Friday, February 28, 2014

My weekend loggings: 2/28-3/2/14

Unid: 6867.4, 2/28, 2321+ Madness "It Must Be Love," Thomas Dolby "She Blinded Me with Science," Billy Joel "Sometimes a Fantasy" a break with some right-wing talk (from a radio show) about how anyone trying to enslave us is the enemy. In a different break between songs, what is evidently audio from a porno movie. Strange mixture of programming

Premier Radio (Ireland--ID per HFU): 6915.14, 2/28, 2340+ I have a carrier here, but that's all. It'd be nice to hear Premier Radio International again--last time for me was probably about 10 years ago and I had a very copyable signal.

Turtlehead Radio: 6930U, 3/1, 0511+ Pretty good signal tonight. Music, sounds like movie audio about a war hero "You are currently listening to Turtlehead Radio" Hi to Harry Smith, Red Mercury Labs & said RML is his favorite station, also hi to some of the other people who logged Turtlehead tonight. After another song, more shoutouts to people, including Refmo & Tom S. Asking for requests. "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes, which isn't commonly aired on pirate stations.

Radio Free Whatever: 6975.4, 3/1, 2102-2107* Fair signal with what sounds like old psychedelic rock. Clear IDs with Dick Weed and Stephen. They talked a bit about how this was show #225 & how to get a QSL. Also some comments about Stephen hosting the all-disco show.

Voice of Portugal: 6925, 3/1, 2224+ Theme program about cows with mooing cows throughout the entire program--even during all of the songs about bovines. Looking forward to hearing who this is. Now into a backward instrumental song. Gave IDs "Voice of...." but I think I'll need to listen on headphones a few times to get it right (if then, ha!) Air raid sirens. Think there was a cow farting in there, too. (just went to listen again & the ID clicked with my ears & brain)

Voice of Portugal: 6925, 3/1, 2344+ Repeat of earlier program. Tuned in during the Bob Seger parody. Signal is a bit better this time

Radio Free Whatever: 6975.4, 3/2, 0018+ Dick Weed and Stephen talking about the shows they do on RFW: "QRM," "RPM," and ... I forget the same of their nostalgia show

Wolverine Radio: 6950U, 3/2, 0139+ Excellent signal and great SSB audio (as always). Music by Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, etc. Typical Wolverine echo IDs.

Radio Free Whatever: 6950U, 3/2, ca0200+ Excellent signal a few minutes after Wolverine Radio sign off. Repeat of program from earlier in the day.

Voice of Mongolia Relay Service: 6948, 3/2,  

Unid: 6925U, 3/2, 2250+ Received 3 SSTV images of what looks kind of like the Cheetos Cheetah. Some words are at the bottom, but it's not clear enough for me to be able to read them.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Logs'n'Ends: 2/27/14

With a few exceptions, the 2013 Pirate Radio Annual is sold out. I got an order from Universal Radio today that'll clean out the last copies. But I'll take a couple to the Winter SWL Festival on the 2nd weekend of March. I'll only be there on Friday this year, but if you'd like to reserve a copy, please let me know ASAP and I'll Post-It a reserve copy for you. At the Winterfest, I'll be selling the last few 2013 PRAs for $15/apiece with no shipping. I'll eat the PA sales tax, too. I'll also take pre-orders for the 2014 PRA (which I've been working on, but has been moving slowly).

Here's a log for tonight:

Captain Morgan: 6925, 2/28, 0139+ Blues program with an excellent signal and audio. Usually, his audio is strong, but a big distorted. Tonight, the audio still has the really nice punch to it, but it sounds cleaner. Very nice! The one song sounded a bit weird, like either RF feedback was getting in there or maybe a cable was putting a hum into the audio? The audio went off, there were some grounding noises, the transmitter went down, and the audio came back on.

Unid: 6925U, 2/28, 0231-0233* A country song & off. At least I think it went off. I hear a few layers of pescadors and I don't think any of that talking is from this station. Fair signal.

Last night, I caught the last few minutes of The Voice of Mongolia Relay Service on approximately 6925 kHz. Yun Sap from TVOMRS was kind enough to send an e-QSL for my very brief report on HFU:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Philco 87 Restoration Blog Thread

Philco 87 Restoration Blog Thread

I mentioned in an Auds'n'Ends entry a while back that I'd backburnered the Goldentone cathedral project. I didn't want to start a new project and wind up going back to the Goldentone...or not have time to really get going on. The couple of Malaysian spammers who check out the blog would start to wonder if I ever finish anything. (Often no, but that's another story)

On January 11, I went to a local antique mall and found a complete 1929 Philco 87 lowboy radio for $35. After the discount, it was $28. This model has an attractive, well-constructed cabinet and the price was awesome, so I couldn't resist. I paid for it and drove back the next day to haul it home.

