Summits on the Air Expeditions in Korea

2 points

Better luck, this time!

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Some in the audience may recall an expedition a few years back to Wibong Mountain Fortress. Or maybe not. Ahem. It was sortof a flop. Kinda. Maybe. Eh…on that occasion I managed to muster up only three contacts, despite having lugged up the FT-857, set up a Zepp,…in the end, the contacts mustered were via 2M on an HT…foo foo.

몇년전에 위봉산성에서 실패된 운용을 아마 어떤분은 기억 할 수 있읍니까? 기억도 안하면 ㅇㅋ…그때에 운용 해봤는데 교신을 3건만 합격 했어요–4개 아니구 ㅠㅠ 또는 난 나의 큰 리그와 단파 안탠나까지 가지고 갔어요: 그리고 그 3 QSO가 다 2미터 HT로 했어요….땡.

Fast forward a few years, time is fluid, no? to redeem myself, having avoided it for a while (“well, officer, the trail isn’t that discernible….also, no summit marker, that I’ve been able to find”)….errr…do such things matter? She’s got prominence! That’s what matters–ignoring the fully remodeled with tended grounds hump across the street, in black and white, this is what counts!

몇년 앞으로 보시면 오늘오후에 완주군으로 이전쟁 맞자워야되었어요…요즘은 지도보면서 그산을 그냥 보기 싫었어요. ㅎ. 이름도 찾을 수없어서 생각 안했어요 (정상에서 아무표가 없고 많은 지도탐색 하면서 못 봤어요–하지만 좀 옆으로 때때로 귀뜰봉 찍었어요, 601미터봉대신 580미터해발 에서.)

이젠 그냥 “위봉산성”으로 이라고 할꺼요–산성벽이 저기까지 올라간다. 미안 하지만 JB-080 서래봉 때문에 맞은편 (북쪽에) 위봉산은 소타된 산 안이에요. 아마 더 이쁜데 그것때문에 위봉산 아직 방문 하지 않았어요. 남쪽있는 산성 그렇게 잘 관리와 리모델링 할 수 있으면 좋갰다!

Previously, I had ascended up the easterly ridge, leading up to the summit from the pass where Wibong’s fortress walls cross, however since it was hairy business going up, I said to myself, “self, the trail goes down over here,” and descended along the non-renovated fortress wall all the way back to the pass. Wasn’t glamorous but it was cleared. This time I went up this route, and with the snow and whatnot, it wasn’t that bad climbing–I just established that I would not be going down via that same route this evening….

저번에 난 동쪽능선으로 알라 갔어요…산책길상태 좋지 않았어요, 그래서 정상에 반대편의 산성별으로 내려는길을 봐서 하산 선택 했어요. 이번 여기로 올라 갔어요. ㅇㅋ. 노프롭램 하지만 오늘은 이도같은 길로 하산 원하기 싫었어요…아직 너무 미끄럽고 걸려면서 벽돌이 계속 움지겼어요.

Upon reaching the summit, I was rewarded with quite a nice view, even if soon after the sun had decided on going behind the one cloud that was in the sky…I mean, c’mon. Really? With hope that this was not a premonition of a repeat performance for this summit, I proceeded to setup my big 5s 2m antenna (eh–it’s served me well so far, this week?).

정상에 도착 해서 멀리까지 이쁜 배경을 찾았다! 몇분 못 지내서 햇볏이 없으졌어요…하늘에 구름 하나만 있었는데 그 구름 하나 해와 위봉사이에 멈쳐서 주차했다. 정말? 양쪽에 모든 다른산들 햇살을 받고있었어요….불운 신호 이라고해…? 아니! 그냥 따뜻한 날씨없는 듯이에요–그럼 5단지파 설치 준비 했어요. (이번주간 동안 잘 썼어요…오늘도~)

