On Monday evening (June 17) I was having a listen to the MW band when, between the powerful signals of Pandora (1620 kHz) and Bluebird (1638 kHz) I heard something that grabbed my attention. Regular readers of the blog will know low-powered pirate signals particularly interest me . . . and on 1630 I found something that that fitted the bill.
I often have Iann's Pirate Chat open while I'm listening to the radio, and I noticed that a Radio Astronaut was asking if anybody could hear his signal on 1630. The answer was yes! Via the chatroom I had a conversation with the operator and found out a little about his station, which I was hearing for the first time.
It turns out Astronaut has been active on MW since the start of 2013, but broadcasting only every few weeks. He uses around 40 watts of power from a single 807 valve in a home-built transmitter.
Listening on Monday evening was not easy to start with due to interference from stations around him, but once they had closed down, Astronaut was doing very well. Many Dutch MW pirates have antennas at 20-30 metres, some even higher, so with his vertical coil at around only five metres high, Astronaut was doing really well with a sinpo generally 35233. If it hadn't have been for the summer static on the band the listening experience would have been even better.
The low-power broadcasts from Astronaut have so far produced overseas receptions reports from Scotland, Germany, Belgium, Poland and now England.
Plans for the future include trying out a little more power with an 813 final valve, but Astronaut enjoys the challenge of sitting side by side with the power pirates and beaming out his signal across Europe with far less power.
With permission from Astronaut you can take a look inside his studio and at his antenna with these pictures he sent over . . .
|The Radio Astronaut studio (June 2013)|
|Home-built transmitter with 807 value|
|The Geloso audio amplifier which is so popular in Dutch pirate studios|