Summits on the Air Expeditions in Korea

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Making the winter bonus worth it! 효율한 겨울 보너스!

On top of Weolseongbong! HL4ZFA/p3

On top of Weolseongbong! HL4ZFA/p3

Day three of the new winter bonus period, Wednesday afternoon, northern edge of the province, last class at fifth period and more than a couple thousand unactivated summits in HL for 2014, I set off to the east to ascend HL/CN-012 Weolseongbong from the east, well, because everything from the west was closed (fire season until the 15th…).

이젠 겨울 보너스 기간 3일 되어서, 수욜오후, 이미 전북에 북쪽있고 5교시 끝나고 운용 아직 안되는 산을 몇천개 남맜어서 HL/CN-012 월성봉 목적지로 설치해서 출발 했어요!  이번에 서쪽있는 산책길대신 동쪽에서 올라가야돼요…아무튼 12월 15일까지 산불기간 때문에 반대편에 등산로들 통제상태 였어요. CN-012-dog_shit_bug-small

With the snow more or less steadily falling, and actually sticking quite well once crossing over the border into Chungcheonnam, I drove through Nonsan and to the north of Daedunsan Park, entering via Surak Valley (as far as Bogwangsa temple).  From the ridge trail starting at the public toilet outside the park gate, by a mini-traffic circle, next to an engraved stone steele citing “dog-shit bug,” hiking commenced around 16:00.  It’s actually a colloquial name for “firefly.”  Nothing indicating light with that terminology…must’ve lost the flaming bag in translation.

충천남도로 가면서 눈이 계속 왔어요:  논산시지내고 대둔산도빕공원 북쪽에서 드르오고 수락개곡 보광사까지 오라갔어요.  공원출입구전에 능선타는 등산로 예정 했어요…수락2리 마을에서 작은 로타리옆 이쁜 돌표 제작했어요: 개똥벌레.  흠.  왜?  공용화장실땜에?

CN-012-urinal-smallThe bathroom was spiffy, not in that music started playing when you walked in, rather that the urinals were all waterless.  I’m not concretely sure if I’ve seen waterless in Korea yet…but it’s about time!  Note about the product name:  when you say “ssh” in Korean, it actually means to perform a number one, and not necessarily to be quiet.  Though, in the “why make simple things more complicated” department, I can see this of use in urban locations, but when you’ve got a slew of thirsty trees a stone’s throw away, especially during the dry/fire season, isn’t the choice of action obvious?  Serious overabundance of white snow this early in the winter season…^^

사실은 여기있는 공용 화장실 참 괜찮아요–그리고 안에 물 사용하지않은 소변기를 볼 수 있어요.  아니, 원하면 직접으로 사용 할 수 있어요!  이같은것 한국에 자주 보 지않지만 보면 행복 해요.  하지만 시내에 더 잘 사용 할 수 있고 여기서 숲 바로 옆에 산불기간동안 마린 나무가 좀 “레모네이드” 마실 수 있으면 행복 하갰다~

…at the same time, I didn’t see more than two sets of footprints heading up the hill (none descending).  Despite this trail primarily following the ridge, it starts off after crossing the creek along a small gorge, along the way was a pretty serious sink hole, approximately 10m deep, ribboned off.  Quite interesting–even more interesting would be to know where other sink holes are currently in formation!  A bit afterwards and the trail switchbacks a couple of times to leave the gorge to mount the ridge, from then on quite comfortable walking, technically more exposed, but actually the wind wasn’t bad at all there.

이등산로 먼저 개곡에 시작하고 몇백미터후 능선으로 올라가지만 위에서도 바람 많이 불지않았어요.  그렇지:  이동하면서 따뜻했어요.

After a while, things do get steep, CN-012-Daedun06-3-small before a trail junction and an opening up onto an azelea field, featuring a nice wooden gazebo and a huge boardwalk.  One of the drawbacks about heading out in the early snows is that the trail has yet to be packed down…raised boardwalks will have more snow (cooler than the ground) to shuffle around in and you’ll still be hitting the leaf layer on the ground, unavoidable since spikes are necessary (but so much easier!).

