Monday, January 23, 2017

Remembering the DPRS

A few weeks ago I came across something that caught my eye on the Facebook page of a Finnish pirate enthusiast. It was a bulletin from the Dutch Pirate Radio Service from the mid-1990s.

The DPRS was run from Preston in the north-west of England by Derek Taylor, a fanatic of the Dutch pirate scene who knew everybody and everything. If you had a question about free radio from across the North Sea, Derek was your man. He even once appeared on the Radio Netherlands show Media Network talking about his pirate passion.

As well as running the DPRS, which put listeners in touch with the pirates and even sent out qsls on behalf of the stations who did not acknowledge reception reports, Derek also offered his address for letters connected with my Pirate Chat magazine.

I met Derek several times and even spent a day at Blackpool with him and Dutch MW pirate Technical Man about 20 years ago. I can remember sitting in a bar on the Pleasure Beach talking about all things radio and also playing some of the slot machines on the Golden Mile. I still have some photos of us all somewhere.

Derek suddenly disappeared from the scene some years ago and nobody has managed to get in touch with him. I know that Radio Barones, for one, has called various numbers but with no success. Perhaps he will reappear at some point. Radio seems to be like that... people come and go but often come back again. And that was what I thought as I read through his bulletin from July 1996.

Have a look yourself and you will see many names from the pirate scene who are still going strong today. Stations like Blauwe Piraat, Blauwe Ster, Driland, Electron, Noordzee, Scotland can still be heard. Some are no longer with us having sadly died - stations like Nooitgedacht, Tijdbreker and Pelikaan - three stalwarts from the Acterhoek who would regularly be heard back in the day. Some stations have gone from the radar, but perhaps they will be back.

I had a bit of a blast from the past myself on Sunday morning when I was tuning around at about 0730 local time and heard Radio Curacau for the first time in several years. When I first became interested in the hobby in the early 1990s he was a regular on the band but I have heard him on only one other occasion since I starting listening to the pirates again in 2011 after a lengthy break. It's great when these stations pop up on the band... a reminder of yesteryear, a voice that you had forgotten that you know again in an instant. 

Time for my latest logs. Have a look and see which of the stations listed were active in 1996. A fair few as it happens.

Monday, January 23, 2017
1651       1710       Vrijevogel 25222-35333 music programme
1620       1752       Jonny Camaro 25222-35333 music programme
1625       1754       Derdeman 25222-35333
1625       1807       Digitaal 45444 qsoing
1625       1827       Spanningzoeker 55444 qsoing
1611       1833       Blackstone 24222-34333 qsoing
1645       1905       Oldtimer 45434 music programme
1629       1918       Monza 45444
1611       1925       Jonge Boer 24222-34333 music programme
1647       2220       Noordzee 35333-45444 music programme

Sunday, January 22, 2017
1630       0728       Curacau 23422-33433 qsoing
1615       0739       Mike 24422 music programme
1610       1630       Anton 23432-33433 music programme
1629       1632       Duranza 25322-35333 music programme
1647       1632       Witte Tornado 45434 at 2022 music programme
1620       2015       Santana 33333-44444 music programme
1628       2017       Barones 44444-55444 music programme

Friday, January 20, 2017
1630       1612       Anton 45444 music programme
1620       1626       Sterrekijker 25222 music programme
1655       1713       Dikke Betta 45333-55544 music programme
1646       1718       Zwarte Bizon 35333 report for Anton
1629       1721       Monza 35333 testing
1636       1842       Dolfijn 25222-35333 music programme
1655       1856       Relmus 35333 music programme

Monday, January 16, 2017
1630       1649       Digitaal 35333 qsoing
1652       1655       Turfsteker 25332 qsoing
1629       1715       Friese Piraat 25222 music programme
1657       1734       Digitaal 35222 qsoing
1617       1800       Mike 35333-45444 testing antenna
1636       1827       Admiraal 24222-34333 qsoing
1650       1840       Kristal 44444 music programme
1629       1845       Zwarte Arabier 45444-55555 music programme
1640       1854       Veronica 44444 music programme
1645       1900       Oldtimer 35333-45444 music programme
1648       1910       Admiraal 34333 report for Kristal 
1611       1914       Zwarte Boer 33433 music programme
1655       1937       Batavier 34333 testing
1620       2011       Malibu 34433 
1620       2014       Blauwe Piraat 34433 report for Malibu

