Wednesday, February 27, 2013

For all you anoraks out there

Do you remember the weekly newsletters published by Anoraks UK back in the 1980s? Sadly they ended just as I was getting interested in the hobby. However, they are all now available to download. Have a look here and take a trip back in time

Latest logs

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
1648       2005       Caldera 23322-34443 qsoing
1640       2010       Jonny Pecon 44444 qsoing
1655       2010       Relmus 45434-55544 testing new modulator



1646       2011       Mustang 45444-55444 qsoing
1658       2018       Test Piraat 33422 qsoing
1655       2100       Turfsteker qsoing
1637       2112       Casablanca (not Emmen) qsoing
1654       2115       Vuurvogel 55444 testing
1620       2120       Kolibrie 33543 music programme
1633       2310       Barcelona 45434-55444 music programme
1647       2311       Bluebird 35433-45434 music programme
1656       2320       Romax 35443 testing
1665       2326       Polkaman 23322-34333 music programme
1615       2353       Napoleon 45444 music programme


1636       0011       Arrianne 45544 report for Barcelona
1655       0036       Jeneverstoker 24332-34333 qsoing
1639       0043       Veronica 33433-33443 qsoing
1636       0050       Pandora 55544 qsoing
1648       0056       Casablanca 43443 (later 45444) qsoing

Monday, February 25, 2013
1647       1600       Bluebird 24442 qsoing
1650       1605       Zwarte Boekanier 35443 qsoing
1655       1610       Vuurvogel 25342 qsoing
1625       2110       Melkbus 24432-35433 music programme
1644       2120       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544-55555 music programme
1648       2125       Caldera 23432-34443 music programme
1663       2147       Readymix 34333-35433 music programme
1638       2235       Calipso 55444 music programme
1647       2330       Noordzee 35433-454444 report for Mijnwerker
1647       2332       Casablanca 44444 report for Mijnwerker


Observations

  • Propagation conditions are not at their peak right now for listening to the Dutch MW pirates here in England. However, there was plenty to listen to on Tuesday evening. You saw the pictures of Relmus's new modulator a couple of days ago, and he was testing it out on 1655. By the end of the test, the modulation was booming and sounding great
  • Vuurvogel has been busy in the last few weeks and we have heard him qsoing several times. On Tuesday night, however, he appeared to be testing a much bigger transmitter which was blasting a very strong signal into our location. He was also talking in English with the ID of Radio Firebird International - and that voice sounds very famous. I remember it on my radio many years ago with some tremendous late-night programmes
  • Kolibrie was a new one for me and was on air with a long music programme. We made a nice recording that will be one of the many featured on the next MW Pirate Review which will be available to download in March
  • Napoleon signed on very late and played some music into the early hours which was a nice surprise. He has used 1615 a couple of times recently and it is a good frequency
  • There was a late-night qso into the early hours of Wednesday morning that featured Dutch stations Arrianne, Pandora, Casablanca, Polkaman, Jeneverstoker, Veronica, Bluebird and Barcelona, several of whom were also chatting to Radio Jaguar from Serbia 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Up and down

Anybody listening to Dutch pirates over the weekend is likely to have found propagation conditions in their favour during the early evening - that is certainly what I found with signals coming in really well between around 1600 and 1800. As darkness arrived, so the conditions were more volatile, especially on Sunday evening when at one point most stations faded out. Here is what I heard . . . 

Sunday, February 24, 2013
1625       1559       Quintus 35433-45444 music programme. Close at 1642
1611       1602       Zwarte Non 35443 at 1648 music programme
1635       1609       Batavier 34433 music programme
1647       1610       Witte Tonado 35343 (55544 at 2020) music programme
1655       1617       Vuurvogel 25342 (35443 at 1646) qsoing
1671       1824       Viking 34433 music programme
1655       1831       Relmus testing
1620       1846       Eldorado 44444 music programme
1639       2015       Wadloper 44434 music programme
1651       2030       Uniek 33433-34543 music programme
1638       2307       Calipso 55444-55555 testing
1647       2319       Casablanca 45444 qsoing
1653       2325       Jeneverstoker 24332 qsoing
1638       2339       Underground weak signal
1647       0020       Bluebird 35433 music programme




