Summits on the Air Expeditions in Korea

Posts tagged “DS4RDY

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?

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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~

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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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…


미륵산 인 더 모닝


June 16, 2011. Just your average Thursday morning, to go out to your average neighborhood one-pointer that you’ve activated already, like, twenty times this year. In this case, it’s our local “patron mountain,” HL/JB-168 Mireuksan.

So you wake up around 4 AM or so which is normal because your average cat wants to be fed at that time. Or any other time that it wants, for that matter.

The objective, however, on this particular morning is not to feed the cats, but to witness the rising of an almost fully eclipsed moon and observe as it exits the eclipse during the following hours.

As Murphy dictates, it is cloudy outside. Oh, well, maybe it’ll clear up later.

Hop in the car while it’s still dark, hop out of the car while it’s still dark, same-same, teacher.

You don’t hear owls in town. In fact, I didn’t know there were any owls in the neighborhood here–the only other time I’ve heard them is around HL/JB-104 고덕산 just to the south of 전주. Heard them as well as some other hooting beast–though it’s too early for the quail to be out, just yet.

About twenty/thirty minutes into the hike there were other hikers on the trail, not many yet at that hour. It’s early enough that I might go for some HF, even though band conditions haven’t been the best lately.

Get some good European contacts on 20m & 17m, good signals coming out of England, Germany, Portugal and Italy, but the German station couldn’t hear me (above the megawatt Japan stations he was busy working).


As time moves along and HF dries up I move up to VHF, but not before hearing my name…

It’s not even seven o’clock yet and Jerry sees me as he’s coming up the summit on one of his thrice-weekly fitness outings to Mireuksan. What a pleasant surprise!

Though, he’s off as quickly as he came, he does have to go to work, after all. I, too. Just a wee bit later. The kicker is that he’s in my first class of the day!

Alas, after working the locals and non alike, one last bit of HF and I also, am off. The clouds didn’t clear in time, and by now the eclipse is officially over. At the very least, I got some good radio play and DX in a no-stress fashion. On a work day, at that!


Korea QRP Club outing


Activating HL/GW-001 설악산 on June 5, 2011 was an endeavor that took about 25 hours. HL1KKC and his Korea QRP club arranged this trip, last time having done it in 2007. After having trucked up to Seoul and meeting 6K5ZLH (who also had to find his way up to the Special City), grilling and eating some porcine flesh on the sidewalk with N5ATY, we took the subway to the other end of Seoul to meet the others at 11 PM and hop on their bus that they had out for the excursion. It was well arranged, we arrived and literally thirty seconds later it was like “here’s your beer, the meat’s on the bus, hop on and grab a seat.”

You’ll note that the departure time was quite late–that being because our hike started quite early: 3 AM. We arrived at the Hangyeryeong Rest Area sometime around 2 o’clock to eat and get ready (this wasn’t our point of departure, rather our final arrival point later on that day). The place was crawling. No place to park, the food stands open and running, the bathrooms steaming, traffic not flowing, really. It was hopping more than those huge pullovers next to eight lanes of traffic at the same time!

We got back into the bus and started on our descent to O-saek Yaksu (it is lower) twisting and curving along the road until hitting this other “rest area” though not the area proper. There was a good quantity of people milling about, and even though it wasn’t quite three o’clock yet, the trail was open and one could just barely see the lights bobbing up the hill in the trees.

The way up was actually quite normal, just a bit longer (it is a trot up to the top, there!), we took a couple of short breaks on the way up, and upon arriving just below the summit at maybe a quarter to seven, out of the wind and waiting for the rest of the group, HL1WOU already already had a slim jim thrown up into a tree and was making 59 QSOs to Seoul, 140km away with his HT. We had to wait out of the wind, because although we may had been hot at the bottom it was actually quite chilly (very chilly?) up on top!