1키로미터후 삼거리 지내서 밭에 도착해요.  오른쪽에 진달래 많고 왼쪽에….몰라.  안개와 눈이 너무 많아서 잘 못 봤어요!  ㅎ 이쁜 나무에서 만든 정자도 있지만 햇빛 거의 안 남마서 빨리 계속 갔어요.

Being the first time I’ve approached the summit from this direction, I didn’t realize how close this clearing was to the summit–I had reached the junction at the summit (next to the helipad) within an hour of the start of the hike!  Nice!

동쪽에서 왔으니까 얼마나 가까워서 난 확실히 몰랐어요…정상과 헬기장 한시간안에 도착했어요!! 나이스!

Gear this time around included a single-band mobile rig and the good-ol’ 5 segment collinear antenna, with aim to not fail on this weekday activation, and to get back down in short order…in the end the activation lasted through sunset, and I descended a darker trail (still bright from the clouded moon).  In fact, the summit was in the cloud.  I would’ve activated from my normal spot to the south by the cliff, but there was much less wind on the northern edge of the helipad.

평일땜에 이번에 난 모노밴드 투미터 모빌리그와 5단 지피 안텐나 가지고왔어요.  빨리 설치 하고 교신 8건 너무 편리하레 했어요–보통으로 더 올레 걸를 수 있어요…주말이나 맞는 시간 안되면…ㅇㅋ 정상은 구름안에 있었은데 해발 높고 위치 좋고 신호 잘 보낼수 있었어요.

Eight contacts were effortlessly collected, which was a relief–some days it can take forever and a half just to get four!  Pack up, head down…both going up and down it was a nice and quiet, snowy hike, not very cold at all once moving, however it seemed as if the weather was worse at the trailhead, wind and snow-wise.

운용 완료하고 정리 하고 하산 하고….오후동안 눈이 계속 와서 진짜 조용히 한 기쁜이 좋은 춥지않은 산행 지냈어요.  차에 도착해서 아래쪽에서 날씨가 더 나빠서 다시 집으로 가는 길 오늘의 산행과 운용 더 어려윘지만 전북에 도로는 더 깨끗 했어요.  73!

The drive back was definitely more strenuous than the hike!  Though, as if by magic, crossing back into Jeolla, the roads were simply wet instead of snowy, and the going was much quicker! 73!

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Out with the old, in with the cold!

the end of riding season?

Yesterday, December 1, definitely truly proved itself to be the beginning of the winter bonus period in Korea, with a good snowing…even with some starting to stick! Might have to put the wheels away for the winter? Even yesterday’s tea, which had been left behind in the car, had frozen–the change from a very comfortable autumn to “it’s officially winter” was a rather sudden one! What better way to commemorate than with an after-school activation on one of Iksan’s higher peaks, HL/JB-140 Cheonhosan? Registering at exactly 500mASL it just squeaks its way into 2 points and winter bonus territory. Time to cash in, while the daylight lasts~

어젯 12월 01일의 겨울 보너스점수 기간 찐짜 맞으게 시작 했읍니다: 눈이 왔다~! 해마다 날씨가 다르지만 올해 가울이 착했는데….새로운 달이고 새로운 계절은 시작하고 딱 쉬치처럼 이추운것 꼈어요! ㅎ

자동차안에 넣은 차잔까지 얼었다~

월요일의 엄무좀 늦게끝나서 오늘에 이겨울기간시작 기념 해야됐어요–익산지역에 HL/JB-140 천호산밖에 다른 맞는목적지 생각 할수 없었어요…그럼, 가자!

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So, class was finishing up in Nangsan, at the northern end of Iksan, so I could easily cruise on over to Yeosan, up the hill and over the pass that is often snowed out so much that you have to park on one side and walk up the road through the brand-new two-lane tunnel which passes under the pass, and up a bit closer to the ridge line on the northern side of the hill.