Saturday, February 23, 2013
1652       1701       Uniek qsoing 35543
1625       1701       Batavier 35433 at 1743 (45544 at 1752) music programme
1611       1702       Tower 44544 at 1821 music programme. Close at 0051
1512       1702       Edelkampioen 43533 music programme (started at 1615 after Tempico closed)
1648       1704       Caldera  25442 (34443 at 1834) music programme
1627       1706       Dr Blow 33443 qsoing
1656       1710       Rodester 35333 (45444 at 1735) qsoing
1668       1721       Pontiac  45444 qsoing
1636       1729       Keizer En Keizerin 34333 music programme
1620       1731       Kruik 24432-34433 music programme
1656       1752       Digitaal 34333 qsoing
1630       1825       Lancia 23422-33433 qsoing
1647       1827       Zeewolf 23432-33443 qsoing
1647       1850       Bluebird 32532-43543 music programme
1648       1855       Moby Dick 43433 music programme
1640       2159       Witte Raaf 34433-44444 music programme
1625       0040       Witte Raaf 34433-44444 music programme
1636       0045       Romax 34433 qsoing

Thursday, February 21, 2013
1664       2244       Amigo 35543 music programme
1638       2244       Hot Radio (via Calipso) 55544
1620       2245       Anton 55544 music programme
1629       2245       Babylona music programme
1656       2320       Wilskracht 25432-35333 qsoing
1656       2326       Jeneverstoker 35333 qsoing
1646       2331       Casablanca 45444 qsoing
1647       2345       Noordzee 44444-55555 report for Anton
1653       2347       Monte Carlo 34443 report for Anton
1639       2354       Monte Carlo 34443 qsoing


Observations

  • Great to hear British pirate Underground back on MW. He can usually be found with his polka music on shortwave but, using a T antenna, he was back on 1.6 MHz over the weekend. Although his signal was a little hit and miss here, it was hitting the Netherlands well enough and he had a qso with Calipso
  • Many thanks to Witte Tornado for the English music during their regular Sunday programme. While the propagation conditions held up, the signal was excellent once again
  • On Saturday I heard Edelkampioen for the first time. This station was first active around 20 years ago but has recently returned to the air operated by the son of original pirate, with a little help from his own son. The station made a comeback around three months ago and can usually be heard once a week on 1512. A great example of the pirate bug being passed down from generation to generation
  • I first heard Caldera a couple of weeks ago when he was qsoing with 45 watts. He's got a new transmitter now and was trying it out on Saturday afternoon/evening. The signal got stronger as time went by and he was coming in really well by 1830. I'm looking forward to hearing more from this station
  • There was a good qso on Saturday evening during which I heard Zeewolf for the first time in a while on MW. I wonder if his regular Friday night programmes on 1647 will make a return at some point?

Picture this . . .

Anybody who has ever listened to Relmus will know this is one station that pays special attention to detail, especially when it comes to audio and modulation. We can expect a slightly different sound from this powerful pirate very soon as he has a new modulator and power supply, built with more than a little help from Dr Einstein, the brains behind many of the signals you hear on the MW band. Relmus sent me these pictures on Sunday night and has kindly allowed me to share them with you . . . 






Nice catch

A little deviation here to shortwave . . . the weekend is a good time to catch US pirates on 6.9 MHz, where many of the stations broadcast in sideband mode. At around 0200 on Sunday morning I heard a signal on 6925 USB and it turned out to be Radio Jamba International. It's a new station for me and one I was very happy to hear. Also coming through was Wolverine Radio on 6935.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blast from the past

In these times of e-qsls it is not often that something arrives in the post from a pirate station. But a few days ago this sticker came from Radio Veldwachter after I heard the station recently qsoing. When I first started listening to the pirates, something would be dropping through the letterbox pretty much every day. Many thanks for this reminder of those days . . . 


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A quick reminder

Good evening from England

You might have noticed that I make quite a few videos of my reception of the Dutch pirates on MW. All of these are posted on our YouTube page. You can find all the videos by clicking here

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Power-packed Monday

As I write these words in the very early hours of Tuesday morning I'm sitting in the living room with one ear on my 1950s Pye radio. Bluebird from the north of the Netherlands has been qsoing with Jeneverstoker and is now playing some old polka records - it sounds like he's enjoying every minute of it. He doesn't speak much English, but is giving some annoucements every now and again as the records spin. It never fails to astound me just how well many of these Dutch pirates make it to England despite using low power. Have a look at this video clip of the Bluebird . . .