I discovered when I slid it into the van that the chassis screws or bolts that hold it to the cabinet were missing and it started to slide out, popping the knobs off the front. The guy from the antique mall about had a coronary and was yelling "It's sliding out! It's sliding out!" I was saying, "It's OK, I know," but it didn't seem to calm him down. I guess he didn't realize that this radio was in for a lot of demolition.

The Philco 87 lowboy was sold in 1929 for $129.50, which, according to the Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator, has the buying power of $1771.47 in 2014 dollars. That seems really impressive until I consider that the IBM PCjr with a floppy disk drive cost $1269 new in 1984.

Philco models 40, 76, 87, and 95 all used the same lowboy cabinet and, according to, 249,327 of these radios were manufactured. This is a 7-tube set and, although radio technology improved significantly in the next decade, modern-day hobbyists seem to agree that it performs well for equipment of the era. I've read one post that said this radio was the first that had the frequencies printed on the dial, rather than a generic 0-100 scale. The speaker cutout in the cabinet had a wood shell-shaped grille in the 1929 models. In 1930, the wood grille was removed and the hole was filled with a more decorative tapestry-like cloth. As you can see from the pics, this is one of the 1929 models, which I think looks much nicer anyway.

Here are some photos of what the Philco 87 looked like when I brought it home.

I didn't put the chassis back in the cabinet

Birdseye maple front panel

Shell-shaped wood grille with shredded grille cloth behind

Leg is solid, but the finish is flaking
A closer look at how toasted the finish really is
I started stripping the cabinet with Citristrip and a putty knife. This job has been a bear and I've been occasionally spending an hour on it when the weather's hit the 40s or 50s. More than a month later and I've still got many more hours to go. Here are some photos from early in the process:

Stripping the front panel

Some of the gunk scraped off the front panel

The Chassis: 1/12/14
The chassis of the 87 looks about as filthy as you might expect for an 84-year-old radio:

I pulled the tubes, cleaned them, and packed them away in a box. Then, I vacuumed the chassis as much as possible, flipped it over and unscrewed the sheet metal cover under the chassis. Inside, I found what looked like mattress padding and cherry pits. Mice? Squirrels?

This stuff all got vacuumed out, too
I cleaned the inductor cans with metal polish and a 3M kitchen scouring pad ("greeny pad"). At some point (I didn't write down when), I took the radio out to the porch with a bucket of tap water and an old toothbrush and started scrubbing and rinsing it:

I've had the radio chassis sitting around for more than a month, so I decided that the first weekend above 50 degrees, I'd start taping and painting it. I'm not sure what this chassis is made from, but it's dark, unlike the steel chassis that I've worked on before. I've seen that someone else who restored a model 87 painted the chassis, so I thought I'd go that route, too. I have some primer here, so flat gray sounded like a good, neutral color--even if it's not original. It would be nice to easily remove everything from the chassis, repaint it, and re-assemble it. But, I didn't feel that it'd be worth the time to go to that much trouble, so I taped and painted everything where the were: first the chassis in gray, then the transformers in gloss black. (BTW, the big square can contains a bunch of capacitors. I need to remove it, melt the wax out of it, replace the capacitors, and reassemble everything. It's not being repainted now because I'll repaint it when I reassemble the can.)

Newspaper and painter's tape

Then it was time to spray on the gray:

Today, I added more newspaper & painter's tape and I painted the transformers black:

And the look after the tape's been removed? Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it looks a lot better than it did at the beginning of the process:

The 2nd inductor from the left has a Philco label with the model information. As you can see, it's fragile and much of it has flaked off.
I've spent hours on this radio today + writing and posting photos about it, so I think I'll take a bit of a break now :o)

I haven't done any more work with the radio chassis itself in about a month. Most of my free time has been going into writing more the next Pirate Radio Annual and logging a few pirates.

