Tag Archives: Shortwave Pirates

Now available: The 2017-2018 Pirate Radio Annual

Listening to Channel Z in a parking lot with the Tecsun PL-660.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Thomas Ally, who notes that Andrew Yoder has released the 2017-2018 Pirate Radio Annual.

Here’s the announcement from the Hobby Broadcasting Blog:

2017-2018 Pirate Radio Annual is done and I’ve received the copies back from the printer already! This edition is 308 pages and contains an audio CD-R (playable on standard CD players) with clips from 87 different pirate stations from around the world, nearly all from 2016 and 2017. This edition contains 181 illustrations and entries for approximately 307 stations reported in North America in 2016 and 2017 (280 North American shortwave stations and 27 from Europe and South America).

It also contains some “articles” on the Common and Precious Beacon, Radio Pirana International from South America, and upcoming Global HF Pirate Weekends/propagation for reaching different parts of the world.

This edition will cost $20 ($16.50 + $3.50 shipping) in the U.S. I took the packed book to the post office for the international shipping cost and was shocked to discover that it will cost $24 to ship it anywhere in Europe (so, $38.00 = $16.50 + $21.50 to Europe) I’ll eat a couple dollars of the cost because the shipping is so high. It’s so expensive that it will soon pay for airfare to Europe just to deliver copies!

This price is good for the next month (up through 5/1/2019). I’m not sure if I’ll keep the price the same or raise it at that time.

Please send check or money order to:

Hobby Broadcasting
PO Box 109
Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214

or send the money via PayPal to info [at symbol] hobbybroadcasting.com.  If you trust that I won’t run off with the money to Sealand, please use the “Friends and Family” option so that PayPal won’t charge a fee.

4/2 update: One final note about ordering via PayPal: Could you please include your shipping address with the PayPal order? The PayPal messages haven’t included addresses and when I sign into PayPal and click on the “more information about this transaction,” the address still isn’t coming up. So, I’ve been e-mailing people for addresses, which could delay shipping.

Thanks for the tip, Tom!  I just ordered my copy!

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Halloween: Listen for shortwave pirates!

Halloween is typically the most active day of the year for shortwave pirates. Halloween falls on Wednesday, October 31st, and although this is the middle of the week, expect pirates to emerge like The Great Pumpkin!

Here are three things you’ll want to do Halloween night:

1. Hobby Broadcasting Blog

Check out Andrew Yoder’s pirate radio blog ,the Hobby Broadcasting blog.

Andrew is the author of the Pirate Radio Annual and a guru on shortwave pirate radio. Andrew has already logged some Halloween stations this weekend.

2. HF Underground

hfunderground

Follow real-time pirate radio spots and loggings on the HF Underground discussion forum. Chris Smolinski at HFU typically posts post-Halloween pirate stats on the SWLing Post as well–always a fascinating overview.

3. Listen!

Photo by Bill Patalon

Listen for pirate radio stations today and throughout the weekend!  Turn on your radio anytime today, but especially around twilight and tune between 6,920 – 6,980 kHz. Pirates broadcast on both AM and SSB; you’re bound to hear a few. If you’re brand new to pirate radio listening, you might read my pirate radio primer by clicking here. I will be listening until late in the evening.

Happy Halloween to all! 

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Catch some shortwave pirate radio action this Labor Day weekend!

Monday, September 3, is Labor Day throughout most of North America; shortwave pirates love to operate on long holiday weekends (though you can hear them most any weekend for that matter).

So, if you’ve never heard a live pirate station on shortwave radio, this is a great opportunity to catch your first pirate.

Don’t know how/where to hear shortwave pirates? Check out this primer!

Post Readers: Feel free to comment with you Labor Day weekend loggings!

Enjoy the SWLing Post? Consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund! Thank you!

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Reminder: Global HF Pirate Weekend – March 30, 31, and April 1, 2018

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrew Yoder, who shares details about the upcoming Global HF Pirate Weekend:

Next Global HF Weekend – March 30, 31, and April 1, 2018

The idea behind the Global HF Weekends are to promote friendship through radio around the world. The hope is that listeners will be able to hear different stations and for broadcasters to reach distant locations. Anyone may participate.

The last one, which occurred during the first weekend of November 2017, was very successful. A handful of North American stations were reported on Europe and vice versa. And South American stations were heard in the North. Other stations were active specifically for the weekend, but just for a local or regional audience.