Not so fast–there! The wire between the J-pole matching section and the first phased segment broke–well, it is a weaker point in the design, where probably the most stress is exerted when the wind blows (and it does, on those summits!) and things, they all start a’floppin’ around! No, wait! That’s not it–the connection between the two elements (the bottom of the “J,” if you will) had disappeared, donc a bit of surgery was necessary…I removed some wire from the first segment to make the matched connection…if there were any discussion before regarding how much out of tune this antenna was, well, I think we may say in confidence that is more out of tune than beforehand…

앗! 그렇게 쉽게 안돼! 제이폴 매칭아래에 연결선 좀 빠졌어요? 빠리빠리 수슬 해야지–공구 있음…첫단에서 선을 조금만 빌렸어요. 얘전에 튜닝 걱정 있었어요–이젠 더 확실히 걱정 하도 돼요! ㅎ

Such trivialities didn’t hold me back from activating, even if there was a lull midpoint–success was to be had! Yes, it was getting dark, though people do get out of work and hop into their autos for the schlepp homewards….all I have to do it suck it up, call CQ, and wait around.

그런 작은 문제도 있으면 아직도 합격 해야돼요–다른 선택없음. 만약에 주파수 좀 조용이 하면 그냥 기다릴 수 있고 퇴근시간에 모바일국들 나오갰다.

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Remember that comment before about not descending along the non-wall (could be called as such?)–well, I decided upon leaving the summit via the east ridge (not the east ridge which leads to JB-070, but the other east ridge, obviously!), through the mini-bamboo…following the trail was actually easy enough, but somewhere along the way down I must’ve gotten distracted, as I was, pretty soon, going over fallen trees and whatnot…I can only assume from 2012’s typhoon: Vol-au-vent (I know, that’s not the real name, but it sounds as such, and I’m too lazy to look up the name at the moment of press–another time! Peu importe, y’all can figure it out….). For a stint. I was crashing over and under fallen trees, snow-smushed mini-bamboo, usw, until reaching the logging road. Skid. Whoops!

아까 전에 나온 다르게 하고 싶은 하산길 댓글 기억 하시죠? 저쪽 동쪽능선으로 (JB-070 원등산으로 가는 능선 말고…) 하산 했어요. 반길까지 편리하게 가는데 2012년 가을의 태풍 (바로밴)

Lost an Eisen: one for the mountain….I ain’t going back to look for it tonight. Maybe in the spring? I know, there’s plenty of moonlight to spare, but I’m happy to be back on pavement, at the moment.

Yes, of course, I did have auxiliary lighting, but why spoil the mood? Nothing like the moonlight on the snow during a northwards trajectory, be it on foot or bike.

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On a side note, I was stuck behind a Musso Sports with military plates (육) on the way back…until Bongdong, at least. Was interesting: usually you see the all-band radio-tuned antennas only on the older heavy-duty vehicles–I’m not current, but it seems like they’d be changing their fleet over?


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~

어젠 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 오늘은 이겨울기간시작 기념 해야했어요–익산지역에 HL/JB-140 천호산밖에 다른 맞는목적지 생각 나지않았어요…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 여산방향으로 쉽게 이동 했음…이 시골학교 시간표는 평일 소타운용에 편리하게되었어요!

여산 다운타운을 지나서 비봉쪽으로 가서 힘들지 않았다–저번방문 할때는 고개까지 도착못했다–타이어체인도 풑였는데 땡! 불 가능. ㅠㅠ

이젠 조금 낮게 새로운 턴널로 지납니다: 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 했고 운용 빨리 빨리 했어요…혹시 이 안테나 상태가
안좋지만 튼튼하니까 계속 사용 하는중–나중에 (항상 나중에…뭐?) 다시 만들고 더 깨지지않는 모델 들어야돼요: 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.

