The Anzac Day public holiday was a planned dual summit day and I intended to snare a few of the other summit stations that I knew would be operating and also get a few extra chaser points on the UTC roll-over.
I arrived by car to the point mentioned below Mt Bride by Glenn VK3YY on his blog notes. The road past the gate was muddy and slippery from the rain the night before but easy going in the Triton with 4WD engaged. From here it was a pleasant walk to the summit which levels out nicely with a number of small clearings within the activation zone just to the side of the track to choose from.
On choosing my site, I messed around for awhile and wasted valuable time deciding to use the doublet and trying to string it up relatively clear of obstructions without much success. I then gave up on the doublet and spiked the vertical antenna in the ground, rolled out the counterpoise and was on the air with only 10 minutes left before the UTC rollover. Doh!! I did the best I could with this short time and made only 3 contacts but good ones. Peter AX1RC/p S2S on VK1/AC-034, Andrew VK1NAM/p S2S on VK1/AC-037 and then Matt VK1MA in Canberra.
I stayed on the summit past the UTC rollover for another hour, worked Peter and Andrew on their summits once again and logged a total of 10 contacts for the new day. I then packed up and walked back to the car, boiled the billy on my new camp stove, had some lunch and a quick chat on the VK3REC repeater before heading off for Britannia Range.
Upon the track leveling out at the top and being close to the activation zone, I left the track and quickly found myself pushing through thick ferny undergrowth and forest which was quite damp and uncomfortable. After slow progress and not too far from the track, the undergrowth opened up to a relatively clear area with a couple of large rocks and enough clearance overhead to string up the doublet. After getting the antenna up, one of the rocks became a good radio bench.
After tuning the radio, I felt something a little uncomfortable under my damp jeans. A leech had worked its way up one leg below the knee and was securely fastened to me. I grabbed a lighter out of my backpack and warmed the little bugger up with the naked flame and he quickly dropped off. I had a closer look about my legs and found a couple more on my socks and jeans attempting to inch their way to flesh. After roasting them off, I finally got on the air at 0350 UTC.
I operated here for just over an hour and logged 19 contacts including several SOTA regulars but unfortunately without any S2S this time around. After packing up and crashing my way back to the track, I checked myself for any hitch-hiking leeches again and made my way back to the car without picking up too much mud.