Tag Archives: Radio Caroline

Radio Waves: Narco-Antennas, Pirate Radio Beginnings, Arqiva Restructure and Redundancies, and the Ghostly Buzzer

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’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Skip Arey,  David Goren, Paul Evans, Kanwar Sandhu and Dave Porter for the following tips:


Special Report: Drug cartel ‘narco-antennas’ make life dangerous for Mexico’s cell tower repairmen (Reuters)

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The young technician shut off the electricity at a cellular tower in rural Mexico to begin some routine maintenance.

Within 10 minutes, he had company: three armed men dressed in fatigues emblazoned with the logo of a major drug cartel.

The traffickers had a particular interest in that tower, owned by Boston-based American Tower Corp (AMT.N), which rents space to carriers on its thousands of cellular sites in Mexico. The cartel had installed its own antennas on the structure to support their two-way radios, but the contractor had unwittingly blacked out the shadowy network.

The visitors let him off with a warning.

“I was so nervous… Seeing them armed in front of you, you don’t know how to react,” the worker told Reuters, recalling the 2018 encounter. “Little by little, you learn how to coexist with them, how to address them, how to make them see that you don’t represent a threat.”

The contractor had disrupted a small link in a vast criminal network that spans much of Mexico. In addition to high-end encrypted cell phones and popular messaging apps, traffickers still rely heavily on two-way radios like the ones police and firefighters use to coordinate their teams on the ground, six law enforcement experts on both sides of the border told Reuters.[]

How Pirate Radio Rocked the 1960s Airwaves and Still Exists Today (HowStuffWorks)

If you’ve been binge-watching movies lately, you may have come across “Pirate Radio.” Director Richard Curtis’ 2009 comedy-drama stars the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Count, a disc jockey for an unlicensed rock radio station that broadcast from a rusty, decrepit ship off the British coast in the mid-1960s, defying government authorities to spin the rock records that weren’t allowed on the BBC at the time. The plot is based loosely on the saga of an actual former pirate station, Radio Caroline, that was founded by an offbeat Irish entrepreneur named Ronan O’Rahilly, the inspiration for the character portrayed by Bill Nighy.

“Pirate Radio” is a period piece, set in a time when the Rolling Stones’ “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and the Who’s “My Generation” were still scandalous and controversial rather than nostalgic anthems for today’s aging baby boomers. So you couldn’t be blamed for assuming that it depicts a long-vanished phenomenon, like Nehru jackets with iridescent scarves and psychedelic-patterned paper mini dresses.

To the contrary, though, more than a half-century later, pirate radio is still a thing. In fact, it’s possibly more widespread than it was in the 1960s, even in an age when streaming internet services such as Spotify and Pandora put the equivalent of a jukebox in the pocket of everyone with a smartphone. And as a bonus, Radio Caroline still exists — though, ironically, it’s gone legal.[]

Arqiva confirms restructure and redundancies (IBC.org)

[Note: Arqiva is the UK domestic broadcast transmission provider.]

Arqiva is working on a restructure of its business that could result in a third of its staff being made redundant.

According to a report in the Telegraph, the media infrastructure business is preparing to cut around 500 staff, which is approximately a third of its workforce.

An Arqiva spokesperson confirmed to IBC365 that some job losses will occur.

They said: “The sale of our telecoms business makes Arqiva a smaller organisation, changes our revenue profile and reduces our available profit pool.

”We are therefore conducting a review of the costs and systems we need to run our business over the next three years.

”Regrettably, we will need to reduce the size of our workforce, but it’s much too early to speculate about numbers.”

The Telegraph report cites the shift to streaming and a drop in income for broadcasters as reasons for the potential cuts.[]

The ghostly radio station that no one claims to run (BBC Future)

In the middle of a Russian swampland, not far from the city of St Petersburg, is a rectangular iron gate. Beyond its rusted bars is a collection of radio towers, abandoned buildings and power lines bordered by a dry-stone wall. This sinister location is the focus of a mystery which stretches back to the height of the Cold War.

It is thought to be the headquarters of a radio station, “MDZhB”, that no-one has ever claimed to run. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the last three-and-a-half decades, it’s been broadcasting a dull, monotonous tone. Every few seconds it’s joined by a second sound, like some ghostly ship sounding its foghorn. Then the drone continues.

Once or twice a week, a man or woman will read out some words in Russian, such as “dinghy” or “farming specialist”. And that’s it. Anyone, anywhere in the world can listen in, simply by tuning a radio to the frequency 4625 kHz.

It’s so enigmatic, it’s as if it was designed with conspiracy theorists in mind. Today the station has an online following numbering in the tens of thousands, who know it affectionately as “the Buzzer”. It joins two similar mystery stations, “the Pip” and the “Squeaky Wheel”. As their fans readily admit themselves, they have absolutely no idea what they are listening to.[…]


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Radio Caroline’s Founder, Ronan O’Rahilly, dies aged 79

Photo of Ronan O’Rahilly 16 August 1967 by Eric Koch / Anefo

(Source: BBC News)

The founder of Radio Caroline – the first pirate radio station off the UK – Ronan O’Rahilly has died aged 79.

His death was announced by the current Radio Caroline, which still exists off the Essex coast.

The station was founded in 1964 to compete with the BBC and launched the careers of many well-known DJs, achieving enormous popularity.

Mr O’Rahilly, who lived in Ireland, had been diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2013.

Radio Caroline was the first of several pirate radio stations that challenged BBC radio’s dominance in the 1960s.