사실 준비 잘했으니까 이번 천호산 운용 빨리 완료 되었고 춥지 않은데 안테나 폴대 정리할때만 손이 시렸어요. 3 번. (1번째 “위성” 사진 몇장찍고 2번째 첫 응답 하면서 갑자기 안테나 고장나서 그냥 크래쉬로 내려왔고 3번째 진짜 하산준비 포장 했거든요~)

*그 위성사진들 나중에 붙이겠음….

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

아무튼, 햍빛 넘어가면서 차에 도착했어요–물론 수업후에 겨울운용하면 이것은 쉽게 할수 없어요!

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20110618 HL/SL-002 관악산


What a full day! Taking the first and last buses to make three appointments around town, morning, noon and night–who says there isn’t any time to fit an activation in there, somewhere. Four hour window? No problem.

Taking the metro from 신도림 over to Seoul National University, I started on my merry little way, goal: HL/SL-002 Gwanaksan. This way takes you up the western slope, dotted with boulders, and on this dry day was actually quite fun to climb! I’m not sure I’d like to go down via the same route, but it was a fun ascent.

As it’s a bit less travelled, finding the trail head took a bit of a walk, but upon finding it there were no problems. It’s necessary to go almost all the way to the southern end of the campus, going up the Tal, seeing those college-esque sights so common on a Saturday afternoon–banners being painted, bands sound-checking for some performance that evening, though didn’t see any books cracked open on the quad. Those photographers must be very skilled to catch Homo studentis in that habitat…

Arriving at the summit, with weather radars and broadcasting equipment occupying the site, I had to search a bit to find an ideal transmitting location of my own “in the shade.” I finally settled upon a spot just 30 seconds down from the summit on the north side, off the path and under a big rock. QRM down below S3…good enough.

Travelling light and principally with other objectives for the day in mind, I only had an HT, but is certainly doable in the Seoul Metro area. I made seven contacts, easily enough, before realizing what the time was and starting my descent to meet my next rendez-vous for supper before finally heading back down to Jeonbuk. More interestingly, I’d be seeing three of those seven contacts in the upcoming weeks!

I thought I was descending towards the north where there was a subway station at the end of the ridge, but I actually was going east, going together with another group. The path was much wider and worn than that of the one I took up, I was at least halfway down before I needed auxiliary lighting to see, listening to the evening ceremony sounds of the temple on the opposing slope. This path took me right down to Gwacheon station, from which it’s a short ride with only one transfer to get to the Express Bus Terminal. Nice.


Int’l SOTA Weekend Activation


At least I can say the weekend wasn’t a “total wash” with the nasty weather and whatnot. Late Sunday afternoon I finally got out, albeit by myself (I had two group activations planned for the weekend) over to HL/JB-104 Godeoksan, as opposed to the intended CB-002 Minjujisan.

I was hoping to meet HL4GKR on this particular outing since this mountain is practically in his back yard, but he was busy with some other engagements. Additionally, I had a quick chat with Peter DK4YO just before going out the door, he said he was going up Haksan, which I believe is one of the smaller peaks (about 200m) located to the west of the peak where I was to activate, but technically part of the same mountain (it descends down in a nice crescent shape, opening to the south).

So I took a less beaten trail from the south-eastern edge of the crescent where 화원 village is located, passing the ruins of Gyeongboksa temple. It’s a steady, but not too hard climb that leads directly to the summit in about 2km, from the same trail head is another trail which tags 1.1km extra plus some more ups and downs, though is perhaps more interesting. That’d be better for a clearer day–as even though the storms had all blown through and there was a strong breeze the whole day, the air was extremely hazy and I had difficulty even seeing across the valley to HL/JB-048 모악산.

On the way up there were still a few late blooming azaleas but for the most part the leaves were coming out on those as well as other plants. Passing by numerous orchards along the way saw fruit trees blossoming, which for me is more interesting than the ever so popular decorative cherry trees with fruit fit only for the birds.