And this one of the Jeneverstoker . . . 





At the other end of the power spectrum there were some booming signals coming in during Monday evening and some great music, too. Vrolijke Mijnwerker, Calipso and Barcelona were bending the needle on the communications receiver and were heard very well across Europe.

On Sunday evening there was some late-night fun when Calipso was qsoing with Radio Jaguar from Serbia just as Mijnwerker had done a couple of days earlier. Then Utopia started to qso with Jaguar as well and there was much repeating of words very slowly to try and beat the fading of signals. Not only was this heard at our location in England, but the qso was heard in Newfoundland, Canada as well!

Here are some of the recent stations heard at this side . . . 

Sunday, February 17, 2013
1647       1713       Witte Tornado 45544 at 1850 music programme     
1512       1730       Tempico 43533 music programme
1665       1829       Viking 35433 (44444 at 2020) music programme
1620       1853       Weduwe and Kruik 44444 music programme
1635       1944       Batavier 34433 music programme
1643       2023       Wadloper music programme
1615       2102       Napoleon 44444 music programme         
1611       2205       Kruik 23432-34433
1618       2206       Cowboy 44444 music programme
1630       2211       Utopia 44444 music programme
1665       2211       Polkaman 34433 music programme
1650       2215       Jenverstoker 24422-34433
1636       2326       Pandora 54544 qsoing
1638       2333       Calipso 55544-55555 qsoing with various, including Jaguar from Serbia
1648       2333       Casablanca 55544-55555 qsoing
1659       2334       Black Bandit 44544
1640       0049       Utopia calling Jaguar from Serbia

Saturday, February 16, 2013   
1655       1620       Spakenburg 24332 qsoing
1611       1642       Zwarte Non 33443 music programme
1647       1653       Bluebird 34443 music programme
1645       1653       Kaaiman 23432-34443 music programme
1625       1659       Batavier 34433 music programme
1636       1700       Keizer En Keizerin 24432-34433 music programme
1668       1704       Polkaman qsoing
1655       1730       PPR (Black Bandit) 44434
1659       1839       Albtraos 35333 music programme
1648       2007       Moby Dick 44444-55555 music programme
1620       2042       Kruik 23432-34443 music programme and qso later           
1656       2042       Calipso 55544 music programme. Report from Newfoundland
1665       2126       Polkaman 34433 music programme
1636       2235       Pandora 53444 qsoing
1642       2241       Jeneverstoker 24422-34433 qsoing
1654       2258       Jeneverstoker 24422-34433 qsoing
1655       2328       Turfsteker 34443 qsoing
1650       2330       Monte Carlo 43443 qsoing
1640       2356       Monte Carlo 45444-55555 qsoing
1636       0014       Romax 34433 qsoing

Observations

  • It was great to hear Napoleon with a long programme on Sunday evening. He used to be a regular every weekend playing English tunes but is not so often on air these days
  • The action from Serbia was interesting. Jaguar was asking Calipso for his Skype ID and Calipso was then having a little trouble explaining himself in English. When Utopia joined the qso, he couldn't quite catch the ID (neither could I!) and everything was going round in circles for some time, to the amusement of various people in the pirate chatroom
  • Spakenburg has not been on the air a great deal recently, so it was good to hear his voice early on Saturday evening just as the Dutch pirates started to arrive in England. As time went by, signals got stronger and stronger and by the end of the night Moby Dick was hitting the maximum 55555
  • This blog is all about the activities of MW pirates, but I'll give a mention anyway to couple of Trans-Atlantic shortwave catches . . . on Saturday night, Wolverine Radio was coming in very well on 6925 usb. And 24 hours later Radio GaGa was hitting these shores on the same frequency. It's always a pleasure to hear US pirates making it into our radio room

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The things you find

I was in the garage at my parents' house recently and I found an old radio that I used to have many years ago. It did not cost much money, but I always thought it looked very smart, with lots of dials and a magic tuning eye that turned bright red with a strong signal. So, I brought the radio home and forgot about it. I noticed it again on Saturday evening and switched it on. It worked! So, I placed my small indoor loop antenna next to it and tuned to the top of the mediumwave band. I did not expect to hear any pirates as most domestic radios do not go much above 1620 kHz. However, straightaway I heard a very strong signal playing music from Koto. It was Calipso on 1656 kHz!