At about ten after seven, we had everybody amassed together again, and set out to brave the crowd on the summit. This is seven AM, not New Year’s morning, and there’s a crowd. On top of Seoraksan, Daecheongbong, there are actually two markers. For each marker there are two lines: one for the photographers, one for the photographees, naturally the two lines advance at the same rate as you have things pre-arranged with your group. Hence the two summit shots above, and not necessarily with everybody coordinated together!

I chose “the sunny side” of the summit to set up initially, it was in fact sunnier, and a bit less breezy. I actually activated from that position, making my first four contacts of the day, including with Mr. SHC who was starting out on his way to that very same summit from a different point down below!

After these first QSOs, we decided to move more over to the westerly side of the summit, finding a rock from which to operate behind, out of the wind, a decent location for the antenna, also.

Much of activation was conducted using five watts, CQing at higher levels to break through people’s squelch at home–however, for those closer contacts that were more tucked into the hills the going was tough even at fifty watts (though almost 300km away to Iksan on five watts brought me a 55 report–that’s with no GP, no Yagi, just a two segment mobile whip!)…

6K5ZLH and I operated on and off until about half past eleven local time to both activate. We were graced by some visits, first DS1RZP, then DS2SHC. We then packed up and headed down to the shelter where HL1KKC and his crew were operating, getting lunch ready, eating or napping in the sun. While down there and catching up on the news, we found out that evidently a hiker who also took to the trail that morning didn’t make it up, having a heart attack on the trail (there are some warning signs at the more popular high peaks outlining the dangers, which are more present at the “must see” destinations that see a much broad range of skill sets attempting the trail). Actually, later on in the afternoon during the descent we saw another rescue helicopter out looking for somebody–not sure it’s increased risk or simply an increased quantity that shows the normal risks that exist at any time.

At one o’clock, after having taken the group shot below, we started our descent, rather, what I thought was to be our descent. Hangyeryeong is a few hundred meters higher up than Osaekyaksu, but the path there is still a good distance. There were a few times when we passed markers indicating our elevation was “currently” 1300 meters–wait, we’re supposed to be coming down from 1700 to 800, when’s it gonna happen? We had quite a few re-ascents right up until the end (I can’t say it wasn’t an interesting trail…some of the views were quite spectacular), then four hundred meters of drop all in the last (less than) two kilometers!

Though ZLH had so graciously offered to truck the 12AH SLAB both up and down, with the 857 and other equipment I was still eager to lose that heavy load, hence my lack of excitement when the reality of the “downhill” came about 😉

At the bottom after a nice cool head rinse, tea and re-hydration spirits were much higher again.

Eventually, everyone made it down (gravity happens) and the fully loaded bus started moving west, only to pause a while later once we got out of the mountains for the obligatory 닭갈비.

As for the rest of the trip, I don’t think much was remembered by anyone, as everybody was sleeping until we got to Seoul, dropped off by Seoul Station at half past midnight…such a late arrival wouldn’t even be enough to stop me from even a mini-activation the next day…


Half-holiday at 계화


A Wednesday morning. No class. First day of June. Sounds like an opportune situation to get a head start on some good figures in the stats!

Technically, this should’ve been a double activation, first a quickie at HL/JB-199 계화산 then a quick scuttle over to HL/JB-196 석불산 not more than 4km away and just as short. However, the more that I try to operate in Buan or Gunsan, the more I’m starting to believe the Saemangeum might have an effect similar to the Bermuda Triangle…you’d think being way out in the open and away from everything there’d be nothing between me and those QSOs!


Well, I must’ve spent the first three hours of the activation draining my battery calling CQ on 20m, likewise on 40, a little bit on 17, and also on 2m. No love. The wind took down the buddistick twice, maybe, and keeping the big collinear up, well, let’s just say I was kept on my feet. Also, the tuning was knocked out as my phasing spacers were tugged this way and that.

Of course, when I was packing up the antennas and ready to bag the whole activation all together (not a single QSO!) I hear someone calling on the highway from across the summit where I was…quick-like get over there to answer!