But I have spent more time stripping and sanding the cabinet. Basically, I've been using Citristrip and scraping off the residue about two times, then I sand off the remaining lacquer residue. Here is a pre-sanding photo of the residue on the side of the cabinet:

The darker areas are the lacquer and the white is the dried Citristrip

I've read a lot of people's opinions on restoring old radios. Personally, I try to make the radios look as close as I can to how it originally looked, to the best of my abilities. I also try to use the same techniques, if possible. Of course, what I just said here is up to can mean almost anything. I have a feeling that as I continue to write restoration projects here, this point will come up on a regular basis.

In terms of finish, I've seen a lot of purists say lacquer only and colored lacquer to supply any necessary color. That means no stain. These hobbyists say that's how the cabinet was originally finished and anything else would be historically inaccurate. I'm not knocking these people because they know a lot more than I do and my work winds up being half as good as theirs is, then I'll be happy.

However, as I've been stripping this particular Philco 87, I've noticed that the finishes vary a bit. More importantly, some of the areas seem to be bleeding stain as I strip it. Where I notice most of the stain seeping out are in the poplar decorative edges. Once I strip off the lacquer, the stain seeps out of the grain. The more I scrape the wood, the more the stain seeps out. A good example of this is in this picture:

On the poplar edge to the left, I kept scraping it, thinking that I was getting more lacquer off. But I wasn't; it was stain.

The feet of the radio are a completely different story. The lacquer was chipping and revealing "white" (unstained) wood underneath. 

Overall, the feet were done with colored lacquer only, the poplar wood was stained and I think both the walnut and the birdseye maple front panel were at least lightly stained. The decorative trim in the top corners and bottom center were stained and sprayed with toner lacquer.

I have some of the panels looking pretty good, but I have more sanding to go and I need to order some toner lacquer. I guess I'll buy Mohawk brand because that seems to be most popular with the radio restorers.

Finally working on the radio again after a whopping three and a half months of it sitting in the corner of our living room. Yesterday, I ordered some Mohawk Dark Walnut lacquer toner on so that I can get moving on the project again.

During a garden weeding and mowing break from the sun, I pulled the the cabinet back onto the porch and started sanding and cleaning up the Citristrip residue. Most of the sanding went into the legs, but I also cleaned up the top edge trim a bit:

Removing the Citristrip residue with a brad

Both because of my impatience and also because we've occasionally put stuff on top of the cabinet and I'm afraid that someone might place glass on top or maybe spill something on it that could stain the wood.

I considered the different stains on hand. I think that the walnut stains might be too dark, so I tested golden pecan on the side that already has some damage:

Not sure how long this has been on the shelf, but the can is sun faded. Notice all of the blotches in the finish of the top
A test spot with the stain

I cleaned the top and then stained it with the golden pecan. I think it looks nice--all of those blotches magically disappeared. One problem is the differences in color on the trim around the top edge. Some is end grain and is very dark; some is edge grain and is light and blotchy. It looks pretty nice for a piece of furniture, like an ice box, but it's not how a radio should look. So, I decided to coat the very top surface with clear lacquer. When my dark walnut lacquer toner arrives later in the week, I'll tone the edge trim to make it more uniformly dark.

Here's the top, stained and taped off

Here's the top with a coat of lacquer applied; no more worries about blackberry pie stains seeping into the wood!
Sixteen months of sitting around by the closet, I finally pulled the Philco 87 back out onto the porch and got back to work. I did finish writing one entry for the next PRA today, so I feel entitled to work on it a little.

One concern of mine was that the adhesive would leave residue on the wood after being stuck there for so long. My fears were not unjustified and plenty of residue was left behind.

Adhesive residue left behind from the painter's tape
I was able to sand off the residue without any trouble. I sanded the posts and top edge primarily with new 400- and used 220-grit sandpaper. I did find that I forgot to finish sanding one of the post edges (the front one, no less), so I hit it with 100-grit paper, then 400.

Last year at some point, I tried dark walnut lacquer on one of the legs. It didn't look right; it was mostly dark, but had places that were glossy and others that had a matte finish. Because of this, I thought the best idea would be to stain the legs and then touch them up with the dark walnut lacquer. When I finished the sanding, I taped off all of the center panels with newspaper and stained the edges with dark walnut stain.

I think the edges are still too light. I'll probably try another coat of stain, but I think the key will be a light coat of dark walnut lacquer.

