So, battery all charged up, and after a few minutes reading up about repeaters and how to negociate the complicated menu system on the Baofeng, I programmed it for the GB3NI repeater up on the craigantlet hills (54.617591 / -5.810721), about 10 Km away and clearly visible from the upstairs windows on a clear day.
And within a couple of minutes had my first QSO with 2I0HRV, Tommy in Carrickfergus. 3 km closer than the repeater....... but still!
after a few minutes chatting I noticed that the rubber duck antenna was getting warm..... I HAVE ordered another, longer, antenna so hopefully it'll sort that and improve the signal too, but so far, nothing to camplain about at all!!
a few more contacts, all mobiles, through the afternoon, so I'm happy!!