G4YSS: G/NP-009 NEW YEAR Summit Camp, Tuesday 31-Dec-19 to Wednesday 01-Jan-20
Double Points plus Bonus
BUCKDEN PIKE OVERNIGHTER
G4YSS using SSEG Club Call GX0OOO/P on 160-80-20m QRO and 2m-FM QRP
Sun times: 08:28 and 15:55
All times UTC
FT817ND HF/VHF/UHF 5W Transceiver
MX-P50M HF 50 Watt Linear Amplifier (80 thru 10) with 160m capability
Adjustable link dipole for 80-60-40-(30)-20 with loading coils for 160m
6m (5 section) home-brew CFC/ Alloy mast with 1m end sticks
4 x 5 Ah and 1 x 2.2 Ah Li-Po batteries (22 Ah)
IC-E90 5 Watt, 4 Band VHF-UHF Handheld & power adapter
UV-3R Handheld pocket rig
Viper-2 Ridge tent (1988. Fly, inner, pegs & poles - 2.2kg)
Mountain Eqpt. Nova-II, synthetic sleeping bag 1.2kg
Foam mat (Green - 72 inch)
Petzl Zipka Headlamp
85 Litre Rucksack
Pack-weight: 17.1kg (37.7 pounds) inc 1.75 Ltr fluids
After the loss of a loyal dog in November I had little enthusiasm for another New Year summit camp. But what else am I going to do? Sit in a comfy chair in a nice warm house watching the telly. It’s not really me and despite fears, rational and irrational, even at my age I still get these urges.
Good weather is paramount when it comes to summit camps in winter and by my reckoning and experience, you are very lucky if the UK climate will allow this kind of activity any more often than one year in three or four. Add coughs and colds to that and it’s even harder, when in my case, they can easily end in bronchitis. I’ve pushed my luck a time or two but it’s high winds, heavy rain and deep snow that have put me off in the past.
The anxiety associated with trying to decide in advance what the weather will do can be debilitating and if I’m being honest, it can be a tremendous relief when a good excuse NOT to go, lands in your lap. I find that it’s no use trying to plan more than 3 days ahead but what an easy decision it was this year – to go that is. Two reasonable days falling just right. All I needed to do was to shelve my own internal demons and make plans.
Nowadays planning is actually minimal. I have detailed checklists for this and most situations and tried and tested equipment – albeit some is quite old, to carry it through. The large rucksack I use exclusively for summit camps has many of the required items permanently in it.
That said, of course this is not without its risks. You are very much out on a limb hoping that nothing major will go wrong, the biggest risk being a medical emergency. It’s perhaps obvious that this op is not one who approves of the risk adverse World we live in today where common sense has been insidiously replaced by rule books. Fortunately for me, I enjoyed a misspent youth, much of it centred on a dozen 100 foot deep and shear disused sandstone quarries near my home in Wrose, Bradford. If my mother had ever realised what went on using nylon cord salvaged from an old army parachute and tied together, I’d have been grounded.
Previous New Year SOTA Summit Camps & Double Points:
2004-05: G/NP-018 Nine Standards Rigg
2007-08: G/NP-004 Whernside
2016-17: G/NP-010 Pen-y-Ghent
2018-19: G/NP-032 Cracoe Fell (with Sasha)
WEATHER – MWIS Mountain forecast at 700m ASL for the Yorkshire Dales:
Monday 31st December 2019:
Wind southeast or southerly 15 to 20mph, sunshine, no rain or low-cloud. Temp at 700m: 1C to 4C and 5C to 6C in the valleys.
Tuesday 1st January 2020:
Southwesterly 25 to 35mph, rain unlikely, 60% chance of cloud-free summits. Temp at 700m: 3C to 5C and 2C to 6C in the valleys.
MWIS forecasts often err on the more severe side so this was looking quite good. The above takes no account of overnight temperatures however.
Choice of Summit?
With a decent weather forecast and having neglected to activate more than a handful of NP’s thus far in 2019, I was spoiled for choice. Why NP generally? Because my tent pegs won’t go into rock. It wasn’t difficult to opt for Buckden Pike G/NP-009 as it’s nearer to my QTH than any of the NP summit over 1 point, except perhaps NP8. Furthermore it has big dry stone walls on its top, plus being the first mountain I climbed aged around 14. A six pointer would render 18 points for the camp-over Easy pickings if you’re after a points tally, which I’m not nowadays. Those days have long gone.