The key was not a light coat of dark walnut lacquer. I sprayed on a few coats of walnut lacquer and it didn't cover the scars and blemishes. In fact, it kind of emphasized them. The end result was that finish looked like that of a '70s Zenith TV. I've seen these kinds distressed finishes derisively called "antique mall furniture finish." Although I like this look, that's not what the radio companies were shooting for in the '30s & '40s.

So, I kept adding coats of guitar toner lacquer until the color evened out. It wound up getting pret-ty dark. I have seen some original Philco 87s with very dark accents, so I'm hoping this doesn't go too far out of the realm of these cabinets, but I'm giving it a shot.

Tonight, I pulled off the tape and newspaper from the sides of the cabinet, sanded off the tape residue, and stained those panels with golden pecan stain. I think it's looking pretty good, but I probably have much lower standards than a lot of radio restorers.

Adding stain to the side panels

Today, I lacquered the side panels and pulled the tape and newspaper off the front. I had tape residue on the top, so I searched around the Internet for good cleaning products. The winner was mayonnaise. I wiped a bit on and it cleaned everything right off. Great stuff!

I sanded the birdseye maple front panel while listening to the Steelers win vs. the Cardinals . . . that is, until my Baygen wind-up radio's winder broke. Not sure what the panel was finished with, but it was stained pretty badly with hand oil. I hope that I sanded it well enough that panel looks even and nice.

I wiped the sawdust from the front panel with a rag, then taped it of. With all of the scalloped edges on the front, the taping was more time consuming than it normally would be. Then, I hit the front panel with a few coats of clear lacquer. I didn't sand out or putty-match the scratch across the front panel. Character, I say! (at least that's my rationalization)

Today, I finished sanding the raised panel on the left side of the radio. It was easy to sand with the grain on the diagonal veneer, but much more difficult to sand the outer edges. I used the golden pecan stain on the panel, too. I'm not sure that I should've because it's looking awfully dark, but at least it's not as dark as the edges that I hit with the toner. I've refinished a cathedral & a tombstone thus far, but this radio cabinet is taking so much more time than those did!

Spent some time sanding the raised panel on the right side. I managed to get it done, then used the golden pecan stain, and then hit it with a few coats of clear lacquer. Not sure if I'll have time to start sanding/cleaning a bit of the decorative woodwork or not tonight, but it's warm outside and I'd like to. Then again, I'm listening to the Rave on Radio Halloween show . . . and that's a positive distraction.

Yesterday, I sanded some of the decorative areas on the radio for a while (maybe the day before as well, I forget). I don't think I mentioned it on here, but I don't have a good heated workshop area to be working on radio cabinets in the winter, so I've been working hard over the past month to finish this cabinet before winter strikes. I don't plan to do any lacquering in the house! I can always work on the electronics side of things when we have a few feet of snow on the ground.

Today's a big day with the cabinet because I'm disassembling a few parts of the cabinet and I'm hoping to do some more lacquering. Here's the front of the cabinet so far:

I'm hoping that I can use the Citristrip wash on the unfinished parts of the front panel to clean up those messes, and then the toner will cover a lot of the other issues with the finish.

Before I can move on too far, I need to remove the speaker and the remains of the grille cloth. The speaker is an absolute beast. I think the photo is deceptive because it's probably about 12" in diameter and weighs maybe 20 lbs. I'm psyched because it's made with a cone of what seems like coated canvas, so it's very solid, unlike the paper cones that are often fragile & flaking apart 80 years later.

I was able to remove the bottom screws from the speaker mounting base & pop the whole unit out. The cardboard with the grille cloth seemed to be attached with rubber cement, so I gently popped it out. Considering the power of the sun and UV light, I shouldn't be surprised at (but still am) how badly the grille cloth in so many old radios has deteriorated. Here's a good view of the extent of the damage--and also what the cloth looked like many, many years ago:

I finished the cabinet and installed new grille cloth in either December 2015 or January 2016, but I hadn't posted any photos on here. About a month ago, I found a comment asking if I'd finished the radio. As I mentioned there, I still need to replace the capacitors in the block and probably test the resistors. Regardless, here's what the cabinet looks like tonight.

Friday, February 21, 2014

My weekend logs: 2/21-2/24/14

Undercover Radio: 6925U, 2/22, 0300-0351* Dr. Benway with prerecorded programs and live shoutouts to listeners. Talk about the new t-shirts and helping Wounded Warriors. Into QSO with Redhat (X-FM) and Blues Traveler. I've never heard the latter. If Blues Traveler is reading this, I recorded the QSO at the end and can send an MP3, if you'd like.

