Sunday, December 09, 2018

Festive noise

With Christmas fast approaching and all manner of festive lights and gadgets in the neighbourhood as people - including us - put up their decorations, there are potentially thousands more power supply units within a small radius from here. All that means a possible increase in noise level. And, sure enough, listening over the last few days has been challenging with various new forms of local interference to deal with. Luckily, I've been able to eradicate much of it, but that requires plenty of regular retuning of the noise canceller unit, which can become tiresome after a while. Living in the middle of nowhere is appealing a great deal right now!

Anyway, here are some logs from this side, including an interesting in-band catch this morning.

Freq       Time       Station SINPO

Sunday, December 9, 2018
1395       0750       Energy Power AM 24322-35443 music programme
1395       0818       Studio Dennaker 24322 music programme
1611       1543       Brugwachter 35433 music programme
1619       1754       Soto en Daniel 35443 music programme
1647       1809       Witte Tornado 44444-55444 music programme
1611       1812       Texas 24322 music programme
1620       1815       Weduwe 43443 music programme
1629       1829       Moonbreaker 34333-44444 music programme
1615       2059       Technical Man 35333-45444 music programme
1638       2235       Bluebird 55444 music programme
1648       2244       Monte Carlo 35333-45433 testing 

Observations
  • I was down with the radios this morning a little later than I had intended but before sunrise. However, I found no pirate activity on the usual frequencies at 1611 kHz and higher, so I checked out 1395 kHz and was pleasantly surprised to hear Energy Power AM coming in from Ireland. 
  • It's quite rare that I can hear this station, which broadcasts every weekend from the Emerald Isle but, according to the station's Facebook page, my reception coincides with a new modulation system that was put into operation on Saturday. 
  • I'm not sure what is being used now, but the picture above shows what the setup looked like at the beginning of November. And below is a short recording made this morning:
  • As I was listening to 1395 kHz this morning I became aware of a second station on the frequency which became clear as Energy faded down from time to time. It was Studio Dennaker, one of a handful of legal low-power Dutch stations operating on the frequency - not a pirate but certainly sounding like one!
  • 1620 kHz was a bit of a mess this evening. Daniel en Soto were broadcasting around 1619 kHz - with a carrier very slowly drifting up the band - and had a decent signal into the UK when a big carrier came up alongside them and Weduwe signed on for a lengthy music programme. The two stations were then battling against each other until Weduwe close down at just after 2000, with the result being a rather unlistenable hetrodyne. They could be separated using filters, but it was far from ideal.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
1647       2032       Keizer en Keizerin 35333 music programme
1655       0038       Snowman 24222-34333 music programme

Friday, December 7, 2018
1620       1830       Mustang 45444  
1647       1842       Admiraal 35443 qsoing

Wednesday, November 21, 2018
1611       1857       Mustang 44444 music programme
1630       1857       Noordzee 35443 qsoing
1645       1859       Casablanca (Twente) 35443 music programme
1629       1900       Dolfijn 34443 qsoing
1611       1915       Utopia 34443-44444 testing

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
1620       0630       Utopia 35333 music programme
1625       2053       Marianne 35333 music programme

Monday, November 19, 2018

Quiet start to the week

It's 2330 local time in the UK as I write this and the top of the MW is quiet with no pirate signals to be heard so I'm listening to a local Gold station playing 80s music. 

The lack of Dutch stations has got me thinking if it's always so quiet at this time of year, so I've just had a spin back through some logs. Interestingly enough on Monday, November 13, 2017 I noted just four stations - the same as today - while on the corresponding day 12 months earlier my logs show eights stations. Back in 2015 there were seven Dutch pirates heard on this day. Seems like there's not too much to worry about then with no huge dip in activity levels - except having to listen to legal oldies stations late at night!

