve heard the 2m FM repeater from near Dublin on many occasions when activating from Tinto Hill GM/SS-064 which is some way in land. That’s just using a J-pole and handy. It only needs a touch of enhancement for the EI repeater to be audible AND local EI stations (I’ve heard some on the repeater’s input). It only really needs a bit of effort to see if you can persuade people to go out with a simple 2m Yagi when you expect to be QRV to make it happen. Of course running 25W not 5W would help. Or doing it on SSB where’s it’s trivial but not everyone has 2m SSB any more.


Yeah, a little more juice would be nice but I’ll be topped out at 5W on the HT and 10W-ish on the KX2. No 2M SSB for me, unfortunately. It’s hard to do 2M SSB in the states as well. Like you said, not many have capable rigs these days. I’ll do some research and programming of some of the repeaters near the coasts of each country (whatever there happens to be) to see if I can drum up some activity before I start calling CQ. Could be a worthwhile result.

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