MW Free Radio

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Busy Saturday

It's Saturday night as I write these words, and there has been plenty to listen to on the radio today, from late afternoon and into the evening. Here's what I've heard on the MW band from the Netherlands today and over the last few days:

Freq      Time     Station name SINPO Type of broadcast

Saturday, January 18, 2020
1655      1630      Digitaal 25342-35343 music programme
1615      1646      Ruimzicht 25342 music programme
1640      1646      Uniek 35443 music programme
1632      1647      Concorde weak signal music programme
1647      1654      Vendor 35443-45444 music programme
1655      1710      Skywire weak signal music programme
1633      1725      Ros Am 35333-45434 music programme
1670      1742      Bos Piraat 25342 testing
1660      1744      Turfsteker 25342 report for Bos Piraat
1670      1747      Matrix 25332-35443 music programme
1690      1750      Bos Piraat 25342-35343 testing
1647      1750      Keizer en Keizerin 35343 music programme
1655      1752      Nachtzwerver 35443 qsoing
1611      1902      Twentana 34333 music programme
1631      1907      Uniek 35443 music programme  
1660      2310      Monte Carlo 25222-35333 music programme   
1635      2312      Electron 35333 testing  
1615      2322      Zwarte Panter 25222 testing  

     Nice to catch some different names on air during a few busy hours at the top of the MW band today. Vendor was coming in loud and clear on 1647 kHz, for example, while Ros Am was also doing very well indeed with his very clear, clean and smooth modulation and famous voice a pleasure to listen to as always!
     It’s been a while since I heard Matrix on air, so it was a treat to hear his low-power signal on his usual channel of 1670 kHz. There were some great peaks on the signal, which was very listenable at times
     Bos Piraat was an interesting one. This was actually Mike Radio in disguise, "broadcasting from the forest" while he was testing a low power transmitter and small antenna, much different to his usual more powerful setup. He was very surprised with how the signal was carrying across the North Sea, first on 1670 and then on 1690 kHz. He has some plans for Sunday broadcasts on 1512 kHz in the coming weeks, so keep an ear out in-band

Friday, January 17, 2020
1637      1605      Barones 45454-55555 music programme
1631      1642      Concorde 35443 report for Barones
1646      1705      Boomerang 55444 testing
1655      1710      Digitaal 25342-35333 qsoing
1638      1737      Alabama 25322-45444 music programme
1632      1930      Belladonna 25332 music programme

     There were stunning conditions during the afternoon and early evening today, and listening to Barones on 1637 kHz was just like listening to a local station for much of the broadcast. There were some very deep and very slow fades but for lengthy durations the signal was very stready, very strong and sounded superb. Digitaal was also doing very well with just 30 watts on 1655 kHz
     Unfortunately those good conditions didn’t last into the night and by a couple of hours after sunset signals were unstable. The usual powerful signal of Alabama, for example, which started out with a SINPO of 45444 had fallen right down and he was drifting into the noise

Thursday, January 16, 2020
1636      0811      Torpedojager weak signal music programme

     A little check of the band after the sun has risen revealed Thursday morning regular Torpedojager on his usual frequency of 1636 kHz. Had I have tuned in an hour or so earlier when it was still dark outside, then the signal would have been considerably stronger

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
1627      1805      Oldtimer 44444 music programme
1633      1814      Noordzee 35443 qsoing
1633      1818      Telefunken 25332-35333 qsoing
1637      1820      Baanbreker 25332 qsoing
1644      1853      Boomerang 45444 modulation test
1633      1905      Concorde 25322-45444 music programme

     I’ve been listening to Concorde since he started on MW last year. He kicked off with a 50 watt transmitter but since then has upped the power a little bit, but crucially last summer he improved his antenna system. That change gave an instant improvement to the signal here in England and tonight he was arriving the best I’ve heard him. You can get a good idea from the recording above

Monday, January 13, 2020

Latest logs, news and recordings

Many thanks for the kind words on the blog and on the Facebook page following my return to action with keeping the site up to date. It's been good to hear from you and to know that the work here is appreciated.