We’ll see how many stations show up during the next GHFW. It seems unlikely that stations will be using 13 meters this time and much more likely that stations will be trying the 6900-kHz range and possibly 31 and 25 meters.

March 30, 31, & April 1, 2018
Maybe 15010-15090 kHz, probably 6200-6400 kHz and 6800-6990 kHz

Of course, these were general frequency ranges used by pirates during prior Global HF Pirate weekends. Some stations will surely operate on frequencies and times outside of these ranges. In fact, the way conditions have been lately, frequencies at or below 15 MHz seem like they will be more effective for intercontinental broadcasting. These will be updated on the Hobby Broadcasting (http://hobbybroadcasting.blogspot.com/) blog as it happens and also check the loggings on HF Underground (https://www.hfunderground.com/).

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Mark your calendar: Global HF Weekend – March 30, 31, and April 1, 2018

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrew Yoder, who shares details about the upcoming Global HF Pirate Weekend:

Next Global HF Weekend – March 30, 31, and April 1, 2018

It’s still a couple weeks away, so be sure to mark the next Global HF Pirate Weekend on your calendar.

The idea behind the Global HF Weekends are to promote friendship through radio around the world. The hope is that listeners will be able to hear different stations and for broadcasters to reach distant locations. Anyone may participate.

The last one, which occurred during the first weekend of November 2017, was very successful. A handful of North American stations were reported on Europe and vice versa. And South American stations were heard in the North. Other stations were active specifically for the weekend, but just for a local or regional audience.

We’ll see how many stations show up during the next GHFW. It seems unlikely that stations will be using 13 meters this time and much more likely that stations will be trying the 6900-kHz range and possibly 31 and 25 meters.

March 30, 31, & April 1, 2018
Maybe 15010-15090 kHz, probably 6200-6400 kHz and 6800-6990 kHz

Of course, these were general frequency ranges used by pirates during prior Global HF Pirate weekends. Some stations will surely operate on frequencies and times outside of these ranges. In fact, the way conditions have been lately, frequencies at or below 15 MHz seem like they will be more effective for intercontinental broadcasting. These will be updated on the Hobby Broadcasting (http://hobbybroadcasting.blogspot.com/) blog as it happens and also check the loggings on HF Underground (https://www.hfunderground.com/).

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Guest Post: Listening To Pirate Radio Stations from South America

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Chris Smolinski, who shares the following guest post. Note that this post has also been published on Chris’ excellent blog, Radiohobbyist.org:


 

Listening To Pirate Radio Stations from South America

by Chris Smolinski

Looking for a new DX challenge? In addition to shortwave pirate stations in the USA, and Europe (Europirates as we call them), there’s a relatively new group of pirate radio stations being heard in North America, those from South America.

It’s really only been the previous year that we’ve confirmed that there’s a significant number of pirate radio stations in South America that can be received here. Radio Pirana has been known for some time, and I believe thee were a few reports of it, and at least one other station that I cannot remember the name of, but that’s about it. For years there have been logs of very weak UNID stations heard on the 43 meter band (6800-7000 kHz), presumed to be pirates of some sort, and it is possible some of these were South American pirates.

Most of these stations use homemade transmitters, often of the “Lulu” design, with a IRF510 or similar MOSET RF final stage. That means they are generally in the 15 or 20 watt carrier range, although some are higher power. That also means that unless otherwise noted, all of these stations use AM mode, and in general the frequency is highly variable, easily varying 100 Hz or more from night to night, or even during transmissions.

One important caveat: Since most of these stations use relatively low power, and due to the long distances involved, signal levels are generally weak, although occasionally when conditions are excellent (especially if there’s grayline propagation), they can put in stronger signals. I am fortunate to live in a rural area with relatively low noise/RFI levels, and have several high end receivers and large antennas. My primary setup for catching these stations is a netSDR receiver and a 670 foot Sky Loop antenna. You’re going to want to use the best receiver and antenna you can for catching these stations, you’re not likely to have good (or any) results with a portable SW radio, RTL dongle, or small/indoor antenna. Also, I record the entire 43 meter band nightly on my netSDR, and then go through the recordings each morning. This lets me catch stations that may only appear for a brief period of time. That said, you can still hear them with a reasonable HF setup, although it may take persistence, checking each night, until conditions permit reception.