Once at the top I tried calling DK4YO but did get any answers (he brought an HT on his hike). Instead, I heard back from HL4GKR at his home QTH. After chatting a bit he later clued me in to 9A1HDE, Sam working from a Croatian club station coming in 59 on 15m. The primary goal of this weekend was to work some DX SOTA on HF but honestly the band conditions sucked a bit–20m & 17m pretty dead, and 40m full of a Japanese contest. I hadn’t thought of 15m until GKR mentioned it, and after 15 minutes of patience I logged a contact with 9A1HDE, who was busy getting JA’s and ZL’s from his yagi (and G’s and EA’s off the back of it).

Afterwards spotting myself and calling CQ on 15m didn’t bring anything so I switched back over to 2m to wrap up the activation before it was /completely/ dark. I did hear DS1SED/4 a moment but I was calling to another station on the other rig so couldn’t get back to him…when I did he was gone. Then, I made some contacts first up to Daejeon, then Iksan, then Boryeong and lastly Iksan again.

Having finished packing up at 8pm, I went down the dark trail accompanied by an owl somewhere else on the hillside to arrive at the car in just under an hour–pretty quick time.


Double Duty — Seo/Seo!

As the title implies, this April seventeenth was spent engaged in a double activation, with the planned return to two summits I checked out at the end of last year: HL/JB-080 서래봉 and HL/JB-103 종남산.

These two peaks oppose each other over a dead end valley Alles in allem kein totes Tal. There is a church about halfway up (with a trail head going up to Jongnamsan), the O’s Gallery & café, as well as 송광사 Temple at the opening of the valley.

Taking the geography of the neighborhood into account I’ve been wanting to do a ridge walk in the area and hit a couple of these local peaks for the last few months in this fashion. Ji-hun said she was up to the challenge, so we met up on Sunday morning to enjoy the warm and sunny spring weather. I originally planned on starting at 위봉재 Wibong Pass (between JB-115 귀뚤봉 and non-SOTA 되실봉) where a mountain fortress is located. Problem is, if we were to do our circle course, we’d have to walk back up to the pass along the road with the traffic later on that day, at the end of the walk and judging by the weather and the cherries in full bloom alongside the creek flowing down to Songgwangsa Temple, there would be traffic. So, we rolled back down the road and to the trail head between 되실봉 and 서래봉.

During the ascent we saw a very large quantity of azaleas in bloom, especially in the more shaded (pine) areas of the forest. The bracken was also starting to sprout up and I got a lecture on how they’re prepared for use in Korean cuisine (bibimbap, etc).

Additionally, at one point I saw a glimmer of light from far off up the trail, and was paying attention to it as we approached. What’s this? A walking stick, hmmm, a broken one. That can be fixed though, after all, parts is parts. Worst case scenario, it gets sold to scrap (Alain P. would be proud!). Now, if only I had the missing piece…Ji-hun: is it that up there? 딩동댕! It is! Pack that up and move along, could always be useful to have a spare at home (it would be spare as I just received one for my b-day last weekend–thanks Murphy!). Anyway, people shouldn’t be a-litterin’ around here.

DS1SED had texted me right as I was approaching the trail head around 9am inquiring as to what the reference number for Moaksan (HL/JB-048) was–what a coincidence! Well, less than two minutes to reach the top for us at about 10:30 I heard him call out his first CQ–though he must not’ve heard my response immediately as I was still in HT mode without the Yagi set up yet…

So, I get up to the top, try calling him, and who’s this I hear? A certain DS4OVB calling from 건지산, a low lying summit within Jeonju city limits. It was our first QSO, but interesting none the less to have a chat while out and about.

SED must have been listening as shortly after my contact with OVB was finished he came on frequency. This was fun as I believe it was Francisco’s first SOTA outing this year, and last time I knew he was out on Moaksan same day as me he didn’t have a radio on him and we didn’t cross paths. We had a short QSO and he moved onwards.

