Category Archives: Pirate Radio

John’s “illicit friend from the good old days”

At the 1-watt setting (13.8V, 470mA DC in) The labels are Photoshopped here for illustration, ie they’re not on the actual case (Source: AE5X)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John (AE5X), who recently shared a link to the following story on his excellent radio blog:

[…]It was the late 1990’s in Montclair NJ. A friend played guitar in a local band and wanted to get some air time for a few of their original songs. He knew his chances of getting his tunes played on a commercial FM station hovered somewhere between zero and none. And – this is key – he’d seen Pump Up The Volume and knew that I knew a “bit about radios”.

My friend – I’ll call him “Don” since that was (and still is) his name – wondered if there was some way he could be outfitted with a radio similar to that in Pump Up The Volume, and, if so, what would his range be. I told him that a lot depends on the antenna’s location.

Funny thing about Don: besides being in a rock & roll band, he was also a caretaker for a Montclair church. A church with a very tall belltower. A belltower that he had access to. Do you see where this is going? Furthermore, Don and his wife lived on church property as part of his caretaker responsibilities.[…]

Click here to read the full story at AE5X’s blog.

What a divine alignment, John! 🙂 Fantastic story and, I’m sure, one that resonates with many here in the SWLing Post community.  Perhaps readers will comment with details  about their own “illicit” friends and radio escapades!

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FCC hope to hire Pirate Radio hunters

Photo by Ben Koorengevel

(Source: Inside Radio)

Broadcasters would likely call it money well-spent, but it’s still cash coming from the federal government’s hands. The Federal Communications Commission estimates it will cost the agency at least $11 million to enforce the newly-adopted law that requires it to step up pirate radio enforcement. “Specifically, in order to combat the problem of illegal radio operations, the statute requires a sweeping process that will require new equipment and a substantial number of additional field agents to implement fully,” FCC Chair Ajit Pai told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee during a hearing on Tuesday. Pai said he hoped congressional budget writers would determine a “reasonable funding level” for the FCC that reflects that added cost, suggesting the agency’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year should be raised to $354 million.

Signed into law by President Trump last month, the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act, or “PIRATE” Act (S.1228) was unanimously approved by both the Senate and House. The new law raises fines on unlicensed station operators to $100,000 per day per violation, up to a maximum of $2 million. In addition to tougher fines on violators, the FCC would also be required to conduct sweeps in the five cities where pirate radio is the biggest problem—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas—at least once a year. And then, within six months, field agents would be mandated to return to those markets to conduct “monitoring sweeps” to determine whether the unlicensed operators simply powered back up or changed frequencies. The agency would also be required to issue a report to Congress on an annual basis about its pirate-fighting efforts.

Pai told the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee that the FCC is already gearing up for implementing the new law. “We are submitting a formal amendment to the Office of Management and Budget concerning costs associated with the full implementation of the PIRATE Act,” said Pai.[…]

Continue reading the full article at Inside Radio.

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PIRATE Act signed into law by President

Photo by David Everett Strickler on Unsplash

(Source: The White House)

On Friday, January 24, 2020, the President signed into law:

H.R. 583, the “Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act” or the “PIRATE Act,” which authorizes enhanced penalties for pirate radio broadcasters and requires the Federal Communications Commission to increase enforcement activities; and

H.R. 2476, the “Securing American Nonprofit Organizations Against Terrorism Act of 2019,” which authorizes within the Department of Homeland Security a Nonprofit Security Grant Program to make grants to eligible nonprofit organizations for target hardening and other security enhancements to protect against terrorist attacks.

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Radio Waves: iHeart Layoffs • Radio JK FM • 2nd Chance for Pirates • Invisible War


Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio 

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Here’s the first Radio Waves story collection. Enjoy!

‘The Culling Has Begun’: Inside the iHeartMedia Layoffs (Rolling Stone)

The largest radio company in America cut a number of employees this week, dealing a blow to local radio across the country

“The largest radio conglomerate in the country, iHeartMedia, initiated a round of mass layoffs this week, cutting enough people that one former on-air host described Tuesday as “one of the worst days in on-air radio history.” The layoffs were concentrated in small and medium markets, where staffs had already been reduced, striking another major blow to local radio.”