낭산쪽에서 수업이 끝나서 바로 여산방양으로 쉽게 이동 했음…이 시골학교 시간표는 평일 소타운용에게 편리되었어요!

여산 다운타운을 지내서 비봉쪽으로 가서 힘드지 않았다–저번방문 할때는 목재까지 도착못했다–타이어체인도 풑여서 땡! 불 가능. ㅠㅠ

이젠 조금 낮으게 새꺼 턴널 영업 합니다: 차로 2개 있고 급커브 20개 없고 그냥 쭈~욱! 반대편에 2분안에 도착 했어요!

Despite the frequent snows these last few days, it was actually possible to get up to about 300m with the car on the logging roads–even the parts that were in the shade.

거기서부터 천호산의 ‘노스 페이스’까지 임도로 300미터정도 차랑 올라 갈 수 있었음…눈도있고 그늘도 있는데 ㅇㅋ! (날씨 이렇게 계속하면 아마 담달 안 됨…)

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To ensure that I wouldn’t be calling CQ for two hours on this hill on a weekday, I made sure to bring the trusty ol’ 5 segment collinear–despite not having toughened it up for regular use, it’s still holding on. Whether it remains in its original tuned condition is another issue–one I haven’t delved into recently…if I don’t measure it, it doesn’t exist, right?

평일오후에 HT로 2시간동안 씨큐 씨큐 불기 싫테니까 큰 5단지피 가지고 갔고 사용 하고 운용 빨리 빨리 했어요…혹시 이 안탠나 상태가
안좋지만 튼튼하니까 계속 사용 하는중–나중에 (항상 나중에…뭐?) 다시 만드고 더 깨져지않은 모델 만드야돼요: 요즘의 튜닝 확인 안했지만 검사 안하면 문제상태 없잖아요 ^^

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So, the activation was actually quite quick in the doing, and hands weren’t cold except when collapsing the antenna mast (gloves just don’t grip as well!)–thrice: once for taking some arial photos of the summit, once for resetting the antenna (love it when calling back after your first CQ that the antenna just comes crashing down) and finally to pack up and descend.

사실은 준비 잘했으니까 이번 천호산 운용 빨리 완료 되었고 춥지 않은데 안탠나 폴대 정리할때만 손이 추웠어요. 3 번. (1번째 “위성” 사진 몇장찍고 2번째 첫 응답 하면서 갑작이 안탠나 고장나서 그냥 크래쉬로 내려왔고 3번째 진짜 하산준비 포장 했갰둔요~)

*그 위성사진들 나중에 붙이갰음….

Well, at least I was back at the vehicle, with daylight to spare! Not an easy feat, after school in the winter!

아무튼, 해빛 넘어면서 차에 도착했어요–모론 수업후에 겨울운용하면 이것은 쉽게 할수 없어요!

20141202-JB-140-log

Bringing in 2013…

HL4ZFA / 익순 / 6K5ZLH / DS1OUY
(HL4ZFA / 익순 / 6K5ZLH / DS1OUY)

After a bit of run-around, incurring numerous delays (none resultant of my actions–we had actually arrived in Daegu for lunch at 11:59 AM!), we were at the trail head parking lot below 지남문 Gate of HL/GB-068 가산산성 Gasan Mountain Fortress, 익순 (무햄) and I. The event: New Year’s overnight activation, double points, risking life and limb out in the elements….eh, in the time that we were waiting in the parking lot, in the car, each time we opened a car door and the wind took away the heat, we questioned, “why, again?”

가산산성 지남문

Before actually getting on the road, I flexed my , exercised my seniority, that is, on 익순. Last time I went on an overnighter with him in tow (fall 2011, JN-001 Nogodan & JB-001 Banyabong) his pack was totally QRO, the thing must’ve weighed 25kg…well you can imagine the results of such folly.