Here's what I've been hearing in the pirate radio world over the past few days at our wet and windy location in England, together with some recordings:

Freq      Time     Station name SINPO Type of broadcast

Monday, January 13, 2020
1639      1228      Professor Sickbok 25442 qsoing
1634      1230      Jeneverstoker weak signal qsoing
1633      1835      Telefunken 25322 qsoing
1633      1835      Schaduwjager 45444 qsoing
1610      1841      Anton 32432 qsoing
1630      1842      Wegpiraat 24222-34333 qsoing
1670      1853      Digitaal 35333-45443 music programme
1620      1925      Professor Sickbok 35333 asking for report
1638      2014      Osaka 35333 qsoing
1640      2016      Professor Sickbok 45444 qsoing
1666      2027      Josje Power 35333-45444 qsoing
1638      2200      Bluebird 55444 music programme

     Good to catch some stations arriving here just after midday today. Professor Sickbok was delivering a very listenable signal on 1639 kHz, while Jeneverstoker was considerably weaker but audible on 1634. It was interesting to see that Stoker’s signal was not visible on the SDR at Enschede. There was also a pirate on 1618 kHz at 1250 local time here, but no ID heard.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020
1617      2000      Marianne 44444 music programme
1610      2003      Anton 32422 music programme
1611      2004      Turktrekker 43432-55444 music programme
1655      2033      Speedygonzales 55434 testing

Monday, January 6, 2020
1667      1716      Digitaal music programme with 25 watts
1640      1737      Concorde 25342-35343 music programme
1633      1817      Vrijevogel weak signal music programme
1655      1919      Meteoor 35333 asking for report
1655      1927      Wilskracht 25222 report for Meteoor
1638      2215      Mi Amigo 45333 music programme
1656      2241      Snowman 25322-35333 music programme

     Propagation conditions were dismal during the early evening. Stations were generally much weaker than normal, fading up just occasionally and then dipping down into the noise when they would usually be consistently stronger and more stable. Later in the evening the signal levels had risen a little but there was still more fading than usual, although Snowman was doing pretty well with his 20 watt transmitter on 1656 kHz

Sunday, January 5, 2020
1645      2209      Mi Amigo 42443-44444 music programme
1645      2228      Witte Raaf 42442-45444 music programme     
1666      2210      Professor Sickbok 55444 report for Vonkenboer
1666      2217      Vonkenboer 25222 qsoing
1635      2359      Pandora 55444 music programme

     It happens quite often that Dutch MW pirates are on air at the same time on the same frequency. Tonight was no exception as Mi Amigo from the eastern side of the Netherlands was broadcasting on 1645 kHz while Witte Raaf from Friesland was also on the channel. Both stations were on air with music programmes and fighting for dominance here in England, with audio from one and then the other fading up and down. Quite entertaining to hear an identification for one station and then the other station just a few seconds later without any hetrodyne as both were exactly on channel. When Mi Amigo closed down at 2329 UTC it enabled clear reception of Witte Raaf, who was peaking at a SINPO around 45444

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Off to a good start

I’ve started the new year as I hope to continue, with plenty of radio time and finding lots of pirate radio signals to tune into. The outdoor loop antenna is pointing straight towards the Netherlands and the local noise level here is low which is a big help when it comes to pulling in some of the lower-power operators.

As well as evening listening, I’ve managed to get to the radio a couple of times before sunrise and have been pleased to hear numerous stations. Here’s how the log list is shaping up:

Freq      Time     Station name SINPO Type of broadcast

Saturday, January 4, 2020
1645      0648      Rietvink 35333-45444 music programme
1633      0650      Alabama 45444-55444 report for Barcelona
1633      0652      Barcelona 55444 qsoing
1652      0703      Eigen Risico 35333 report for Rietvink
1614      0719      Eigen Risico 35333 music programme
1633      0735      Polka Express 35333 music programme
1614      0829      Eigen Risico weak signal report for Polka Express
1636      1707      Mi Amigo 35433 music programme
1647      1708      Keizer en Keizerin 35333-45444 music programme
1615      1726      De Klap 25222-35333 music programme
1634      1801      Barones 54444 music programme
1630      1817      Friese Piraat 24332-34333 music programme
1655      1831      Turfsteker 35443 testing
1672      1912      Vonkenboer 25332 qsoing
1673      1915      De Klok 25332 qsoing
1640      2320      Mi Amigo 45444 qsoing
1635      2320      Pandora 55544-55555 music programme
1646      2321      Monte Carlo 45444-55544 qsoing
1638      0016      Bluebird 55544 report for Pandora