Blues Traveler: 6925U, 2/22, *0400-0406* Blues Traveler thanks Dr. Benway again, then starts playing Gerry Rafferty "Baker Street." Presumably, this is still Blues Traveler. Not sure if that's the name of the op or the station. I guess Dr. Benway inspired someone else to give pirate radio a shot. Fair signal here & the audio sounds good. Off with "Man, I appreciate everything you do for the Wounded Warriors. God Bless." Please QSL?

Red Mercury Labs: 6925U, 2/22, 0407-0414* I just left the radio on after Blues Traveler and I can hear faint music underneath. Maybe Emerson, Lake, & Palmer? I think I'm hearing keyboards along those lines. Talk at 0414, but really weak. According to Bowman1 on HFU, this was actually Red Mercury Labs playing Doors "Riders on the Storm." Ha!

Unid: 6925U, 2/22, *0419+ "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Nice signal & audio, but off with no IDs.

Cool AM: 6925, 2/24, 2304+ Turtles "Happy Together," Blue Brothers "Soul Man" etc. I'd probably call this good/fair signalwise. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Auds'n'Ends: 2/20/14

Electricity was in the air on Saturday night.

Of course. This is radio. Any time a radio station is on the air, the signals are bouncing around the ionosphere.

But Saturday night, was different because Undercover Radio was on the air and with a lot of power. Again, this isn't anything new. Undercover radio often uses a lot of power and so does Wolverine Radio. Wolverine is often heard all around the world.

The difference is that approximately 40 listeners (from at least 18 different states and two Canadian provinces) reported the broadcast on the pirate forums. Shortwave broadcasting is supposedly dead and buried, but this was a fantastic turnout, just from those active loggers, let alone all of the listeners who heard the broadcast but didn't write about it.

To add to the incredible signal and the number of listeners, the audio was excellent as was the programming.

Dr. Benway took advantage of the excellent signals and captive audience to offer two-sided Undercover Radio t-shirts for sale, with "all funds raised going to the Wounded Warriors."

Good times listening to the radio.

* I'm selling off a few things on eBay to clear some space around here. Everything is starting really low, so I thought I'd mention them here. Ramsey FM-10 (working) starting at $4.99, a Hallicrafters HT-18 low-power CW/NBFM transmitter starting at $49.49, and a WiNRADiO WR-1550E software-defined receiver (SDR) starting at $4.99.

* My recording computer crashed this past weekend and I thought that I lost a few audio recordings + a few SSTV images (I did lose the audio, but the images were saved):

WRR aired a Radio Totse SSTV image

SSTV from Heat Man Radio (although it took me a bit to determine that it wasn't "Meat Man Radio")
* Considering the snow over the past two weeks, this movie should be particularly horrifying for people in some parts of the U.S. (especially in the South)

* Why is called the Winter Olympics when it could be called "4 hours of ice dancing every night for two weeks" ?

* Radio song of the day is Vladimir Ussachevsky "Wireless Fantasy"

* I hate to end this post on a sad note, but I received this e-mail tonight:

FINAL TRANSMISSION of Radio Spaceshuttle! (INFO-Wednesday 19/02/2014): Hello friends everywhere,

We have sad news to tell you dear listeners! Radio Spaceshuttle is making last programes to be aired in near future. We shall use one of our 76 mb frequencies 3900/ 3905 or 3927 kHz to these transmissions.

We do not know yet times or dates of these transmissions- It might be only one or two different sessions in the end of February or start of March 2014. We would like to have few hours to be aired but that is absolutly not sure.

After these transmissions we shall take our antenna masts and antennas down and do not really know shall we ever return to airwaves  again :(
We shall put our equipments to good warehouse waiting for better times (if there ever are such).

Radio Spaceshuttle wish as many listeners as possible to try our frequencies during The Final Countdown. Please try direct or with any remote receiver to catch us! We like to receive your tapes, music wishes or memories of short history of Radio Spaceshuttle. Send your audiofiles and other material as soon as possible to our e-mail : . Or send link to your audio source, please.

Many thanks all dear listeners! It has been so fun....
Good Bye, this is Radio Spaceshuttle's call for our LAST FINAL transmissions!