As it was still daylight, I didn’t need to take out my flashlight to interrogate him on whether or not he needed to bring this or that: this tent here? we’re only five and we’ve already got two. Out with you! (Every morning he curses the condensation that collects on the interior of that shelter. Well, that next morning, he would not. Besides, upon arriving at the summit later on, I discovered that somebody else did bring a third tent!)

A full kitchen mess kit? Dude! We’re boiling water to reheat vacuum packed meals and making ramen–be gone you useless mini-pots!

First aid kit, splints, gauze up the wazoo, aerosol cans of something or other, and a bottle of alcohol. Me: “Do you know how to make a splint?” Him: “….no” Me: “버려!”

A second, heavy cast aluminum hand flashlight. “Why?” “Emergency” “Look, we’re five, with five lights–I don’t think all of them are going to die in the next 24 hours unless we get Blair Witched.”

And so it went on, until he was under 15kg–victory! (For now!)

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So, we get to Jinam Gate, wait for the others. One was already here, somewhere. Somewhere being over another pass to the west at another trail head. ZLH and OUY still heading up to us. Get a call, “we’re here–where are you?” “We’re here, where are you?” Ah, they were a little higher up, right at the trail head (no advertised parking). Quick, QSY to that QTH.

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Get bags ready while waiting for the final member of our team, divvy up the food supplies, anybody need anything else? OK, quick cup of hot coffee–“1, 2, 3: kimchi!” Let’s go.

The trail going up is actually quite pleasant, no steep inclines, actually, most of it is passable with motor vehicle. Despite the moon not having risen yet (was to right upon starting camp setup), the starshine and city lights combined with a snow covered terrain didn’t require our personal lighting to safely navigate along the trail–it was quite pleasant. Note: this primarily works for the ascent since your back is to the lights, whereas heading back down at night the lights are in your eyes and inhibit your night vision ㅠㅠ

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By the time you get up towards 중문 the carriageway goes away, and a bit further up, though not difficult, poses just a tad more inconvenience because you’re back out in the wind, and your nicely packed base is covered in drifts–this was only the last 2 or 3 hundred meters, though.

As you can see, we make it to the top, take a couple of snap shots, and head down right below the ridge to set up camp within the activation zone, as the next day was a contest day with the goal of extended operation, we’d want to do it in comfort, right? The wider, grassy clearing was too chilly to use, so we spent a bit of futzing around with ground cloth configurations in this smaller space between the trees.

Once that was out of the way, most were hungry as the evening wore on–luckily we had an extra burner since even though I made the extra effort to keep a gas canister warm, my burner seemed to had frozen or blocked up after an initial flame for a few seconds. Nothing coming out–nada.

With “cooking” underway the antennas (HF & VHF) were successfully erected, with low SWR, and after sausages and noodles, there wasn’t much sense in jumping up and down in place outside….for me, anyways, so I retired to my quarters and started listening to the bands.

Band conditions were not in good shape, even for receiving, so I gave up at around midnight–preferring to save battery power for the morning. 2m was fairly dead, too, and DS1OUY was working that as it was…..just a bit close in proximity to co-operate.

We all slept fairly late, or even if it wasn’t sleeping, stayed in late enough, until 7:30 for the most part. There was the sunrise (see illustration to the right). I was not intent on seeing it–WX was much, much windier than the night before ( = colder), and starting to snow again, but leaving enough in the clear for the sun to poke through at the beginning of the year. Moreover, once you start that in and out 갔다왔다 갔다왔다 you lose all of your nice heat.

No thanks. Not interested. Got at least three more hours of operation left (to make at least four contacts before and an additional four after 9:00, read: midnight UTC).

Click here for the GPS log!

ZLH already had his 2012 points for Gasan, so it was just me working 2m and 40m until 9 o’clock, to cash in.

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9 came and went, I gave him the mic at 9:01 for him to start CQing anew. For almost 15 minutes. Nobody.

“Gimme that thing.” I called and almost immediately got 6K5ZFU. Too bad.