     I arrived at the radio just a little too late to hear any of Radio Barcelona’s regular Saturday morning broadcast on 1633 kHz, which kicks off very early. However, I heard Alabama giving a report, and then heard Barcelona return to the airwaves to give a report back. Both stations were coming in very strong, very loud and very clear
     Eigen Risico (Own Risk) was busy this morning reporting to various stations. First, he came up when Rietvink closed down; he then gave a report to Alabama, and then came up on 1614 when Polka Express closed down. By that time the sun was up here in England and the propagation had changed making reception difficult
     There were some super signals on the band tonight, with Barones sounding awesome on 1634 for a lengthy music programme. There was loads of depth to his modulation, and the same goes for Pandora who closed the night on 1635. Monte Carlo and low-power Turfsteker were also doing very well, as you can hear from the recordings above
     It was good to hear Friese Piraat for the first time in a while. He sent over some pictures while he was broadcasting:


Friday, January 3, 2020
1632      0645      Bootsman 24222-35333 music programme
1617      0652      Blauwe Piraat 24222 report for Bootsman
1615      0655      Eigen Risico 35333 report for Bootsman
1640      0706      Zeelandia 34333 report for Bootsman
1633      0708      Noordzee 35333-45344 music programme
1645      0736      Rietvink 35443 asking for a report
1644      0750      Wilskracht 25222-35333 report for Noordzee
1614      1651      Eigen Risico 35333 music programme
1630      1731      Admiraal 35443 music programme
1645      1740      Zwolse Vliegenvanger 45333-45444 testing
1616      1745      Blauwe Piraat 25222 qsoing
1652      1746      Turfsteker 25222 music programme
1647      1747      Armada weak signal-35323 qsoing
1611      1754      Zwarte Boer weak signal music programme
1638      1757      Admiraal weak signal qsoing

     The day started with Bootsman on 1632 kHz and then lots of stations coming up on the band with reports, including Zeelandia, who is a rare catch for me
     A new name to my ears was Zwolse Vliegenvanger. Apparently he was active during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Welcome back!
     Conditions on the band during the early evening were not great, but Armada was much weaker here than usual before becoming stronger a few minutes later. He sent me a message to let me know he was experimenting with antennas, first trying a T design and later an inverted V. Very interesting to hear what a big difference there was between the two, although in the Netherlands other stations reported he was his usual strength with both antennas

Thursday, January 2, 2020
1638      2212      Spanningzoeker 45434-55444 testing
1630      2215      Meteoor 45433-45444 qsoing
1645      2216      Curacao 25222-35333 music programme
1620      2220      Ruisbreker 24222 music programme
1638      2221      Morgenster 25222 qsoing
1635      2231      Electron 25222 qsoing
1645      2305      Meteoor 45444 report for Curacao
1635      2307      Pandora 45444 music programme
1645      2318      Alabama 55444 qsoing

Friday, January 03, 2020

Welcome to a new decade

Hello there and welcome to 2020. I wish you the very best of health for the year ahead and lots of enjoyment with this wonderful radio hobby of ours, whether you are a listener and DXer or pirate radio station operator.

You can probably guess that one of my New Year resolutions is to try to update this blog more regularly than I have been doing, and I will certainly be trying to do just that. Although I didn't do a great job with regular updates during 2019, I was still listening to the pirate stations, but just not quite so much as previously. However, with long days and short nights, this is my favourite time for listening so I have plenty of reason to tune in as much as I can in the weeks and months ahead.

Something I like to do at the start of each year is to look back on the previous months and recall which Dutch MW pirate stations I have heard, and do some comparisons with previous years. 