Please use our email-address or send your report to our mail box:
Radio Spaceshuttle International
P.O.Box 2702
Herten The Netherlands

Best greetings- May God Bless You (and us),
Dick of Radio Spaceshuttle

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My weekend loggings: 2/15-2/17/14

WRR: 6925U, 2/14, ca2230+ Tuned in, but had to leave, so I hit Record. Layers of pescador QRM here, with WRR somewhere near the top. Easy to pick out the old country music, but tough to copy when he went to talking because everyone was talking at the same time. Copied a Radio Totse SSTV during the broadcast.

Unid: 6867, 2/15, 1433-1441* Devo "Praying Hands," "Shrivel Up," & "Strange Pursuit." Static crashes, but pretty nice signal here. Off with no IDs. Maybe a homebrew transmitter test? If so, the audio sounded great here.

Unid (but Cool AM relay per HFU): 6924.5, 2/15, 1645 I was trying to save some of the accumulation of unsaved pirate recordings currently on the recording laptop when I turned the R-5000 back on & had a carrier near 6925. I punched in a few freqs to try to get it more accurate (the tuning knob is frozen on my R-5000) and the signal disappeared. Per Chris Smolinski on HFU, it was Cool AM.

Cool AM relay: 6925, 2/15, 2027 Here with Golden Earring "Twilight Zone" at 2027. Clear ID at 2035. Fair signal

Heat Man Radio: 6935U, 2/15, 2255+ Good signal with Velvet Underground, into song "Television will Not Be Revolutionized," computer music & now SSTV

CYOT: 6960, 2/15, 2255 Don't have much here aside from the carrier. ID from logs on HFU

WEAK Radio: 6925U, 2/15-16, 2338+ Pretty good signal with music. Clear computer-voiced IDs from when the station was on regularly five years ago. Kraftwerk "Pocket Calculator" and more. Great to hear WEAK back on the 3rd anniversary of its raid!"Sweet Home Alabama," Minor Threat "Small Man, Big Mouth"--interesting mix

Radio Free Whatever: 6925U, 2/16, 0105-0206+ Sign on with USSR national anthem, Dickweed & Stephen talking about progress with the t-shirt campaign. Super signal here. Reel Big Fish "Sell Out" and more

X-FM: 6925, 2/16 Tuned in during Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody"Good signal

Bangalore Poacher: 6925U, 2/16, 2026+ Numbers station parody with an Indian-sounding numbers announcer. fair signal

Undercover Radio: 6925U, 2/16, ca2340+ Incredible signal, with stories about Dr. Benway's 1st broadcast in 1977, setting his Viking II on fire. Into old shows, such as New Year's 2003/2004, etc. More than 30 people logged this one on HFU, and it was well heard in Europe!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snowstorm Pax loggings: 2/13-2/14/14

The snow is falling here and coincidentally or not, pirates are on the air. I missed Cool AM, but:

Captain Morgan: 6924.5, 2/13, 0203+ Excellent signal here with one of the captain's short '60s/'70s songs shows and the "Twilight Zone" theme.

Unid: 6925, 2/13, 1802+ Saw on HFU that Radio Free Whatever was on the air at 1700, checked the radio and something is here, but it's too weak for me to know if it's RFW. I have it recording and I think it's about time for me to shovel the driveway.

Cool AM relay: 6925, 2/13, 2205+ Fair here. Listened for about 10 min. and went back out and shoveled some more. Not sure about the snow total here, but I think it was about 12-16"

Auds'n'Ends: 2/12/14

I've been watching the news and hearing stories about everything that's going on with the upcoming snow storm on the East Coast. Schools are already closed in Washington, DC, Virginia has National Guard troops ready and it's being reported as a superstorm from North Carolina through Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and more.

Whenever I hear of massive snowstorms, I think about WFAT and, especially, WONS. WFAT (formerly WCPR) regularly broadcast during severe snowstorms from Brooklyn, New York. The idea was that if the streets were clogged and the streets were closed, then the FCC wouldn't be able to travel to close stations.

In addition to the extra safety, the snow made for some festive broadcasts. The WFAT and WONS ("snow" backwards) snowstorm broadcasts often started around 0400 UTC and would sometimes last until as early as 1200 UTC. I remember seeing an article on WONS years ago (I believe in the '90s and in 73 Magazine).

I searched around on the Internet and couldn't find anything from WONS, unfortunately. However, the station featured call-ins to telco loop numbers on frequencies in 43 meters. Searching through some of my own archives, I found broadcasts from WONS in January and April 1979 on 6945 kHz and 6955 kHz. FYI, WONS and WARG were, to the best of my knowledge, two of the first pirates to use this frequency range.