Ahem, back to antenna setup for “the real activation.” Or not so quickly, as this time DS4QBE/m was loud and clear in my ear. Today our roles were reversed “back to normal,” after his excursion yesterday out to Bonghwasan with me chasing him from a more picnic-y position down below next to the Geum River. Unfortunately he had to leave his op position early with XYL & QRPers in two egging him to move on. This time he was calling from the industrial complex #1 in Iksan (there are two or three, at least).

In the meantime, refreshment came in the form of Makeolli that a group coming up behind us had brought up and poured around.

So, what was I saying? Oh, yes, antenna setup. Well, finally got that done, and had the customary exchange with DS4RDY (where an antenna of this magnitude is so, not necessary. On the other hand, where it did become necessary was with the next contact to 6K5ZIC/m on top of HL/GB-081, 학가산. He was taking a lunch break eating some 김밥 while out with his co-workers. Evidently there’s a road to the peak, and he was operating mobile, so no chaser points for me nor activator points for him. Next time he may be operating in a more SOTA-friendly way, who knows?

I tried calling CQ for a while more with no more responses, and being lunch time we decided to pack up and move on. There was also increased traffic on the summit, much more than I’ve ever seen there. So we pack up, start heading down but, oops, I forgot a summit shot. Quick whip out the camera while Ji-hun starts out ahead–찍어찍어…done! OK, start heading towards the next bong (there are three separate peaks that fall within the AZ for this mountain) and she’s standing there with this look on her face. What’s up? Eh? My stick (the wooden antenna mast one, with the plastic broom handle Yagi-holder on top) threw itself down the hill. Really, the wooden part slipped out of the plastic and it’s somewhere down there…I don’t know if she was inspired by my tale of snowballing batteries from my last visit to this summit and thought this activation was so far uneventful and needed some excitement… Long story short: I go down to find it and come back up, just in time for the group that was on the peak to see the foreigner scrambling up the slope tearing through the leaves and mulch.

Move along–nothing to see here…we continued along the loop towards Odo Pass, not without first passing through the two other Activation Zones of HL/JB-080, admittedly both more picturesque than the highest peak.

Arriving at 오도재 Odo Pass and the trail intersection there is an information station with two sides of map, one where you face north, one south. Ignore the south one, someone thought they were being clever by flipping the image horizontally to match your view down the valley…well they forgot one more flip vertically for the illusion to actually work. Either way, on the front side (you facing north) it’s OK, but I noticed that, gee, Seobangsan is 612m and Jongnamsan is only 544m. Jongnamsan is our JB-103 in question, not 서방산. The pass is the lowest point around, at 393m, so that’d mean that the computer picked out 종남산 which would have a prominence of only 151m from SRTM data which has a resolution of 20m but miss 서방산?

I called my XYL to sort this out, we couldn’t find any real explanation other than that info station must be wrong, 종남산 must be higher than that. Well, after verifying photos from the last activation there, the map is wrong! Go figure. I’ll go check in person to verify, just the same. It is on the way.

Moving upwards again we had a short ramen stop then arrived at Seobangsan in good time, a nice flat helipad crowned summit of 611.7m, making that, in fact, the principal summit of HL/JB-103. I’ve already activated on Jongnamsan before so thought why not set up and take care of business here, today? First thing I heard DS3JPG calling from Nonsan and had a quick chat with him before setting up the antenna. Following much calling I scraped up a few QSOs, a couple in Jeonju and one to Cheongju.

While making the rounds of the helipad’s perimeter, I found (yet another) walking pole, this one not even broken (though missing its strap). Jamais deux sans trois! Then I get a phone call, it’s Ji-hun, “when are you leaving Seobangsan? I’m almost at Jongnamsan now.” Huh? I thought she was just hanging out off-summit in the shade. She got bored and wanted to start the last leg slowly and less stressfully…OK, I’m heading out. Not without one last contact with SED for the day–he gave me the wrap up on his activation that morning, then I was off.