AER (Asociación Española de Radioescucha) Radio JK FM

SWLing Post contributor, Martin Butera, writes:

“Proclaimed in 2011 by UNESCO member states, and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as International Day, February 13 became World Radio Day (WRD). This 2020, on World Radio Day, UNESCO calls on all radio stations to defend diversity, both in their newsrooms and on radio waves. Martin Butera, visited an important FM of Brasilia DF, capital of Brazil and anticipates this year’s motto that will be: “Pluralism, representation and diversity.”

A report in Spanish that Martin invites you to read by clicking here.

Give radio pirates chance to go legit (The Boston Globe)

The massive fines levied last month against two unlicensed Boston stations that served the Haitian immigrant community went too far.

The Invisible War of the Cold War Airwaves (X-Ray Audio)

In the radio show below, an episode of our Bureau of Lost Culture series on Soho Radio, we meet with Russian journalist, broadcaster and writer Vladimir Raevsky to hear the fascinating story of the Soviet Radio Jammers. Vladimir tells of the extraordinary lengths people went to to listen to the music they loved and of the gigantic amount of money spent by both sides in this invisible war of the airwaves.

We also hear from BBC Russian Arts correspondent Alex Kan about the brave / foolhardy so-called Radio Hooligans – the technically savvy young Soviets who dared to risk punishment by setting up their own little pirate radio stations to broadcast themselves and the music they liked using bootlegged and adapted equipment.

And finally we hear the strange story of the signal emitted by The Duga a gigantic mysterious installation near the Chernobyl nuclear site.

 

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PIRATE Act passes Senate

(Source: Radio World via Marty)

“Opponents of illegal broadcasting scored a major and long-anticipated victory today: The Senate (finally) unanimously passed the PIRATE Act Wednesday.

Short for “Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement,” only one hurdle remains for S.R. 1228: President Trump’s desk.

The legislation also represents a coup for FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who has championed the anti-piracy enforcement actions recently.

In response to the act’s Senate passage, National Association of Broadcasters President/CEO Gordon Smith said, ‘This legislation provides stronger resources to help the FCC combat illegal pirate radio operations, which not only interfere with licensed radio stations but also public safety communications and air traffic control systems. We look forward to the President signing the PIRATE Act into law.’”[…]

Click here to read the full article at Radio World.

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Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map Fundraiser

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jack Jones, who shares the following:

Do you want to be part of pirate radio history? David Goren, creator of the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map, ( https://map.pirateradiomap.com/ ) is headed for an upgrade/expansion in 2020 with many exciting new features… To that end there’s a fundraiser afoot!

The Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map is the first phase of a multimedia documentary project which launched in 2017 with the help of funding from the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). An interactive online sound map containing archival recordings of the pirate stations is paired with a four part historical essay tracing the development of Brooklyn pirate radio through interviews, and sound recordings.

The map was initially funded by the Brooklyn Arts Council. David is seeking additional funding to continue his research, add new features to the map, and expand the map to the other pirate radio neighborhoods of Queens, the Bronx and suburban New Jersey.

Please support David via GoGetFunding.

Thanks so much for sharing this fund raiser for the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map, Jack!

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Thanksgiving: A great time for family, friends, food, and pirate radio!

Here in the States, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving today. It’s my favorite holiday because it’s all about giving thanks and spending time with friends. family, and eating some amazing food.

Another great thing about Thanksgiving is it also equates to a long extended weekend for many who have full-time careers. That includes, of course, shortwave radio pirates! Anytime there’s a holiday, pirates are more likely to hit the air.

Hang around the pirate radio watering holes (including 6,800 – 6,990 kHz) and you just might log a few new stations! Do you live outside North America? Try using a KiwiSDR in the US or Canada to hunt pirates. It’s believed that the majority of pirate radio stations are located in the Northeast, so you should choose a KiwiSDR location with that in mind. If you’re new to pirate radio listening, check out our tutorial.

Thank you…

Speaking of giving thanks, thank you dear readers for making the SWLing Post such a welcoming community to radio enthusiasts of all stripes. The SWLing Post is a true labor of love, and it’s an honor to serve it up to you!

I’d especially like to thank our Patrons, Producers, Executive Producers and Coffee Fund contributors. Your financial support helps keep this a dynamic radio space over the long haul!

You all make this a terrific place for everything radio!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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