It’s well worth checking the Latin American Pirate logging forum on the HF Undergroundwebsite, to see what is presently being heard. The HF Underground is the best way to keep up to date with the hobbyist radio scene in general, with dedicated forums for North American PiratesEuropirates, and of course radio in general.

And for those of you into collecting QSLs – many of these stations are reliable QSLers!

In general, the easiest station to hear is Lupo Radio from Argentina. It is on the air most evenings on 6973 kHz in AM mode. At least at my location, it puts in the strongest and most reliable signal. Usually in the SIO 222 to 333 range, sometimes stronger. There are frequent IDs. I use Lupo Radio as a “beacon” to gauge how good conditions are to South America on 43 meters.

Another station that is often on the air is RCW – Radio Compañía Worldwide from Chile. They use 6925.13 kHz, and their carrier is more stable and usually on this offset frequency, which makes it easier to determine that it’s likely you’re hearing them vs a US pirate station.

New to the scene is Radio Marcopolo on 6991 kHz.

Also new to the scene is an as yet UNID pirate from South America on 6934.9 kHz. I have received them for several weeks now in the local evenings, usually starting around the 2300-0300 UTC window. They put in a respectable signal (relatively speaking), strong enough for Shazam to ID songs. They have frequent breaks in their transmission, with the carrier often going off and on many times during a broadcast. They also occasionally transmit audio test tones, and sometimes seem to relay audio from licensed stations in Argentina such as Radio El Mundo. This could be someone testing a new transmitter? A new mystery to solve!

Radio Dontri is somewhat unique in that they use USB mode, on 6955 kHz. They also send SSTV, which is sometimes easier to receive than music, and helps to verify that you’re actually hearing them, vs a US pirate on 6955. They tend to drift a lot, however, which can make decoding the SSTV transmissions challenging.

Outside the 43 meter band, there is Rádio Casa 8000 kHz. I have only received weak carriers from this station, although partly that may be because I do not frequently check for it, and it does not turn up on my overnight SDR recordings.

Radio Triunfal Evangélica is other station outside of the 43 meter band, they use the nominal frequency of 5825 kHz, often closer to 5824.9 kHz. Again I have only received a carrier from them. As the name implies, they are a religious station, affiliated with a church.

Now that we’ve talked about the pirate stations from South America, we should probably mention things you are likely to hear that are not pirates. Specifically, what we call Peskies (or Pesky as the singular), short for pescadores, the Spanish word for fishermen. Peskies generally use LSB mode, and can be heard on many frequencies in the 43 meter band, engaging in QSOs. Years ago, pirate listeners started to call these stations pescadores, since some of them were indeed fishermen, and could be heard discussing related matters. It might be better to think of most of them as freebanders/outbanders, much in the tradition of those transmitting on 11 meters. There’s a logging forum on the HFU dedicated to Peskies, if you’re interesting in learning more about them.

Occasionally they use AM mode. We’ve logged several on 6965 kHz (+/- of course), that at first were thought to be pirates. But they never transmitted music, and after some discussions with DXers in South America, it was determined that they were more properly considered peskies.


Many thanks, Chris, for sharing this excellent guest post with us! Until the Winter SWL Fest last week, I had no idea South American pirates were on the rise–what a great opportunity to catch interesting DX!

Readers, check out this and other posts on Chris’ website Radiohobbyist.org.

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R.I.P. Tom Taylor of European Music Radio fame

Many thanks to Mark Stafford who shares the following news:

RIP Tom Taylor/ Barry Stephens a Short Wave Pirate Radio Legend

Just got some very bad news: Barry Stephens (Tom Taylor) of European Music Radio fame has died.

To many of us learning the art of Pirate Radio Broadcasting in the South East of England in the 1970’s, Tom was “The Governor”.

EMR was a class station, probably the best Short Wave Pirate in the late 70’s. Barry and his colleague Roger Tate were legends.

Tom/Barry was also a really nice guy who helped us so much. He fixed our transmitters so many times for us and taught us how important good modulation was. Tom used to tell us “you have got to have hissing sidebands, mate”! By that he meant, lots of top end so that it cut through the noise and splashed audio on the next door channel!

Tom had a famous three wheeler Reliant Robin that the he took the EMR gear out into the woods with! We will all remember that.

Thank you, Mark. Tom was an on the SWLing Post readers and even sent his EMR weekend notes which I happily published. Though I never got to meet him in real life, he was always a good soul–and of course, a tremendous figure in the world of shortwave pirate radio.

Rest in peace, Tom.

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