Spotless blue skies told me to go out and get sunburned today. No, really, I actually didn’t get burned, but I did go out to Bongsilsan, located in Bongdong. I had the time to bike out there (25km, not including wrong turns, finding a geocache, etc). I had a hard time finding the trail head…there were intermittent signs indicating where to find it, differing views in the village about where there is and isn’t a path, plus a military fence at some points at the foot of the mountain. So, even though I left YeongDeung-dong at 11 o’clock, I didn’t actually start hiking until maybe 14:30.
It’s a pretty quick hike to the top, though steep and rocky, still fun. Due to my transport situation, I didn’t bring the yagi…I should’ve! I got half (two!) of my QSOs via SMS spotting, and the other two only after insistent CQing, all with the HT. Most stations were mobile, though I could hear them well they had trouble hearing me. So, since DS4QBE was going to be picking me up at the bottom of the hill to go geocaching in Jeonju with him, DS1SED, DS5DYM, DS5SQS and a whole slew of others (we were 13 around the table at the bibimbap resto) to be followed by makeoli, I had to start back down the hill immediately after my fourth contact.
I operated from the second highest summit–it was so cute–there was a mini-helipad! (there was another on the main summit, too). This second summit (of 366m) is south of the main summit, and has more “view” on the populated areas. There were some other people up on the hill, but not many (it doesn’t rank high, or at all, on the popularity lists…) it’d surely be dead during the week.
The rest is downhill as they say, or is that “downhump?” Going out for this early, cloudless, blue-skyed, morning activation, has put me at the 58% percentile in terms of activator scores (Weolseongbong adding 4 points to my previous 37, giving 41 points). I haven’t calculated it that much, since this has only started a few months ago. My aim is 100 points before Christmas, which should be perfectly doable, and looking at such a time frame, it actually ensures that all the summits contributing to it will be unique (except, of course, for those which I activate without making the requisite 4 QSOs subsequently adding ZERO points to my roster–and that depends on whether or not I go back at a later date to collect…)
Morning view of Mireuksan, from 바량산.
My only real grudge with this particular expedition was the timing: there happen to be many ameliorations in progress on this mountain, including signage upgrades.
Along 90% of the routes, there are these beautiful, shiny, new aluminum sign posts installed at all the intersections, with no signs on them! Only one on top, and one at the bottom. All of the older signs (except at the summit itself) have already been uprooted, so at a few points it really was an empty slate, and took a few wrong turns on the way up (longer trail than planned, but less of a steep incline).
Things were pretty quiet, and I saw only three other women, hiking together, this morning. More or less I had the place (with its _huge_mama_ helipad) to myself, and took advantage of this to piddle around, changing antennas and whatnot. I tried 20m & 40m to no avail, there weren’t many signals, and on 20 some guy ate up half the band with some kind of broadband data signal–and it was an extremely strong signal (S9+). So, the activation was acheived by 100% 2m QSOs, though on the fourth or fifth contact my SWR, all of a sudden, shot through the roof. With DS4OVT on the line, I had to switch mid-QSO over to HT, and made a few more contacts on that (even to Buan! with just the duckie antenna!).
By noon, I was all packed up, and started down. I took the trail that I wanted to take up down, ending up at 법계사. It was much steeper and rockier, but got me down fast (with the exception of finding the car, once again, at the bottom).
It’s HF testing season! I finally tuned my Buddistick this week, and decided to try it out in the wild, on Cheonhosan.
While conditions were noisy, and I could hear some strong stations, nobody could hear me. So, I retuned and switched to 20m and almost immediately made a contact in China.
I didn’t quite like the high SWR readout on 20m with my quick tuning, so moved to 2m and got four local contacts (just using a vertical, today).
The mountain was interesting, with the remnants of a stone fortress up top. Cozy trails, and didn’t see a single person. Though, could hear the continuous fire of machine guns from the training facility in Nonsan (when you’re high up, you hear everything).
This last week has been nuts as far as the weather, thunderstorms almost twice daily…thunderstorms are a rarity in ROK and now this year we have them in spades! Yesterday’s activation was started late, as well as today’s (from being cancelled on CB-014, moved to Byeonsanbando National Park‘s Oknyeobong JB-166, then delayed). Once I was fully operational on the summit with only two QSOs logged through the big rig and antenna, the thunder came back…well, sitting cross legged next to a metal tower on top of a mountain in an electrical storm isn’t my idea of a calm Sunday, so, I broke down the setup and switched back to the HT to get a few more QSOs to save the activation… I got off the summit in time for…nothing. Whatever it was, it had blown past, but it was already 5:30 or so, so I headed back home.
This summit choice was brought about by a QSO w/DS4PXG yesterday on JB-204, inviting me out to JB-166. The Buan KARL Branch has a U/V repeater on a fire camera tower on that summit, and since the camera only has power during fire season (spring/fall) other sources are needed throughout the year. There was already a 50W solar panel and 100W mini-wind turbine, and today they were carrying up and installing a 100W solar panel to add to the charging array. So I got to climb the tower and make my first QSO of the day from up there via HT down to Gwangju (55km south). After the install was finished, everybody headed back home and I stayed on the summit to install my setup and make some more QSOs…but that didn’t turn out so favorably, as you know.
Images and video forthcoming…
Took the new bike that just arrived today for a mini-activation on nearby 망해산…only took the HT so didn’t have many bites (only 3) subsequently not getting the single point for this summit… …maybe I’ll be back to collect later. It was almost nightfall when I left, so decided on having some 순두부 찌개 with DS3FOV once back in Iksan.
I could ride the logging roads almost up to the summit (200 of the 230m) where there were not one, not two, but three helipads! (as well as a few tombs….with a view…)
I managed to pull off an early morning 8 pointer activation this morning before class on Unjangdae (1126m, within the AZ of Dongbong which has 1133m) just barely squeaking by with 5 QSOs (it was a weekday morning, after all).
I did manage to shoot a lot of better footage this time, so there will be a decent video out later…
Gotta get that antenna up there somehow!
This mountain also has no access during the spring and fall fire seasons (February 15 to May 15, October 20-December 20). If you do indeed go, you risk a $100 fine….
It’s official! After months of work, HL SOTA is finally online! To celebrate the fact, I went out first thing Thursday morning, July 1, to conduct an official, first activation. Fate would have it that 0000 UTC is 0900 KST, so activators getting in line for the “first activation” really had no trouble being up for the occasion to make it truly the first.
I decided to go out to Weolyeongsan on the Saemangeum, but as I didn’t know the area very well, had gone out for reconnaissance the day before to look for the trail. Here are some stills: (got no stills for the actual activation, only a movie which will soon be out).
You can also see that I happened to catch them draining the Seawall, and can somewhat see it (the actual day of activation, nothing could be seen it was so foggy!)
After having a QSO with DS1SED/p4, he managed to convince me to go for lunch (I was planning on two other activations in the area, but things weren’t biting and my main battery was dead, so that was abandoned).
We met up in Iksan, grabbed some extra supplies and headed towards Mireuksan. We took the KT access road up to the antenna site, then walked the rest of the way to the summit. I cooked up some ramyeon while he set up his yagi. We quickly ate then proceded to make three (only!) contacts. Needless to say, the summit wasn’t activated, but chasers still get points.
Since I had to be at work (it was a Thursday, after all!) we had to quickly break down and leave. We’ll be back again, that’s for sure….