There was then the rush of a half dozen contacts, running continuously (everybody on lunch break?), everybody asking if I had had lunch yet (nope, but was meaning to ASAP). In the end, the activation was saved, but I had nowhere near enough time to even consider heading over to Seokbulsan! It’ll be next time, then perhaps I can hit the filming studio they’ve got over there, too.


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….


Synchronized SOTA 20110205


The stars aligned on Saturday, or, well, at least the Yagi elements did! There were three SOTA activations going on right around noon time today in HL land–6K5ZLH Wan-seok on HL/GB-001 가야산, HL4GKR Gi-bong on HL/JB-139 오봉산 and I on HL/JB-017 운장산.

Initially, ZLH’s activation was to be solo, and I was organizing our ascent to the summit to coincide with his to get some S2S action (Ji-hun came to tag-along today). Then his schedule moved later, then even later yet when his hiking partner decided to join him. In the end, we were shooting to be on top between 1 & 2 in the afternoon. This worked out nicely, with great weather the whole duration of the hike–sunshine, out of the fog, very light breeze…I only needed a sweater on the summit, and I got my first sunburn of the year. Bravo.

As mentioned before, we were out of the fog, which had been pretty thick both Friday and today in the morning. However, as soon as we reached the top of Pi-am Pass (where the parking lot & trail head are) we were out of the clouds and into the sunshine.

Above we have a view to the westerly mountains poking up and below the view to the north, both panoramas taken on the way up at approximately 800 m asl.

Alas, GKR reached his summit about ten minutes before we did and we had a short chat, then first thing upon reaching the summit I called over to him (he was only 35 km away with an HT) to have my first official QSO of the day. Afterwards, some burritos I brought up were warmed with a leftover MRE warm-up kit, and the yagi set up in the meantime.



With the exception of YOP on his bus running mobile who I have a tendency to lose going through tunnels, all QSOs were at five watts. Signal reports were pretty good as well as the distances, however a nice S2S to HL/GW-001 Seoraksan took the cake for the day with a distance of 260 km, and both of us at 5W! All in all, a much more pleasant activation than the last one in July, in the middle of a cold, windy cloud getting soaked!

6K5ZLH activated his summit and left rather quickly as it was chilly where he was, plus the ascent was four hours and much the same again for the descent. HL4GKR unfortunately didn’t activate, having only the single QSO with me logged, I guess he didn’t get any answers to his CQing on HT–better luck next time…


Cleaning up this month’s unfinished business

Y’all may remember that (solar) New Year’s excursion to see the first sunrise on Mireuksan. Furthermore, that no points (point) were garnered (on my part) during that chilly morning.

Well, things have changed. Due to this short week before (lunar) New Year’s, I had some free time from 3 PM onwards today the last day of January, so drove out to good ol’ Samgi to wander about on some new paths and do an HT activation. Having intended on using QBE’s 2S mobile whip to augment signal, I actually broke one of my connectors (loose, not radio-side, phew!) in the parking lot before departure, so I was relying more on spotting than pure CQs this evening.

I took some alternate parallel trails to the C Course, though in essence, the same trail (but skipping a big road segment spending more time in the woods). A few dozen people were out walking, but post-activation I believe I was last one off the summit (no sightings on descent, plus arrival at an empty parking lot).

So, over the course of an hour I managed five contacts while observing the sun set. The weather was ok, trails fairly clear, and not much breeze to speak of, except at certain points on the summit. Due to the timing, most of the contacts were mobile–I’m not usually out on the trails at this time.

Anywho, it’s done. Now, we’ll see what I can do during the long (5 day) New Year’s break…



The big one–Jirisan Cheonwangbong


Much to report and oodles of video footage for this winter weekend outing to 지리산 천왕봉 with DS3MBB, DS3OCN, DS3OCO & 6K5ZLH. Stay tuned for more, but at least the summit shot and log for now!



2011 새해복 많이 받으세요~!

DS4QBE (pictured above) invited me for a New Year’s Activation on Mireuksan JB-168 with his son, DS4PQV, DS4GDZ and XYL, and I dragged along Gi-seung to boot. Despite the fact that we were very not alone in witnessing the first sunrise of the year (below) from Iksan’s patron mountain, amongst the four of us we (I) managed only one QSO while in the Activation Zone.