The station played pop music all day, while the BBC only played pop for an hour a week.

[…]After the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act was passed in 1967, Radio Caroline continued to broadcast from ships until 1991, when the Ross Revenge was shipwrecked off the Kent coast

The station, which started broadcasting again on medium wave in 2017, helped pave the way for modern commercial radio.[…]

Click here to read the full story at the BBC.

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Radio Caroline North broadcast December 14th – 15th

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Join us on the River Blackwater for the final Radio Caroline North broadcast of 2019 over the weekend 14th – 15th December

This month’s sponsor is Rush Jets and our on-air competition is sponsored by Rush Jets and sister company Inflight Goods, who are kindly providing three gents Rotary watches as prizes.

We’re LIVE from our historic radio-ship Ross Revenge on the River Blackwater, Essex. Listen in on 648 AM in the South and South-East, on 1368 AM in the North and North-West courtesy of our friends at Manx Radio, around the world online here, on various apps and radio players, and on your smart speakers – “Hey Alexa (or Siri), play Radio Caroline!”

We would love to hear from you – send your emails direct to the  Ross studios at memories@radiocaroline.co.uk during the broadcast.

http://radiocaroline.co.uk/#home.html

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Special event stations celebrating anniversaries of famous European pirate stations

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Harald Kuhl (DL1AX), who writes:

At the beginning of August there will be two special event amateur radio stations active on shortwave, celebrating anniversaries of famous European pirate stations Radio North Sea International and Radio Caroline:

Radio Northsea International PA45RNI

from 01-08-2019 to 31-08-2019

http://www.radio-northsea.org

email: pa45rni@radio-northsea.org

[source: https://www.qrz.com/db/pa45rni]

and

GB55RC will be active from the Ross Revenge:

Celebrating fifty five years of Radio Caroline

Thursday 1st – Monday 5th August 2019

2019 is the fifty fifth anniversary of Radio Caroline and the Martello Tower Group are pleased to be able to activate the world famous MV Ross Revenge again in August. This year we have been granted the ‘special’ special callsign of GB55RC. […]

[source: https://www.qrz.com/db/gb55rc]

Special QSLs will be available.

[The QSLs above are] from previous GB5RC activities.

Thank you for the tip, Harald! I’d love to grab one of those QSLs!

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This weekend: Radio Caroline North broadcast from the Ross Revenge

(Source: Southgate ARC via Eric McFadden)

Caroline North June

We are counting down the days to another fabulous Radio Caroline North broadcast – LIVE from our historic radio-ship  Ross Revenge this weekend.

Welcome back Chris Pearson after a two-year absence, now joining us as both a Caroline presenter and MD of Manx Radio!

Tune in on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd June as our on-board presenters bring you some of the best music from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Our sponsor for the June broadcast is Dave, Brian and Roger from Plastic Building Supplies Thetford – and you can win prizes in our web shop competition sponsored by Pete Gadd.

Listen in on 648 AM in the South and South-East, on 1368 AM via Manx Radio in the North and North-West, online here, on your mobile, on smart speakers … so many ways to listen!

We would love to hear from you – please send your emails direct to the  Ross studios at  memories@radiocaroline.co.uk during the broadcast.

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Radio Caroline North via Ross Revenge for Easter fundraiser

(Source: Southgate ARC via Eric McFadden)

Join us this Easter, our 55th Birthday, for our Annual Fundraiser.

We will be broadcasting Radio Caroline North live from our radio ship, Ross Revenge, anchored in the estuary of the River Blackwater, from 9:00 am on Easter Friday until 2:00 pm on Easter Monday (all UK times).

You will be able to hear us on 1368 AM (courtesy of Manx Radio) in the north west of the UK (and parts of Ireland) and on our own 648 AM frequency in the south east, and also round the world online at www.radiocaroline.co.uk and on our mobile app.

In addition, you will be able to hear our regular Radio Caroline album format and Radio Caroline Flashback programmes on their normal channels, when they are not carrying the Radio Caroline North programmes.

It’s been quite a year, with our 648 AM and London DAB transmissions both building a substantial new audience for Radio Caroline.

However, with each expansion, our annual running costs increase substantially. And there’s lots more we would like to do.

This year, we have created a stylish Radio Caroline Bell teeshirt, based on a design that  was originally used for the Radio Caroline Roadshows.

Starting on Easter Friday, and ending at midnight UK time on Easter Monday, if you are able to make a one off donation of 25 Pounds or more, or join the Radio Caroline Support Group (for a minimum monthly donation of 7.50 Pounds, cancellable at any time), we will send you your Retro Radio Caroline Bell teeshirt.

And remember, donations of any amount will always be gratefully received.

The donation button will go live on our website early on Easter Friday.

After deducting the cost of the teeshirt, we are planning to use approximately one half of your donations to maintain and expand our broadcast operations, and the other half for the maintenance and upkeep of Ross Revenge.

Happy Easter!

Radio Caroline

www.radiocaroline.co.uk
www.facebook.com/radiocarolineofficial
twitter.com/theradcaroline

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Randy Bachman features Radio Caroline music on the CBC

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bruce Atchison, who writes:

Randy Bachman featured the music played on Radio Caroline in two shows
broadcast on CBC during the spring of this year. Check out both on
www.randybachman.com and scroll down until you find the pirate radio
shows.

Both programs of Randy’s Vinyl Tap brought back so many good
memories.

Thanks for the tip, Bruce!

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