Thursday, November 2, 2017

Six Takeaways from Halloween

I follow baseball and football and tend to read clickbait articles, like “Winners and Losers from Week 8,” “The Worst Trades in Pirates History,” and “Minor League Free Agents, Round 1.” Reporting sports and writing about pirate radio are apples and oranges . . . or maybe baseballs and baluns. In general, the two are so different that almost no skills overlap. I won't get into why, but if people took the same approach to writing about radio as sports is analyzed an dissected, we'd have some angry hobbyists.

That's not my goal. The end game here is just to give radio fans a little something extra to read. Some click bait or maybe low-brow reading about high tech.

Halloween was a great time. Lots of stations, big signals, fun programming, DX opportunities, etc. Thanks to all of the broadcasters who took the time, energy, and risks involved to entertain some shortwave fans. I dropped everything to listen on Halloween, which is more than I can say about even this year's World Series.

I didn't make up a list of expectations for the holiday, but I did have some in the back of my mind. First of all, I did expect that some pirates would be on the air and it did happen. But a list of expected events that did happen would be boring, so here is a list of things that I expected to happen that didn't and a list of things that did happen that I didn't expect.

What didn't happen:
  • No medium-wave pirate activity. I had a feeling that either some old AM pirate or, more likely, a current shortwave pirate would run a test on 1710 or 1720 kHz. Didn't happen.
  • Almost no seasonal-only stations. Creepy Radio was it. No Halloween Radio, Radio Halloween, Satan Radio, WAHR, The Count, The Ghost Shortwave, Great Pumpkin, Germany Calling, Witch City Radio, Pumpkin Patch Radio, or Voice of the Abnormal.
  • Limited West Coast activity. I didn't see a bunch of listeners from the West, like I had seen in the past few years. Also, I didn't get the impression that broadcasts were coming from that part of the world.

What did happen:

  • International pirates. The last time I remember hearing international activity on Halloween was in 1992, when it happened on a weekend and when we were having a Pirate Pages DXpedition and letting everyone know we'd be listening. Then, we heard Radio Pirana International from South America and Radio Silverbird from Holland. This year, Radio Voyager was reported by a number of listeners, Lupo Radio was on from Argentina, and Laser Hot Hits was easily audible. Voyager and Lupo both were on much later than normal.
  • Shows above 80 meters. I'm sure that a number of casual pirate listeners tuning around 6925 kHz missed the activity, but WHYP and Radio Free Whatever were cranking on 4065 kHz for a number of hours with great success in terms of coverage and signal strength.
  • Canadian listeners. Apparently, a DXpedition was in progress in the Great White North, but it was great to see a bunch of Canadian loggings again

1 comment:

  1. Ah, it would be great to hear the Purple Pumpkin again!