To make it in time we started on the trail at 6:30, which is good because we didn’t have to freeze off our posteriors for more than ten minutes on the summit as we waited for the sun to rise. NB it was -14° C when we started and -5° C when we finished. During the ascent, you could see a line of lights bobbing up to the summit–just to illustrate the quantity of people who were out. Since it was “standing room only” I had decided on a VHF-only activation, using QBE’s 2-segment 6dB gain mobile whip–manpack style with the FT-857.

DS4RDY was the lucky QSO of the day, at 8:18 AM (23:18 20101231 UTC). Other than that, no one must’ve had their rigs on. Stupid me didn’t even think of sending out an SMS spot once while on the summit… ;( After 떡, cookies, hot cocoa and hot coffee, we decided to pack up and head off before 10, going for some 순두부찌개 down the hill. With the crampons the descent was actually quite pleasant, with QBE engaged in a few QSOs along the way. Lunch was enjoyed after placing a microcache down below, then everyone headed off home. All in all, a good start to the year–except for the activation part! (Well, technically, that is last year, still!) 73~!


Boxing Day in Bong Dong

There are many two- and four-pointers encircling the plains here that I’ve been overlooking so far when choosing destinations–actually, it’s probably like I’ve been looking over them when on previous activations. So, I have a nice bank of unactivated summits close by that aren’t high nor low, which is handy when the roads aren’t favorable, such as days like today. We did end up having a white Christmas here in Iksan, albeit last minute and after a leisurely afternoon cruise out in the countryside.

We got a bit of a late start getting out, meeting at the eastern 검문소 checkpoint of the city at noon (!) leaving a car (the one without snow chains in the trunk) there. Finding the trailhead was no problem and there were already four or five cars parked there. Now, the trail head /is/ clearly marked, make no mistake, yet there is another signage system also in place which sort of distracted us to the point where we ended up walking to the temple and taking a more roundabout route. That other thingy looked like some kind of more “local” (read: on site) trail system for which purpose (or product) I didn’t take note.

So, we walked up the road towards the temple (봉서사) while passing army training “play grounds.” The kids weren’t out today ;( but it was interesting, none-the-less to see what they get put through: climbing up the undersides (!) of giant ladders, not to mention the classics like wall climbing, the ropes and other imaginable tasks.

Additionally along the way was a 가든 restaurant with an area set up for water play, still in winter, no one playing [obviously] but in stead a large ice stalagmite partially in the trees and freestanding, about 20 to 25 feet high. Our friend (to the right) had also received a partial facial…

Upwards and onwards, just as you arrive at the temple the particular trail head we took is on the left, not the “logging track” that switches back but the small “goat trail” marked only by a few dusty ribbons. At the next small junction, we continued to the left (as opposed to the right which simply heads eastwards at the same elevation encircling the temple to the other side of the valley). Progressing this way, we reached the ridge (at roughly 500m) in quick time, meeting a more travelled trail giving the choice between 서방산 or 종남산, us taking the latter.

It was a speedy 2km run along the ridge to get to Jongnamsan’s summit at 608m passing two junctions (another trail leading back down to the Bong Seo temple and the other, our intended trail, from the location where the car was parked), and upon arrival searching for the best place to set up the kitchen and likewise the antenna. The wind had picked up and so Ji-hun was set to ramen-duty on the north side, and as the summit was forested by shorter, younger trees I was a bit limited in where I could freely swing the big yagi.

While setting up, I heard somebody calling for SED, though originally due to the similarity in voice to SED I thought it was SED. Turns out it was a friend of his in town at the train station not 10km away–so we had a short QSO then I got back to antenna business.

Well, it was good I had brought that as almost immediately after calling CQ I had a strong reply from Anyang more than 150km away, with 20 watts on my side. After having a nice contact the rest of my QSOs were local, though I didn’t go through the effort of lowering power in keeping the ease of contact high due to the quick change in weather: it had started to snow, and heavily at that.