“Now our comrades are cold.”

“Eh? Duh, it’s winter.”

“They wanna go.”

“F-me. We haven’t even activated yet, neither have they. I’m OK.” (I’m still in my sleeping bag ;)

아이구. Such an anti-climax after all the hubbub involved with driving over, the hike, waiting through the night, and then this. Whatever, we’ll just have to go back later to take care of business.

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Evidently somebody had reduced control over their personal climate during the night because of a missing layer with insulative properties that belonged between a certain sleeping bag and a snow covered, frozen ground. I did double (triple) check at the cars before to see if anyone needed anything. Hey, I even had a second thermarest in my trunk. Foo foo. Can’t dispense TP for the whole globe now, can I?

Packing up went fairly well and quickly–departure, leading to descent, eventually below the ridge and out of the wind, corpses were once again warmed and more relaxed. In the end, even after leaving “early” and not taking too much time in getting down, we had to be back to amazing Iksan sooner than later, so lunch with the locals at the base was not an option.

Perhaps next time. I still don’t have those points for this year, after all…

20121231-GB-068-log

20120815 구성산

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Rainy or not, the 815 contest is a day to be on the air in Korea. This year, not falling on a weekend or creating a longer-ish weekend, being right in the middle of the [work] week, my QTH wasn’t that much a ways a way. Kimje, in fact, via Jeonju, via Wanju. The roads do wind about. I made the effort to bring the 857, principally for the HF bands, including 7 MHz which should’ve been hot, but was not so. ㅠㅠ

Can’t say it was raining the whole time, but it did delay things a bit, and most of the operations took place inside the big red bothy bag. As a result of the WX, there weren’t many others seen on the trail. Fun was had, contacts were made, nothing was broken.

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Mandeoksan from the west

You may remember last year when I mentioned how much of a ______ going up the east side to get to HL/JB-058 만덕산 was….sliding up shale, etc, etc….well, though I technically took the better trail up this time, I actually didn’t, having taken the wrong fork not very high up. The result of which was going through an open field trail infested with spiders (you know, by the time August hits, the mommas’ bellies full’o’babies are larger than your thumb), then another shale-y scramble up a deer trail, until finally hitting a decent ridgeline trail.

This time also, I took the 857 since it was a weekday….need the extra push, sometimes. It was worth it, getting some contacts farther out to the south and northeast. Getting up to the summit, it looked like someone had been doing some trimming up there, and signage needs a slight upgrade…. Using the 5s GP, quick work was made for the activation, it was after all, a school day, no time to fool around.

Descent was accomplished via the correct trail, which will be remembered for next time. Maybe next time will be fall or winter, when a machete wouldn’t be necessary…

First 6k0fm activation–비슬산 조화봉

It was definitely a touristy weekend–hitting the must sees, picking up a rental car (SM5), watching “check transmission” messages flash across the dash an hour outside of town, running around to different garages, photo ops in front of this pagoda and on that bridge, rain showers, road construction, LDW, opened up restos and motels with A/C.

what do you do when a wild boar crosses your trail?

First stop was actually at Haeinsa Temple, on the southern slope of HL/GB-001 Gayasan, but with no ascent. Simply wandering around the grounds, investigating what we could of the Tripitaka Koreana through the wooden slats, and cold drinks. (Thanks, Zoom! You’re a good friend!)

We then completed the last leg to Daegu, found lodging, then 고기. Meat with the windows open–don’t we like that? The Koreans don’t take it out to the sidewalks like the Chinese do, but it’s better than completely inside.

click here!

The next morning, an early start for Sunday! ZLH came on by to pick me up on his way out of town, heading south into Dalseong County. We were originally aiming for a trailhead at 유가사 temple, but took a wrong turn at 중뫼 and ended up taking the ascent from the Recreational Forest entrance, thus instead of actually heading up to the main peak, we went up to Johwa Peak, which happens to be the secondary AZ just at 25m below the main peak.

