Short GI/AH trip

We’re in Ballygally on the Antrim coast for a few days, visiting Marianne’s dad - Captain Jimmy, after whom @M0HGY was named! Ironically, Jimmy M0HGY is working this week and so is at home, and not away with Marianne, Liam and me.

Usual routine - try to get SOTA activating done while people are in bed, so as not to impinge on family time! After the overnight ferry from Birkenhead to Belfast, (and a fabulous large Ulster Fry at the Harbour Cafe near Belfast port) Maz and Liam were tired and opted to go straight to bed upon arrival at the accommodation in Ballygally. Hence that was my first opportunity.

Agnew’s Hill GI/AH-005

This was the most local SOTA summit, and therefore usually the first target when I’m over. It’s a short boggy slog of about 20 minutes to the summit cairn.

I used the Alexloop and qualified the activation with 5 QSOs on 40m CW, 3 on 30m CW and 3 on 40m SSB. No takers on 2m FM. All stations were recognised chasers.

This morning I had a deadline to be back at the accommodation by 10am so I got up at 5am and got on the road back to Belfast.

Divis GI/AH-004

The barrier was locked at the start of the access road, so it wasn’t possible to shorten the walk by parking at the National Trust coffee shop. I parked and started my walk from the main NT car park on Divis Road.

I followed the Summit Trail which culminates with a pleasant engineered path onto the summit and trig point.

The M.O.D. base has long since disappeared but another compound contains a transmitter mast, and I used the tall fences to provide shelter.

Again I used the Alexloop and started on 40m, but it was a bit early even for this band.

I managed two QSOs on 40m CW with well-known chasers. One more was added on 2m FM with the HT, then I was rather scrabbling around for the fourth.

@SA4BLM came through with a big signal on 30m CW, and then it was nice to catch Robert MI0GDO on 2m FM for a fifth. An amusing moment came when Robert asked me if my dad also needed the QSO!

Tomorrow … not sure … but it will definitely be early again.


That cruise must of taken years off you!


Hi Tom, great report and photos. Thanks for sharing.

Cheers to you- :beers: :beers:

Geoff vk3sq

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This morning was a toss up between Slemish GI/AH-007 and Slieveanorra GI/AH-003. The wx forecast for the former was not great. For the latter it was horrendous. So Slemish it was.

I set off from Ballygally at 6am, pulling into the car park around 6.45am. The climb was via headtorch light as it was pre-dawn. I opted for the more direct steeper ascent which involves a few bits of mild scrambling.

As I reached the summit, it was clear that the wind was too fierce for the Alexloop to remain upstanding on the tripod. I found a sheltered spot on the NW slopes just off the summit, but decided to try 2m FM on the handheld first.

No problem - four quick QSOs, and the activation was qualified. I went back to collect my rucksack from the sheltered spot, but then decided to set up and do a little HF. The rain started, so I needed to operate inside the bothy bag.

Six QSOs added on 40m CW, then no takers on 40m SSB. I descended down the less steep path but I think I lost it as some bits were still tricky. The rain intensified and I got a proper soaking!

A spectacular rainbow greeted me upon my return to Ballygally Bay!


Final day.

Early start for Slieveanorra GI/AH-003.

Followed Satnav to where I placed the waypoint, but couldn’t spot the track entrance, and the darkness didn’t help! Backtracked and found it.

Easy walk up the wide gravel track, about 20 minutes.

A bit early for anything shorter than 80m but I managed two QSOs each on 30m and 40m in 25 minutes. One on 2m FM before descending.

Checked the clock and decided I had enough time to also activate Cross Slieve GI/AH-011 on the way back down to Ballygally.

Again, got to where I’d placed the satnav waypoint from memory, but it was a gate with clearly no access.

I drove around a bit but couldn’t find the access road I remembered. A bit of research on offered an alternative.

I drove around to the east (seaward) side of the hill and approached via a transmitter access road.

The summit was just a couple of fields beyond the mast compound and an easy five minute walk. The third time I’ve activated this summit, and the third different route used!

Five QSOs - two on 40m CW and three on 30m CW. Fairly unremarkable but I didn’t mind as I needed to get back down to Ballygally. I wondered if conditions were down or more if the Alexloop is somewhat less potent without the helping hands of a salt water groundplane and a distant horizon!

Time to go home…


That’s my impression. I listened for you on 40m and 30m during your second activation, but your signals were not reaching here.