Category Archives: Pirate Radio

Chris’ summary of Halloween pirate radio activity

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I had hoped this Halloween weekend would bring out a lot of shortwave pirates and it surely did! At one point Monday evening, I noted no less than five pirate radio stations broadcasting simultaneously between 6910 – 7000 kHz. You can see the four SSB and one AM signal in the spectrum display above.

Chris Smolinski, once again, has posted a Summary of Halloween 2016 Shortwave Pirate Radio Activity in North America where he lists all of the pirates logged on the HF Underground for the full weekend. Check out the post on RadioHobbyist.org.

I was busy with family activities much of the weekend, but fortunately captured a lot of pirate spectrum to review and listen to later!

Listen for Halloween pirate radio tonight!

Haloween-Pirate-RadioHalloween is typically the most active day of the year for shortwave pirates…so, here are two things you’ll want to do this Halloween (tonight):

1. Hobby Broadcasting Blog

Check out Andrew Yoder’s pirate radio blog ,the Hobby Broadcasting blog.

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Andrew is the author of the Pirate Radio Annual and a guru on shortwave pirate radio. Andrew has already logged some Halloween stations, as Halloween began last night in Universal Time.

2. HF Underground

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Follow real-time pirate radio spots and loggings on the HF Underground discussion forum.

3. Listen!

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Listen for pirate radio stations today and throughout the weekend!  Turn on your radio anytime today, but especially around twilight and tune between 6,920 – 6,980 kHz. Pirates broadcast on both AM and SSB; you’re bound to hear a few. If you’re brand new to pirate radio listening, you might read my pirate radio primer by clicking here. I will be listening until late in the evening.

Happy Halloween to all! 

Speaking of pirates, don’t forget: the Global HF Pirate Radio Weekend is this weekend!

Global HF Pirate Weekend and the 2015-2016 Pirate Radio Annual

Hammarlund-HQ-120X-DialLightMany thanks to Andy Yoder, author of the Pirate Radio Annual, who writes:

I thought maybe you’d be interested in info about the upcoming Global HF weekend. This event was run a few years ago, with the concept of friendship and cooperation among stations and listeners from around the world. Successful tests would give the stations new listeners in different parts of the world and listeners the chance to hear new stations.

November 5-6, 2016

General frequency ranges:
15010-15100 kHz
21455-21550 kHz

Basic schedule:
European morning, 0800-1200 UTC from Europe to Asia/Japan/Oceania.
European afternoon, 1200-1600 UTC from Europe to North American and vice versa.
European night, 2200-2400 UTC from North America to Asia/Oceania.

Of course, these are general frequency ranges where pirates have broadcast during prior Global HF Pirate weekends. Some stations will surely operate on frequencies and times outside of these ranges. These will be updated on HF Underground and on the Hobby Broadcasting blog (http://hobbybroadcasting.blogspot.com/) as schedules are received from stations.

Thank you, Andy! I’ll certainly set aside radio time on the weekend of November 5-6 for pirate radio listening! If conditions are favorable, this could be an excellent time to log some Euro as well as domestic pirates!

Speaking of pirate radio and Andrew Yoder…

2015-16 Pirate Radio Annual

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Pirate radio is perhaps one of the most dynamic aspects of the diverse landscape of SWLing. In direct contrast with major broadcasters, many of whom are now thinning out their offerings, pirate radio just seems to adapt and grow.

I’ve had Andy’s latest Pirate Radio Annual (PRA) since my return from Canada in August. I read through much of the volume the first night I received it. I especially love exploring the extensive pirate station profiles.

In short: If you’re a fan of pirate radio, the Pirate Radio Annual is a must.

Not only is this book, which explores the pirate radio scene, well written and insightful, it is chock-full of information. It’s a bit like the programming section of the former Passport to Worldband Radio, only focused on pirates. The book also comes with an accompanying audio samples CD.  Andy Yoder, the author, has been covering the pirate scene for decades; he’s also the former publisher of hobbyist magazine Hobby Broadcasting and actively blogs about pirate radio on the Hobby Broadcasting Blog.

The 2015-16 Pirate Radio Annual is divided into several sections:

  • An intro to the guide which introduces the WGM feature
  • WGM: World’s Greatest Mistake
  • Pirate station classification
  • Global HF Pirate weekends
  • Profiles of pirate radio stations heard in 2014 and 2015, with an additional section on international pirates heard in North America
  • An index for the included audio CD

At $16.95, it’s also very affordable. You can order the 2015-16 Pirate Radio Annual from Universal Radio.

Thanks, Andy, for putting together such a quality publication!

China’s campaign to eliminate pirate radio

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ken Hansen (N2VIP), who shares a link to the following news item on BGR India:

China to crackdown on unauthorised radio broadcasts

Reportedly, in a national campaign aided by more than 30,000 airwave monitors, in over past six months, more than 500 sets of equipment for making unauthorised radio broadcasts were seized in China.[…]

“The broadcast power of pirate radio stations can be 2,500 to 5,000 watts, which is several hundred of times that of commercial radio, and the signal can be received 300 km away,” the China Daily reported citing the department as saying. Pirate radios may also pose a threat to communication between aircraft pilots and ground controllers as their frequency band neighbours that of flight navigation signals and can create interference, the department said.
Under Chinese law, the unauthorised use of radio frequency bands can attract up to seven years in prison.

Click here to read the full story…

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.