Sunday, January 19, 2020

Loggings & a few other things

I've been finishing my column for The Spectrum Monitor over the weekend. One of the remarkable stories that I scratched the surface of was Chris Smolinski's reception of CBS Radio from Greece on 1730 kHz. I definitely need to start checking the 1720-1790 area for Greek pirates. Dutch pirates would probably propagate much better over here, but they're essentially all between about 1615 and 1670 kHz. Our best bet at reception would be to use a loop on stations that operate on split channels.

Radio 48: 6925, 1/18, 2000 or so I tuned in, started recording, and the washer changed cycles and the RFI wiped it out.

Renegade Radio: 6935U, 1/18, 2211* Tuned in during song, voice came in and I tweaked the BFO to get everything sounding right, hit Record, and . . . it was gone. Bad timing; I haven't heard Renegade in a long time.

Via Twente webreceiver
1656, 1/19, 1445-1515* Mostly older music by The Kinks, The Fireballs "Bottle of Wine" etc. Excellent signal. Talk by DJ around 1510 over "I Was Made for Loving You." Sounded like he said "Amazonia" or maybe "Arizona"?

Friday, January 10, 2020

Neil Peart

Wow, can't believe Neil Peart, drummer from Rush, died today at age 67 from brain cancer.

"Spirit of Radio" is not only a classic song about radio, but its disappoint in the status quo makes it a great pirate radio song as well:

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Dutch Medium-Wave Logs via Twente: 12/17/19

1617, 2122-2205* song in English, but I think it's a '70s pop song "Darling I Love You So . . ." Honky-tonk song in Dutch. UKDXer had Radio Marianne here about an hour ago, so maybe it's still that station. Did hear mention of the name, though pronounced like "Mariana"

1670, 2152-2155* Disco, including "The Hustle." Audio fading up and down all over the place. Sounds like the op must be talking over the music, but he doesn't realize his mic isn't working

1640, 2210+ Instrumental polkas. Good signal, but weak mic audio. Sounds like op was either talking about or to (or both) Radio Marianne

Monday, December 16, 2019

Dutch Medium-Wave Logs via Twente: 12/16/19

I have been listening to the radio some, but I haven't been posting here. I've been spending a lot of time trying to restore an antique trunk as a Christmas present. I've been debating posting it here because it's not at all radio related . . . but on the other hand, I it's something different & maybe a few people would find it interesting.

I'm working on it today & am by the computer, so I thought I should take in a few Europirates via the computer and post.

Via Twente, Netherlands web receiver:

1631, 1530 Station on a few minutes earlier with schlager music & talk in Dutch by a male announcer. Not sure if same station or different, but a bit of schlager & talk in Dutch. My guess at the ID is "Bambreaker," but this doesn't match up with anything on the UKDXer station list, so I'm sure that I butchered the ID

1666, 1525-1533* '70s British pop music. Off mid-song. Excellent signal

1644.95, 1539+ Weak signal, man talking in Dutch & schlager music

1656, 1540-1554* Schlager, very strong. Heard the ID a few times and it sure sounds like "Radio Cairo" to me, but again, I'm not finding this ID on the UKDXer station list.

1640-1660v, 1556 Schlager with the signal changing frequency & varying all over the place. Only looked like one sideband of audio was there and couldn't see the carrier, but it sounded OK in AM (so not an SSB transmitter). Maybe it was FMing? Back on at 1601 & I watched the signal go from around 1610 to 1660 kHz, then drop down to roughly 1646 kHz.

1657, 1622-1629* Much older-sounding instrumental schlager, maybe from WWII or earlier? Into pieces of '70s pop and country songs. Didn't hear any talk

1667->1670, 1630-1640* Variety of schlager, cut a few songs mid-song. Sounds like the station that was on 1657 a few minutes earlier. Some talk, but missed it because I was in the kitchen

1630, 1643+ Weak with Booker T & the MGs "Green Onions" (a song I actually know!). Johnny Cash "I Walk Alone" around 1715 UTC

1613.7, 1720+ Weak/fair with '70s (Dutch, I think) pop music. Yodeling schlager song at 1734

R. Nordzee: 1635, *1800-1806* Huge carrier & signal. Male announcer talking over '60s radio production music in Dutch

1670, *1808+ Polka. Male announcer, but I didn't hear anything that sounded like an ID

1615, 1830+ Archies "Sugar, Sugar" Huge signal cut right at 9 kHz wide, a bit distorted, CCR "Green River" (live) & "Proud Mary," 5th Dimension "Age of Aquarius," Led Zeppelin "Whole Lotta Love"

Friday, November 29, 2019

Pirate Radio Annual Christmas sale

It's Black Friday and I've been driving all over every bit of strip mall suburbia in the county, searching out bargains and buying gifts.

I figured I might as well combine the two. Here's a bargain and a little gift: from through 1/1/2020, the 2017-18 Pirate Radio Annual is $14 + 3 shipping ($17) to everyone in the US. Outside of the US, the shipping will be much higher because our post office eliminated the international book rate. (I forget what the rates to Canada & Europe are, but I'll try to search it out & post it here later.)