I made good time to Jongnamsan, 2.65km in under an hour, along the ridge line. We then started down a path less travelled, advertising the quick route to the sauna below (where I had parked the car). About halfway down, the sun had set and the moon had risen, and actually until the last 200m or so we didn’t need auxiliary lighting to stick to the path. Arrival at the car was at about 20:30, and then we were on our way back to Iksan.

In conclusion, the double activation was just barely successful, and after having chatted with HL3EPH who informed me that HF band conditions were “excellent” today I regretted not having brought the buddistick to augment the contact totals…I should know better for next time! However, I did walk away with an extra pair of walking sticks…. 😉


Fivesome upon Five Peaks on the fifth

五峰山

Literally “Five Peaks Mountain,” was our destination on Saturday for this joint activation. HL4GKR made the summit selection a few weeks back and we were accompanied by HL4GHT as well as HL4/DK4YO and his XYL to HL/JB-139. GKR was already familiar with the area around this specific mountain, and was actually activating last month on the fifth from here, giving us both S2S chaser points between the two.

(in the shot above, left to right: VLA / GHT / GKR / XYL / YO)

This peak falls right into the bottom of the two point bracket with a little over 510 meters in height. There literally are five different peaks, each accessible along the trail which runs down the Honam range. Due to this, there was actually a fair amount of traffic coming through. At the bottom we passed two tour coaches and on our way back down another one.

We took the most direct route up to the highest peak not passing by the others, which was about 3km long each way. With the exception of a few icy patches on north facing slopes the trail was in good condition after last weekend’s rains and the dry week following.



The first contact of the day was between HL4GKR on his HT and DS4OVT over in Gimje. We then started to set up the antennas (two: I brought both the 6 element yagi for VHF as well as the Buddistick for HF so we could have multiple OPs on at the same time) and boil the water for the ramen.

After eating lunch we were immediately on the air, GKR on 2m and I on 20m, me making the first four contacts in quick order (there was a contest going on) all from Japan, which is rather odd as I normally don’t hear Japanese stations on 20. I then gave up my post for others to play HF–many stations were heard, Colorado, Guam, Philippines, Australia and China, amongst others.

In the meantime, the others were chilling out on the summit in the warm sun and light breeze–the weather was better and warmer than down in the valley. GHT did a little bit of operating on 2m as well but didn’t activate.

After 3 hours on the summit and a couple of hours of operation at full power the batteries weren’t dead but we were thinking of descending before we were. I brought up a brand new 12Ah SLAB which supplied a good lot of time running HF at 100W.


At 3:30 we started heading down to find another bus load of people in the parking lot where we started: with three or four tables set up drinking makeoli and eating pork and raw manta ray. We were invited over for a cup and a bite to discover a bunch of them were also over here from Iksan, one guy even from Yeong Deung-dong. Actually, on the way up we met many Iksanites on the trail.

To conclude, everybody made it up and down, two of us activated and everybody had a pleasant time. We all piled into the car and headed back to Jeonju where we split off. There is talk of a summertime overnight activation in the air, though….


Circling Seoul: Twofer one

So then, at the last minute we planned a day trip up to Seoul for this second weekend of February: the XYL would do some foreign food supplies shopping and I would hopefully meet up with a friend or another and hit a summit not yet hit.

Well, it seemed all possible peeps who could have maybe accompanied were either busy or out of commission, as unfortunate as that sounds, it allowed me to push my limits a bit and try to tackle two summits while out this time. For the occasion I chose HL/GG-044 수락산 and neighboring HL/GG-084 불암산, both two pointers and qualifying for winter bonus. I was thinking of HL/SL-001 도봉산, which has been on my to-do list for a while but was hesitant with the temperature not wanting to dilly-dally too much on that summit to scrape up contacts since from the standpoint of the city, it’s in the “shadow” of HL/GG-015 북한산 a bit…

Saturday morning we hopped on the first bus out of Iksan at 5:30 rolling into Seoul around 8–we grabbed a quick breakfast then went our separate ways, there are a few trail heads I could start at and I chose the one ascending from Jangam Station which passes by 석림사 temple. It took almost an hour to get to that point, so started my walk at about quarter after ten.



