Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekend Pirate Loggings: 7/26-7/28/14

Weekend Pirate Loggings: 7/26-7/28/14

Test: Radio GSV from Scotland said the station will be testing to North America on 6965 kHz with music and IDs at 0330 UTC tonight. The station tested with Morse code a day or so ago, but it wasn't really heard, so we'll see how if the propagation improves.

L0de Radio: 6930U, 7/26, ca.0400 Fair signal, but not quite strong enough to sit back and understand everything. All telephone callins. I hit record so that I could go back & hear the show on headphones.

stuck in the office for part of today, so I was listening to Dutch MW pirates via the University of Twente web receiver:

Radio Odynn: 1628, 7/26, 2040+ Extremely strong & nice audio with music by Stray Cats, Ramones, Aerosmith, Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Madness, & later Dolly Parton singing "Stairway to Heaven." Professional-sounding IDs and announcements in both English and Dutch.

Unid: 1620, 7/26, 2040+ Good signal with schlager music. I was mostly staying on 1628 kHz, hoping that I'd hear an ID there first. I think it went off around 2100 or so.

Unid: 1636.5, 7/26, 2040+ This one was almost entirely schlager, but I did hear a couple of songs in English. I think this is the station that played ABBA "Knowing Me, Knowing You," but I'm typing this from memory. This station even played a yodeling song! Another extremely strong signal, but I didn't hear any talk or IDs.

Passed by a couple of other stations... I think one was 1648 & another one was around 1665 kHz.

Loggings from PA, USA:
Tip & Elvis Radio Show: 6220, 7/26, 2315 The Dutch theme of the day continues with this one. Thunderstorm crashes are making this difficult, but the signal is good for this time of day. I'm hoping to find my headphone adapter so that I can dig out some details from the noise.

Radio Free Whatever: 6925U, 7/27, 0212+ Very strong, but really "watery" sounding signal--kinda like low-bit-rate streaming audio. Canned station ID, then long pause and Dick Weed & Stephen mentioning that maybe that hard drive failed. But more music from a new drive. Talk about wearing lavendar-scented Hefty garbage bags as ponchos to sleep in, or just for comfort. It's been a month or maybe a couple months since I've heard RFW.

Wolverine Radio: 6940U, 7/27, 0216+ About the same strength as RFW. "Dream Lover," ID "Dream, Dream, Baby" "California Dreamin'" "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night." I think I might have an idea what the theme of tonight's show is. Nice to hear Wolverine R again, too.

And here's the SSTV image from the end of the show:

After Wolverine signed off, another station was on 6940 kHz USB with music and an SSTV image:

Liquid Radio (per HFU log): 6925.2, 2/27, 0410+ carrier here. Not sure if it's a pirate or if so, who it is, but I'm assuming that it's one. Left the radio room to get the computer & update the blog and the carrier was gone

Unid: 6960L, 2/27, 0419+ Decent signal here in heavy static crashes with bits of different music genres, announcements, etc. On & off the air a lot. A couple different announcements in Spanish. Thanks to Skipmuck for the tip on this one. Until I hear more that shows otherwise, I'm thinking pescadore broadcast

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

HOPE X Follow up: 7/22/14

HOPE X Follow up: 7/22/14

I can see that I planned the trip to HOPE X backwards. We arrived in NYC on Thurs. morning and spent the day walking 7+ miles around the city. We saw some cool stuff and I got a few pics of different Toynbee tiles up 5th Ave.

I was dreading speaking on Friday & woke up at 4:30 AM, after dreaming that I'd been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor (yes, it was just a dream!). I walked down to the Hotel Pennsylvania and registered in the morning and spent the next few hours writing a bit more of the talk. In the end, I wrote about 10 pages and threw out two.

There were a number of talks that I wanted to see, but I felt that I needed to try to focus on mine. So, I puttered around a while. More than 3,000 people attended HOPE X in person and the three conference rooms were packed. Pretty unnerving, but after some prayer time, I calmed down and gave a pretty lifeless talk, but at least I didn't stumble too much or say something crazy because my mind went blank.

Thanks to the graciousness of the attendees and the cool stuff that pirates have done on shortwave, I heard positives from a number of people afterward. We had to leave almost immediately after the talk, which was unfortunate because I'd like to have sat around and talked to people individually about shortwave and pirate radio.

One comment/question that I got during the talk was about the paint scheme of Radio Nordsea International's ship, the Mebo II. My apology to the guy who commented on it because I was focused on trying to get as much of the talk in as possible and I just kinda kept going. But it really was a good comment.

I showed an image of the Mebo II and ad libbed about how it was hard to miss the ship because of its color scheme. He mentioned that it was razzle dazzle camouflage that was used extensively in World War I. The concept was that people are going to see the ship anyway, so you might as well paint a bunch of crazy angles on it and maybe a U-boat or opposing ship will have problems with depth perception, etc. and miss the ship.

I've been reading bits about Radio Nordsea International for years, but I don't really anyone ever mentioning that it was painted in razzle dazzle camouflage. I've seen in a number of radio articles that the writers mentioned the "psychedelic" paint scheme. It seems that the station personnel must have known something about razzle dazzle camo, but especially considering that the station was anchored in place and had the giant radio towers, I'd think that it was more of a joke or "cool factor" than anything--especially considering how often they displayed their ship in publicity materials.

And here are some photos of razzle dazzle ships from World War I.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekend Loggings: 7/19-7/21/14

Weekend Loggings: 7/19-7/21/14

Radio Ga-Ga?: 6925U, 7/20, 0050+ "Blitzkrieg Bop" & "Somebody Put Something in My Drink" by The Ramones. I guess this is a Tommy Ramone tribute

Radio True North: 6925, 7/20, 0400+ Signal on the weak side of fair. I recorded it, but I need to sift through the recording for some details.

I received a couple of SSTV images from Red Man Radio while the receiver was on overnight:


 YHWH: 15655, 7/20, 1624+ I seem to have some local noise on the frequency. The signal is really weak, so I'm just getting enough faint fade ups to to hear the main announcer speaking (but it's not copyable again this time). My best reception of YHWH was definitely up on 21 MHz.

MAC: 6950, 7/21, 0020+ Excellent signal with Jimmy Stewart show on MAC. Novelty song "I Love a Murder Mystery." Live timechecks, IDs, e-mail address, talking about Donna Reed and the variations between the script and how It's a Wonderful Life actually turned out. Song announced as "Tuck Me to Sleep,"but I believe the actual title is "My Old Kentucky Home." An Artie Shaw instrumental. James Stewart weather report.

Captain Morgan: 6950, 7/21, 0018+ Excellent signal, Just heard sign on with '50s rock. Great to hear the captain again! Unfortunately, I was out and just got caught this in the chunk of time that I was recording MAC.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Links for HOPE Conference

Links for HOPE Conference

I'll be linking a number of topics from my presentation here so that you (people from the HOPE conference) can have more background information. I might be adding some of these links over the course of the next few days, depending on how much wi-fi connectivity I have.

Forums, the lifeblood of modern pirate DXing:

Free Radio Cafe
HF Underground

An monthly magazine about shortwave listening in the PDF format is The Spectrum Monitor.

Wow, I added a bunch of links this morning and I just checked back in and everything that I added is gone.

OK, let's try to reinstate some of this information:

Here's an article from On the Shortwaves on Dave Thomas of WUMS (not Wendy's). And here's one of the few modern-day perceptions on Dave, written by Harry Helms.

I forgot to add a link to the photo of an SX-28A, but you can find plenty of photos and a lot more information about the model here.

I mention the BC-610 transmitter being left behind in post-war Europe (along with a lot of other radio equipment). The BC-610 was one of the key components of the SCR-299 communications truck. Here's an article on the topic, but alas there are no photos. But Wikipedia comes through with a short article and some photos of the equipment in use.

Dave Martin of WNKR has been experimenting with small, low-power, battery-operated transmitters for years, including the famous Corsair and Corsette transmitters. Here is his page, complete with plans, parts placement, schematics, photos, etc.

One of the best places to pick up radio equipment, whether for shortwave or amateur radio is Universal Radio. They have a lot of information posted about current and obsolete equipment, so it's a really handy resource.

There are a bunch of websites dedicated to weird shortwave phenomena. Here's one called Mystery Signals of the Shortwave. Here is the Dark Side of Shortwave Radio. comes through with The 5 Creepiest Unexplained Broadcasts. Here's a listing of what numbers stations might be on during the current hour.

The Pirate Radio Annual is a book that's approximately 190 pages and it chronicles the stations that are on in a given year. It also contains a CD-R of audio snippets from stations that were on (usually anywhere from 60-70 minutes in length and audio from 65-75 different stations. The 2014 edition is still in the process of being written, so it is not yet available. Last year's edition came out in December, so it still could be some time. If you'd like to place an advance order, the price is $18 in the US (15 + 3 shipping), $25 to Canada (includes $10 shipping), and $28 to the rest of the world (includes $13 shipping). PayPal is: info /a/

Here is a link to MMSSTV, the program that I use to decode SSTV images from such pirates as Wolverine Radio.

If you don't own a shortwave radio and are interested in the subject, would you like to do a test run in the convenience of your own home? A number of software-defined radios are online. They're located around the world and they vary a lot in the number of users, etc. The one at the University of Twente in Holland is a favorite because every user to checks in "has the radio to himself (or herself)"--with some other SDRs, there is "only one radio" and you have to share the tuning, bandwidth controls, etc. with other listeners. This receiver is also nice because it's really close to a lot of shortwave and AM band (medium wave) pirates in Holland. Here are links to a number of other SDRs, but unfortunately, a lot of these are amateur bands only; nice if you want to check out ham communications, but not so great if you want to hear pirates or "oddities of the spectrum."

Last night, I took photos of a few weird things around:

Toynbee Tile on 5th Ave. I think this was at the intersection of 56th St.
A different tile. You can see just how busy the street is where the tile is located. I think this is at the corner of 5th & 45th

A squashed, unreadable tile
The real Frank Olson room. Room 1018

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Auds'n'Ends: 7/15/14

Auds'n'Ends: 7/15/14

I don’t know of any pirates that operated during World War II, but the events of the era proved the importance of shortwave radio. Shortwave is sometimes dismissed by the government budget cutters as just a quaint, obsolete medium. Pirates have been dismissed as “kids playing radio.”

But . . . if you read personal accounts of World War II or even watch movies, one of the key points is broadcasting, usually by the BBC. The BBC was the lifeblood of freedom. Even though the Axis controlled the skies of Europe, along with the governments, the press, the roads, and the seas, they could not stop the shortwave radio signals from entering their territory.

Today, the Internet is the information highway. More music, newspapers, magazines, and opinions can be found on the Internet than had been published in any given year ever. But with the click of a button, sites can be removed or blocked. Postings can be traced. And posters can be jailed.

If you travel to North Korea, you won’t be accessing the Internet or your smart phone. You won’t be accessing any unrestricted media, unless you own a shortwave radio. Because Kim Jong Un can stop anything from happening in his country, except he can’t stop Dennis Rodman from making a fool of himself and he can’t stop shortwave signals.

I’m not saying that shortwave radio or pirate radio makes a healthy democracy, but I do feel that it’s a component of one.

* I hate to say it again, but I feel like I have to mention it one last time. I'll have a pirate radio presentation at the HOPE X convention that's being put on by 2600 magazine. It's happening on Friday at 1 PM EDT in in the Frank Olson room on the 18th floor of the Hotel Pennsylvania. I've been spending a lot of time writing the presentation and hoping to not wind up on a YouTube ultimate fails video.

* I'm not sure what to make of the latest Germany Calling station that's been on the air. Have any of the station's announcements been recent or have they all been from the English service of the  German Reichssender system during World War II. I heard about 30 minutes of a recent broadcast and heard several Lord Haw-Haw's announcements. But, I've been seeing the station ID'd as "Lord Hee-Haw." I'm not sure if new announcements were added with this different ID or if listeners mis-heard the ID? Regardless, the station was playing WWII-era music by Charlie and His Orchestra. Here's a good set of links to their music, plus some information about their propaganda.

* I've found a bunch of audio of stations that I need to write reception reports to. Sorry to everyone that I've been slow in writing to.

* And here's the song about radio for this Auds'n'Ends: The Clash "London Calling." I read about how Joe Strummer spent a lot of his childhood in India and regularly listened to the BBC to stay in touch.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekend Loggings: 7/11-7/13/14

Weekend Loggings: 7/11-7/13/14

Old Time Radio unid: 6770, 7/11, 2200-2230+ Listened to comedy programming for a while, but didn't hear what program it was. Heard the NBC chimes at the end of the show. Checked in on the frequency at about 0300 UTC & the station was off the air.

Generation Wild 100: 6930U, 7/12, approx. 0330. Excellent signal with nice SSB audio. Pro-sounding IDs that might've been spliced together bits of ID.


non-pirate logs

Gander International Airport: 6622U, 7/12, 0515+ Communications with Delta 262. According to Google, this flight left NYC at 9:52 PM & should arrive in Dublin, Ireland, at 9:12 AM (Dublin time). Other flights included American 120 to Paris and United 982 to Kuwait.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pirate Loggings: 7/10/14

Pirate Loggings: 7/10/14

Unid Old-Time Radio Station: 6770, 7/9, 1200, 2100, etc. Good signal with OTR comedies

Germany Calling (?): 6925U, 7/10, 0423+ Nice signal with big band music, including "Thanks for the Memories" & "Let's Go Slumming." I've heard four songs so far & no IDs at the breaks. ID of Germany Calling, taken from the WWII-era broadcasts from the DJx stations. Not sure if this is the pirate Germany Calling or if someone else is reusing those IDs. In the past, the Germany Calling pirate had only used 6940 kHz and AM, not this freq or mode. Later, played at least one WWII-era German parody of a US song: a version of "Let's Go Slumming" was played with the lyrics of "Let's go shelling, where they're dwelling." <a few songs later> a whole bunch of instrumental big band songs later and I'm falling asleep at the radio. It's too late . . . A bunch of high-speed CW at 0500 UTC & then the big band music continued.


MARS (military amateur radio service) net: 6823U, 7/10, 0030+ Good signals. A frequency for pirates to avoid.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Auds'n'Ends: 7/8/14

Auds'n'Ends: 7/8/14

I guess it's no surprise that being interested in radio and radio propagation, I would also be fascinated with website propagation. Marketing people would just call this demographics, but I how many marketers have an interest in shortwave.

I understand why people from North America or western Europe stumble across my site; the majority of pirates and pirate radio DXers are located in these regions. But sometimes I'll notice a flair up of activity some week from a particular country and I wonder what's going on. One week, I might get a huge surge of activity from Poland and I'm wondering if someone is really reading pages? Or are they skimming through pages, saying "No, that's not it, no, not here, either." Or maybe it's just spammers, looking for pirate e-mail addresses where they can send ads for "Genu!ne R01ex Repr0duction$," "generic Cialis," or "discount Photoshop downloads."

With that in mind, I welcome the large numbers of people from Turkey, China, and Russia, who have been checking the site over the past week. I hope that you have an interest in radio or grow to have an appreciation of the subject.

* For those who are interested in my talk on pirate radio at the Hope X conference, I have word that it will be on Friday, July 18 at 1 pm in the Frank Olsen room on the 18th floor of the Hotel Pennsylvania.

* I have no idea how to present at a conference. In the past, I've tried just winging it, but I've found that this technique leads to very uncomfortable moments that I spend years trying to forget. So, this year, I've been writing everything down. Once I get everything written that I feel is necessary, I'll try a dry run, talking & running audio clips. From, there, I'll try trimming it down to the required length. That said, last night I lost the first two pages that I'd written. After 90 minutes of looking and wondering how I could've lost them, I tracked them down and breathed a sigh of relief. We'll see if I can manage to finish the presentation and manage to not lose it on my way to NYC.

