Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Dairy Dome + update

Many current North American pirate listeners will remember that Pirate Radio Boston was an excellent verifier and had a series of QSLs of scenes from the Boston area. One QSL that I received featured the Dairy Dome, a fitting QSL for someone who likes ice cream as much as I do. The Dairy Dome looked like an iconic place, with a gilded dome reminiscent of Middle Eastern architecture and columns throughout.

Unfortunately, the Dairy Dome was torn down today. I haven't looked up a history of the business or of the location yet, but my guess is that it's a bit like old Tiger Stadium; once the Tigers left, the stadium was torn down. Once PRB retired, the Dairy Dome held on for a year, but the final outcome was obvious.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Global HF Weekend Day 3

In years past, day 3 was good for high-frequency tests (19 & 13m) in the morning through the afternoon hours. Mostly tests from Europe, but some from North America, too. Given the conditions on the high frequencies, it seems unlikely that we'll have much (any?) activity up there today, but we'll see.

Not sure what's going on with Iann's pirate chat, but I can't log in at all. I had gone for years with automatically being able to log in any time I wanted, but now when I do, I get the typical "SnoogieDumplings" or whatever login name that you get when the system doesn't recognize you, but when I try to send a message or anything else, it gives me a network error. In the past, I could send messages & be recognized by the admins.

On a positive note, I received my November copy of the Spectrum Monitor last week. If you don't know what the Spectrum Monitor is, it's a PDF-only magazine about radio and DXing. It has many of the old columnists from Monitoring Times, so I tend to think of it as a PDF version of MT. The latest issue has an excellent buyer's guide for portable radios, written by Thomas Witherspoon, who is probably the best-known current reviewer of these receivers, at least in North America. Another great feature is the new equipment at WBCQ, including photos of their monster 200-ton rotatable antenna! Year subscriptions are $24 for issues & back issues are $3 apiece.

Yeti Radio: 6927, 11/4, 1258+ After tuning around 19m and listening to All India Radio on 15030 kHz for a bit, I tuned to 6925 and heard the splatter from a strong SSTV signal. Nice to finally hear something with a strong signal! Unfortunately, I didn't have a computer hooked up with that receiver that had MMSSTV running, so I couldn't decode it. ID per Chris at HFU.

Ion Radio: 6930, 11/4, 1750+ I saw the carrier on the Winradio with the makeshift antenna, but couldn't hear anything. Ran up to the Drake & it's coming in but really weak. On HFU, some listeners posted SSTV images, including one about Global HF Weekend.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Global HF Weekend Day 2

1146 UTC: OK, I need to get rolling and put up a makeshift antenna (and probably also haul down my main antenna to check its center-point connections).

One thing that I should have mentioned last night are the European stations that are broadcasting on a daily basis and often put a signal of some sort into North America:

5780 Zenith Classic Rock
6205 Laser Hot Hits
6230 Coast FM
6318 Radio Sovereign

Of course, the best chance to hear any of these stations will be sometime from a couple of hours before sunset until maybe an hour or two before sunrise.

1518 UTC: Have a make-shift antenna up & I did a quick check on the center connections of the inverted V. Doesn't look like anything has disconnected, so I'm not sure what the problem is. At least I do have a logging:

unid: 6927, 11/3, 1444-1447* Pretty good carrier, but still pretty noisy. Two songs & off.

Some logs via the Twente SDR:

Everything seems to be skipping long in Europe, so most activity audible on the Twente SDR is on medium wave.

1657, 11/3, 1837+ Johnny Cash "Man in Black," '50s or '60s instrumental elevator music, techno, polkas, Steve'n'Seagulls "Thunderstruck," Rolling Stones "Honky Tonk Women" so quite a variety. Excellent signal.

1647, 11/3, 1845+ Leonard Cohen "So Long, Marianne," yodeling, excellent signal

1629, 11/3, 1847+ Travelling Wilburys "Handle Me with Care." Excellent signal, Male DJ came on with talk in Dutch. I think he said hi to "Martin." I think he also mentioned "impedance" and "Alabama" QRT sometime around 1858.

Friday, November 2, 2018

GHFW Loggings? 11/2/18

Wow, is my antenna OK? I just tried to tune in X-FM and I only have a carrier. Is the hot element of my dipole shorted out? I dunno. I guess I need to put up some sort of makeshift antenna by tomorrow to compare against my regular one.

So, here's my "log"

X-FM: 6885, 11/3, 0025+ Carrier only. Ugh.

Global HF Weekend starts tonight!

I haven't been e-mailing everyone and their brother (or sister) about this Global HF Weekend because I've been trying to finish the Pirate Radio Annual instead (and working on the woodshed so that I don't need the glowing tubes of the SP-600 & R-390A to stay warm this winter).

Not sure if other people have been spreading the word about the weekend or not, but with a DXpedition in Newfoundland, I'd expect that some pirates will be testing for the land of red dirt and Anne of Green Gables. One of the DXpeditioners posted a comment on prior blog entry here, so they're likely to notice if some pirate posts a test in the comments section below. Their focus is on medium-wave stations, so my guess is that any North American pirates who want to test for them would probably be more likely to be heard if they operate between 1710 and 1750 kHz. Using a split channel (any frequency within the band that ends in a "5") might also work, but that could cause some nasty interference to the stations on either side channel.

The DXpeditioners (and others) will also be checking the European pirate frequencies. So, we'll see how it all goes.

During the last Global HF Weekend, Lupo Radio (Argentina) was relayed in North America, which I thought was pretty cool. Definitely the spirit of what it's all about. Speaking of which, I've been seeing tons of logs of Brazilian pirates lately. I don't know if these operators ever check into HF Underground, FRN.net, or Free Radio Cafe, but it would be great if some of these guys would "plug into" the existing scenes (a good example would back in the 1990s when stations like AARS, Radio Blandengue, and Radio Cochiguaz from South America were trading programs with European and North American stations). Made for some really interesting radio listening!


