Yep, we’re in full-on preparation mode for Thanksgiving here, yet I managed to get out during the period where I wasn’t assigned any “shifts” 😉 as we’re doing the gig on Sunday (as opposed to Thursday, when we were in class).
Originally, we had tagged this one as a no-name, with an estimated elevation of 680m, however, after actually going out there, and researching beforehand this place has the appelation 서래봉 and an elevation of 700m or 703m, depending on who you ask. As a matter of fact, at the summit, there are two markers, one stating each elevation. Letting the GPSr settle on the ground for a good 20 minutes told me 703m. Also, the name isn’t the clearest, as a ways to the south at Naejangsan, is another Seoraebong, and during QSO I had to explain that I was at one and not the other when questioned why I was saying I was in Wanju-gun…
Getting out to the trailhead is a simple enough affair, going out to Bongdong, passing the Hite Beer factory, then heading up one of the numerous Tal towards Odo Pass, passing an O’s Gallery along the way (expensive coffee! extremely nice place & atmosphere). No time to stop today.
Shortly after, you’ll come across a fork in the road, take the right, and find a pullover to park (access may or may not be restricted–there are chain barriers at certain points, and is an access road for dam construction in this valley). It is at 35.90747°N & 127.23684°E.
After walking along this gravelled road 600m to 35.91184° N & 127.23430°E you’ll find the map sign (below) and actual trailhead. Note, there are a few different paths and aspects of approach, as well as other peaks and sights to see (including a mountain fortress on the south side of 되실산). It is here where the real path starts, but it’s clear where to go and well marked.
Just about at the top, there’s a mini-bong with a trail junction at 35.92421°N & 127.24051°E at 630m ASL, turn left here.
Now, to start off this activation, I had a tiny panic episode: I had wrapped up the LiPo battery in my change of clothes for on the summit A) to keep it warm, reducing the cold’s impact on its performance and B) as padding. Brilliant me in quickly unrolling my dry t-shirt watched as the battery gently rolled out of the shirt, thinking “nah, it’ll stop in a foot.” It didn’t. At first slowly, then ever so quickly did I observe its rapid acceleration as it headed down the summit (I was camped on the slope out of the wind), its bounces becoming ever more spaced as its speed increased, with nothing jumping in its way to stop it. Roughly 50 to 60m downhill it wedged itself between a rock and the ground…I wasn’t too happy about this by the time I made it down to fetch the battery, but things could be worse.
OK, I made it back up, set up the setup, and started piddling around, at first on 18MHz (dead), then 14MHz (not so dead, but not responsive), and finally 7MHz (very alive, but still not responsive). Couldn’t get any replies to CQing, and my answers to others weren’t heard (hearing a few Chinese stations, the usual many Japanese stations, and oddly enough, quite a few Korean stations!
First QSO to 것대산 with 6K0MF who I heard CQing while I was scanning 40m, so I decided to answer. It was our first QSO of the day for the both of us, with decent signal for the distance. Next up were two locals, OYX and RDY. However, that fourth contact was a bit elusive: the person later engaged in a QSO with OYX couldn’t hear me (could hear him well)–he was closer to me and in the shadows of the immediate mountains. Nobody heard my CQs and my HT battery was starting to run dry.
I already had one rain squall during the activation, and I could see another coming (plus the XYL had texted that there was thunder at the home QTH–in November! ugh…), so I needed to wrap this up quickly. I hooked up the buddistick’s whip with no coil and started adjusting for SWR on 2m, finding an acceptable match (it always is shorter than it seems it should be!). Called first at 20W–no takers. Upped it to 50W–aha! DS4GOC down in Gwanju–long time, no see, not since the fourth of July activation when I was down in Gwangju! What a lifesaver. Well, we had a quick QSO, then I packed up as the rain picked up–about 40m down the summit, I heard the clap of thunder not so far off…most of the descent was with heavy rain, most of it horizontal, except for the final 150m of descent. It’s nothing that couldn’t have been waited out, but it was getting a bit chilly.
All in all, just barely successful, and a pleasant ascent, none the less. I’ll be back in the area again. 73~