So, here's what I heard today and over the weekend: 

Freq       Time       Station SINPO

Monday, November 19, 2018

1612       1838       Atlantic 33433-44444 testing
1625       1856       Pandora 35443-45444 testing
1644       1912       Vrijevogel 24332 music programme
1636       1938       Mi Amigo 35443 music programme



Observations

  • A quiet Monday evening just like last week. Interesting to hear Atlantic testing on 1612 for the first time in a while. Signal and audio was very good on the peaks, although was dipping down sometimes. I suspect conditions were not quite as good as they have been recently
Sunday, November 18, 2018

1620       0600       Interpol 43433-45444 music programme
1620       0710       Noordster 44444 qsoing
1670       1707       Digitaal 45444 music programme
1656       1708       Arizona weak signal music programme
1620       1717       Sapporo 34433 music programme
1647       1728       Witte Tornado 45444 music programme
1626       1734       Uniek 33433-44444 music programme
1660       1831       Meteoor 45444 qsoing
1660       1833       Zee Piraat 25222-35333 qsoing
1660       1841       Vriendschap 35333 qsoing
1637       1844       Drukstroomjager 45444 asking for report
1620       2249       Alabama 45444 qsoing
1630       2251       Toulouse 35333 qsoing
1630       2256       Monte Carlo 25222 qsoing
1620       2304       Monte Carlo 35333 qsoing
1660       2311       Snowman 33333 music programme
1625       2349       Pandora 55444 music programme

Observations

  • Plenty going on today as you would expect for a Sunday, starting early and going through to the end of the day. Interpol again kicked things off with a programme on 1620 kHz, followed by a qso featuring Noordster
  • Witte Tornado used to be a Sunday regular until receiving a visit from the Dutch telecom authorities. Nowadays they are not often on air, so it was good to catch them this evening on their old channel of 1647 kHz
  • There was an interesting qso at dinnertime. Meteoor came up on 1660 kHz calling for Zee Piraat, who duly arrived on the channel for a chat, actually broadcasting from the sea. Twente pirate Vriendschap then joined in and it made a change hearing him at this end of the band as he can usually be heard on 1629 kHz. Drukstroomjager also joined the fun, albeit it down on 1637 kHz. These stations feature on this recording I put together after today's listening sessions
Saturday, November 17, 2018

1625       2220       Alpenjager (Groningen) 35333 music programme
1685       2225       The Ghoul 55555 music programme
1638       2227       Bluebird 45444-55555 music programme
1646       2230       Keizer en Keizerin 34443 music programme
1648       2232       Moby Dick 44444 music programme

Observations
  • I hadn't heard Alpenjager in a while, so it was good to catch him today. I'm always struck by how similar his voice is to Jeneverstoker, although I suspect that is down to similar locations and also that the station operators are of a similar age
  • The Ghoul on 1685 kHz was from the transmitter that has also recently been airing Bogusman programmes. The signal has been getting out well with good reception across the UK and out into the rest of Europe

Monday, November 12, 2018

Blue Monday

The first day of a new week draws to a close and I've spent the last hour listening mainly to Radio Bluebird on 1638 kHz, who is sending over a good signal tonight. The diet of music has been all Dutch so far, but perhaps some English tunes will follow shortly! While I wait for those, here are some logs:

Freq       Time       Station SINPO

Monday, November 12, 2018

1638       2252       Bluebird 45444 music programme
1629       2253       Spakenburg 25222 qsoing
1648       2254       Monte Carlo 25222 qsoing
1628       2259       Monte Carlo 25222-35333 qsoing

Observations
  • Conditions seemed to be some way down tonight compared to recent evenings. Spakenburg and Monte Carlo were considerably weaker than usual and Bluebird, while still pretty good, often hits the maximum sinpo reading of 55555 but was peaking at only 45444
Sunday, November 11, 2018

1625       2325       Pandora 55444-55555 music programme



Observations
  • I was working today and didn't arrive home until late in the evening so by the time I got to my radio the band was quiet - except for Pandora. When there is a powerhouse signal on 1625 kHz and the time in the Netherlands is after midnight, then you can be 90% sure you've found a transmission from Pandora. His superb modulation quality makes it a pleasure to listen to his transmissions through the big speakers down here in the radio room
Saturday, November 10, 2018