WFAT later changed its name to WGUT (for AM broadcasts) and to WHOT (for FM broadcasts). The crew from the station posted a link to their snowstorm broadcast from January 10, 1984. Whether or not any station decides to take to the airwaves for this snowstorm, this show will give you something to listen to while watching the flakes fall.

* The 3rd anniversary of the FCC raid on WEAK Radio is February 16. Thanks to some assistance from generous pirates, WEAK has returned for a new broadcast each of the past two years. In the spirit of listening to old shows, here's a link to four hours of WEAK from August 3-4, 2009, on 6940 kHz USB.

* I received this e-mail from Tom Taylor of European Music Radio:
European Music Radio Relay on 16th of February 2014
EMR  08.00 to 09.00 UTC  Gohren / 7265 KHz  Stewart Ross
EMR  09.00 to 10.00 UTC  Gohren / 9480 KHz  Tom & Mike Taylor
EMR  09.00 to 10.00 UTC  Nauen /  6045 KHz  Tom & Mike Taylor
Please send all E.M.R. reports to:  Thank you!

EMR Internet repeats on Sunday and Monday:    
Programme repeats are at the following times: 08:00, 13:00,17:00, 20:00 UTC
Please visit and click on the “EMR internet radio” button
which you will find throughout the website (see the menu on the left).

* While I was searching for info on WONS, I found that back issues of 73 Magazine are now in the public domain. Here's the link for downloads.

* The radio song of the day is not really a radio song. But it fits my mood. "Let It Snow" by Dean Martin.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Loggings 2/10/14

XLR8: 6925U, 2/10, 2344-2348*+ Clear IDs & rock music over pescador conversation.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

My weekend logs: 2/7-2/10/14

Unid: 6925, 2/8, 1450 Reported on HFU, but I could only hear some carrier.

WHYP: 6925, 2/8, 2215+ Tuned in to James talking about how he's been working on a new project--he built a new modulator for a Heath DX-40 and has it on the air. He shut it down and came back up after a few minutes with the Viking Valiant II transmitter and Dixieland jazz. The DX-40 was good with occasional fades. The Valiant II is strapping here.

Wolverine Radio: 6950U, 2/9, 0204+ Tuned in just in time to catch an SSTV image of a street scene...and into more music. Looks like it's a double program night

Black Cat Radio: 6925U, 2/9, 0204+ Clear ID and some garagey instrumental music that sounds a bit Arabic influenced with the guitar solos. Kind of a Dick Dale sound. Sounds like an ad of some sort at 0219. Signal is fair, but has that "far away" kind of sound to it.

Auds'n'Ends: 2/7/14

Henry hoped the homeowner's association wouldn't notice his new inverted L

* With so much snow in various parts of North America this year, remember to turn on the radio when the storm is pounding down snow or ice. Some station might decide to either broadcast from a snowbound area or to potential listeners who are home from school or work. I didn't think about the possibilities earlier this week and missed a few broadcasts.

* I received a few QSLs recently from WHYP, The Crystal Ship, Channel Z, Frederic Chopin Radio, etc. If I write on the blog more often, I should have some more illustrations to keep things happening.

* Kilokat7 wrote an excellent in-depth account of WJDI, a station that, for the days it was on the air, had possibly the best signal of any medium wave station in North America. Even in '89, when the power was "down around a kilowatt," it could be heard across much of the eastern half of North America. Between the tremendous power of 10+ kW and the better propagation of 1620 kHz (as opposed to the low end of the band), WJDI had tremendous coverage in its later broadcasts.

* I guess the propagation on the high bands has been poor lately. I've had the R-5000 sitting on 27700 kHz for most of the week, but I've only had bits of a few SSTV images decoding. Nothing in the images were identifiable and no callsigns were visible.

* Don't forget about the Radio Free Whatever t-shirt sale. Whether you're at the Olympics in Sochi or talking to the president of your homeowner's association about your new inverted L antenna, they're sure to make an impression.

* Time for another song about radio: REM "Radio Song"

* Here's news from a private operation that leases time on licensed stations: Atlantic 2000 will be on the air this Sunday 9th of February from 09:00 to 10:00 UTC (10:00 to 11:00 CET) on 7310 and 9480 kHz. The programme will be streaming at the same time on our website.