On a previous post a few days ago, I mentioned not remembering offhand any pirates using 120m. One listener commented about Radio Gabanzo using 90m back in '87. I didn't remember that, but it got me thinking about 120m. I know I've heard of pirates using the area, but I think it was a long time ago (or maybe not even in North America). My mind keeps sticking on a photo QSL that was in PopComm from WHY back around '83, but I think that was some 90m freq, like 3405 kHz.


Thanks to Ion Radio, Radio Ga-Ga, and Radio Illuminati for the recent eQSLs! I'm not including the Ion Radio one here because it's a duplicate (except for details) of one I just posted a couple of days ago.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Global HF Weekend Starts tomorrow

It's almost time for the Global HF Weekend for this fall (they happen the 1st weekend of November and the 1st weekend of April every year)! And it seems like only yesterday that it was Halloween

If you are planning a test, feel free to e-mail it to me (I won't post the station name) or post it in the comments section below.

Just received a QSL from Ion Radio for the pre-Halloween broadcast. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween loggings, etc.

It's Halloween. I took a vacation day from work. It's beautiful outside, so I'm working on a woodshed and I'm downloading Winradio software onto a different computer. And maybe I'll even put up another dipole. Hopefully, I'll have the Winradio and the R-8 both running tonight.

Speaking of night, I wonder how the propagation will be? Channel Z was skipping out looong last night on 4075 kHz, making it to California with a weak signal and the carrier was audible in Brazil! I made the comment yesterday that people should keep an eye on 4000-4100 kHz tonight, but now I wonder if stations would have better results around 2300-2500 kHz after dark. I don't recall any pirates ever using this band, so I don't think anyone will be broadcasting there . . . but wow the nighttime MUF has been crazy low.

1648 UTC: I downloaded the latest Winradio software and installed it. Took the laptop upstairs, plugged it in, and everything is working. Wanted to do a test record, so I recorded 10 seconds or so of CFRX on 6070 kHz. I moved the freq to somewhere in 43m and there was a signal on the band . . . which leads me to my 1st Halloween logging of the year:

Unid: 6927.1, 10/31, 1642-1644* Weak but audible signal. Sounded like a children's song from the '50s. Reception was not strong enough to know if it was a Halloween song or something else. Signal shut down before I could get the frequency centered, reduce the bandwidth a bit, rename the file, and start recording.

1818 UTC: Have a post in place and part of the back wall. Came inside, saw an unid log on HFU, so I ran up to the radio room & started recording. At long last, it's my 1st recording on the Winradio.

Ion Radio: 6930.3, 10/31, 1810+ A commercially produced Halloween show, sounds like OTR. Heard a CW ID, but I still have never learned code, aside from being able to copy "CQ" and "SOS," so I had to rely on HFU logs for the ID. Program continued in and out of the noise. At the end of the horror program were CBS Radio IDs & into a fairly long news segment about what was currently happening with the Watergate scandal, so maybe this was from around 1973 or so? I stopped recording after about 5-10 min of news because the recording file was getting huge, but that was a mistake because SSTV images were sent just after I stopped recording. I don't have MMSSTV on this computer, so I just downloaded it, too. We'll see if it works later on tonight.

Back to the woodshed . . .

Planet Z (tent.): 6926.9, 10/31, ca. 1950 I thought I'd recorded it, but I hit the wrong red button. Heard a bit of music, then a bit of talk with echo & off. Signal fair, ID per HFU logs

2100 UTC: Added more to the back wall & got some concrete in place

Old-Time Radio unid: 6770, 10/31, 2100+ Old family comedy program. I've had a lot of noise on the band today & OTR hasn't been very strong for a long time

2215 UTC: Another post & a few more supports up

Channel Z: 4075.1, 10/31, 2220+ Pretty good signal, but I've had pretty high noise levels all day. Cranberries "Zombie." Just heard Andy Walker with an ID. The Specials "Ghost Town"

6950, 10/31, 2215+ Very strong signal. Hope they stay on a bit longer. I don't yet have my 2nd antenna up, but I'd like to keep listening to Channel Z because it's been a while since I've heard it.

2348 UTC: Ate supper and I've been watching the pretty noise patterns roll by on the Winradio. Boy, this thing's noisy! The noise is sitting on S7. I switched the antenna back over to the R8 and the noise was about S7 there as well, but when I turned off the Winradio, the noise level on the R8 dropped to about S3 or S4. Hmm. I think it's time to go Lowe's for woodshed stuff.

The morning after: Wow, evening conditions were disappointing! Wolverine Radio was audible, but very weak. The signal levels were comparable or maybe slightly better on the Twente web receiver. I had a carrier with a bit of audio from X-FM that just got worse as the night went on. It sounded like a lot of the Europirates that I have a tough time picking details from.

Thanks to everyone who took the trouble to broadcast and I'm glad to see that some people had a good evening of listening.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Some pre-Halloween 2018 logs

Wow, I didn't expect such a high level of activity for 10/30--and I missed Channel Z, Radio Illuminati, & Planet Z so far!

The Relay Station: 6880, 10/30, ca. 2050 Caught part of the War of the World broadcast. Excellent signal but a bit fluttery with kinda weird propagation.

Ion Radio: 6930, 10/30, 2135-2140* Weak here. I can hear voices that sound like they're from OTR shows (thanks to Chris & Traveling Wave for IDing it), but it's tough to copy anything

Radio Ga-Ga: 6920U, 10/30, 2330-2344* Barnes & Barnes "Fish Heads" at 2333. This used to be Dr. Demento all of the time--and on some pirates, too. Pretty good signal here. Into Gary Numan "Cars," Canned Heat "Going Up the Country," Blondie "Heart of Glass." QRT without any IDs while I was listening

Almost Halloween

It's almost Halloween!

This past Friday & Saturday, I was planning to post a message regarding conditions: The bands are skipping out long really early. If you're a listener, plan to check 4000-4100 kHz tonight and tomorrow night because after dark, the signals on 43m will be skipping off most of the continent.

