Category Archives: Pirate Radio

The “Hidden Den” of Pirate Radio

NYC-NewYork-Brooklyn-Map

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Martin Kraft, who writes:

Where’s the hidden den of pirate radio? The Caribbean? The South China Sea? Nope, according to RadioWorld, it’s the New York City metro area:
http://www.radioworld.com/article/nybsa-76-pirates-stations-in-new-york-northern-nj/279213

NYSBA: 76 Pirate Stations in New York, Northern N.J.

A number of pirate stations are operating throughout New York City and Northern New Jersey, according to a recent engineering survey that was recently unveiled by the New York State Broadcasters Association.

According to the survey, 76 stations are currently operating without an FCC license in four primary locations. There are 19 unauthorized stations in the Bronx, N.Y.; 29 in Brooklyn, N.Y.; 13 in Newark, N.J.; and 15 in Paterson, N.J. Brooklyn saw a 58% increase in the number of pirate stations compared to a similar survey conducted in 2015.

The survey does observe that it has likely underestimated the number of pirate stations in the area, and that the total number could be more than 100.

“Like our previous studies, the new survey provides compelling evidence that the FCC needs to address this problem,” said David Donovan, president of the NYSBA. “Last summer, the entire New York Congressional delegation asked the FCC to fix the problem. While the FCC has published an Enforcement Advisory, it needs to devote the manpower and resources to increase its enforcement efforts. Moreover, Congressional action will be important to assist the FCC in these efforts.”

The potential harms associated with pirate stations include: interference to Broadcast Emergency Alert Services; interference to FAA frequencies; and failure to comply with RF radiation rules of licensed broadcast stations.

The survey was conducted by engineering firm Meintel, Sgrignoli and Wallace. The full study can be found here.

Thank you, Martin!

When I visit my buddy David Goren in Brooklyn, I’m simply amazed at the diversity of the pirate radio scene on the FM band. When David isn’t surfing the shortwaves, he’s logging local pirate radio stations. Check out his Facebook page: Flatbush Pirate Decoder. David most recently presented a program on the NYC pirate scene at the 11th HOPE conference–you can download a recording of the presentation here.

A Great Pirate QSL Card!

XFM927

Here’s a great example of a QSL report from Pirate Station X-FM Stereo Shortwave monitored Halloween 2015. Not only is it a beautiful card, Redhat (the Deejay) also included the playlist as a .txt attachment.

As I recall he also made live announcements of who had left reception reports/comments on the HF Underground forum as well as for those who sent him emails directly.

I sent a short recording as part of my reception report, and it was an added bonus to see that mentioned in his QSL card.

I am quite impressed with all the effort made to turn out a quality QSL card, but a Pirate transmitting in stereo obviously appreciates quality!!

Pirate Radio receptions are memorable events on their own, but the QSL cards really make them special! Happy Pirate hunting!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Reserve your copy of the 2015-2016 Pirate Radio Annual

2015-16_PRA_cover1

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Ally, who shares the following announcement from Andrew Yoder’s Hobby Broadcasting blog:

The 2015-16 Pirate Radio Annual is now nearly finished and I’m taking advance orders for copies of the book. I’ve had the CD ready for a while now (although I need to start burning copies). I started laying out the PRA about a month ago, then realized last week that my column margins were too narrow, so I re-set it. Just finished the cover tonight and the files are going to the printer tomorrow. From there, the finished books should be ready in 4-6 weeks.

In case you are wondering what the Pirate Radio Annual is, it’s a paperback book with an 5.5″ x 8.5″ trim size. This is the 6th edition. Each are divided into two parts: the first is pirate radio “articles” and the second part of the book is a listing of entries on North American shortwave pirate stations that were reported in the past year (and also European pirates that were reported in a large portion of North America). The book contains images from dozens of stations + contact information, URLs of websites, etc. Because this year’s edition is running long, I cut back on the “articles” in this year’s edition . . . WGM: World’s Greatest Mistake and the updates for next two Global HF Pirate weekends.
This year’s edition is 230 pages (34 pages longer than the last edition) and contains an audio CD-R with sample tracks of audio from pirates from the past year. 92 different stations (up 20 from last year) are represented on the CD….although the recording is on a CD-R, it is an audio CD that can be played in standard CD players, computers, etc. BTW, after creating hundreds of these CDs, I heard from one reader that the CD wouldn’t fit properly in his slot-loading Mac computer. If you want to use it in one of these computers or device with a narrow slot, let me know and I can send your CD without a label.

If you want an advance copy, the price until August 7 is $16 + $3 shipping ($19) to the United States. I’m not yet sure if the extra 34 pages will affect the shipping cost to the rest of the world. I should probably wait until the copies arrive so that I can check the shipping cost/weight to Europe/Australia/Canada/etc., rather than guessing and posting an amount that’s totally inaccurate, so I appreciate your patience while I get it figured out.
Also, I found a less-expensive printer for this edition. When I was offering advance copies at the Winterfest, I thought it’d be more expensive than it wound up being. So, if you advance ordered at the Winterfest, I’ll be returning $1 with your copy.

You can either send a check or money order in US funds to:

Cabinet Communications
PO Box 109
Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214

or you can send the $ via PayPal to info /at/ hobbybroadcasting.com

I buy each issue of the Pirate Radio Annual, so I’ll order my copy ASAP. Thanks again for the tip, Tom!

What is the Pirate Radio Annual? Check out on of my reviews.

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: