Sunday 30th August was planned as the second anniversary of Summits on the Air (SOTA) for New South Wales (NSW) and the first anniversary for SOTA in Western Australia (WA). The weather in Victoria was very wet and cold on the previous day, so looking around for a not so cold summit, Mt. Little Joe, VK3/VC-027 was chosen. I had not activated this one previously, it is only a 2 pointer, although not too far away. A quick check of other blogs and notes indicated that it was a quite steep walk.
I parked the car on the side of the road just past the Mt. Little Joe Rd on the left. The road is easy to miss as you are driving down the Old Warburton Rd. There is a sign at the junction marking the start of the Back Stairs walking track.
Walking straight ahead past the turn off to Back Stairs track, there was a locked gate and the road was quite muddy and slippery from the recent rains. I followed the road around over the creek and after a few hundred metres, took the left track that heads directly to the summit.
This track is quite steep and this time, very slippery and muddy. Care had to be taken not to slip over and the hiking pole helped a lot.
The photo of the track hides the steepness of it!
At the summit, there was a small clearing off the side of the road, the squid pole was set up here and the loaded End Fed Half Wave attached to it. The end of the EFHW worked out to be right near a puddle but the chair and radio gear was set up here anyway. Of course, Murphy’s law meant that things kept falling in the puddle. Good thing that the VX-8R is waterproof.
First up was a summit to summit on 40m with VK2HRX on VK2/SY-002. Signals on 40 were way down and 20m was completely dead. Some calls were made on 10m and worked Ron, VK3AFW and then Tony, VK3CAT on Mt. Bunninyong. Back to 40m and there seemed to be a pipe to VK5, with some pretty good signals, but that was about it except for VK7LTD. It was great to contact VK6MB on 40m, although signals were very marginal. Also had a chat with Stevo, VK5SFA who I hadn’t seen for over 15 years, great to catch up.
The drizzle increased a little, so decided it was time to pack up and go. All in all a nice outing and the walk was not as bad as I had heard.
Note that the track is not shown on my maps.
The track junction with Hooks Rd. was closed off to the north to Hooks Rd. by trees across the track.