What happened a couple of Halloweens ago, nearly all of the activity occurred between about 2100 and 0000 UTC, with most stations on during the latter hour or two. Makes for tough listening when seven stations are on at the same time! I don't think that all of the stations will be caught off guard this time.

I'm not sure if any other bands will be used or not, but 3400-3500 kHz was an old, lightly used alternate frequency range for pirates in the past. Halloween meant activity for some AM pirates years ago, so maybe someone will show up on 1710 or 1720 kHz late at night.


Yesterday, I was listening to Radio Underground on the Twente receiver on 3915.2 kHz. I always enjoy listening to Steve Underground on the air because he talks at length about whatever comes to mind. To say that his broadcasts are calm and laid back might be an understatement. Yesterday, a song ended and there was a long portion of dead air. Maybe three minutes or so? Enough that I checked back onto the Twente screen to see if the carrier was still there. It was. Steve came back on and said “Hello? Sorry about that. I was making a cup of tea.” And then he resumed talking about chat room comments and e-mails. Makes me think of the how the real WHYP would broadcast while James Brownyard was mowing the lawn--except I think the dead air was much, much longer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Some loggings via the Twente receiver in Holland (10/24)

2345 update: I have some decent fade ups of Zenith Classic Rock on 5780 on my home receiver, but only carriers for Laser Hot Hits and Coast FM at this point.

Tuning around the Twente receiver a bit while working today. It's a good prep for the Global HF Weekend about 10 days from now.

1615, 10/24, 1705+ Lots of schlager, including 1 song with some English about boxing. Good signal

1629, 10/24, 1744+ Schlager with a much older sound, including 1 that mentioned “Mississippi,” “senoritas,” and “Mexico” Male DJ that talked fast. ID sounded kind of like “Radio Caiman”

1655, 10/24, 1747+ Mix of US/English pop & Dutch schlager, including “Boys of Summer,” Disco cover of “Bend Me, Shape Me.” Fair signal
Weak stations also on 1660, 1665, & 1680 at 1757 UTC

Laser Hot Hits: 6205, 10/24, 1758+ fair signal and fading out completely at times with disco, older rock, & pop, comedy routine by a man about the “home office” and pirate radio. Group of DJs talking & having fun. Bit of the Benny Hill theme song (Boots Randolph “Yakity Sax”) in the background at one point.

Coast FM: 6230, 10/24, 1758 Very strong with disco & older pop. ID “Coast FM’s awesome ‘80s” The Police “Walkin’ on the Moon,” Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough. Ads for British Corner Shop, Red Tomato, etc. PSA for not partying on balconies!

Unid: 3920, 10/24, 1810+ Some schlager songs & off by the time I checked back at 1838 UTC

Zenith Classic Rock: 5780, 10/24, 1841+ Started good, then started fading down. Pro-sounding DJ talking about songs, such as “Year of the Tiger” by Tony Andrews

Zeppelin Radio International: 7725, 10/24, 1918+ Fair/poor with a country rock, including The Band “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” ID per HFU

Radio Sovereign: 6318, 10/24, 1952+ Mostly carrier, but music fading up from time to time. Jackson 5 “I’ll Be There,” disco. ID per HFU

Charleston Radio International: 5140, 10/24, 2000+ Novelty song from maybe the ‘30s? Weak & fading. ID per the UKDXer blog

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Pirate Radio Annual e-mails

I've been sending out entries to stations for the latest Pirate Radio Annual (which only includes stations active in 2016 and 2017). There were just so many stations active in those two years that it took me hours to copy and paste the entry and a generic message into an e-mail and send it out over & over to each station.

I still have about 30 entries to finish, so if you operate a station that was active on shortwave in North America (or reported across a large area of this continent) and haven't received an e-mail from me, it will hopefully be arriving in the next week or two. And if you think your station will be in the book and you haven't checked your station's e-mail lately, you might want to check it because there are plenty of stations that I haven't yet heard from.

My tactic has been to try to send out really basic greetings to everyone and then follow up with personal e-mails to every operator who writes back. That's where I am right now. I've been receiving e-mails from station operators who let me know if anything is wrong with the entries, I've been fixing those entries as is necessary, and I've been writing back to everyone.

Although I do like writing about stations, this is one of the bright spots--hearing back from operators, reading about projects they're working on, maybe hearing about how their families are doing, etc. It's nice.

I think I have about 20 or so e-mails in from stations and I've written back to about half of those. Right now, I have a lot of work to do on the Mike Radio entry because I received the response back from the operator and he has made a lot of changes to the transmitters at the station since last time.


I've been away from home most of this evening, but I did hear Radio Free Do Whatever (not Radio Free Whatever) with a Halloween program. Thanks for the long show!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Global HF Weekend, November 2-4, 2018

The Global HF Weekend is coming up November 2-4, 2018. The GHFW occurs the 1st weekend in April and the first weekend in November every year. The idea is that it's a set time for listeners and stations to try testing to different parts of the world. Over the past few years, the high frequencies have not been great for propagation between Europe and North America, but stations have still been able to reach other continents by operating at other times, etc.

An interesting twist this year is that some hardcore DXers will be listening over the weekend from Prince Edward Island. These guys primarily DX on medium wave and their logs are phenomenal. They literally logged at least 30 countries on medium wave. They also actually heard a number of pirates on the band, including Radio Calypso, Monte Carlo Radio, Bluebird Radio, Radio Doctor Einstein, Witte Tornado and the Lady, and Polkaman. I wonder how many pirates from Europe or North America will test anywhere from 1611 up to about 1720 or 1730 kHz for this DXpedition? Whoever does so has a great chance to be heard in PEI, Canada.

Of course, others will be listening on shortwave, and I'm looking forward to hearing who might turn up. I plan to be updating this blog with information about the weekend and also about Halloween coming up. If any stations send schedules to me, I'll post them here without station names for security reasons.

Also, I've been e-mailing Pirate Radio Annual entries out to stations all week. I'll probably write more about that tomorrow

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

9/19: International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Guess I should post the significance of the day. I've been away today during the best times for propagation & I missed out on Radio Ga-Ga.

I picked up a lot of ARRL Handbooks at a hamfest about six or seven weeks ago. What grabbed my attention was the name written inside the front cover and his place of employment: Glenn Hartong, Collins Radio. I ran some searches and found his obituary. Glenn worked at Collins for seven years, from 1953 to 1960. During the latter two years of his employment there, he was the project manager for the Collins Echo satellite tracking system.

He was also a founding member of the Mid Atlantic Antique Radio Club and a member of the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane club. He owned and restored four Hudsons. Being a fan of sorts of lesser-known cars, like AMC (and the companies that merged to create it) and Studebaker, I think his car restorations sound awesome. Of course, I'm a fan of antique radios as well.

I wish the obituary would have mentioned what projects he worked on prior to 1959. Maybe he helped design some aspects of the Collins S-line? I don't know. But Glenn was there during that time.

Monday, August 27, 2018

W3JJN recordings

On Saturday, I mentioned finding some interesting records at a flea market. I like to dig through old records anyway (for a variety of reasons), but one of the things I'm always looking for are homemade records, such as those by Recordio and some other companies. I think the amateur audio is great, but what I'm really looking for is recordings of radio.

The computer era is wonderful because I can record nearly every pirate that I hear. I have hours of recordings of Radio Free Whatever, WEAK Radio, and many others. But before easy to save and organize MP3 files, I recorded to cassette--and I was disorganized enough that I rarely did it. Still, many people did because everyone had cassette recorders and the media was inexpensive. In general, much fewer recordings from the radio exist from the '70s, '80s, and early '90s, but they're far from rare. Going back to the '50s and '60s largely predates the cassette, which didn't find widespread use until the late '60s. This was the era of the open-reel (a.k.a. "reel to reel") tape deck. I like to dig through boxes of open-reel tapes, in hopes of finding some radio recordings. Over the years,  I have found a few, but nothing monumental. A few minutes of KQV here and there, etc.

Before open-reel decks were wire recorders. Information was magnetized onto a fine reel of stainless steel wire. It was essentially the same concept as tape decks, whether open reel or cassette, only the tape system was a refinement (an oxide coating on a plastic tape), rather than trying to magnetize a wire. I was at an outdoor flea market about five years ago and I passed by a wire recorder and about a dozen radio broadcasts of Philadelphia baseball (I can't remember now whether it was the A's or Phillies). I could kick myself for letting that go, but the recorder was large, heavy (probably about 50 lbs.) and the owner didn't know if it worked. I was afraid of getting stuck with yet another nonfunctional chunk of electronics.

Before wire recorders were record recorders. These took an audio source and the needle cut a blank disc with grooves. From what I understand, these homemade discs weren't meant to be played back too many times because the needles wore into the grooves more quickly than commercially manufactured records. I'm not sure what they were all made from, but I know that some were aluminum discs with a thin layer of plastic.

I always look for the homemade records because there weren't too many options for audio sources back then. By the open-reel tape era, a lot of people were recording entire albums to tape, so they weren't necessarily recording the radio. But, for example, in 1940, the options were basically either family greetings, someone singing or a band playing, or the radio. And chances are good that any recording you find is the only one in existence.

I found three of these on Saturday.

Here's a photo of one. They are amateur radio QSOs from W3JJN to a couple of other operators. W3JJN cataloged the discs by side . . . and this was number 477. So, at least 237 other records existed in his homemade record collection at one time. The sides that I have are dated in late 1945 and early 1946. To me, this is an astounding find because I'm not sure how many recordings exist of any amateur radio operations prior to 1950, not to mention that this is still very early in the post-war period.

I did some searching on W3JJN and he was William E. Belz, who lived at that time on 1509 Linden Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a TV repairman who was born in Duncansville, PA, and died in 1981 after a lengthy illness.

My big problem here is that these records are disintegrating. The plastic layer is cracking badly and separating from the aluminum discs. I guess what I really need is one of the laser turntables that can play back audio from broken discs and won't damage the grooves. I don't think I can risk playing any of these on a regular turntable, but I want to recover the audio quickly before the discs degrade further.

I think I'm going to try contacting the ARRL or one of the radio museums for ideas.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

WEDG 1620 kHz

I heard WEDG for the I heard WEDG for the first time in about five years, last Saturday! I was out driving and heard it with a fair/good signal on the car radio. Oldies and a clear W-E-D-G ID by an older-sounding man at 1800 UTC. This has got to be very low power, maybe even qualifying as Part 15. I needed to have a small portable receiver with an output jack & a laptop along so that I could record it. 

It's really fascinating to hear a station like this & I wonder if the operator ever searches the Internet to see if anyone logs him. If so, I've heard you twice and if you QSL, I'd love to have one!

It can be tough finding stations like this one. Unless someone is putting 20 watts or greater out on 1710 kHz, it's almost impossible to find the station. And these days of multiethnic programming and cash-poor AM stations with absent engineers, you can't just assume that the non-English-speaking program is a community pirate or that the station playing Christmas songs for hours with no IDs is a pirate. But it makes me wonder just how many low-power in-band AM (MW) pirates are out there.

Speaking of absent station personnel, how long is the technical difficulties announcement going to run on WQFG689? I think it's been looping for at least a month. I know some people who'd be happy to put some good programming on 1710 kHz, if they don't want to use it . . .

Still writing the Pirate Radio Annual. I was writing the entry for Union City Radio this morning.

I found a couple of really interesting radio records this morning. Maybe I'll post about them tomorrow or later this week.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

A few loggings: 7/28/2018

Just letting you know that I'm still out there and slowly getting the Annual written. I've finished about 250 entries and have about 70 more to go.

A few months ago, I was writing a close-out entry for the last Global HF Weekend . . . when I was finishing, the computer crashed and . . . well , . . that was it.

Have a few loggings because I feel like I should have some reason to be blogging rather than just to indicate that I'm still breathing. Seems like a pretty good opening to Europe right now on 48 meters.