During 2018 I heard 154 pirates from the Netherlands on MW, following on from 172 in 2017,  167 in 2016 and 185 in 2015. Adding up the figures for 2019 gives me a total of 129 stations. This is a fair way down on last year, and a significant drop from the figure in 2015. However, I wasn't listening to the band as much as in previous years and I wasn't keeping definitive notes. 

The antenna here is the Wellbrook ALA 1530LNP and the receivers are the Lowe HF-150, Lowe HF-225 and Kenwood R5000.

Dutch MW pirate radio stations heard in the UK during 2019

Armada (regular frequency of 1647 kHz)
Batavia (1620 kHz)
Billy De Bluffer
Blauwe Koe

Blauwe Panda
Bluebird (1638)
Boer Piet
Bootsman (1620 kHz)
Casablanca (Drenthe) (1640 kHz)
Casablanca (Twente)

De Kat
De Klap
De Klok
Derde Man
Dikke Berta

Doktor Bloe
Dolfijn (1629 kHz)

Ether Snuiver (Black Bandit)
Gedrocht van Twente
Havanna (1635 kHz)
Jan De Roos (Black Bandit)
Jan Tabak (Black Bandit)
Josje Power
Keizer en Keizerin (1636 kHz)
Klaas Snoek (Black Bandit)
Marianne (1617 kHz)
Matrix (1670 kHz)
Moby Dick (1652 kHz)
Monte Carlo
Morgenster (1638 kHz)
Pandora (1635 kHz)
Pandora (Friesland)
Professor Sickbok (1640 kHz)
Romax (1636 kHz)
Ros Am


Sluwe Vos
Soto and Daniel
Station Twente Team
Technical Man
Torpedojager (Twente) (1636 kHz)

Veluwse Ster
Vrolijke Mijnwerker
Weduwe (1620 kHz)

Witte Raaf
Witte Tornado (1647 kHz)
Yogi Bear en Einstein
Zee Piraat
Zender Johan
Zwarte Boer

Zwarte Panter (East NL)

I am a member of many Dutch pirate WhatsApp groups which allows me access to lots of handy information and to see what other people have been hearing. So, what that helps me to do is see which broadcasts I've missed out on hearing - whether that be through not being at my receivers at the right time, or because some pirates broadcast only during daylight hours when propagation doesn't allow me to hear them as I am nowhere near a coastal location.

So, using information gleaned from those WhatsApp groups, here are some of the MW pirates from the Netherlands who were on air during 2019 but not heard by me in England:

Atlantic (regular frequency of 1611 kHz)

Barcelona (1633 kHz)
Black Arrow

Blauwe Fazant
Blauwe Piraat
Blauwe Reiger
Bonte Specht
Caballero (1636 kHz)
Cowboy Gerard
Derby (1620 kHz)
Eigen Risico
Friese Piraat
Hennie Veldwijk (1645 kHz)
Jack Sparrow
Johnny Depp
Johnny Camaro
Kleine Cowboy (1539 kHz)
Kleine Man

Luxemburg (263 kHz longwave)
Mi Amigo
Polka Express
Rebecca (1629 kHz)
Rodester (1650 kHz)
Sterrekijker (1332 kHz)
Texas (1611 kHz)
Twee Gebroeders
Vliegende Hollander
Vloedgolf (1611 kHz)

Vriendschap (1636 kHz)
Zwarte Arabier
Zwarte Bizon
Zwarte Bouvier (1620 kHz)
Zwarte Boekanier (1645 kHz)
Zwarte Panter (Friesland)
Zwarte Piraat

On this list are a further 80 Dutch MW pirates. Most of these I have heard in previous years, so if we add these to the stations I personally heard during 2019 we have a total of 209, which is above the highest figure of 185 I recorded in 2015. There are some pirates who use several names, so if you take this into consideration it seems fair to say the number of MW pirates currently operational is similar, if not greater, than the figure from around five years ago.

Some former pirates, including the likes of Calypso, 0511 and Flandria might no longer be active as we know them, but have gone down the legal route with low-power licences, adding to the number of familiar voices on the AM airwaves. Plenty of former pirates are also involved in these legal operations. You can see a full list of all those stations active in the main MW band here.

All this activity bodes very well for a good year of pirate activity in 2020, so let's look forward to a busy 12 months.