Saturday, February 16, 2013

Non-stop action

Greetings from England where spring is in the air with higher temperatures than we have been used to recently - and where I have some time off work and have been busy listening to lots of MW pirate activity. Propagation conditions have been excellent, with signals arriving before 1600 UTC for the last few days and some very strong and stable reception, even from pirates using relatively low power. On Friday afternoon, for example, Sterrekijker was blasting in - he sounded like a local station. The signal dipped down at around 1700 but came right back up again later in the evening, hitting a sinpo of 55544.


As usual, the Lowe HF225 was doing much of the hard work, together with the outdoor loop and MW coil antennas. Here are the stations heard . . . 


Friday, February 15, 2012

1620       1558       Sterrekijker 45444 (55544 at 2108) music programme
1625       1602       Batavier 33433 music programme
1645       1602       Rocking Billy 44444 asking for report
1637       1607       Baanbreker 45444 report for Rocking Billy
1627       1651       Vuurvogel qsoing            
1650       1657       Digitaal 35443 (45444 at 1722)
1611       1706       Zwarte Non 33433-44444 music programme
1640       1715       Vuurvogel 25422-35433 qsoing
1660       1720       Veldwachter 35443 qsoing
1665       1724       Meteoor 35443 qsoing
1642       1724       Blauwe Boer 25322 qsoing
1647       1724       Armada 45444 qsoing
1615       1804       Zwarte Arabier 44444-54544 music programme
1660       1816       Nora 25322 qsoing
1638       1831       Calipso 55544 music programme
1646       2003       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55534-55555 music programme
1630       2017       Torpedojager 43544 qsoing
1632       2019       Carona 33543 qsoing
1629       2020       Quintus 44534-55544 music programme
1655       2100       Melkbus 23432-33533 music programme
1638       2105       Wadloper 44544 testing
1618       2112       Carolina very weak signal qsoing
1620       2135       Torpedojager 34433-44444 music programme
1665       2151       Polkaman 24332-35333 music programme
1630       0017       Electron 42543-54544 music programme
1653       0036       Jeneverstoker 33433 qsoing
1685       0106       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 54444 qsoing with Jaguar from Serbia



Thursday, February 14, 2013
1625       1648       Batavier 35553-45554 music programme
1611       1648       Zwarte Non 34433 music programme
1640       1650       Zwarte Boekanier 35433-45444 qsoing
1636       1659       Vriendschap 35333 qsoing
1620       1702       Weg Piraat 35433 asking for report
1648       1715       Luxemburg 34443 asking for report
1645       1718       Vriendschap 35333-45444 qsoing
1650       1731       Zwarte Boekanier 35433-45444 qsoing
1630       1733       Lancia 33343 qsoing
1615       1739       Johnny Camaro 23432 music programme
1630       1745       Zwarte Boekanier 34433 qsoing
1645       1824       Zwarte Boekanier 44444 qsoing
1640       1830       Pecon 45544 qsoing
1629       1835       DB 43433 qsoing
1637       1838       Baanbreker 33433 qsoing
1650       1914       Lotus 45434-55544 qsoing
1655       1914       Caldera 24322 qsoing
1654       1919       Monza 34433 qsoing
1655       2202       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544 music programme
1638       2202       Calipso 55544 music programme
1620       2203       Meteoor 44544 qsoing
1648       2237       Moby Dick 43544-44544 testing
1653       2339       Jenverstoker 33433 report for Mijnwerker
1643       0004       Marskramer (Friesland) 34333-44444 qsoing
1636       0010       Pandora 55444 qsoing
1665       0015       Polkaman 24322 music programme
1643       2339       Jenverstoker 33433 qsoing
1640       0038       Jenverstoker 35433 qsoing