In turn, you can pass along the gift of pirate radio to a loved one (or yourself).

The address for PayPal payments is info /at symbol/ hobbybroadcasting dot com

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Driving around the Midatlantic Listening to Tater Patch Radio

The last entries that I wrote in the blog were about Greek and Dutch medium-wave pirates that I heard via SDRs. Medium-wave piracy isn't booming in the United States, and it's generally been a rarity to have the chance to really listen most any time in the past 20 years. Oh, there are examples, such as Radio Moshiach and Redemption and Radio Celesial if you lived in the New York City area, but not much sustained activity.

The New York City area was a hotbed of MW activity in the late '70s & early '80s. Some of the first pirates of any type that I heard included the KPRC on 1616 kHz and WDX on 1630 kHz on a GE boombox with its whip antenna. A couple of years later, I logged WWW on 1615 kHz and WHOT on 1625 kHz (I haven't verified these frequencies with my old logs, just winging it from memory) on my FRG-7.

By the end of the decade, I was hearing WENJ, WCPR, WKND, AM 1650, WJDI, and probably a few others. These stations were all heard on my FRG-7 while I was pining for a better receiver. But at the time, I never considered that the car radio might be a worthy listening option.

On October 19, I saw logs for Radio Corsair before I had to be drug around the neighborhood by our family dog. I tuned the Drake R8 to 1710 and started the recorder. Upon returning, I checked the car radio before going into the house. There it was! Strong signal & great audio on 1710 kHz. The operator talked at length about the station's setup and 500-watt transmitter, reasons for broadcasting, etc. Great stuff. I sat, riveted.

After about 20 minutes of listening, I went inside to the R8, where I knew the signal would be much better. Except that it wasn't. It was audible, but most of the talk was not copyable. A far cry from the big signal in the car. Is it the antenna length? The polarization of signal vs. my antenna? Is the car radio and antenna just "better optimized" for reception on these frequencies? I'm not positive, but I have a few ideas.

About two weeks later, I was in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and I felt compelled to tune the radio to 1630 kHz because I'd seen reports of Tater Patch Radio on the frequency. By golly, it was there and it was strong, but mixing with KCJJ, Iowa City. I checked 1710 and I could hear the same audio on that frequency, too. After maybe 10 minutes of listening, I heard “'80s, . . . the decade of Molly Ringwald's breasts . . . Tater Patch Radio, just good music, like this” into Van Halen “Hot for Teacher.” A minute or so later, the Van Halen song was preempted for a documentary on rockabilly.

We had a carload of people and conversations, so I only turned up the volume occasionally to check if Tater Patch Radio was still audible. And it was, the whole way from Harrisonburg to home in central PA. On the next weekend, we were near Sunbury, PA, and could hear Tater Patch Radio for about two hours.

In neither case was I in an optimum situation for listening, but they were still great experiences that I might not ever forget. And that takes me to the main point of this post. Why didn't I try listening in the car earlier? OK, that's kinda rhetorical because I didn't think the car radio would perform well and I just haven't had many MW pirates lately.

But it was just a fantastic listening experience, driving hundreds of miles at night with a pirate on the radio. Electromagnetic waves bouncing across the sky, as I pass small cities, large towns, and individual houses, and stare off into the night, enjoying the atmosphere of it all.

Now, I'm superimposing this experience on past stations. What if I had gone out to the car and listened to WKND's inaugural broadcast on Halloween night on 1621.3 kHz? What if I'd've heard KPRC while driving across the state and paused at a pay phone to talk with Pirate Joe?

All I know is that it would have been even more memorable. And I'm looking forward to hearing more broadcasts on 1710--especially while driving in the car.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

More Greek Pirate listening, 11/6/19

After checking out the Greek MW pirates the other day, I wanted to check for Serbian pirates because I know the country has a number of powerful stations. Unfortunately, no Kiwi SDRs are located in Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Albania, or Romania, but I did find a couple in Hungary. And I checked the SDR and heard a few pirates. Of course, my comprehension of Serbian is just as nonexistant as of Greek. But I doublechecked the SDR against the one south of Greece and it appears that all of the stations I heard on the Hungarian SDR this afternoon were Greek pirates.

As of now (2215 UTC), via the Zakynthos, Greece, SDR, I'm hearing Greek pirates on 1620, 1630, 1660 (very weak), 1670, 1680, 1690, 1700 (two stations & a heterodyne), and 1710 kHz. All of these except 1710 are non-stop Greek folk music. 1710 is very strong with electronic dance music; believe it or not, I'm not hearing the looping technical difficulties announcement from WQFG689 underneath it.

The 1620 station isn't playing any of the ID spots that were aired on Tuesday, so my guess is that these are two different stations.

I thought that with the dance music, 1710 would be my best chance of hearing an ID in English, but some vocals just came into the techno song that I'm listening to and I think it's also Greek. Oh well.

Most of these stations seem to be IDing and having regular announcements, so the big issue is just having someone who speaks Greek who can ID them.