World’s first pirate broadcast on Easter 1916 to be celebrated

Antique-Radio-Audion(Source: Silicon Republic via Andrea Borgnino)

At an event in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) tonight (25 April), the centenary of the broadcasting of the Proclamation of an Irish Republic via shortwave radio in 1916 – considered by many to be the first pirate radio broadcast – will be marked.

While the men and women who took part in Easter 1916 were camped out in the GPO and other locations around Dublin, one group involved with the rebellion, led by Joseph Mary Plunkett, wanted to use the latest technology to spread the message of Irish revolt.

Having commandeered the Irish School of Wireless Telegraphy at the corner of O’Connell Street and Abbey Street – where the Grand Central Bar now sits – the group set up a ship’s wireless systems to broadcast a shortwave radio transmission, with the hope that a passing ship near the country would pick it up and report back to the US.

With Plunkett at the controls, the radio enthusiast issued a burst of Morse code that read: “Irish Republic declared in Dublin today. Irish troops have captured city and are in full possession. Enemy cannot move in city. The whole country rising.”

With some reports suggesting the broadcast was picked up as far away as Germany and Bulgaria, it is widely considered one of the first pirate radio broadcasts as, until then, point-to-point transmissions was the most common form of sending messages wirelessly.[…]

Continue reading the full article at Silicon Republic online…

Pirate Radio Recordings: Radio Casablanca

Poster - Casablanca_13

Last night at about 00:10 UTC, I was pleased to hear the interval signal of one of my favorite pirate radio stations: Radio Casablanca.

“Rick Blaine” fired up his AM transmitter and pumped out some amazing WWII era music on 6,940 kHz for about one hour and a half. Radio Casablanca only pops up a few times a year, so I always feel fortunate to grab the broadcast (click here to listen to previous recordings).

Signal strength varied over the course of the broadcast and the bands were quite noisy–still, the Casablanca signal punched through quite well at times.

Close your eyes and imagine what it must have been like to hear the great bands of the era over the shortwaves…

Click here to download an MP3 of the full recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below. Note that the interval signal starts around 01:25:

FCC Commissioner outlines 2016 anti-pirate agenda

fcc-logoMany thanks to an anonymous SWLing Post contributor who writes:

The FCC released this material [yesterday]. It consists mainly of letters to various organizations to ask their members to avoid cooperating with unlicensed radio stations.

The concern is that real estate owners may be harboring unauthorized stations, and that businesses may support such stations with advertising funds.

I would point you to an interesting opinion on the subject by Prof. John Anderson:

O’Rielly Outlines Anti-Pirate Agenda for 2016

John references this recent YouTube video clip of a Congressional hearing where FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is questioned on the FCC’s enforcement efforts:

Again, I am not the source of the following material–the FCC is:

STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER MICHAEL O’RIELLY ON PIRATE RADIO ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY.

STMT. News Media Contact: Robin Colwell at (202) 418-2300, email: Robin.Colwell@fcc.gov  OCMO https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-338021A1.docx
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-338021A1.pdf

Released:  03/01/2016.  FCC ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY: PERSONS OR BUSINESSES OPERATING “PIRATE” BROADCAST STATIONS ARE SUBJECT TO ENFORCEMENT ACTION. (DA No.  16-159)  This Enforcement Advisory discusses the rules that prohibit “pirate” radio, explains to the public at large what broadcast actions are illegal, why such activities may harm the public, and what do to in case someone suspects “pirate” broadcasts.  EB . News Media Contact: Will Wiquist at (202) 418-0509, email: Will.Wiquist@fcc.gov

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A1.docx
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A10.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A11.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A12.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A13.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A2.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A3.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A4.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A5.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A6.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A7.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A8.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A9.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A1.pdf

Note that the bulk of this report focuses on FM/AM radio pirates in local markets rather than shortwave pirates (though I’m sure, on occasion, shortwave pirates are on the FCC radar).

Radio Caroline: A video diary of the weekend aboard the MV Ross Revenge

Ross-Revenge-CarolineMany thanks to Mike Terry who shared the following note and video via Facebook:

The great old days when the signal was mellow and radio waves were not blocked by buildings and hills and propagated beyond the horizon especially at night, it all added to the excitement. We would never have heard many of the great records of the 60s and later without this station! So many international stars made their name on the offshore stations around our coast 50 years or so ago. UK radio was changed for ever.

[Note: This video may only be viewable via Facebook or the SWLing Post site.]

NPR: European Pirate Radio Network Broadcasts Alternative To Syria’s State Media

Pocket-FM-Diagram-Berlin-Syria-Syrnet

(Source: NPR)

A non-profit organization in Berlin has invented a small portable transmitter that can download satellite signals and rebroadcast them on FM for Syrians to listen to on their car or household radios.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because we posted something about the organization a few weeks ago.

2015 summary of shortwave pirate radio activity

pirateMany thanks to Chris Smolinski at HF Underground who has released his annual summary of shortwave pirate radio activity for 2015. The summary is built upon a computer script that parsed thread titles and timestamps of the messages from the HF Underground pirate radio board.

Message board activity based on the day of the week.

Message board activity based on the day of the week.

It’s a fascinating read and reinforces my belief that the HF pirate radio scene is certainly one of the most dynamic and active components of our shortwave radio listening hobby here in North America (and Europe). Thanks, Chris, for putting together this summary!

Click here to read the 2015 summary on HF Underground.

FCC: Remarks on the Growth of Pirate Radio

SX-99-Dial-NarMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bob, who writes:

Remarks on the Growth of Pirate Radio from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Communications and Technology Subcommittee, November 17, 2015:

“I know that this committee is concerned about pirate radio. During my tenure we have taken 280 enforcement actions against pirate radio, that’s in the last two years. Commissioner [Michael] O’Rielly has been a real leader in keeping us focused on this. We’re working with the NAB [National Association of Broadcasters] on a joint task force on pirate radio. But we need more tools.

“We’re playing whack-a-mole with pirate radio. Every time a pirate radio station pops up, we whack it. We need to have consequences for those who facilitate those stations popping up. The landlords who look the other way, because helping pirates is risk-free.

“Congress could make it illegal to aid or abet pirate radio operations. Denying them the opportunity to operate in this way would be a significant means of thwarting the continued growth of pirate radio.”

http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/oversight-federal-communications-commission-1