Zenith Classic Rock: 5780, 7/28, 2315+ Not much is making it through at all, but I compared some of the tones that I'm hearing to the signal on the Twente SDR and, yes, that is some audio between the static crashes. It apparently doesn't have an address or QSL, but I don't have enough information to write in anyway.

Coast FM: 6285, 7/28, 2330+ Decent signal & I should be able to ID a song soon

Triple-L Radio: 6277.7, 7/28, 2333+ Good signal with light music from the '50s. "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" Georgia Satellites

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Global HF Weekend: Saturday 3/31/2018

Last night, I heard DORM Radio and Clever Name Radio. I also had the carrier for Key Channel Radio on 6915 kHz around 0400 UTC. I set the recorder on for 3 hours last night & we'll see if it caught any audio. Also, I had Laser Hot Hits (6205) and Coast FM (6285) earlier. My antenna is still on the ground from the Nor'easter from the weekend of the Winter SWL Fest and we've been busy with family for Easter weekend, so what I hear is not the best gauge for what's on the air.

I heard yesterday that word of the Global HF weekend was passed along to the New Zealand DX League and the Australian Radio DX Club and that some of the members will be listening after 0500 UTC tonight.

2236 update: I've been away most of the day, but I did hear KOOT early in the afternoon on 6925 kHz. Overall, everything's been going really well with the Global HF Weekend. A relay of Lupo Radio was reported in North America in the late morning on 6973 kHz. Bryan Clark in New Zealand didn't hear any North American pirates last night, but he did hear Key Channel Radio on 6915 kHz between 0530 and 0600 UTC.

2320 update: If you're in Europe, tune to 6960 kHz USB now! I can hear Wolverine Radio on the Twente SDR, so I know it's audible in Europe.

2335 update: We have family visiting, but I snuck up to the radio room for a few minutes. Wow, good DX everywhere. Wolverine Radio with a HUGE signal on 6960 kHz USB, and carriers from Radio Batavia on 5830, Radio Enterprise on 6310, one of the South American stations on 6935, and Lupo Radio on 6973 kHz!

0237 update: Ran up to the radio again & I'm hearing Renegade Radio now for the first time in probably close to year. Wow, a lot of stations have been on in the past three hours!

0254 update: Renegade Radio signed off a few minutes ago (thanks for the shoutout). Tuning around & I'm hearing carriers on 6935 and about 6950.5 kHz. Not positive who these are.

0301 update: I checked out the Twente receiver to see what might be audible in Holland. I'm not hearing any pirates on shortwave period right now, But the medium-wave band is hopping with Eastern European stations. No idea who they are, but I'm hearing a strong one on 1650 + others on 1660, 1680, 1690, and 1700 kHz. My guess is that these are all from either Greece or Serbia, but I don't know which one, let alone what stations these are.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Global HF Weekend begins: Friday, 3/30/2018

Here's an update with schedules for the weekend:

Station 1, "various times and frequencies," 3/31 and 4/1
Station 2, 6915 or 6920 kHz, 3/31 0700 UTC to 4/2 1300 UTC sign off
Station 3, 6973 kHz, 1800-2100 or 2200 UTC sign-off, 3/30 to 4/1

Also, I received the following e-mail:

We would like to join the global HF Weekend.
We are a licensed station from Germany. Both frequencies are from 10:00 to 22:00 UTC. Currently our schedule is as follows:
6160 kHz: 12:00 to 18:00 UTC
3975 kHz: 16:00 to 22:00 UTC
It seems propagation conditions improve for the weekend, especially on 6 MHz. We are licensed to broadcast until 22:00 UTC, as I said. However, it would be interesting if we could reach the US at 20:00 to 22:00 UTC. We will switch on the 6160kHz transmitter during the weekend at that time. There might be the chance, our on/off time switch is malfunctioning on 6160 kHz. ;-) So, watch out for us. 

I'll update more schedules as I receive them.

Also, I was listening to the Twente SDR earlier today and heard Coast FM on 6285 kHz. It looks like it'll be on the frequency throughout the weekend, as well as Laser Hot Hits on 6205 kHz

Laser Hot Hits: 6205, 3/30, 1700+ Herman's Hermits song going out by request

Coast FM: 6285, 3/30, 1700+ '80s music by Survivor, Peter Gabriel, Asia, Irene Cara, Madonna, etc. + ads for cellphone companies, a British goods outlet, etc. 

Weekend Propagation Outlook: 43 meters

43 meters has been the hot frequency range for even long-range testing over the past few years. And I've already received a few scheduled tests broadcasts for the Global HF Radio weekend  . . . and all of these are for frequencies in 43 meters. I'll use 80 watts of SSB again, although many more stations, at least in North America, have been using AM-mode transmitters (such as the LuLu and Corsair) in the 10- to 20-watt range. Of course, these will have significantly less range.

One of the best times for hearing Dutch stations on 43 meters in North America this weekend appears to be around 0300 UTC, where it appears that there will be a weak opening to the West Coast:

Interesting also is the propagation prediction for 43 meters from Harrisburg, PA. At 0700 UTC, it should put a decent amount of signal into western Europe and also a weak band into eastern Europe:

I compared this to the prediction for the same time and other specs from the last Global HF Weekend and the results are significantly better!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Weekend Propagation Outlook: 19 meters

Propagation maps are looking bleak between Europe and North America. That said, actual results have been good between about 2200 and 0300+ (I'm not sure about the end time because I haven't seen loggings past this time).

I used the VOA propagation models at http://www.voacap.com/. The images depicted here all come from that site. Feel free to go to the site and check propagation for your region. For transmission power and mode, I used 100 watts of SSB because that seems like a pretty standard baseline for North American pirates & for at least some of the European pirates who might want to be testing specifically to reach across continents.

For the first image, I used Harrisburg, PA, as the location because it's the closest one to my location and that way no one will feel like I'm giving away their location. Here is 100 watts into a dipole about 30 feet above the ground on 14.1 MHz (essentially the same for either 13900-13950 kHz or 15010-15090 kHz) at 1500 UTC.