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
1635       1715       Digitaal 35333
1625       1727       Johnny Camaro 25222, 45444 at 1812 music programme
1637       1734       Skywire 25222 music programme
1647       1734       Telefunken 25222 report for Digitaal
1646       1739       Digitaal 35333-45444 qsoing
1611       1815       Utopia 35333-45444 short music programme
1645       1830       Turftrekker 25222-25442 testing
1655       1903       Telefunken 25222
1643       1911       Nachtzwerver 25222 testing
1645       1942       Paradiso weak signal qsoing 
1646       1954       Digitaal 35222-35333 report for Nachtzwerver
1642       2007       Digitaal 35222-35333 music programme

Monday, January 9, 2017
1640       2110       Veronica 35333 music programme

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Catch of the day

The last few days might not have seen a huge amount of MW pirate activity, but some of the Dutch stations heard here in England have raised plenty of talking points.

It is usually the case with morning reception that signals fade out when the sun comes up. So when I got to my receivers at around 0830 on Saturday morning I didn't expect to hear much. Had I have been a few minutes earlier I would have caught Barones on 1627 who had been on air with a rare morning programme for a couple of hours. Havanna was still going strong, however, peaking up to a SINPO of 45444 at just after 0900. Imagine my surprise when I could still him an hour later. Yes, the signal was weaker, but he was clearly audible at 1000. 

Those good conditions on Saturday morning also gave me the chance to hear IJsselstein for the first time. He is often on air at this time on various in-band frequencies but propagation doesn't usually allow me to hear him. Unfortunately, those favourable conditions weren't repeated on Sunday when signals were way down until much later into the evening than usual.

Sunday, January 8, 2017
1620       1602       Pioneer 25442
1647       1631       Witte Tornado 35333 music programme
1625       2118       Barones 45434-55444 music programme
1611       2128       Batavia 33322-34443 music programme
1615       2339       Johan 55444 qsoing
1645       2346       Monte Carlo 35333 qsoing
1630       2351       Jeneverstoker 25222 qsoing
Saturday, January 7, 2017
1635       0831       Havanna 45444 music programme
1615       0832       Johan 35343 music programme
1620       0848       Zonnester 35333, 45444 at 0858 report for Johan
1616       0850       Noordzee 25332 report for Johan
1512       0856       IJsselstein 23422 music programme
1622       0916       Marskramer (Friesland) weak signal music programme

Friday, January 6, 2017
1630       1833       Friese Piraat 35434-45444 music programme
1636       1850       Dolfijn 44444 music programme
1656       1906       Transparant 35222-35333 report for Friese Piraat
1494       1928       Laser Hot Hits 33522-45444 music programme
1645       2130       Sallandse Boer 35333 music programme
1615       2153       Torpedojager (NWO) 35333-45444 music programme
1636       2200       Odynn weak signal music programme
1655       2230       Relmus 25222-45434 music programme


  • Good to catch Barones on Sunday night - the first time I've heard him this year. It seems I missed an epic broadcast on December 31 when this legendary pirate from the Achterhoek was on air with a marathon eight-hour programme. I can only imagine the amount of German beer and wine consumed during that length of time!
  • When I heard Friese Piraat on Friday evening I assumed he had upgraded his transmitter from the usual 100 watts such was the signal strength. He tells me, however, it was his usual transmitter, which suggests conditions were at their optimum.

  • Transparant is rarely heard in England, In fact, I have to go back to October 31, 2011 to find my one and only log of the station. He's not on air often and transmissions usually take place during the afternoon.
  • Another station mainly on air in the daytime is Sallandse Boer, so it was a surprise to catch his lengthy music programme on Friday night. His SK050 transmitter was putting out a decent signal into the UK.

  • Nice to have Odynn back on MW with a long broadcast on Friday night. There were just 15 watts of power going into his 15-metre-high coil antenna. The signal was weak here, but the occasional peak brought the station up out of the noise.
  • Laser Hot Hits often pops up on 1494 these days, sometimes with live output. The signal on Friday night was up and down with fading at some points, but later in the evening was pretty steady and sounding very powerful.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Grundig Hit Boy 100

In Wednesday's post I wrote about some of the receivers and antennas I use for tuning in to the Dutch pirates. I briefly mentioned it was possible to hear these stations using inexpensive equipment, so I thought I'd prove that theory with a very nice little radio I was given at Christmas - the Grundig Hit Boy 100, built in 1980. The one I got has been reconditioned and is in superb condition.

