Nice copperhead Andrew!
I activated Mt Tomah in the NSW Blue Mountains on 29 Nov 2016. Traveling with my cousin Tony who lives in Bayview NSW and our XYL’s, we stopped off at the Blue Mountain Botanic Garden just down the road from the Mt Tomah summit. There was but one person at the desk there, so I went up and asked her if anyone had been to the Mt Tomah summit recently. She hesitated for a moment - looking puzzled - and then said that we were already on the top of the mountain. During the conversation that followed, I explained SOTA and how we bring radios up mountains and strive to get to the true peak. This was clearly way too much information for her as her eyes glazed over, so I thanked her and went back outside just as our XYL’s were headed in.
Their conversation was a little different with the same lady. Tony’s XYL with her proper Aussie accent asked again about the true peak. The lady responded that there was a guy who just left but she thought “he was mad” since he described bringing a radio up a mountain. Who in their right mind would do that? Without missing a beat, my XYL said “My husband and his radio buddies do it all the time”. She didn’t volunteer whether or not we are in our right minds; the inference was more that this SOTA disease might be contagious.
The women’s expression turned from bewilderment to genuine concern now that she realized the mad man ‘belonged’ to one of these very nice ladies. She warned that there were far more sightings of king brown snakes around the summit than usual. King brown snakes are the second longest snake in VK and extremely venomous, not just the poison itself but the volume of venom delivered is huge. Whereas many snakes are not overly aggressive, a king brown might chase you and they have been know to bite people in their sleep. Cousin Tony said “You’re dead in 15 minutes. Nothing can save you”.
Well, we activators from NM are not easily dissuaded from an activation, so I convinced the group that we should drive up to the peak anyway. We went up to the true summit but found a huge tower with "high RF Level"warning signs and tall grass, not good if deadly snakes are around nor for IMD. Fortunately, just down the hill a short distance were safer places to set up and activate, which I did. At least we could see the king brown snakes coming for us but of course, we never did.
Epilogue: I told this story to local radio buddies today who noted that in the 15 minutes following a king brown bite, I could probably make 4 QSOs for a successful activation. All would not be lost as long as the log was saved