Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Auds'n'Ends 10/9/19


As promised, here's my Captain Morgan clock, QSL #122, from 2008. I don't know how many of these have been sent out, but the generosity of many pirate ops is really something.

I think I heard Crystal Radio a couple of times on Sunday on 6950.5 kHz. I made recordings, but both times, the signal was too weak to pull any details. The past couple of days, I've missed their relays of Samurai Radio on the same frequency. I think these Samurai Radio shows were from around 1983 or '84 because the station operator was announcing the old Battle Creek, Michigan, maildrop.

Another station that I've wanted to log is Radio Corsair, the medium wave pirate on 1710 kHz. It was on last night and I forgot to check the car radio. Tonight I did listen, but only had WQFG689 with a "technical difficulties" loop announcement. Every time this happens, I think they should just bring in the WHOT guys to broadcast via their transmitter.

Because this post is called "Auds'n'Ends," I need some audio, so here's Kilokat7's recording of Radio Corsair from about two weeks ago. It's really rough, but the signal starts getting a bit better around the 8-minute mark

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Captain Morgan Clock

I've had some material for this blog post sitting in an open window of my blog for for about three months. I thought about what approach I should take, to what extent I should write about it here, etc. Then, the motherboard on my laptop died. I pieced my computer back together, wrote my TSM column, all while thinking that I really need to write some stuff on here.

That said, I'm going to take the short approach this time.

I received a great e-mail from Brian Penney about the Captain Morgan clock that he received from the station. Probably most people in North America who read this blog either know about the CM clocks or have one, but I doubt that many of our European readers do.

In an era when licensed shortwave radio stations are disappearing and everyone is sending reports and eQSLs via e-mail, Captain Morgan occasionally sends out QSL clocks. I have to ask him the criteria for receiving a clock, but I'm sure he's sent out hundreds. That's an incredibly generous gift for someone experimenting on the shortwave bands and already providing listeners with some entertainment. It's kind of like being given a gift just for accepting a prior gift.

Here's what Brian said:

Whenever I mail out a reception report I do it for the benefit of the operator.
Never do I expect to get anything in return.

The last thing I ever expected to receive was a coveted Captain Morgan clock.
Well a package arrived in yesterday’s mail and it contained a customized clock from Captain Morgan!

Very special gift and I am truly honored to have received one.
I attached a pic of the clock for your perusal.


He also gave me permission to post his comments and the photo of his clock so long as I also posted a photo of my Captain Morgan clock. I'll post it, but not tonight. I'll put it up in my next post, hopefully within the next few days.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Nice conditions to Europe on Sunday (4/21-4/22)

On Saturday night, X-FM made a long broadcast of music and requests while announcing a phone number. It was the best that I've heard X-FM in a year or two, but a lot of those difficulties were probably because of my antenna mast collapse. Still, the signal was excellent for the duration of the broadcast, and it was great to be able to sit back and enjoy the show.

I was curious about just how well the signal was getting out & I started checking SDRs around the world. The X-FM signal ranged from barely audible to very good at these locations (in no particular order): SW England; Rio Grande da Serra, Brazil; Bjargtangar, Iceland; Kongfjord, Norway; Carlow, Ireland; Wrexham, Wales (carrier); Anasco, Puerto Rico; Maui, HI; & Bonaire SDR. I didn't stay up for the sign off to see if the signal made it into New Zealand, Australia, or Japan, but maybe?


On Sunday, conditions were good and European pirates were broadcasting during the greyline propagation hours. Nice combination! Here are a few loggings via my own receiver:






Mustang Radio: 6265, 4/21, ca. 2324+ Shoutout, I think to BLW in Alabama, who turned in. Into Lynyrd Skynyrd “Sweet Home Alabama” and I think he said hi to me over part of the song. Depeche Mode “People Are People” & Blondie “Call Me.” Thanks to Radio Star & me for logging it on HFU, thanks to everyone for reports. There were some stretches of instrumental music and a string of pre-recorded Mustang Radio IDs at the end of the program  




Radio Voyager: 6950, 4/21, 2310+ Pink Floyd “Us and Them,” then a jazz song with lots of improvisational piano. An announcement or ID by a woman, then a male computer voice with the Radio Voyager e-mail address. A song with a woman singer, maybe Motown or soul?  





Blue Moon Radio: 6850, 4/21, 2314+ The signal was very weak but audible. I could hear music throughout, without many problems of deep fading. But aside from the signal being too weak for me to know the words, I just didn’t know any of the songs. HF Underground DXer Skipmuck heard a lot of the songs and mentioned that they were being played on a loop. My guess is that was just for the night and that it switched back to live programming this morning. I checked the Twente web receiver the next day and listened to the station again. One thing from listening on Twente is that your music levels sound good, but the mic levels are really weak. Even though the signal is very good in the Netherlands, I had to turn the audio output up about the whole way to be able to understand the announcer. The operator said he's using "25 watts and a half wave dipole. Over the past few days we have received reports from throughout Europe, Scandinavia, Ukraine, Russia, and east coast of USA."