Honestly it’s just as well, since the whole time we were engulfed in fog, we were lucky we could get a shot of the national weather administration’s radar tower (see left) visibility was so low. Before activating, we took a gander inside the tower, it’s open for visitors, and I’m sure commands a great view on clear days. Today we didn’t run into 6K5ZPC, who actually works here and has a station set up!

Additionally, the road which leads up to the radar tower (not everyone walks up!) terminates with the highest bridge in Korea! It’s not a mini bridge, either!

Once we set up, it started to rain again, lightly, but not so hard that we rushed through the activation. We had fun making a few domestic S2S contacts as well as giving a CQ Japan call out–with much success! All that on 2m with only an HT connected to the 5s GP!

Well, remembering that others were waiting at the bottom of the hill in town we couldn’t lollygag all day up there, so we went back down the same trail we came up, seeing many more hikers than during our ascent. On the road back into town we stopped to have some cow elbow soup….the cartilage is good for your skin, eh.

Arriving back in town and regrouping, we headed back to Iksan, to return the car and upgrade for a Grandeur. Filling the tank on that thing before was very painful (compared to the Pride), let me tell you!

Still no sign of Weolseongbong…


This date was exclusively reserved to do an activation on HL/SL-001 Dobongsan with the 청룡 Scout group 6K0FA. They had been introduced to SOTA the week before after the hamfest at Yonsei University and were intending on doing a hands-on activation immediately the week after (today). Unfortunately there was a curtain of rain everywhere north of Chungnam with a full day of sunshine Pyeongtaek and southwards. That resulted in scratching that little activity off the calendar.

Doesn’t mean I can’t still go out!


It’s about time I’ve returned to this summit, especially now that I have a better clue about how to go about it than last time! Also, it was actually possible to do this one up and down only in the morning, as both Ji-hun and I had to be back in town for lunchtime.


So, on this 17 of July, we made sure to be there not too much after sunrise, park in an actual parking lot that the village has (completely missed that last time), monumented. Since we parked down there, we had a chance to walk through the village to get up to the main trail head, passing by many of the scenes you see below.


It appears that the village has either a bustling artist community, got some money, or was the subject of some art college’s experimentation. Anyway that you might look at it, it certainly makes for an interesting stroll and is quite well done, in a multitude of media.


Whilst the signage throughout the village clearly indicates how to get up to Barangsan (non-SOTA, but on the way to HL/CN-012 월성봉), once you get on the actual trail the situation is severely lacking. Now, when I visited this very place last year, it was in the exact same condition. Naively I must’ve thought it to be a work in progress, evidently it’s still in progress? Still got those nice extruded aluminum sign posts inserted into ground but no actual signs affixed to them to indicate which way to go about ascending on the less than clear trails.


Hmpf. Not impressed. Especially given the proximity to Daedunsan Provincial Park, to which the trails going over Weolseongbong actually serve as one of the many options to get up to Daedunsan. It isn’t like you’ll get lost, but it certainly isn’t convenient to have to try multiple trails when you don’t know…

Like last time, I did a pseudo-loop, ascending via the same route but intending to descend via the pass but turning off earlier when we saw a suitable trail with others coming up from our destination (where upon arrival we saw a bus!).

We didn’t see any human life on the way up the hill, but plenty of arachnids as well as a couple of deer. There was also a patch of mosquitoes that we had to make our way through (when we were not on the ridge, thus no fresh breeze to keep them away).

For the short time available to activate I made a pretty good number of QRP contacts, not only in the 3 call area around Daejeon but also as far south as Gwangju and to the Buan club out activating Wido Island (I should’ve been there before they rescheduled)…

Equipment for the activation was the FT-857, 5단GP, and LiPO battery (wasn’t planning on being up there for that long, anyways). Next time I’d like to make a point to hit HL/CN-002 대둔산 마천대 from that angle, would be nice to take a new path, and maybe see those mountain goats again.

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