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