1638       2021       Turftrekker 35333 music programme
1647       2022       Kezier en Keizerin 35333 music programme
1620       2330       Moonbreaker 45444 music programme
1685       2330       Bogusman 55555 testing
1625       2330       Polkaman 25222 music programme
1645       2331       Wilskracht 35443 music programme
1652       2331       Moby Dick 34333-55544 music programme
1638       2333       Morgenster 25332-35443 music programme
1615       2334       Gedrocht van Twente weak signal music programme
1636       2344       Montecarlo 35333 qsoing
1620       2359       Vuilnisman 24222-35333 report for Moonbreaker
1620       2359       Montecarlo 33333 report for Moonbreaker
1630       0007       Montecarlo 35333 qsoing

Observations
  • Turftrekker has great audio and it was evident again this evening - nice and punchy with plenty of bass, but not too much
  • Bogusman was on 1685 kHz again, basically testing the antenna system, which is being refined all the time. Transmitter power tonight was only 25 watts, although there are plans for considerably more
  • There was a new name for me tonight with Vuilnisman - Garbageman - popping up on 1620 just before midnight with a report for Moonbreaker. This low-power station, broadcasting from Twente, is apparently not a new pirate but perhaps one that usually broadcasts during the daytime when signals from the Netherlands are unable to reach me

Friday, November 09, 2018

Updating the logs

Greetings from a wet and windy UK. I read this evening that Hungarian shortwave pirate Chaos AM was today closed down by the authorities after a month of regular broadcasts on 6335 kHz. Bad news indeed, and I send best wishes to all involved in the station. 

The pirate scene in the Netherlands continues to tick along nicely, and here are some logs from the past week: 

Freq       Time       Station SINPO

Friday, November 9, 2018

1620       1825       De Klap 25332-35343 music programme
1620       1844       Admiraal 35333 report for De Klap
1629       1903       Dolfijn 34333 report for Admiraal
1655       1904       Batavier 35443 music programme
1619       1905       Wegpiraat 34443 asking for report
1653       2315       Monte Carlo 55444 music programme
1638       2315       Morgenster 24222-34333 music programme
1615       2315       Gedrocht van Twente 24422 music programme
1629       2322       Noordzee 34333-45444 report for Montecarlo
1635       2345       Electron 35333 report for Montecarlo

Observations
  • De Klap was back on the band this evening with a programme on 1620 kHz. His signal was peaking to something similar to reception a few days ago, and was very listenable. When he closed down, it was good to hear Admiraal pop up with a reception report, and nice to hear him send greetings to me and mention how I was at his place a couple of years ago - I visited him with my old pal Radio Soerabaya en route to the Summer Meeting on what I remember was a very hot day! Anyway, Admiraal was coming in well today and I made a short recording:

  • Another station to come up with a report for De Klap was Dolfijn, who was coming in pretty well. I thought I'd text him a report, so I duly found 'Dolfijn' on my phone and sent him a quick message. What I got back was confusion. It turns out I had actually sent a message to the SW pirate Dolfijn rather than the MW station! Anyway, we had a nice chat and then I sent a message to the correct pirate
Sunday, November 4, 2018

1629       0704       Interpol 35333 music programme
1620       0725       Marconist weak signal music programme
1620       0754       Bootsman weak signal report for Marconist

Observations
  • I managed a little early morning listening today, actually raising myself from bed early on a Sunday! I was rewarded with a programme from Interpol and a fair signal on 1629 kHz, but the band was unusually quiet for a Sunday morning. I heard Marconist and Bootsman qsoing just as propagation was making it difficult to receive the Dutch stations, but otherwise there was little activity
Saturday, November 3, 2018

1620       0708       Rietvink 33433 report for Marconist
1616       1615       Drukstroomjager 35543 music programme          
1655       1635       Concorde weak signal qsoing
1646       1638       Zwarte Bizon 25332 qsoing
1620       1652       Eldorado 25332-35333 testing
1656       1653       Nachtzwerver 25442 qsoing
1647       1705       Keizer en Keizerin 33333 music programme
1629       1707       Edelkampioen 55444 music programme
1615       1741       Gedrocht van Twente weak signal report for Eldorado
1637       2344       Montecarlo 45444 qsoing
1661       2344       Viking en Tante Foek 44444 music programme
1648       2346       Moby Dick 44444 music programme
1636       2347       Spakenburg 45444 qsoing
1653       2349       Nachtzwerver 44444 qsoing
1625       2354       Snowman 25322 music programme
1620       2359       De Klap 34433 qsoing

Observations
  • Plenty of activity today, with signals arriving first thing in the morning and then from mid-afternoon as the sun was going down. King of the band in terms of signal and modulation was Edelkampioen, who was booming in over here with very fine audio - a real depth, making it a pleasure to listen to. I visited him at his studio a couple of years back, accompanied by Barones and Poema, so it's always great to hear him on air, sitting in the studio where I sat!
  • Concorde is a name I've seen in various logs, but today was the first time I heard this station, reportedly broadcasting from the Acterhoek. With the sun still to fully go down when I heard him, the signal was only weak - I'm sure it will be considerably better with propagation at the optimum
  • There was another new name for me today as well with De Klap. Reportedly running somewhere in the region of 200 watts, the station was qsoing with Spakenburg and Nachtzwerver and coming in with a pretty good signal. Hopefully I'll be hearing this one again soon as well
Friday, November 2, 2018

1609       1821       Mustang 44433-54444 testing
1635       1821       Havana 55555 qsoing
1629       1823       Pandora (Friesland) 25222 music programme
1640       1823       Turfsteker 35333 testing
1620       1825       Blauwe Panda 25332-45444 music programme
1655       1849       Batavier 44444 music programme
1662       1851       Digitaal 54444 testing
1611       1916       Unidentified 24222 music programme
1620       1930       Batavia 35333 music programme
1610       1945       Arizona weak signal report for the station  on 1611
1671       2256       Odynn 34433-44444 music programme
1656       2300       Rebel (Drenthe) 35333 music programme

Observations
  • Plenty to listen to this evening, with Mustang catching the attention on an usual frequency of 1609 kHz. It's often tricky listening when pirates are broadcasting near to the legal stations on 1602 and, although Mustang was fading down sometimes, he was generally doing very well, with his punchy audio powering through. He was testing a new modulation system, which he then tried out on shortwave, using 4010 kHz, where his signal was even better - more stable and free from interference
  • A few days ago we logged Ome Wil on 1629 kHz, noting that he uses the name Pandora sometimes - not to be confused with the Pandora who uses 1625 often very late at night. Tonight, he was identifying quite clearly as Pandora, although once again his modulation was low and I couldn't quite make out the telephone number that was being announced. Turn it up please!


  • Some time ago Odynn told me he had plans to upgrade his transmitter to something in the region of 250 watts. Well, he has done it and the new rig was on 1671 kHz and putting a nice signal into the UK:

  • Arizona is a station I don't catch very often, so it was a pleasure to hear him on 1610 kHz in qso with a station who had been on 1611 with a music programme, although I couldn't quite catch that one's name

Friday, November 02, 2018

Late-night listening

I made a trip to Wales with the family on Thursday, so there wasn't a great deal of time for radio listening. However, I had a quick tune around late in the evening and found some activity at the top of the MW band. Here's what I heard:

Freq       Time       Station SINPO

Thursday, November 1, 2018

1615       2310       Gedrocht van Twente 25222-35333 music programme
1638       2315       Morgenster 45444 qsoing
1625       2317       Noordzee 45444 qsoing
1625       2321       Montecarlo 45444 qsoing
1638       2345       Bluebird 55444 qsoing