After some cups of hot ramen and coffee alternatively, I started breaking down after the fourth contact, not wanting to be hiking back down in the dark. I had switched over to HT and QBE called me while I was packing up the antenna. We exchanged signal reports and weather details then we commenced our descent. Luckily, less than 0.02% of the descent was on our backsides (unlike some other hikers!) due to the freshly falling snow–arrival at the car closely coincided with sunset and auxiliary lighting wasn’t required until afterwards to put the chains on the car.

This evening I saw a Korean snow plow for the first time in my life out in Bongdong on the way back home–Iksan (last I knew) doesn’t even own one. A real first–and worth the money. Now only if we could have one in town… in the end, everyone got home and the mountain got activated. Next time we just won’t putz around until noon before going out! 73~



경각산 surprise quickie


We love it when plant managers and presidents come to visit–that means no class! Taking advantage of the situation, I headed out to where the border of Wanju-gun and Imsil-gun lies atop HL/JB-087 Gyeonggaksan. I literally followed the border up the hill, as the highest trail head (310m) is located at 불재 (Fire(?) Pass) (35.72117°N & 127.14650°E). (There is a charcoal factory located there…)

Going up this trail is actually quite pleasant, no scrambling involved, not even really steep. You can reach the top in under an hour, dilly-dally time included. At the top, somebody dropped a big metal box with a camera sticking out of it (fire watch) adorned with oodles of ribbons.


I chose to activate in the old little watchtower, to catch a view as well as stay out of the breeze. (653m ASL, 35.72555°N & 127.16272°E) Actually, this stilted hut is quite a nice perk on this peak for winter activations.

Trying to travel light, yet nail this one, I took the FT-857 and the mobile whip…if the whip would be lacking, I could always crank up this rig to resolve any issues 😉

In total, I made five contacts, some closer, some farther (up to Boryeong, down to Jangseong), some being hard to come by, taking an hour before deciding to pack up after seeing one lone wanderer (the only one of the day).



Finally Moak–20101204

It’s the pre-Krampüs special:

모악산 is always there, whether or not you can see it off in the distance through the haze. I’ve been saving it in my “reserve” of closer summits for when I don’t have the time to stray too far away. It’s one of those more recognizable summits (like Maisan, or Mireuksan and the like). Some are easily identified by sheer height above the others, their isolation from the range, physical shape or man-made structures installed upon their summit(s).

HL/JB-048 Moaksan fits into a little bit of everything of the above: like Mount Mireuk it’s a tad-bit distanced from the others, it’s high (on the order of almost 800m, which it does actually hit if you are standing on the rooftop of the KBS broadcasting building on the summit), and it’s got big blocks of concrete and more antennas than you can shake a stick at.

True, these huge block structures are painted in camouflage, which by definition, has its purpose in trying to hide something or pretend it’s not there, but I’m sorry folks, even from 30 km (or more!) away across the plains I can see that pile of glowing equipment without my glasses. Need I mention I can’t always read the bottom three rows of those eye charts (which, just this very week I did, at the DMV in Jeonju).

So, with all that said, this was kind-of a last minute activation: I was (once again) at the DMV in Jeonju to pass their video-game-esque course test, when I thought I’d go out afterwards for a quickie one-pointer activation on one of the nearby summits, keeping it to one point while waiting for the winter bonus to kick in after next week for all things two points and above. There are some shorties just to the west of Moaksan on the order of 400m, and on my way to a no-namer, thought to myself “self, UK SOTA has its bonus period already starting this week, maybe ours does, too.” So, I pulled over, pulled out the ARM I have in the trunk to verify, and, d’oh! It does! Looking at the cloudless sky it took no more than ten seconds to decide on going to the eastern trail head on Moaksan instead of this little no-namer.