On Wednesday night I had a tune around at the top of the MW band without any antenna other than the in-built ferrite rod. And, sure enough, I heard Uniek on 1619 and Napoleon on 1622 kHz - it was even possible to separate the two stations who were transmitting at the same time. This reception was indoors where there is any amount of noise knocking around from the appliances around the home.

Tonight (Thursday) I thought I'd throw my little portable loop antenna into the mix to see what I could hear. I took the setup outside into the garden (I must be mad, it was freezing!) and made a small video of the results:

As you can see and hear, that's super reception of the Zwarte Arabier on 1620 kHz. I also heard Witte Tornado coming in pretty well on 1647. So you really can hear pirates stations without all the fuss and expense of big desktop receivers, and it's fun tuning around without know exactly what frequency you're listening to.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Tuning in to the Dutch pirates

For listeners, dxers, pirate fans and general radio nuts who might be new to having a look at this blog, I thought I'd start the new year with a recap on some of the equipment here. 

The receiver I use most of the time is the Kenwood R5000. I also have the Lowe HF150, which spends most of its time in the living room rather than the radio room, the Lowe HF225, which has incredible audio quality, and countless other receivers I have accumulated over the years. In actual fact you don't need fancy radios to hear the bigger Dutch pirates. I've heard them on all sorts of devices, from clock radios to a novelty radio shaped like a can of Pepsi. The key to reception is the antenna.

For most of my listening I hook up a Wellbrook loop out in the garden, just a couple of metres above the ground. I have tried various models from this company over the years and am now using the ALA1530LNP. I also have a couple of portable loops, which work great with the smaller receivers.

To help eradicate local interference and to get the noise level as close to zero as possible I use a noise cancelling signal enhancer - the MFJ-1026 which is hooked up to the loop and to a second antenna - a dipole cut for 48 metres shortwave.

Below are my Dutch MW pirates logs so far for this year. The first figure is the frequency in kHz, followed by the time which, as ever, is given using UTC/GMT (Dutch time is one hour in front). The italicised figures represent the SINPO code.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017
1621       1910       Mike 34433-44444 music programme
1629       1911       Turftrekker 45444 testing
1660       1930       Veldwachter weak signal
1619       2135       Uniek 34333-45444 music programme
1638       2136       Armada 45333-45444 testing
1615       2136       Malibu 24322-34333 music programme. Later on 1612
1625       2159       Blauwe Koe 34333 music programme
1654       2210       Noordzee 35333-45444 music programme
1635       2242       Monte Carlo 33333-45434 report for Noordzee
1622       2255       Napoleon 33333-44444 music programme

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
1630       2035       Marianne 45333-45444 music programme
1611       2044       Zwarte Boer 23322-34433 music programme
1620       2046       Moonbreaker 25322-35443 music programme

Monday, January 2, 2017
1620       0613       Bootsman 35333-45444 music programme
1620       0741       Schaduwjager 45444 report for Bootsman
1620       0814       De Friese Piraat 25222-35333 qsoing
1645       1918       Bandoeng 44444 music programme
1625       2003       Brandaris 43333-44444
1655       2213       Dikke Betta 45333-45444 qsoing
1635       2215       Ruisbreker 25222-35333 music programme
1655       2216       Digitaal 35333-45444 qsoing
1654       2220       Kristal 35333 qsoing
1656       2223       Noordzee 35333-55444 qsoing
1655       2231       Noorderzon 25222 qsoing
1630       2315       Monte Carlo 34333 qsoing
1640       2319       Noorderzon 35222-35333 report for Ruisbreker

Sunday, January 1, 2017
1647       1735       Witte Tornado 45333-45444 music programme
1620       1745       Derdeman 25222-35333 music programme
1615       1811       Moonbreaker 25222-35333 music programme
1626       1910       Capri 54434 non-stop music programme with jingles
1645       0022       Bandoeng 45444 music programme

Thursday, December 29, 2016
1620       0625       Zonnester 43433-55444 music programme
1645       1810       Casablanca (Twente) 25432 qsoing
1655       1818       Dikke Betta 45444 qsoing
1620       1820       Zwarte Arabier 45444 music programme
1647       1840       Quintus 45434-55444 music programme
1620       2100       Sapporo 25222 report for Zwarte Arabier
1620       2105       Edelkampioen 44434-55444 report for Zwarte Arabier
1620       2110       Pioneer 33333-44433 report for Zwarte Arabier
1615       2115       Twentana 35333
1638       2135       Twentana 35333 music programme
1615       2143       Noordzee 35333 qsoing
1620       2159       Noordzee 35322 qsoing

Monday, January 02, 2017

Sad news from the shortwave scene

I heard today that the operator of shortwave pirate Radio Geronimo sadly died on Wednesday, December 28.