As you can see, this time/frequency/power combination could put a very good signal into the West Coast and a decent one into many of the populated areas of Australia and possibly Japan.

Next is 2000 UTC using the same specs:

There's a possibility of South Africa, Spain, British Isles, Sri Lanka, Japan, and southeastern Europe. Of course, most of North America is solid, plus all of north Africa, Central America, Angola, Mexico, the Caribbean, Cuba, and the northern parts of South America, but I never see reports from these areas.

Turning to Europe on 14.1 MHz, I've chosen The Netherlands for my target country. Here's that frequency with the same 100 watts in SSB at 1400 UTC:

Not great for reaching North America, but it looks like a decent signal should be getting into New Zealand and Japan, possibly also into the Mountain Time Zone in North America. Moving the time out to 1600 UTC helps a lot for reception in the North American Southwest, but nowhere else:

From the Netherlands, at least, it looks like 13.9-15 MHz will provide some real opportunities to reach Australia and New Zealand, but only spotty chances to make it to North America.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

1935 Wards Airline 62-123 Console Restoration Page

This past week, a classified ad popped up on one of the classified ad groups for "Radio." It was an interesting-looking console with a very Art Deco skyscraper style. The cabinet's a bit on the cheap side, unlike the Philco 87 or the Stromberg Carlson corner console that I picked up a few years ago. Still, I thought it had some potential. 

I sent a message to the seller & asked if the radio was still available, the make and model number, and if I could see it. He said it was a Montgomery Wards Airline 62-123. Much to my surprise, he also sent a video of it playing a local AM station loud and strong! Pretty good for a 1935 console in fairly average unrestored condition.

I drove about 45 minutes to an hour away, out into Pennsylvania farm country. The owner had the radio in his garage. He said it was his father's mother's radio and he estimated it to be at least 100  years old (actually, 1935). He said that she's still alive, in a nursing home, and 105 years old! He also said the his aunt or uncle told him that the grille cloth had that big hole in the front for as long as he or she could remember.

The owner had asked for $50. I offered $40 and he seemed anxious to sell it. I loaded it into the back of the car and drove off. I wonder why he was in such a hurry to unload a piece of family history? I guess people don't value old radios or family history as much as I do.

Now, the radio itself. This is a 7-tube radio that covers from 530 to 1740 kHz and 5800 to 18300 kHz in two bands. Seven tubes isn't bad and I love the fact that it has a large SW band and covers 43 meters. Knob twiddlers will appreciate that on the front panel are dials for volume and tone. Very cool. I don't know who manufactured this receiver or if the chassis is identical to some other model of radio.

The dial cord is slipping badly and the radio can presently only be tuned by hand through the back of the cabinet. The power cord was replaced. The former owners covered the back of the cabinet with a sheet of cardboard decades ago, so the chassis is nice and clean. I haven't yet checked to see if the shortwave band works.

And now some photos of the radio:

I'm a bit disappointed that the front panel doesn't have as nicely burled veneer as some of the 62-123s that I've seen online.

Tuning in the center, volume of the left dial and tone on the right.
A view of the make-shift cardboard back
The name "LESTER" scratched into the cardboard
A nice-looking chassis

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Saturday updates

I have a few things to update over the next week or so. As you know if you follow this blog, the next Global HF Weekend is coming up next weekend. A couple things that I want to write entries about this week are some propagation maps and also some comments about the pirate radio bill that's in Congress right now.

I've received a few e-mails from stations who plan to be on the air for the Global HF Weekend, so listening is looking up already.

I picked up a 1935 Wards Airline 62-123 console this week and want to start an entry about that radio. Now, we'll see how long it takes for me to actually restore it! I have a lot of other projects waiting ahead of it.

I heard UNID Radio last night and also KOOT this morning. Also heard someone throwing carriers on 6925 kHz and the carrier from a different station on 6955 kHz. Not sure I'll post any loggings tonight or tomorrow, but maybe.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Calvin Coolidge

HF Underground was reporting that Dave Valko heard a station on 9025 kHz that was playing a repeating clip of a Calvin Coolidge speech. On Sunday, the station was logged by a number of listeners on 9025 with the same clip repeating.

The last time that I heard something like this, it was the Aggressive Policeman station, which played the short audio clip for hours.

These types of stations tend to disappear quickly & no one logged Coolidge in the past two days, so I thought I missed it. I remembered to turn on the radio this morning before work & I let the recorder run. Just checked the recording. Around 1300, the Coolidge clips started to come through & lasted for about an hour before fading out. The mast of my inverted V got taken out in the first Nor'easter this month, so I'm sure it's not working optimally. Signal was fair at best.

I assume that whoever identified this station must have typed in some phrases that matched up the correct speech. Or maybe someone's a huge Calvin Coolidge fan and has been listening to his old speeches in the car when commuting.

Skipmuck posted a link to what he believes is the exact audio source used for the file. I didn't hear it well enough to verify if this is it but it could well be.

Lots of people have speculated about these types of stations, going back to at least the Yosemite Sam station from 2004 and 2005. But the databurst and use of multiple frequencies in DSB were tip offs that this was a military operation of some sort. Aggressive Policeman & Calvin Coolidge seem less like military stations, but they could well be.

The great thing is that they're all complete mysteries with odd, random "programming."

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sloppy Joe Radio

Didn't want to say too much about Sloppy Joe Radio in my post about National Sloppy Joe day, but I had hoped they'd appear today. Writing the entry for the station inspired us to have sloppy joes today . . . and I heard the station with a good signal this afternoon on 6925 kHz USB.

Many thanks to Sloppy Joe Radio for the broadcast!

And a question for blog readers outside of the US & Canada: Do you know what sloppy joes are or is this strictly a North American food?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Next Global HF Weekend: March 30, 31, and April 1, 2018

I can't believe how quickly time has passed! I wrote the National Sloppy Joe post, then planned to post about the Global HF Weekend, but I was away last weekend and the weekend before was the SWL Winterfest. Suddenly, it's a couple of weeks before the Global HF Weekend and I haven't mentioned it to anyone yet. I'll try to post on here regularly over the next few weeks with propagation reports and schedules.

