Pirate Radio Recordings: Channel Z (chasing pirates in a pickup truck)

QSL247On the afternoon of November 29th, while traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday,  I took my wife to an art supply store who was having a “Black Friday” sale. While she was inside shopping,  I sat in my truck and remembered that I had my Tecsun PL-660 in tow (after all, never leave home without a radio, right?). I slightly opened the driver’s side window, turned on the PL-660 and extended the telescopic antenna out the window. I instantly I heard a station playing music on 6,925 kHz. What? I couldn’t be hearing a pirate this time of the afternoon, with a portable radio in a crowded parking lot!?!

Then I heard the station ID of Channel Z.

I quickly used my iPhone to log into my home computer (in a different part of the state) and tune my WinRadio Excalibur to record the broadcast. I could clearly see Channel Z’s AM carrier on the spectrum display.

After hearing the station email address, I sent in my signal report using my iPhone. Later, I received an eQSL (see above) and the following about the broadcast and Channel Z:

“You heard the special program, “Before They Were Famous – Part 3” from guest DJ Andy Walker.  I was very lucky to have Andy do this show for Channel Z Radio, as he has been in semi-retirement the past three years, with only occasional guest appearances on Crazy Wave Radio in Germany, and now for the third time on Channel Z radio.  Since Andy’s shows have received such a huge response from the DX community, there is a good chance he will do another show on Channel Z sometime soon.

(Source: DXArchive.com)

(Source: DXArchive.com)

Andy has been involved in free radio for over 37 years, and got his start at the age of 15 as part of the site crew with Radio Kaleidoscope in London. He was instrumental in bringing long-time land based pirate Radio Free London (RFL) back to the air waves in the mid 1990’s, and was a regular DJ on WNKR (West and North Kent Radio) for over 20 years.  In addition, he was part of the crew on Britain’s first legally licensed offshore station, Offshore Radio 1584 in 1992.

Channel Z has been on the air since November 2004, and started because of my interest in building homemade shortwave transmitters.  To date, Channel Z has been heard in 30 states, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Newfoundland, Norway, Poland and Venezuela; all on homebrewed transmitters.  This time I was using my favorite transmitter, the Commando, designed by Dave Martin of WNKR.  The Commando does 25 watts carrier on 43 meters with a 14 VDC supply.  The antenna was a horizontal dipole, cut for 6925 kHz, and was approximately 15 meters above ground.

Many thanks to Channel Z for the feedback. I’m amazed that I was able to hear the 25 watt Commando with my PL-660 in the middle of a crowded parking lot. Of course, that’s part of the magic of the shortwaves (and pirate radio listening).

For your listening pleasure, here is 50 minutes of Channel Z, staring around 21:40 UTC on 29 November 2013. This broadcast was recorded via my home SDR. Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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