Chris Watson, as he was known in radio circles, was very rarely heard on air, but was the driving force behind Geronimo throughout the 1990s right up to 2015. Before that he was the operator of Radio 48 - the very first AM pirate I heard and the station that got me hooked on our great hobby.

Chris was originally based in Worcestershire in England and would go mobile to get Radio 48 on the air, often using woodland in his home county, Staffordshire, Herefordshire and Wales, sometimes sharing the same transmitter site with Radio Apollo, another big pirate of the time.

As Chris relocated to France in recent years Radio Geronimo was largely relayed from Ireland, although he had been very keen to get hold of a high-power transmitter to broadcast programmes himself just as he had done in the early years. He contacted me a few times to see if I could put him in the direction of any of the big Dutch pirates who would be able to help him with those plans.

Having listened to his stations for many, many hours over the years, I spoke to Chris lots of times on the telephone when he would ring and request a reception report, and I also met him on 
one occasion. I visited him at his home in around 1993 when he was still in England, even though he was very secretive about his underground hobby. I once heard that he would hide listener letters under floorboards so they could never be found!

Dave Scott, Radio Geronimo presenter and former operator of Radio Apollo, sums up Chris to perfection, saying: "He was a true stalwart of shortwave free radio, with a genuine passion and enthusiasm which never dimmed. Shortwave will certainly be worse off for his absence."

I, and no doubt all the AM pirates in the UK and Europe, echo those sentiments and send our condolences and very best wishes to his family. 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

The class of 2016

A very happy new year to you all and may I wish you a tremendous 2017 and the very best of health.

At this time last year I published a list of all the Dutch MW pirates I had heard here in England during 2015. That list totalled 185 stations. I have done the same again and can now present my list of the broadcasters heard in 2016. 

During the last 12 months I have heard 167 Dutch pirates - a little down on 12 months earlier, but the AT has been very active in the Netherlands in recent times and I have perhaps not listened quite as much as a year earlier. 

In a few cases the same person is responsible for two names in the list when stations have changed names, but there are not many cases of this which means there is still a great deal of pirate activity on the MW band. And when you consider it is largely only possible to hear the Dutch pirates at my location during the hours of darkness because of propagation conditions, then the number is even more impressive.

There are some new names to the list compared to the one I produced 12 months ago, while some stations have been silenced. Perhaps they will return to the air in 2017?

So, take a look below. Perhaps you will see some names that are new to you. Perhaps you have heard some stations I missed. As ever, please get in touch and let me know. You can email through the website, or drop me a message on Twitter or at the Facebook page

Dutch pirates heard in England during 2016


Atlantis (North West Overijjsel)

Black Power
Blauwe Kaktus
Blauwe Koe

Blauwe Panda
Blauwe Piraat

Blue Star
Bonte Specht

Casablanca (Emmen)

Casablanca (Twente)
Dikke Betta

Friese Piraat
Jack Sparrow
Johnny Camaro
Jonge Boer
Keizer en Keizerin

Mi Amigo
Moby Dick
Monte Carlo
Nova 4
O Superman

Professor Sickbok
Ray Champa

Sluwe Vos
Speedygonzales en Mexicano

Studio Friesland

Technical Man
Torpedojager (North West Overijjsel)
Torpedojager (Twente)

Vrolijke Mijnwerker
Witte Raaf
Witte Tornado
Yogi Bear en Einstein

Zwarte Arabier
Zwarte Bizon
Zwarte BMW
Zwarte Boekanier
Zwarte Boer
Zwarte Bouvier
Zwarte Diamont
Zwarte Golf
Zwarte Panter (North Holland)
Zwarte Panter (Oldenzaal)
Zwarte Schaduw

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Bringing the logbook up to date

With plenty to occupy my time over the last few days and in the buildup to Christmas, I've not had a great deal of time to tune in to the radio but, although I've not been listening a great deal, I've still caught some stations I don't hear too often.

Names like Wegpiraat, Uitzendkracht, Moskou, Baante, Kaimaan, Dolfijjn, Blauwe Panda and Skywire have made it across the North Sea, many of those with low power, too. It's always good to hear the less regular stations pop up on the band. These names, plus all the others I've heard throughout 2016 will appear soon on the blog. In the meantime, you can click here for the Dutch pirate stations heard here in the UK during 2015.