Next Global HF Weekend: March 30, 31, and April 1, 2018
It's still a couple weeks away, so be sure to mark the next Global HF Pirate Weekend on your calendar.

The idea behind the Global HF Weekends are to promote friendship through radio around the world. The hope is that listeners will be able to hear different stations and for broadcasters to reach distant locations. Anyone may participate.

The last one, which occurred during the first weekend of November 2017, was very successful. A handful of North American stations were reported on Europe and vice versa. And South American stations were heard in the North. Other stations were active specifically for the weekend, but just for a local or regional audience.

We'll see how many stations show up during the next GHFW. It seems unlikely that stations will be using 13 meters this time and much more likely that stations will be trying the 6900-kHz range and possibly 31 and 25 meters.

March 30, 31, & April 1, 2018
Maybe 15010-15090 kHz, probably 6200-6400 kHz and 6800-6990 kHz

Of course, these were general frequency ranges used by pirates during prior Global HF Pirate weekends. Some stations will surely operate on frequencies and times outside of these ranges. In fact, the way conditions have been lately, frequencies at or below 15 MHz seem like they will be more effective for intercontinental broadcasting. These will be updated on the Hobby Broadcasting (http://hobbybroadcasting.blogspot.com/) blog as it happens and also check the loggings on HF Underground (https://www.hfunderground.com/).

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

March 18: National Sloppy Joe Day

I was writing the entry for Sloppy Joe Radio on Sunday. I find it hard to believe that sloppy joes weren't created until some time in the 1930s. They just seem like they should date back much further. I won't go too deep into the history of the the sandwich but I will say that I plan to celebrate on March 18 with sloppy joes.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Couple of updates, 2/11/18

Finally, after years of things piling up after building an addition on the house, I'm starting to catch up with some radio stuff. I cleaned layers of stuff off my desk. Among other things, at different layers, I found Corsette oscillators, parts, QSLs, photos, etc. I also printed QSLs that I received from the past 18 months or so and got those into albums.

One thing that I found in the mess was an unaddressed package. I cut it open & it's a 2014 Pirate Radio Annual. This one sold out a while back & a number of people asked about its availability. So, if anyone reading this wants it, it's $18 including shipping. Send an e-mail to me & I'll let you know if you were the 1st to ask. Then, you can either pay me via PayPal, check, etc.

I've had a chance to listen to the radio a bit over the past week while working in there. I've heard The Relay Station, Nuttin' on Shortwave, Yetti Radio, Deez Nuts Radio, etc. Good stuff.

_   _   _

About two years, I bought an old navy rack at a local auction. I didn't go to the viewing, but I saw the photos. It had a couple of speaker slots, an open place with a shelf that held an amplifier, and a blank panel. A lot of things at the auction sold for pretty high prices, but amazingly the rack went for $16. Couldn't believe I got a full-sized rack for $16! I got there and went to move it and it didn't budge. Not a bit. I went to the backside and the former owner had replaced the speakers with projects: each speaker panel contained one side of an enormous power supply. The blank panel wasn't wired together, but it had a modulation transformer (that I looked up later & saw is good for 500 watts out). 

In all, this beast weighed somewhere around 600 lbs. and I needed to get it out. To shorten the story a bit, a good samaritan helped out & we were able to get it up a few basement steps & into the back of the van.

I disassembled the whole thing, painted the cabinet, & finally moved the cabinet into my upstairs radio room. Last night, I discovered a problem. How do you lift a Hammarlund SP-600 up over your shoulders in height and screw it into the front panel of the cabinet? 

Anyone have any techniques for mounting boat anchors into full-size cabinets?

_   _   _

I've been working on the CD for the 2017-18 PRA. I have clips done for about 35 stations now. It's been fun re-listening to bunches of stations from the past few years.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Station listing for the 2017-2018 Pirate Radio Annual

It's past time that I update the blog! But I have the house to the point where the final inspection is done (still a lot of work to go, but nothing that's quite so pressing), so I hope to update the blog more often again (and not just when it's time for the next HF Global Weekend).

I've been working on the 2017-2018 Pirate Radio Annual and just finished the station listing. The first group is the stations based in North America that were reported on shortwave and 1710 kHz between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017. This also includes stations from outside the continent that were relayed here, such as Artem's World of Music and Radio Enterhaken.

The 2nd group is stations from Europe that have been reported across a somewhat large area of North America between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017. Europe is filled with pirates. In fact, in 2017 alone MWPirateFan from the UK heard 172 different Dutch medium-wave pirates. Profiling every international pirate from Europe is way beyond the scope of what I can do with the Pirate Radio Annual (at least at this time), but I draw the line at stations that can either be heard by a number of listeners along the East Coast or if a station can be reported further inland (such as in Ohio), they're in.

I've included Latin American shortwave pirates, which have really taken off, in with the European stations. I think in the book, I might separate the two to make it easier. In total, the book will contain listings for 24 stations from Europe and four from South America, I think this is the most stations from outside of Europe that will have been included in a PRA.

As always, if you operate one of these stations, please feel free to e-mail information about your station, photos, sample QSLs, or audio clips that I could use in the book. Also, if you operate a station and feel that it should be included (and it isn't on the list), please send a link to the loggings. There are a lot of unidentified loggings (and a lot of loggings in general), so it can be easy to miss a station.

