From the Post Archives: A Pirate Radio Pearl Harbor Tribute

Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island. View looks about east, with the supply depot, submarine base and fuel tank farm in the right center distance. (Source Wikipedia)

President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy”–the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by air. Today (December 7, 2020) is the 79th anniversary.

This morning, I was once again reminded of an off-air recording I made in 2013 of the pirate radio station, Radio Free Whatever. Please enjoy this bit of history from the Post archive:


USS Shaw exploding in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941

For your listening pleasure: one hour, seven minutes of the pirate radio station, Radio Free Whatever.

I recorded this broadcast on December 15 2013, starting around 2:40 UTC, on 6,925 kHz AM. This broadcast was a tribute to WWII and Pearl Harbor and contains news clips and music from the same time period. I believe my recording begins about five or so minutes into their broadcast.

Simply click here to download an MP3 of the recording, or listen via the embedded player below:

More Info

If you’re a WWII history buff like I am, you might also appreciate this live news report audio from the Smithsonian channel:

I should add that if you’re interested in military history and, especially, the events leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack, I highly recommend the film, Tora! Tora! Tora! It’s one of my favorite military history films and is simply timeless.

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6 thoughts on “From the Post Archives: A Pirate Radio Pearl Harbor Tribute

  1. mike Bennett

    ..apparently, Franklin Roosevelt forced the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor, as he cut off Japanese trade and oil supplies from Manchuria! FDR switched his son in law, along with newer battleships (from Pearl Harbor) to San Diego, 2 weeks before the bombing of the Harbor This was an excuse for this diseased animal to instigate a “back door” war against his real hated target, Germany!
    Admiral Husband Kimmel said that the Americans broke the Japanese code, before the bombing and FDR told him NOT to take action, as he knew that this attack was coming! “…we will keep our boys out of foreign wahs”, said Roosevelt! He was the real criminal in this entanglement!

    1. rtc

      Thanks for remembering this event today…no one else seems to care,the cable
      channels are devoid of any movies about it.
      Probably the best movie is 1970’s Tora Tora Tora.Critics said it was dull but if you
      read the two books it’s based on everything shown really happened the way it
      Did they know in advance?
      Some authors like John Toland (Infamy,But Not in Shame,The Rising Sun) think so
      but others do not.
      What Tora Tora Tora shows repeatedly is a bunch of guys looking to not make any
      mistakes,hence the constant need to verify everything.Years of peacetime caused
      When General Marshal decides to warn the Phillipines,Guam and Hawaii the Army
      can’t get thru because of lousy HF conditions at the bottom of the sunspot cycle.
      They could have let the Navy’s LW network send it but Army-Navy completion
      came into play.
      Or they could have let the Navy use the old McKay cable that ran to Hawaii, Midway,Wake,
      Guam and the Philippines from the West Coast.
      So it went as a standard RCA telegram and arrives after the attack.
      The radar set shown (SCR-584?) was the exact one used,operating on 110 mhz.
      Interesting to note that six months after everything went wrong,everything went
      right at Midway.
      And Admiral Nimitz’ staff were the same ones who were at Pearl that morning.

    2. NT

      Supposedly, the War Dept tried to send a radio warning to Kimmel that wasn’t received because of poor atmospheric conditions. They followed up with a telegram, but the messenger didn’t get through until after the attack. Also, it’s been reported that the U.S. had only cracked some of the Japanese codes at that point. And most historians don’t agree with the theory that Roosevelt knew in advance. But the story is complicated and I’m not an expert, just a history buff. Here’s some more information in case people are interested.

      1. rtc

        Investigations were postponed until the war was over.
        But in 1946 Kimmel defended himself and General Short and thanks to
        his son Admiral Kimmel both were cleared in the 80’s IIRC.
        In Tora Tora Tora General Short was played by Jason Robards Jr.
        He arrives at the airport and is taken to the movie set where the
        battleship mockups were.
        Just as Robards gets out of the taxi the attack scene begins…he
        looks up and sees a Japanese Zero zoom over…Robards yells
        “My God! They’re back!’ and dives under the taxi.
        You see Radioman 2nd class Robards was there that day
        on one of the ships and actually copied the cw massage
        “air raid Pearl Harbor this is no drill”.
        He had what must be the Ultimate flashback.

    3. Ron F

      Winding ~10 turns of coax onto a type 43 ferrite toroid makes a choke that’ll reduce the amount of RF in your shack… 😉


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