Observations
  • Gedrocht van Twente was on 1615 kHz once again tonight. That's the fourth day in a row I've heard them, but what is interesting is that I've heard very little talking on the microphone - it would be good to hear some voices every now and again, although I have a suspicion the team might be a little too busy with the beers to give much thought to the programming output! From what I understand Gedrocht is also active on the air during the daytime, signing on early and closing down late - usually at around 0100 UTC. This is quite rare for a MW pirate as transmissions are usually sporadic and for a few hours at the most.
  • Nice to catch Morgenster on 1638 kHz. He was putting in a fine signal during his qso with Noordzee and Montecarlo. Bluebird was sending over his usual powerhouse signal when he popped up with a report and a few records.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Revved up for the autumn

Welcome back to this MW pirate radio blog, which has been very quiet during an extended summer break that continued into early autumn. August through to the end of October are always very busy for me with work, and this year was no different, which is why I've been so quiet with the hobby. However, I now have more time again, coinciding very well with the clocks going back an hour and giving us shorter days, which is ideal for listening to Dutch pirates. 

As my location is inland and not near the coast, I am reliant on propagation to bring the signals to me, which is largely possible only during the hours of darkness, so autumn and winter are the peak listening times for me and I'm ready to roll once again.

The Wellbrook ALA1530LN loop antenna is working well in conjunction with the MFJ-1026 noise canceller (which is an essential to keep the local noise right down), and the various receivers here are primed for the next few months of pirate tuning. 

I tend to use the Lowe HF-225 most of the time, or sometimes I switch to the Kenwood R5000 for a change. These receivers, along with plenty of others, are located in my radio room, but I sometimes listen elsewhere in the house using the little Lowe HF-150 which I connect to the Wellbrook loop.

For those of you new to this blog, I keep a record of Dutch MW pirates I've heard, report news about the many stations operating in the Netherlands, and show videos I have made, and include recordings of some of the stations. You can see a whole host of videos on the YouTube channel, and here's one to give you an idea of what this is all about:




Some very sad news I missed a few months ago that I have caught up with only today is that Henk, the operator of Radio Toekomst passed away in April this year. When I first became interested in the Dutch pirates back in the early 1990s, his voice was one that came through my speakers regularly. Henk had a very distinctive tone - and always an almighty signal. I'm sure he proved something of an inspiration to the younger pirates in Friesland and beyond - he certainly made an impression on me during those early listening years. Thanks for the memories, Henk.

Now to look at some of the stations I've been listening to during the last few days:

Freq       Time       Station SINPO

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

1644       1738       Skywire 25442 testing
1657       1740       Digitaal 55444 testing
1620       1740       Mike 44444-55555 testing 
1615       1740       Gedrocht van Twente 24222-35333 music programme
1655       1758       Batavier 35333-45444 testing 
1629       1800       Paradiso weak signal qsoing with Digitaal
1645       1801       Digitaal 55444-55555 qsoing with Paradiso
1645       1814       Casablanca (Twente) 35333 music programme
1620       1819       Batavia 35333 music programme
1629       1837       Zwarte Boer 35333 testing
1611       1855       Alice 34333-44444 testing
1630       2035       Test Zender (Toulouse) 45444 asking for report
1640       2039       Rebel (Drenthe) 34333-44444 music programme
1629       2235       Spakenburg 45444 testing

Observations

  • Today seemed to be the day for testing! The evening started when I heard Skywire testing a coil antenna on 1644 kHz, and within a couple of minutes I heard Digitaal and Mike Radio testing. That pair were putting very fine signals into the UK, with the punchy modulation of Mike really standing out. The second I heard instrumental music on 1620 kHz I thought it was him. That frequency got even busier a few minutes later when Batavia signed on for a music programme which lasted some hours. When two stations are broadcasting on exactly the same channel you get a mix of the two riding the waves, often taking turns to peak - that can certainly be a challenge when trying to identity stations!
  • It was interesting to catch Paradiso on 1629 kHz this evening. Whenever I've logged him previously it has always been around 1665, and I have usually been able to detect only a carrier. Tonight, however, although the signal was weak, there was clear audio to be heard on this lower frequency.
  • On 1655 kHz today was Batavier - not to be confused with Batavia - and he was testing as well! He was trying out a new transmitter, which he was kind enough to send me a picture of:

  • Rebel was busy on 1640 kHz. He usually runs around 50 watts, and his signal shows clearly that conditions were pretty good today:


Tuesday, October 30, 2018
1620       0610       Marconist 35333 music programme
1625       1936       Marianne 45444 music programme
1615       1937       Gedrocht van Twente 24222 music programme
1657       1952       Digitaal 45444 music programme
1625       2331       Pandora 55444 music programme


Observations

  • Marconist kicked the day off with an early morning programme on 1620 kHz. I wasn't listening live and set the computer to record the signal from my radio rather than using an SDR. Luckily, I left the radio tuned to 1620 kHz, but I think I might have to upgrade the technology at this side in the coming months which means I would be able to monitor the whole pirate spectrum at a given time rather than picking one frequency and hoping there is a station on air.
  • If it's Tuesday and there's a strong signal around 1625 kHz, then it is almost certainly Marianne, and today was no exception. He was booming across the North Sea for several hours and coming in very well here.
  • Gedrocht van Twente was back on air tonight, but joined by De Vier Ineen (The Four Together). Just the same as last night they were broadcasting all evening but the signal here was not so strong.

Monday, October 29, 2018
1645       1850       Oldtimer 44444 music programme
1643       1855       Vrijevogel 22442 music programme
1629       1857       Ome Wil (Pandora 2) 35333 music programme
1615       1902       Gedrocht van Twente 25222-35333 music programme
1690       1912       Bogusman 55555 testing
1638       2015       Bluebird 55555 music programme
1638       2100       Igloo 45444 music programme
1649       2324       Monte Carlo 34333 music programme


Observations

  • There were various interesting signals around this evening. Let's start with the one on 1690 kHz which was a test transmission from the UK featuring non-stop music and later a programme from the Bogusman, who listeners on shortwave might well be familiar with. The output power at the start of the transmission was 15 watts, which was later increased to around 50 watts. We can expect more testing in the weeks ahead as changes to the antenna system are made and the earthing gradually improved. The 15 watts was crossing the North Sea tonight and reaching the Netherlands, so that bodes well for the future, when as well as an improved antenna system, there are plans for considerably higher power.
  • Bluebird was busy for most of the evening on 1638 kHz, but he also took some time out for a relay of Radio Igloo with an international programme of oldies. Hopefully this is something we will hear again. A special qsl card was issued for the broadcast, which has been distributed already - this is the one sent to my good friend Terry, which I hope he doesn't mind me reproducing here. He runs an excellent blog which he updates with station logs every day. Take a look here.

  • There were a couple of new names for me tonight, kicking off with the station on 1629 kHz. Unfortunately the modulation was quite low, but the identification (with a little help from my friend Zeewolf) seemed to be Ome Wil, although I am told he also uses the name Pandora 2. He was giving out a telephone number and was on air for some hours. Hopefully it will be a little louder next time!
  • The signal on 1615 all evening was Gedrocht van Twente en de Lachende Vagebond - another new one for me, which translates to the Monster from Twente and the Smiling Tramp. What great names. As you might imagine, the signal in Twente was solid all night, although here in England it was a little more variable but with some good peaks. This station migrated from FM a couple of months ago apparently.
  • Although not listed above, there was some testing also happening on the unusual frequency of 1607 kHz. At around 2020 UTC there were some bursts of music which sounded loud and punchy. This frequency is not great given its proximity to the legal transmissions on 1602 kHz, yet the signal on 1607 was arriving here very well. I have no idea who it was though!

MW Free Radio