Alan Masyga Project
Al Fansome Memorial Radio Program
All about That Bass
Allegheny Mountain Radio
Amphetamine Radio
Artem's World of Music
Auld Lang Syne Radio
Bangalore Poacher
Bat Country Radio
Big Johnson Radio
Black Cat Radio
Black Swamp Radio
Blue Ocean Radio
Boombox Radio
Brockett 99
Brownie Radio
Burn It Down Radio
Captain Morgan Shortwave
Celtic Music Radio
Chairman of the Board Radio
Chamberpot Radio
Channel Z
CKUT Shortwave
Classic Pirate Radio Relay Service (CPRRS)
Clever Name Radio
Coca-Cola Radio
Cold Country Canada
Cool AM
Cosmic Dust Shortwave
Cradle Rock Radio. See Radio Free Whatever
Creepy Radio
Crystal Ship, The
CWCW Radio
D. B. Cooper
Doctor Detroit
Dorm Radio
Downunder Radio
Edmund Fitzgerald Radio
Electric Circus
Eurotemptations Shortwave
Fab Four Radio Show
Fake Radio USA
Fart Knocker Radio International
Filthy Frank Radio
Flashback AM
The Fox
Girl Scout Radio
Gospel Radio Shortwave
Grab the Puss Radio
Happy Hanukkah
He-Man Radio
Hip to Be Square Radio
Hit Parade Radio
Hobart Radio International
Hot Radio
Howdy Doody Radio
How Sweet It Is Radio
Indira Calling
Ion Radio
Insane Radio
International Free Radio Service?
Ion Radio
Jolly Roger Radio
Kid from Brooklyn Shortwave
Kracker Radio (See Radio Jamba International)
KVPH. See Voice of Pearl Harbor
Laser Hot Hits
Lee County Radio
Left Lane Radio
Liquid Radio
Live Mic Radio
Locomotive Radio
LTO Radio
Lukewarm Radio
Make Your Liver Quiver (MYLQ) Radio
Moonlight Radio
Mouth of Mohammed Radio
Mr. Man Radio
N8tive Radio
Network 51
Newport Pirate Radio
No Coast Pirate Radio
North Sea Radio. See Northwoods Radio
Northwoods Radio
Not a Very Clever Name
Not for FCC Airplay Radio. See The Fox
NRUI/Amelia Earhart
Nuttin' on Shortwave
Old Time Classic Radio Plays
Orbital Mind-Control Satellite
Partial India Radio
Pee Wee
Peskie Party Radio
Pipeline Radio
Pirate BBC Radio
Pirate Radio Boston
Pirate Radio Network
Pirate Radio Wilson
Potato Pirate
Pumpkin Patch Radio
Radio After Dark
Radio Airplane
Radio Appalachia
Radio A** Clown International
Radio AV
Radio Azteca
Radio Blah Blah Blah
Radio Casablanca
Radio Cinco
Radio Cinco de Mayo
Radio Clandestine
Radio Comedy Club International
Radio Deadman
Radio Eclipse
Radio Enterhaken
Radio Eyeball
Radio First Termer
Radio Free Euphoria
Radio Free Mars
Radio Free Ramones
Radio Free Trump
Radio Free Whatever
Radio Fusion Radio
Radio GaGa
Radio Garbanzo
Radio Halloween
Radio Illuminati
Radio Indiana (see WJD)
Radio Jamba International
Radio Ken
Radio Merlin International
Radio Metallica Worldwide
Radio Morania
Radio Mushroom
Radio Noid
Radio One
Radio Paisano
Radio Reten Lo Que Tienes
Radio Ronin Shortwave
Radio Tambour
Radio Tango America
Radio Three
Radio Tornado
Radio True North
Radio Trump
Radio USA
Radio USA (fake). See Fake Radio USA
Rádio Univates FM
Radio Zed
Rave On Radio
Ravisher Project
RCCI. See Radio Comedy Club International
RCW Radio
Recycle Radio
Red Beacon Radio
The Relay Station
Renegade Radio
Requiem for Radio
Revolutionary Radio
Revolution Radio
RFF Radio/Radio Free Furry?
Ritalin Radio
Scala FM
Sekio Radio
Seven Trees Radio
Shortwave Ghost, The
Skippy Radio
Skyline Radio
Sloppy Joe Radio
Soft Rock Radio
Solar Centric
Sonic Death Shortwave
Space Bunny Radio
Stupid A** Name Radio Network
Sycko Radio
Tangerine Radio
Tango One Six Five
The Crystal Ship. See Crystal Ship, The
This Is Not the BBC
This Is Not WMPR
TimberWolf Radio
Toynbee Radio
Twangy Radio
Unclever Name Radio
Undercover Radio

   Brother Stair Numbers
   The Count
   Declaration of War against Japan (4947 kHz)
   8-MHz station
   OTR Unid
   Ride of the Valkyries numbers
   Slavic Numbers
   Swedish Rhapsody
   The Yodeler

UNID Radio
Union City Radio
Unknown Name Radio Network
Up Against the Wall Radio
UREA Radio
Vivian Girls Radio
Voice of the Angry Pigmeat
Voice of Bob
Voice of Grease
Voice of Helium
Voice of Laryngitis
Voice of the Loaf
Voice of Pancho Villa
Voice of Pearl Harbor (KVPH)
Voice of Portugal
Voice of the Report of the Week (VORW)
Voice of Revolutionary Vinco
Voice of Shortwave Radio
Voice of Uncle Don
WCOK. See Coca-Cola Radio
WEAK Radio
WEEK Radio
White Rider Radio
Wild 100
Witch City Radio
Wolverine Radio
Woolvureen Radio
WRMR. See Red Man Radio
X7 Radio
X Minus One Shortwave
Yeah Man Radio
Yeti Radio
YNOT Radio

Europe and South America
Baltic Sea Radio
Radio Batavia
Radio Black Arrow
Radio Compañía Worldwide
Blue Dragon AM
Borderhunter Radio
Coast FM/Energy FM
Cupid Radio
Enterprise Radio
Focus Radio International
IBC Radio
Johnny Tobacco
Laser Hot Hits
Radio Dontri
Radio Merlin International
Mike Radio
Mustang Radio
Radyo Oleg
Radio Pirana International
Radio Python
Sluwe Vos Radio
Stove Farmer
TRX Radio
Technical Man
Radio Tower AM
Radio Voyager
Radio Wilskracht
Zender Akenzo