Route (Repeated Here):
From the quarry parking place in Bishopdale at SD 9455 7996 (413m ASL) the way is initially north up the tarmac, through a gate at SD 9454 8000 then through a second gate at SD 9475 7979. A level path across pasture land connects the two.
Follow a sheep path via: SD 9479 7975, SD 9486 7977 and SD 9507 7981 (at the latter point it is a quad track). Go up to a wall corner at SD 9516 7975 and then on to SD 9521 7966. Pass through a gateless gap in the wall at SD 9534 7954 and up steep ground to SD 9539 7951. Cross Cow Close Gill beside by the wall at SD 9546 7947, loosing a few metres here.
From the Gill crossing, swing right (south) to pick up the meagre path again at SD 9547 7936 and SD 9551 7933, following the wall. Less than 300m later this wall-path joins the main path from Cray, at SD 9565 7921. Follow this stepped and surfaced path to the top, via SD 9609 7885.
I left Scarborough earlier than scheduled at 10:10 on Tuesday 31st December, for the 77 mile drive to Bishopdale via A170, Thirsk and A684, arriving at the start point by 12:25.
The elapsed time for the 2.4km ascent, starting at 12:40, was 47 minutes, significantly slower than usual due to a heavy pack and brief pauses to exchange new year greetings with two groups in their way down. Height gain, including a little re-ascent is 297m and distance is under 2.5km one way.
The tent and station was set up on the north side of the east-west running wall and this was achieved in about an hour. For this process a thermoball jacket came in handy in fending off a cold wind though its intended purpose was for use as a pillow. It would have to be the inflatable one as I had no intention of taking the jacket off for the duration. This was looking like being a cold night. It took a little longer to sort everything out but by 14:30 all was more or less ready to try 20m, whose pre-alerted time was actually 16:00 That was risking it being closed so time saved in getting to this point proved to be an advantage.
BUCKDEN PIKE, G/NP-009, 702m, 6pts, 13:27 on 31-Dec-2019 to 10:46 on 01-Jan-2020, 3C on arrival and dropping. Minus 2C by 8pm and milder again from 3am. Wind 20 mph, 15mph or less overnight then increasing again. Overcast with thin low-cloud on arrival. Clear skies overnight and in the morning. Just usable Vodafone coverage. LOC: IO84XE, WAB: SD97. NP9’s Trig ref is TP-1744.
14.061 CW – 7 QSO’s from 14:55:
The dipole was first VSWR tested on 80m, indicating that all sections were working, before pulling the 20m links. I tried the self spotting system at this juncture and for most subsequent sessions also. The spot worked with only a short delay – a good indicator of how this, almost essential facility, might perform on a summit not known for its ‘phonability.’
A 30 Watt CQ brought in IK6NHA/P Tolentino with a 559/ 579 exchange. Next was EA7GV Jose 599/ 559, followed by N4EX Richard in NC with 579/ 539, an early DX contact. Though weak at first, Phil G4OBK easily succeeded with 529/ 559 though he was much stronger by the end.
The greeting ‘GM’ came in handy again for KF9D Roger (IL) 579/ 559; N8HN 559/ 229 Stan in MI (50W needed at my end) and finally KB9ILT Paul - NC, 589/ 319. Cold feet were by now a distraction but a third pair of socks and the sleeping bag eventually fixed that problem.
14.316 SSB - 10 QSO’s from 15:27:
Stations worked on 20m SSB with 50 Watts: EA1DHB 55/ 55; AC1Z Robert in NH 57/ 55; K3TCU Gary in PA 55/ 44; EA5JN Angel 57/ 57; NO3K 55/ 55 Rick in Georgia; EC5KY Jose – Nr. Barcelona 57/ 59 plus 20dB; VE1WT Phil – 100 miles W of Halifax, Nova Scotia 2 x 59; NF9V Rudy – Wisconsin 59/ 55; W1OW Bill – Mass 57/55 and finally PY1FC Eduardo in Rio 2 x 59.
This was a pleasing result. The band was covering some of Europe, North America and at the end I was very surprised to be called from Rio de Janeiro, thinking for a fleeting moment that PY was a version of a PA call like PE is. I am getting a bit rusty on international callsigns it would seem but South America was totally unexpected.
Someone from over the ‘pond’ (it may have been VE1WT?) asked me for my working conditions and seemed quite surprised by the signal that such a modest setup was putting out. I think it was mostly down to good propagation however, so I was very lucky with the timing.