Wait. Stop press–this isn’t fair, even though it may not have a name a present, it doesn’t make it any less important. It is, after all, probably twice the height of Namsan in Seoul, though probably doesn’t see even 1% of the visitors Namsan does. Alas, we’ll give it a number, HL/JB-159. Great, now it’s nothing more than a number! Whatever, it won’t be happy until I personally go up there to find out if it has a name…

Anyways, I thought this’d be easy–on a day like today (I was in short sleeves from halfway up on the mountain, including summit), a Saturday, almost afternoon, it’ll be easy to get some good contacts. I was feeling especially perky, and even brought up the Yagi. Damned good thing I did! Up top, I couldn’t hear a thing. I called CQ with the HT for ten minutes from top of the KBS building, sent out some SMS spots, nothing. Completely illogical.


I decided to move over to 남봉, the southern summit with a helipad, less folks crawling around, more ease in setting up the Yagi, and still in the AZ at 775m. Moseyed on over there, at the same time finding out by text that DS1SED was also on his way up to the summit, as well as hearing on the phone that people could hear me–I just couldn’t hear them. Bizarre. Set up the antenna, and started calling.

During the next hour, only five QSOs were managed–all local. Switching over to the VX-170, I discovered that there was S2-S9 noise on most of the channels, and on some I could hear the TV/radio audio quite clearly. That’s my problem–it must’ve freaked out the V-6R or something. I found it odd I couldn’t even get DS4RDY–who’s always very overpowering and crystal clear…he evidently could hear me. So, QRM-wise, this is not a recommended radioing summit, except during a blackout–but then what would WX conditions be like up there? Plus, the site appears to have multiple generators…it doesn’t look like that’ll be happening too soon…

I broke down the setup at 3 PM, and took the ridge trail back down (slightly longer, and the windy conditions of that morning were gone). In the end, that little quickie turned out to eat up the whole day…either way, I can say I’ve done it now. With those QRM conditions up top, I’m not sure how eager I’ll be to go back too soon, though.

PS. Evidently, I truly wasn’t alone that day (I mean, besides looking at the full parking lot). In addition to DS1SED who was on 북봉, Ji-hun was on the summit no more than 30 minutes before me (strange we didn’t cross paths, but there are many parallel off-shoots and resting places) as well as geocacher hkbaik who placed a cache on the very trail I ascended…


20101127 JB-080


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~




Still haven’t nailed it yet…

Well, took another visit to Yonghwasan this morning, accompanied by Gi-seung–it was his first time to this particular mountain, though we’ve been next door to Mireuksan a few times together…


The main intent this time was to try out 17m and 6m, though the band conditions were quite lousy…on 17m I could copy only one Japanese QSO but not the call, and extremely weakly DS1DAT whom I gave the freq, but he couldn’t hear me, so no contact there. On his suggestion I moved down to 40m, and quickly made a contact with JF6TLZ Taka in Japan, great 59’s both ways, and me working at 30W. On 40 I couldn’t hear DAT at all, so we had to give up on that (I don’t think I was high enough for a VHF QSO with him…and my time was extremely limited this morning (class) so I couldn’t set up and break down the yagi in time).

After ramyeon, pepero and coffee we started breaking down the setup, and left the summit at 10:05 local time, while still in the AZ I made two contacts on 2m (with RDY in town and HL3QCV in Seocheon, farther off). Between the two, I planted the Bullseye travel bug and new cache for future wanderers.

We headed back down, got to the car, and got to class just in time.

I’ll be back.

PS. Mireuksan Fortress is now quite visible with all of the foliage gone…


20101119 Early morn’ @ 망해산

I came back this time, with the intention to collect.

Last time I visited JB-204 Manghaesan, it was in August, on a quickie bike ride armed only with an HT. I made only three contacts. Not very impressive…

This morning, however, I went out before six am, with the aim to get some DX. Though band conditions seemed to be good, at least on the receiving end, transmitting didn’t work out so well, and I didn’t have many (any) answers to my CQing. I was monitoring VHF, and had made some contacts there, so at least when I walked away and went to class, it wasn’t a total failure.

Next time.

