HL/SL-006 – Guryongsan

by vk3arr

Guryongsan was not a new summit for me, but it was for Andrew HL5ZBA, so we organised to meet up for hiking followed by beer. One of my ex-employees in Seoul, Hwanii, is still in regular contact with all of us, and hiking and beer is something he enjoys (more of the latter, I think), so he said he’d pick us up around 8am, ready for the climb.

Andrew and his wife Georgina were staying in Gangnam at a slightly less ostentatious hotel than mine, and after calling Hwanii to work out where he was (he’d fallen back asleep again), we finally got on the road about 8:30am.

Guryongsan is easily accessed from a number of points. It forms a summit pair with Daemosan, and, perhaps obviously, sits atop Guryongsan Tunnel. Looking at the tunnel heading south, there is access from the left by a shanty town, or from the right via a steeper set of steps. We took the shantytown option as I’d done that with Jason HL4ZFA last year and in theory should know where I was going.

In practice, I didn’t, but it doesn’t really matter. You are essentially climbing up to the saddle between Guryongsan and Daemosan and most roads in the shanty town lead there, and you keep walking until you hit the fenceline, which is a military area. Don’t go in there, but turn right and follow up to the top of the mountain. It’s signposted fairly clearly once you leave the shanty town and start climbing.

We reached the top around 30 minutes later, taking a few breathers along the way, and I was able to set up using a park bench and keeping the 40m dipole rolled up and only using the 20m links to tie off to trees. Again, I used the 4m shrinkenpole, and decided to keep this one primarily a CW activation.

A helipad atop the mountain, with Georgina and Andrew in the background.  There's too many trees for a helicopter to properly land.  I set up on the bench next to Georgina.

A helipad atop the mountain, with Georgina and Andrew in the background. There’s too many trees for a helicopter to properly land. I set up on the bench next to Georgina.

I started on 15m, and worked Rick VK4RF and John ZL1BYZ, before a summit to summit with JJ1SWI/1 on JA/TK-012, to complete the JA association for Mountain Hunter. A QRZ later, and all hell broke loose.

This was my first real CW pileup – basically just a constant tone as everyone tried to call in at once. I tried very hard to bring in Tony VK3CAT for a S2S, but he never quite picked up out of the noise to give me my signal report. From then on, I worked a fairly steady stream of chasers, finishing on 15m with a S2S with JF1NDT on JA/YN-012. 20m yielded one contact with Take JS1UEH out portable, before we decided to pack up, roughly an hour since my first contact. The entire hour was filled with many South Korean hikers peering over the top of me, with Hwanii acting as my marketing arm.

Andrew and I then proceeded up and down the mountain to work each other for SOTA Completes, but this rapidly turned into an exercise in diagnosing what was wrong with Andrew’s antenna, although we completed the contacts easily enough once he used the dodgy one. After a rapid descent, we found beer and fried chicken (and burgers), before dropping Andrew and Georgina off at the train station for their trip back to their home.

Thanks to Andrew, Georgina and Hwanii for another great SOTA day. Next time we go further out!

Seoul from Guryongsan.

Seoul from Guryongsan.