And here are some logs to bring the list up to date:

Wednesday, December 28, 2016
1623       2319       Uniek 44433-44444 music programme
1629       2327       Snowman 24222 music programme
1644       2327       Jeneverstoker 34322 report for Uniek

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
1629       1739       Johnny Camaro 25222-35333 music programme
1636       1748       Spanningzoeker 55444 asking for report
1655       1809       Wilskracht 35222 report for Spanningzoeker

1638       1810       Wegpiraat 25222-35333 report for Spanningzoeker
1629       1813       Schaduwjager 54444 report for Spanningzoeker
1613       1824       Uitzendkracht weak signal qsoing

Tuesday, December 20, 2016
1640       1615       Professor Sickok 25222-35333, 45444 at 1704 music show
1629       1631       Monza 35333 testing
1645       1637       Metaxa 25222-35333 report for Monza

Sunday, December 18, 2016
1646       1542       Zwarte Bizon 25442-34443 music programme
1647       1618       Witte Tornado 45444 at 1752 music programme
1630       1628       Moskou 25442 report for Zwarte Bizon 
1611       1648       Baantje 34433 music programme. Switch to 1615 at 1831
1635       1832       Kaimaan 25322-35333 music programme

Friday, December 16, 2016
1620       1537       Sterrekijker 25452-35333 music programme
1636       1651       Dolfijn 34333 music programme
1646       1657       Zwarte Bizon 45444 asking for report
1655       1818       Relmus 35333 music programme
1629       1903       Blauwe Panda 35333 music programme

Monday, December 12, 2016
1620       1800       Twentana 35333 qsoing
1629       1804       Armada 45333 qsoing
1650       1815       Vrijevogel 24222 music programme
1620       1827       Sapporo 25222-35333 music programme
1615       1831       Batavier 25222-35333 music programme
1640       1848       Veronica 35333 music programme
1643       2005       Nachtzwerver 25222-35333 music programme
1635       2025       Ruisbreker 35333-45444 music programme
1639       2039       Wadloper 54444 music programme

Sunday, December 11, 2016
1620       1755       Weduwe 34443 music programme

Monday, December 5, 2016
1645       2247       Monte Carlo 25222 qsoing
1645       2252       Ray Champa weak signal qsoing

Monday, November 28, 2016
1622       1542       Monaco 25342-35443 music programme
1650       1718       Vrijevogel 24332 music programme
1630       1722       Derdeman 25222-35333 testing
1620       1731       Jonny Camaro 25322-35333 music programme
1612       1738       Drukstromjager 55444 testing
1611       1850       Blauwe Panda 24422 music programme
1640       1858       Veronica 35333 music programme
1645       1916       Oldtimer 45444 music programme
1635       2256       Melkbus 25222-35333 music programme
1640       2257       Monte Carlo 35333 qsoing

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
1675       1742       Metaxa weak signal testing
1658       1819       Twentana weak signal asking for report
1655       1900       Wilskracht 35333 music programme
1638       1905       Skywire weak signal
1620       1933       Schaduwjager 55444 report for Derdeman
1625       1939       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 45434-55444 report for Schaduwjager
1636       1943       Toulouse 35333 report for Schaduwjager
1615       1949       Turftrekker 34433 report for Schaduwjager
1630       1952       Marianne 45434 music programme
1615       1953       Schaduwjager 54444 qsoing
1622       1959       Turftrekker 45444 qsoing
1642       2006       Skywire weak signal qsoing

Monday, November 21, 2016
1650       1636       Digitaal 35333 
1640       1641       Metaxa weak signal report for Digitaal
1618       1648       Drukstromjager 45554 asking for report
1640       1651       Atlantis 25342 qsoing
1658       1656       Twentana weak signal qsoing
1620       1701       Centurion 25342 qsoing
1645       1704       Digitaal 45433 qsoing
1630       1735       Derdeman 25322-35333 testing

Sunday, November 13, 2016
1647       2220       Witte Tornado 35333-45444 music programme
1629       2235       Zwarte Panter (Oldenzaal) 34333-44444 music programme
1679       2238       Monte Carlo 35333 qsoing
1620       2242       Technical Man 45444 music programme
1494       2254       Laser Hot Hits 35333 live programme 
1647       2325       Monte Carlo 35333-45444 qsoing

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
1625       2233       Napoleon 45434 music programme
1640       2234       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 music programme
1645       2247       Electron 44434 asking for report
1638       2335       Jeneverstoker 25222 report for Mijnwerker
1640       2347       Monte Carlo 35333 qsoing

MW Free Radio