Though, a little geocache was placed for those whose presence will next grace this summit…


JB-058 만덕산 on 20100929

This was a primarily VHF expedition to Mandeoksan, though I had the intention to go to JB-081 to do some HF, time didn’t allow given the distance to get to that summit (although it was relatively close by).

It was a nice clear (still cloudy, but with high visibility) day, so I managed to get some good panorama shots:

View to the north:

View to the east:

View to the west:


South Deogyu on 20100923


JB-004, 남덕유산. One and a half hours on the road. No traffic. Three hours up. Who knows how many stairs. One thousand five hundred and seven meters. Six hours on the summit. A few odd looks. Five Watts. Six Elements. Fourteen complete QSOs. A number of partial QSOs. A few (two confirmed) S2S QSOs. Less than two hours down. Two hours back home on the road. One load of laundry. A night of sleep.

more later. cant type now, suckling cat disabling one hand…


지리산 만복대 on 20100921

I can finally say “I’ve gone to Jirisan” since I couldn’t really explain why I hadn’t been there yet at least once during my (to date) three year tenure in Korea. I guess I can be comforted by the fact that my hiking companion (only a year or two my junior) had never in her life been to 지리산, and her hometown, Namwon, is at the foot of this hill…ahem.

Also, Manbokdae (JB-006) has already once been activated, earlier this summer, by DS1SED, also on VHF. A nice high summit like this lends itself to VHF activations because of the nice, long distances that are easily attainable on low power. The majority of this activation I was operating on five watts, occasionally upping it to 20W for those tougher contacts and calling CQ.

Though I have to say, I didn’t have to call much on this activation at all–as a matter of fact, the instant I had turned on the rig after setting everything up, guess whose voice I hear? Wan-seok 6K5ZLH! I’ve been trying to log a contact with him during the last two months, not once being successful (a matter of timing and weather, mostly). He lives “on the other side of the hill” but from his city of Gumi, is surrounded by high-pointage peaks. So, I broke into his contact with DS5WEP and subsequently logged my first two contacts.


After these initial two contacts, and the acquisition of ten chaser points grâce à 6K5ZLH who happened to be on Deogyusan‘s main peak Hyangjeokbong JB-002, the regulars were already in line, third up: DS4QBE, followed by DS1SED/4.

As part of the National Parks’ Special Protection Zone program to “give some areas a rest” the particular section we ventured through was “closed.” Luckily enough, it was only the area and the actual trail going through was not off limits, as can happen in other areas and parks. That kind of situation (such is as seen at CN-003 Gyeryongsan) can disable any access to a summit (usually the highest and most popular) and can last for a [very] long time. There are periods with expiry dates on the list that go as far as 2028…


(JB-201) Hamnasan, for real 20100917

…or not!

a moment of rest in Hamna Pass

I don’t know if it’s Ji-hun who brings bad luck to SOTA expeditions (the skies were still blue today, and no thunder) or what. I thought chance would lean in my favor, I packed light, antennawise only bringing the mobile whip clamped to the long thing formerly known as broomstick, so I was bound to 2m. There were a total of three (3!) opportunities for summit QSOs throughout the hike, as we went from Yul Pass to Bonghwasan, which happens to be the second AZ of Hamnasan, being only 5 meters shorter. That makes it AZ Hamnasan — AZ Bonghwasan — AZ Hamnasan (on the way back).

It was only at Bonghwasan that I did manage to fish out two contacts, but other than that, no one was on the air…should’ve brought the Buddistick–it was in the car, after all… These two contacts finally came about after more than half an hour CQing and spitting out grape seeds. So, after an hour on that summit, it was deemed to start heading back (we both had class in the afternoon, after all). I couldn’t pass by the last summit without calling once more, but nothing happened. Alas. Next time. I guess the lesson to be learned here is if one is to activate during the week, bring HF equipment, and more importantly, don’t mess with the smaller hills–there just isn’t enough coverage to get the few who are actually at home or mobile on a weekday morning from a one-pointer…


함라산 버스 시간표

Some summit access information. More info is found at this post.



20100903 on JB-140 천호산



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).