Friday, April 19, 2019

Radio Cuckoo Logging and Skyline Radio Germany Test

Last night, I was working outside, scraping and painting the house. I don’t remember why I needed to go inside (maybe to take our dog back inside because she was barking at people walking down the road?), but I did. When I went inside, I checked HF Underground and saw that Skipmuck in Massachusetts was hearing the European pirate Radio Cuckoo and IDing a number of songs, so I thought I might have a shot. I ran up to the radio, locked in on the signal and managed to ID one song after fighting through static and the drone of my receiver’s drifty sync lock.

Radio Cuckoo: 6240.3, 4/18-19, 2342-0042+ Really tough copy, but some signal was audible throughout. In many cases, all I could hear was a beat, but I had Gary Numan "Cars" fade up nicely. In the last 30 minutes, it seemed to be fading away, but then it came back for a really nice fade up. Also heard an announcement and possibly an ID and e-mail address. I sent a reception report with a couple of audio clips to the station today and received a nice e-mail and eQSL back. Power is between 40 and 50 watts, and the station is working on a much more powerful transmitter. When that happens, it should be audible across much of the East Coast of North America.



Also, I received this e-mail from Skyline Radio Germany, which was popular a few years ago. Unfortunately, those times and frequencies mean that it won't be audible in North America. But, thanks to the modern world of the Internet, it's possible to listen via an online receiver:

SKYLINE RADIO GERMANY Alert! PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!

After a long time of absence - WE ARE BACK ON THE AIR!

Shortwaveradio.de kindly gave us the possibility to be on air with
our shows via their transmitter located somewhere in Northern Germany.

If you would like to try to catch our programmes, six hours,
on April 20th, 2019, Easter Saturday afternoon local (15.00 - 21.00 UTC)
would be a good time to give us a listen.
Try the 75 metre band shortwave on 3975 kHz!
Let's keep fingers crossed for no geomagnetic storms!
If propagation conditions should be bad the transmission
will be postponed until further notice.

It might be a good chance for you to catch our special eQSL-card.
We look forward to your reception reports and comments to:
SKYLINE RADIO GERMANY, P.O.Box 2702, 6049 ZG Herten, The Netherlands
or via e-mail to: skylineradiogermany /at/ web.de

Have a great time with us and Good DX,
DJ Jan-Hendrik
SRG - ALTERNATIVE MUSIC SHORTWAVE RADIO

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Radio PiraƱa International Beacon Test Tonight

Jorge Garcia sent a bulk e-mail (& posted on HFU) that he'll be testing a beacon transmitter on 6342 kHz CW tonight starting at 2200 UTC with 20 watts. With that much power, it seems like RPI could well make it into North America.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

TSM & a "Mystery" Track

Lost in all of the packing & shipping of PRAs is the fact that I wanted to mention that I received the latest issue of The Spectrum Monitor. It's been a while since I've included it here . . . and I definitely need to. If you haven't seen TSM, it's essentially a continuation of Monitoring Times, except in PDF-only format. I think the fact that it's not on bookstore shelves and not passed among friends limits its new audience potential. To me, at least, it seems to be more a magazine for "those in the know." If you liked MT in the past, you're sure to enjoy TSM. You can check it out the wesbite here.

The 2017-18 Pirate Radio Annual has 86 tracks listed in the book, but 87 on the CD. Those 86 tracks in the listing are correct, but the last track (#87) is not listed. Track #87 is The Relay Station and I recorded it on October 1, 2016, on 5150 kHz at 2101 UTC. TRS doesn't often ID, so I was happy to catch this.




Sunday, April 7, 2019

2017-2018 PRA Notes and 2019-2020 (?) PRA

First of all, thanks to everyone for the orders and support so far. I've received a number of nice comments via e-mail, letters, and on HF Underground. I really appreciate it all. It's also been great to reconnect with some old friends and get to know some radio fans a bit better.

I've been packing books much of the weekend and haven't listened a lot, but I did hear WTF Radio and Weird Al Radio for the first time tonight. Weird Al Radio reminded me of shortwave pirates from about 1983 to maybe 1995 or so, when his songs were often aired. And the late H.V. Short of RFM frequently played the Spatula City ad from the Weird Al movie UHF.

One comment about the "graphics" on the CD-R for this edition. I got a good price on a couple of spools of the coated (pre-labeled?) CD-Rs that you can't really put labels on. I had what I thought might be a good idea for the CD-R "graphics" and after I'd already finished them, I showed my family. I thought maybe the style would give it a personal, somewhat endearing look. My responses were somewhere in the realm of "horrible" and "just no." Sorry about that!

A few weeks ago, I posted the station list for the 2019 PRA. My goal was to get 2019 done before the next Winter SWL Fest, and then see if I could get 2020 out before Christmas 2020. That would be 3 editions in about a year and a half. I was thinking about all of this scheduling. As much as I want to get back the PRA onto an annual basis, I think that putting out three editions in a year and a half would just annoy everyone ("Oh another PRA already? I just bought one"). So, I'm considering making the next edition a combined 2019-2020 and trying to release it about this time next year, to get everything back on track. Does that sound reasonable?