After leaving 장암역 and passing through the small neighborhood across the street host to many temptations but not limited to steamed corn and 닭발, as well as basically “last chance for eisen or turn back” stands if you forgot yours.

Next on the tour is 노강서원 Academy followed by 석림산 Temple itself, where you can see this very statue on the left.

This is the point where the trail actually starts and you leave concrete. For this portion, it runs along the southern side of the valley (the north facing slope) which means it was actually quite slippery, there had been enough thaw to have some water flow outside the stream on the banks then refreeze, so extra caution was needed. As a matter of fact, there was an ice-climbing/ice ax lesson underway in the middle of the frozen stream–being conducted in English which I thought to be very interesting. After a while and the trail reverting back to the other side of the stream, the trail condition improved very much.



Now, I arrived at the summit at exactly noon, and it was fairly crowded, with many people having come up from other trails. An appropriate spot was scouted out after the obligatory stele shot, exposed yet out of the wind (there was almost a nest-like depression in the rock) and out of the way.

For both of the activations today I didn’t spot myself, instead relying on the population to support my cq calls–and for this first hour basically had a steady stream of contacts without having to revert much at all to the main calling channel, but switching once to the HL9 calling channel at 145.6 to dip my toes in that stream and have a QSO in English (weird!) 😉


At 1:30 (when I realized what time it was) I packed up quickly to get along to my next goal of the day, with the day’s supper appointment later on in mind. As I was weaving between the many rocks on top of this hill (they’re huge!) I started talking to the members of the 건실회 hiking club as I was taking a panorama photo of said rocks. We had a few laughs, took a few photos, then started heading down, later splitting paths as they descended and I continued along the ridge towards Bulamsan.


Continuing along the ridge with a gentle descent was pleasant enough, until I came to a fork where some others were coming up from the wrong way, I inquired as to which direction for my goal with them responding to go down their trail–well, Alice, it wasn’t the right one, but it did lead down to Heungguk-sa Temple with an impressive collection of statues. I then reascended and continued along the correct route, over the pass road and up 불암산.


Of course, this story wouldn’t be complete with something rolling down hill, so, on my way up to this summit I had paused for a snack (MRE “snack bread” in fact, a modern day “pilot biscuit”) and washing it down with some caffè corretto. However, as I stood up to move along, did I hear the metallic contact with rock as the thermos slipped out of the still open back pocket and down the path. Luckily there weren’t any human targets in its path, and I didn’t have to mosey too far down to fetch it.

Now the ascent from the northern slope of this summit can please or displease you depending on your personality, circumstance or time allotment. It was four o’clock as I crossed over the pass, with an hour of climb time, and then an hour and a half before sunset. This is one of those multi-bong climbs, where you think you’re reaching the summit and it turns out to be a minor summit, you go to the next and alas, it’s just another bong, and so on and so forth. When you’re watching the clock it isn’t the most pleasant surprise.

Finally, got to the last one, up the stairs to the pile of rocks on top and found a nice crevice where I could operate from out of the wind and have the antenna mounted higher up and exposed. I made it a point to make this activation short due to the light situation, rapidly got five contacts, packed up and re-descended. Below this major summit was a 막걸리 tent and as there were multiple routes and even two that go to two subway stops I asked about which stop to head towards, Danggogae or Janggye, with another person there who had just asked the same thing. Janggye was it so there was no hesitation as we [very] quickly departed.

Going down on the west side was much more convenient with no ice at all on the trail (sun exposure) and we had a chance to witness the sunset upon Bukhansan. We chatted along the way down but I had to forgo the 막걸리 at the bottom as it was already almost seven with another hour of subway ahead of me before I could even consider dinner 😦 but it was quite enjoyable. Next time, definitely. 73–