3.557 CW – 3 QSO’s from 17:05:
Boots on and out to change the dipole links revealed a beautiful afterglow from the setting sun; the low-cloud having gone away. The camera, well my camera at least, rarely does justice to this kind of subject but I took a few snaps anyway.
Power was set to 30W with 50W at the end of this session but it took 10 minutes to log three stations. I should have been on 80m earlier but instead was busy with 20m. I’d heard two stations on the 3.760 WAB net talking propagation. Apparently the 80m band had taken a serious ‘nose dive’ about an hour before I wanted to use it. I was therefore grateful for the three stations that did call in: M5EVT Matthew – ‘South Cumbria’ 599/ 559; G4WSB 2 x 559 Bill in Swindon and SM5LNE Jan 2 x 59. All the regular WAB’ers were absent.
3.760 SSB - 1 QSO at 17:25:
Just Bill on here - G4WSB (Swindon) at 44/ 33 despite my 50 Watts.
145.550 FM - 1 QSO’s at 18:05:
With the maximum 5 watts set on the FT817ND and connected to the J-Pole, I only managed to raise John MW1FGQ on 2m at this time. I must say he didn’t sound ‘normal’ and I remarked about it. He told me that he’d been almost on death’s door with a bad dose of proper influenza and had been through a very rough time. This was the first day he’d been able to get up and work the radio. This makes me think I should be having flu jabs. Get well soon John.
1.832 CW - 7 QSO’s from 18:28:
It was now time for 160m so it was back out into the dark to fit the 160m loading coils at the 40m break points. I didn’t see anybody out there and I’m pretty sure I’d have seen a tent had it been there then.
Going back to the radio for VSWR checks with the amp switched off, I noticed that there was a lot of QRM on 1.846, my intended SSB freq. after CW. For this reason I made a minor tweak of one of the coils to bring resonance slightly further up the band. This way if couldn’t clear the data interference, I could go a little way above 1.850 if required.
In the log after a self spot: G3RDQ David 579/ 449; G4WSB Bill 2 x 559;G0HIO Mike 559/ 339; DJ5AV Mike 579/ 569; F6GCP Patrice 599/ 569 and G4OBK Phil 599/ 579. Finally I worked UB1CBK 2 x 599 (initially logged in error as U61CBK). ‘Den’ was in Leningradskay, Russia near the Finish border at a range of approx 2,100km, so he must have had a really good 160m band antenna, ‘cos I hadn’t!
Mike G4BLH/M tried for a QSO but parked as he was too close to his house, made it impossible to hear the report I was giving him. I tried quite a few times but to no avail. This situation was repeated for the SSB session but he did manage a QSO later in the evening after driving to a quieter spot.
1.852 SSB - 13 QSO’s from 19:10:
The alerted frequency of 1.846 was still overwhelmed by loud penetrating tones. A year or so ago the spot I’d been using for SSB for ‘donkey’s years’ – 1.843 had been taken over but now the problem has moved further up the band. Forced to move above it yet again, I chose 1.852 but if I am to continue with 1.832 for CW, trying to cover that and 1.852 is getting close to a VSWR problem. It would be bad news if I had to go out and re-tune the coils before moving to SSB, then I couldn’t alternate between the two modes any more.
This ear splitting interference is certainly putting my style of Top Band SOTA in jeopardy. Another problem is that if this continues, we are going to be left with the UK low power section above 1850 for SSB and there we must drop to 30W. It’s even worse for EI stations who I was told by Michael EI3GYB, must drop to just 10 Watts! QRP and Top Band do not easily go together unless you’re in a nice warm shack with a large and wide band antenna. I heard this interference on 1.832 too, a few minutes before I wanted to use it.
Anyway I digress. With 30 Watts on this quiet frequency albeit with SWR approaching 2.5:1, I logged the following callsigns: 2E0FEH Karl 57/ 44 in Cornwall; G1YFF 59/ 57 – Jake (nr. Cambridge) is mad keen on 160m he worked me with G4WAB and G7WAB also. Jake was followed by M0BKV Damien in Cornwall 58/ 48 with QSB; G8ADD in Birmingham with 56/ 36; GI0AZA Esther in Londonderry 59/ 55 and G4OBK Phil 59+/ 57 from Pickering, 85km east of NP9.
Next came Esther’s other half - GI0AZB Ian 59/ 33 in QSB and M1TES James in Suffolk 57/ 33. Then a difficult one in the form of GB50ABG – WAB 50th anniversary station operated by Graham G4JZF in Birmingham, an extremely tricky ‘33’ both ways. After Graham came YO8WW Gabi 56/ 33-55 QSB and our friend Dave G3TQQ, also in Pickering, North Yorkshire with a 55/ 44(QSB to 33) exchange.
Leaning on one elbow most of the time made me feel like my humerus and collar bones were about to crack – agony, so I was forced to adopt a lying down position with the log on its side. This made writing even slower than normal and some ops had called in two or three times before I was able to reply. In the light of the headlamp and that combined with the focal length of my reading glasses, the log was tricky to see and I read one or two callsigns back wrongly which makes one feel a fool. At least I was under cover but lying in a low tent is not as convenient or comfortable as sitting with your back to a wall for example.
145.450 FM - 3 QSO’s from 20:05:
With 5 Watts from the FT817ND to a vertical half-wave, I worked: 2E0XLG Chris in Thornton-in-Craven 59/ 53. Chris has a shack at 1,600ft - The Shack in the Yorkshire Dales – a 1940 comms hut – now well appointed and which Chris offered me the use of. Great VHF and low-noise HF.
Next - G1OHH Sue at Lancaster 59/ 55 and G4BLH/M Mike - now at a quiet place in the countryside near Clitheroe 59/ 54. Sue told me that Doug G1KLZ (High Bentham) had died in November. I used to work Doug regularly when he was chasing SOTA and that’s another sad loss!
I had a chat with Mike and I congratulated him on his efforts to get the HEMA website off the ground a few years ago. It has now been taken up by another team. It’s useful to have HuMPs as a fallback in case SOTA becomes too difficult. For me the main advantage is distance driven or the lack of it. To get to my nearest SOTA I have to drive for at least 30 minutes and that’s only a 1-pointer. I can walk from my home to the nearest HuMP (G/HTW-008 - Seamer Beacon) in 33 minutes. HuMPs are generally more likely to be local.
1.846 SSB – 1 QSO (G4BLH) at 20:50:
Since Mike had failed to log a Top Band QSO with me thus far and considering all the trouble he’d gone to, I thought it only fair that we should go back there briefly to try again, especially since his 160m noise level had gone down from S9 to S4 after getting away from the buildings. We exchanged our 73’s and HNY’s on 2m-FM before QSY’ing, just in case we couldn’t make it on 160 for a third time.
Before this could happen I had to remove the second 5Ah battery, which was unwilling to support the 50 Watt combination. No worries I had two more so while I was swapping Li-Po’s Mike was swapping mobile whips. ‘See you in 5 minutes.’
With all the squeaking noises gone from 1.846 it was now usable which was fortunate. Mike had an even higher Q antenna than my loaded dipole and he could barely reach the previously used 1.852. Fortunately with Mike’s much reduced noise conditions, we made the QSO first call with 58 both ways.
With power reduced to QRP levels at both ends we still enjoyed readable communications at 55/ 55. Mike was more than happy with this as he hadn’t wanted to come out in the cold and dark again for the ‘Top Band stragglers’ session later on. I was happy too. Like anybody I don’t like to fail and rarely give up easily but try as I may earlier, Mike never got his report.
A Welcome Break:
There was now the opportunity for an hour’s rest. Much needed it was too, what with the pain of the position I was in and a tendency to chill, I ate my tea, got down into the sleeping bag and listened to some music while warming up. I wasn’t supposed to fall asleep however but luckily I just made the 10 pm alerted time for a repeat performance on the 160m band. After all, Top Band was mainly what I’d come for and we didn’t want anybody missing out. See below…
1.832 CW – Nil from 22:00 to 22:07:
If you were unable to make the first Top Band session, this one was for you. With a self spot, power set to 50 Watts and calling CQ for 5 minutes, I got – well nothing. That’s a good sign I thought. Those who wanted it have already got it.
1.852 SSB - 1 QSO (EI3GYB) at 22:13:
There was only one station worked in SSB but what an appreciative op Michael turned out to be once again. The exchange with EI3GYB in Co. Mayo was 55 both ways despite only 10 Watts coming from the Emerald Isle.
This was when I found out about the power limit above 1.850 in Ireland. Apparently more power had been applied for but it had been refused. All about the shared nature of the band I suppose but 10 Watts is more than a little stingy. I think even we are allowed 32. Propagation must have been good as we managed a 5-minute chat without difficulty. It was 7C where in Mayo and overcast. Michael announced that the path distance was 443km and after some daylight struggles between us in the past, I think he was more than satisfied with his six 160m SOTA points from the east side of the Pennines.