The top's been finished, but I still have a long way to go
* I've done a little more work on the Philco 87 receiver that I've been slowly, slowly restoring. I've been sanding it on my porch. This week, I've been working on its legs and I tested lacquer toner on one. Not perfect, but I think it looks decent. I'm hoping to have more updates later in the week, but if you're checking, the thread is here.

* The OTR unid on 6770 kHz seems to go off the air about once every week or two. It seems to be off the air again as I type this. I notice that since the last time that it went off the air, it seems to have a weaker signal and also weaker audio. Yesterday & the day before, there seemed to be times when there was no audio, just a dead carrier. I'm hoping that it will be back soon and with a good signal again.

* I'm a bit frustrated with my Goldentone radio project. Hmm...not sure where the link for it is. Eventually, I'll get back to it in one way or another

* Undercover Radio was featured in a general pirate radio article in Radio World on July 3, as noted by Al Fansome on HFU. The focus in on Dr. Benway's t-shirt sale and the donation he's making to the Wounded Warriors project. Good stuff all around.

* A guy is suing ESPN for $10 million for showing him on TV while he was sleeping at a Yankees-Red Sox game. Seems to me that the fear of lawsuits is one thing that has made U.S. broadcasting really boring. In an era when it seems that everyone is offended by something, it takes a special type of bland programming to not offend anyone. I'm neither a judge nor do I have any experience in law studies, but I would assume that a lawsuit would be considered to have more merit if the names of the defendants were spelled correctly. (It's "Kruk," not "Kruck")

* I haven't heard Horizon FM from the Canary Islands recently, so I'm not sure if it's still active on shortwave, but the broadcasts are still listed on their website. Hope it will return again soon!

* I want to do more than just type Auds'n'Ends today, so I'll close for now. It's time for a radio-related song for this edition. We've been getting a lot of hits on the site from around the world (as mentioned earlier), so I'll pick a favorite of North American pirates over about the past decade: Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day Weekend 2014 loggings

Independence Day Weekend 2014 loggings

I was away and had company for most of Independence Day, but made it to the radio for a bit. Nice to hear at least three stations on the air at the same time for the first time in a few months, I believe.

Old-Time Radio Unid: 6770, 7/5, 0405+ Old-time radio show. Conditions must be better because it's at S9+20 for the first time in about two weeks (it's been peaking at about S9 here lately). Maybe a different transmitter or antenna than had been used?

X-FM: 6945, 7/5, 0403+ Good signal with Golden Earring "When the Bullet Hits the Bone." Redhat with announcements, shoutouts to the UK, e-mail address, mentioned HFU, FRN, FRC.

KCPR: 6925U, 7/5, 0403+ Sounds like two stations mixing here. ID per HFU logs, but I don't know which is the stronger of the two stations I'm hearing. I have it recording. . . .
Hmm, I guess I need to check this over more closely. This was either all or mostly KCPR because I heard the CW and copied the SSTV image. My best signal for KCPR thus far. Some very old country songs near the end.

MAC Shortwave: 6950.4, 7/5, 2342+ DJ Jimmy Stewart with accurate time checks in all 5 timezones in the mainland US & Canada. Excellent signal

Generation Wild 100: 6925U, 7/6, 0219+ Instrumental guitar music. The needle is sitting at S9+30! FM radio-type ID. Excellent audio. I'd wonder if this was Wolverine Radio, except that Wolverine is on at the same time. Some instrumental jazz, too.

Wolverine Radio: 6950U, 7/6, 0219-0230* "Brown-Eyed Girl" "Green-Eyed Lady" Excellent signal and audio. No SSTV at QRT tonight. A different op thanked Wolverine on the frequency, just after the show ended.

Yesterday, I was also away most of the day, but I did receive some SSTV images from WRMR, Redman Radio, a new station: