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.

Make time for some holiday listening

Santa-Christmas-Radio

Remember that there are some unique broadcasts to tune to today and throughout the holidays. Here are a couple of note:

Of course, many of your favorite international broadcasters will also have holiday specials throughout the week.

If you like pirate radio listening, you’re in for a treat as well. Typically, there are numerous shortwave pirates on the air during the holidays–especially on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

What? You’ve never tuned in a pirate station before? There’s no better time than now to log that first pirate! Click here to learn how.

Did anyone hear the Grimeton VLF broadcast earlier today? Though it’s nearly an impossible catch for me State side, I still tried. Sadly, a long line of (unseasonal) thunderstorms moved into the region and I was forced to unplug my large external loop antenna in the wee hours of the morning.  I hope they had a successful broadcast.

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While we’re talking about radio and the holidays, I thought I’d also share this photo (above) that SWLing Post contributor, Mario Filippi sent in last week.

He and his wife made this cake for the annual office Christmas party. Mario comments:

“Since I am the ‘go to’ radio guy at work, we decorated the cake with various radio icons and slogans with the hope of putting smiles on everyone’s face.”

No doubt, your cake was a success!

Good cheer!

The SWLing Post has an international set of readers. While not everyone celebrates Christmas like my family, there seem to be many celebrations and festivals that happen this time of the year.

However you celebrate, here’s wishing you and yours the best of the season! 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

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

List of seasonal shortwave radio pirates

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Many thanks to SWLing Post reader Chris Smolinski who shares a link to this listing of  “seasonal” shortwave pirates–pirates that are usually only heard one or two days out of the year: http://www.radiohobbyist.org/blog/?p=1725

I love logging seasonal pirates–at least, when I remember to tune in! For example, Radio Paisano [see QSL above] only airs around Columbus Day.

Ofcom: Tackling pirate radio

London

This Ofcom press release focuses on the FM pirate radio scene in London–if interested, you might also check out this short documentary on London pirates.

(Source: Ofcom via Southgate ARC)

A new approach to tackling pirate radio has eradicated the problem in one London borough, and could save up to £1 million for Londoners by being rolled out across the capital.

Pirate radio harms local communities and the critical communications used by the emergency services. Ofcom, which manages radio frequencies, is hosting a summit on 3 November to explore the new approach to tackling the problem.

Pirate stations typically use high-rise buildings for their broadcasts, with illegal transmitters installed on rooftops or hidden in lift shafts. This damages residential properties owned by local authorities, disrupting residents’ lives and putting people at risk from falling equipment.

Ofcom has been working in north London, one of the UK’s most affected areas, with public housing body Homes for Haringey. In 2014, 19 pirate radio stations were illegally broadcasting in Haringey. By quickly removing their transmitters and regularly patrolling and securing rooftops, pirate radio has now been eradicated in the borough.

As a result, Homes for Haringey has saved £90,000 in enforcement and maintenance costs over the past year.

On 3 November, Ofcom is meeting with local authorities from across London to share the success of the Homes for Haringey partnership. If this collaborative and proactive approach is rolled out across the capital, local authorities stand to save an estimated total of £1 million per year.

Illegal broadcasting

Clive Corrie, Head of Ofcom’s Spectrum Enforcement team, said: “Illegal broadcasting harms local communities and risks lives by interfering with vital communications used by the emergency services and air traffic control.

“By working in partnership with local authorities, Ofcom is tackling this problem. We also strongly urge those broadcasting illegally to get involved with internet or community radio, a legitimate route on to the airwaves.”

Astrid Kjellberg-Obst, Executive Director of Operations at Homes for Haringey, said: “Pirate radio stations damage people’s homes and can be extremely distressing to our residents.

“We’ve seen huge success in tackling the problem with the measures that we’ve introduced, removing all pirate radio stations from Haringey and saving the borough tens of thousands of pounds in the process. We will continue to work with Ofcom to keep Haringey pirate-free.”

Harmful interference to emergency services

Pirate radio causes interference to critical radio services, including those used by the emergency services and air traffic control.

In 2014, the UK’s air traffic control service NATS has reported 55 cases of communications interference from pirate radio.

Ofcom also receives reports each week from the emergency services and other, legitimate radio services of illegal interference.

Ofcom has powers to seize illegal broadcasting equipment and prosecute those involved.

Accessible, legal alternatives to get on to the airwaves

For anyone wanting to broadcast a radio station, Ofcom offers accessible, legal alternatives to get on to the airwaves. Since 2005, Ofcom has issued community radio licenses, enabling small stations across the UK to get on-air right and serve their local communities. More than 200 community radio services are now broadcasting.

Ofcom is also supporting a new, innovative way for smaller stations to broadcast on digital radio. If tests are successful the system, called ‘small scale DAB’, promises to open up digital radio to smaller broadcasters for a fraction of current costs.

Halloween 2015: Chris charts pirate radio activity

SX-99-Dial-Nar

Many thanks to Chris Smolinski, from the HF Underground, who has crunched some numbers from North American pirate radio loggings on Halloween. The number of pirates (and his charts with times and frequencies) are most impressive and informative.

Chris posted the following on the HF Underground and has kindly allowed me to share them here as well. Chris notes:

Here are two charts showing who-was-on-when-and-where this Halloween.

The first one is for Friday night:

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

And the second is Halloween (Saturday) night:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Tune in: Halloween weekend is a pirate radio playground!

Haloween-Pirate-Radio

Halloween is typically the most active day of the year for shortwave pirates…so, here are three things you’ll want to do this Halloween:

  1. Listen for pirate radio stations this weekend!  Turn on your radio anytime this weekend, but especially around twilight and tune between 6,800 – 6,990 kHz. Pirates broadcast on both AM and SSB; you’re bound to hear a few. For a comprehensive primer on pirate radio listening, check out this post.
  2. Note what pirate stations are being logged–in real time–on the HF Underground pirate radio forum. This is a very active community of pirate radio listeners; I often check the latest loggings to discover frequencies where stations have surfaced. Click here to view the HF Underground pirate radio forum. Posting to the forum requires registration and approval by the moderator (so do this in advance!).
  3. Check out Andrew Yoder’s pirate radio blog with its deceptively simple title, the Hobby Broadcasting blog. Andrew is the author of the Pirate Radio Annual and a guru on shortwave pirate radio. He’s already logged a few mid-week, pre-Halloween pirates. Bookmark his site while you’re at it!

Happy Halloween to all!