145.525 FM – 2 QSO’s from 23:45 to MIDNIGHT:
With just half an hour left of 2019, it was time for the run up to midnight; a time when I’m usually to be found on 2m-FM. It’s much less fickle than HF where many more things can go wrong – or so I thought.
After checking for a clear channel, I was just about to put out a CQ on 145.500 when I heard Walt G6XBF calling his mate Alan from north Leeds. Walt was about 55 to me with Alan in or near the noise level. When I think about it, 2m-FM had seemed noisier than usual all evening and at one time I suspected that my 817 with its superior filters (compared with a H/H at least) were letting something unwanted in. Walt and Alan QSY’d to their ‘usual’ which turned out to be 145.450 and I followed.
I spent the next 10 minutes trying to break in between overs without the slightest success. What made it even more frustrating was Walt telling Alan all about my overnighter on a 6-pointer and the fact that he was actively seeking me but had never heard my signals on HF. My max available 5 Watts just wasn’t cutting it and assuming that my ‘targets’ were using a lot more power with possibly the squelch turned up, I finally admitted defeat at 23:40. It was a shame and I wished for more power. All I wanted was to give Walt a mild surprise and get two more in the log, preferably both sides of midnight. It was just one of those things as they say but Walt has been a faithful ‘customer’ for years now and he deserved the 12 points available, especially after listening several times on HF without success. Afterall, us ‘Wessies’ must stick together!
First in this session was M1DHA Alan in Barnoldswick, the far side of Skipton, giving my 5 Watts a 59 plus 20dB! We worked last New Years Eve when I was camping up Cracoe Fell with Sasha. Next came MW1CFA Kevin in Holyhead 57/ 51 but this was only after a lot of fruitless CQ’ing on S20 and S21. By the time our 3 minute QSO had ended there were just 20 seconds of 2019 remaining and Chris went off to be with his family. I returned to S20 just in time to hear someone relaying the TV with the chimes of Big Ben and the first ‘DONG’ of 2020. That’s it then – a new year and a new decade. The Roaring Twenties have come round again!
1st January 2020
In the past I’ve heard the sound of fireworks drifting up the sides of the mountain at midnight but there were none this year, in this part of the Dales at least.
145.525 FM – 1 QSO’s (G4OBK) at 00:06:
After some more toing and froing between S20 and S21, I heard G4OBK call. Phil was 59+ to me and I think he’d warned me of his return at midnight after adding a little whisky. A ‘wee dram’ is the way he put it. …’Doctor Finlay’ I added. Sober as I was, I could just barely detect a difference in Phil delivery and he was slightly more animated.
We had an extended chat and at some point Walt and Alan joined us. Unfortunately they couldn’t hear me and my end of the story about ‘The two that got away’ had to be relayed via Phil, who tried without much success to come up with an explanation. Undoing three tent zips in the process, the outer one quite frozen, I poked my head out to see if my vertical had fallen over in the wind but it was intact. This was a possibility however and I had to check. Phil was using a 7-ely which, in his own words, ‘Might have compensated for it.’
After some investigation after the event, I came up with a possible solution. Walt gives his QTH as ‘North Leeds.’ Un-stapling a road atlas and laying on a ruler revealed that the line between Buckden Pike and north Leeds passes through Great Whernside (NP8), hitting it almost bang on. The latter SOTA is a few feet higher than Buckden Pike which might explain the attenuation of my 5 Watt signal.
An analysis of the 67 times I’ve worked Walt since 2012 (plus one HF QSO in 2009), we have succeeded over the 50km path from Buckden Pike five times – all on 2m-FM. On three of those occasions I was using 25 Watts and on the other two 5 Watts. However of the latter two, for one of them, according to my report of the time (01-06-12), I was using a 3-ely vertical beam.’
For the remaining QSO (25-03-16) I was using precisely the same equipment that failed to raise Walt this time but there were two significant differences. For one thing I was set up some 50m away and for another my vertical was mounted in a 1m carbon rod up on the wall top there, whereas this time it was set up an a 1m rod in the ground near the tent, there being insufficient coax to reach the wall. In fact the wall was between Walt and the antenna position. Add some extra noise that I’d noticed earlier and there we have it!
1.832 CW - 5 QSO’s from 00:25:
Phil mentioned on 2m that I’d have to get on Top Band early the next morning to avoid the ‘160m daylight curse.’ Said I, ‘You’re in luck because the New Years Day 160m session is scheduled for five minutes time’ at which point we QSY’d to 1.832 and worked 599+/ 589. Phil’s 160m signal continues to improve as he makes changes and additions to his antenna systems.
With Phil in the log, further stations called in as follows: G3RDQ David in Hampshire 2 x 579; G4WSB Bill – Swindon 579/ 559; G0HIO Mike at Burton-on-Trent 589/ 449 and G4IPB Paul, not too far away at Middleton-in-Teesdale with 599 both ways. I was surprised to work Paul as I knew he’d be up early for NP3 the next day but I was equally surprised not to hear Nick G8VNW, a stones throw away at Threshfield. Power was 50 Watts and the session took 8 minutes.
1.846 SSB - 4 QSO’s from 00:35:
A 50 Watt CQ brought in Brian G8ADD again with 55/ 55 from Birmingham but by the end of the QSO, conditions had changed a lot and the reports were revised to 2 x 58. Bill G4WSB claimed his second lot of points with 57 each way. Jake G1YFF followed for his ‘bonus chase’ with 58/ 47 and later he was 59 plus. I think apart from Phil and Paul, neither of whom were very far away from me, Jake had been just about the strongest 160m signal with his 180ft end fed. He has a new-found interest in activating trig points below sea level which is a novel thing for a SOTA op to hear about when we usually arrive at them breathless.
Exactly a year ago Karl was changing from M3FEH to 2E0FEH. Today he got his second SOTA chase of 2020 at 57 both ways.
QRT for Now:
By 00:48 the session was finished and it was QRT until the next scheduled item, 80m at 08:30. The time for sleep had arrived and the 160m coils could wait until morning. I just couldn’t work up enough enthusiasm to crawl out of the warm sleeping bag, remove sufficient pairs of socks so as to get my feet into my damp boots, undo three zips and brave the cold wind. If I had, I might have solved a mystery which came up later.
01:15 – Sleep Time:
Last New Year I managed 3 hours sleep in place of the an hour one time in the past. This time I was hoping that the three Valerian Root capsules I’d brought up with me would increase the chances of some sustained rest. Against this was the fact that this was a sub-zero, windy night which made the tent draughty, though thankfully not half as draghty as a year ago. Added to that was the usual discomfort of lying on grass tussocks in spite of choosing the best ground where quad bikes had rolled it a little flatter. However, the herbal remedy did work to some degree. I must have got about five hours on and off which I rate as exceptional considering the past.
Later in the night there was a temperature increase, the frost on the stiff flysheet melting somewhat as the wind came round to a warmer direction (SW from SE). At first light the wind increased in speed again. With base layer, fleece and lightweight insulated jacket, I was never more than just warm enough and only then if the sleeping bag was properly sealed. Cold seemed to be striking up from below so I think the carry mat wasn’t thick enough. I had Grandson Jack’s spider man airbed with me too but was too lazy to inflate it.
Another Tent? Can’t be?
Morning finally came along with a reluctance to get up. There was no reviving mug of tea available as I had no stove. Soon I had to get outside to remove the Top Band coils ready for 80m. When I did get the zips open, expecting low-cloud it was a joy to see a bright sky in the east with the beginnings of sunshine but then my attention was drawn to something totally unexpected.
In all the summit camps I’ve done over the years I have never had company but just twenty yards away, in the half light, was what looked very much like another tent. Left speechless I could only gawp but then took a photo to prove I hadn’t imagined it. Seemed I had neighbours but just when they’d ‘moved in’ was unclear. They’d made not a sound pitching but it did explain a cough that I thought I’d heard in the early hours but dismissed as just a sheep; not remembering that I’d seen no sheep 400m ASL on the way up.
While seeing to the loading coils and photographing the sunrise with white cloud in the valleys below, I took a closer look. It certainly was a tent, actually a modern dome tent and I noticed a window at one end. There was no associated antenna ‘farm’ so this wasn’t SOTA competition. Then I thought of all the loud ‘yakkering’ I’d been doing on the radio until 1am. How embarrassing! I made a mental note that when we met I would apologize but by 09:30 when I went out to break camp the tent had vanished – again completely silently. A stealth camper! Now I’ll never know who this mystery visitor with the same idea as me, was.
See Part-2 below