Wednesday, February 13, 2012
1700       2110       Korenklopper 45444 music programme
1645       2115       Wadloper 34533 music programme
1654       2117       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 qsoing
1655       2120       Caldera 24332 qsoing
1663       2123       Nachtzwerver 34443 qsoing
1657       2136       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 54444 qsoing
1676       2219       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 44544 qsoing
1633       2227       Barcelona 54444-55544 qsoing
1655       2233       Jeneverstoker 33433-35443 qsoing
1611       2233       Twentana 34433 music programme
1689       2234       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 54544 qsoing with Balkan stations
1655       2237       Electron 54444 qsoing
1647       2251       Monte Carlo 34433 qsoing
1655       2322       Bank Directeur (Black Bandit) 55444 qsoing
1670       2329       Korenklopper 55444 qsoing        
1643       2343       Monte Carlo 54444 qsoing


Observations

  • It has been great to hear so many stations over recent days. On Friday,  the action was non-stop with plenty of stations on air with music programmes and a selection of qsos. Sterrekijker was on air for some hours, as was Quintus, who was rocking 1629 and was heard right across Europe. He could hardly hide his delight as he received reception reports via the internet pirate chatroom and through his email. Great listening!
  • For me, one of the big attractions of listening to pirate stations is that you never know what is coming next, especially when it comes to Dutch pirates. As there are so many of these broadcasters in the Netherlands, the possibilities are endless and any one of them could appear on my radio at any time. For example, it had been a long time since I heard Veldwachter. In fact, if I look at my logs, it was November 29, 2011,  when his sinpo here in England was 24432. On Friday I heard him again, this time with a far stronger signal. He was qsoing with various stations, including Nora, who I was hearing for the first time. Blauwe Boer was also involved in the qso, together with Vuurvogel - another one who I heard for the first time. All of these stations were using 100 watts or less. While it's good fun to listen to the powerhouse stations in superb quality, I particularly enjoy rooting out the low-power operators. To hear them is often a challenge and it can make their day to realise that their signals are travelling across the North Sea
  • The Vrolijke Mijnwerker is known for his booming signal, and Friday was no exception. He was incredibly strong here in England and with particularly powerful modulation. And after he closed down from his long music programme he had a qso with Jaguar from Serbia. He was clearly very pleased that his signal was travelling so far and so well
  • On Thursday evening it was good to hear Johnny Camaro for the first time and to hear Weg Piraat with his best signal so far. Also on air was Caldera, a new addition to the band, who was heard for the first time on Wednesday. Using only around 40 watts, this was another low-power triumph

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A very nice Sunday Pye

I recently acquired a 1953 Cambridge International radio made by Pye. This fine old radio offers complete coverage of the shortwave spectrum and all of mediumwave which means no adjusting will be necessary to find the Dutch pirates on 186 metres. This morning I was having a closer look at it. After cleaning away a lot of dust inside and sorting out a few minor problems I hooked it up to the shortwave dipole and had a tune about to see what I could hear. Within a few minutes I had found some pirate stations on 48 metres - first up was our friend the Technical Man from the eastern side of the Netherlands. I made a video of the reception . . .


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Another 'new' recruit

As some of you might have guessed, I have quite an interest in vintage radios and today I have acquired another model for my ever-growing collection. For very low cost, I have a Cossor 515ux, made in England during the 1950s. 



The first thing I did when getting it home was to switch on the radio to make sure it works and then open it up and take a look inside. All of the valves are original Cossor valves and all were shining. Next job, was to find the MW trimmer and make a small adjustment to allow reception a little higher than originally intended! After a few minutes we were in business and ready to have a go at receiving some of our friends from across the North Sea. 

Unfortunately the radio does not seem to want to work with an external antenna or with the indoor loop. However, incredibly, the Vrolijke Mijnwerker was still coming in on 1655 on Wednesday evening and with a fairly good signal. A radio that is around 60 years old that has probably not been switched on for years and can receive pirate stations from another country without an antenna - that's some going. Take a look at the video and you can see for yourself . . . 

Late surge

We woke up to a covering of snow here in the UK on Tuesday morning and there have been plenty of strong winds as well. Unfortunately, the MW scene from the Netherlands was pretty quiet throughout the evening - perhaps something to do with the poor weather again, and some poor propagation conditions. It was not until just before midnight that some decent signals started to arrive, with Relmus, Casablanca and Calipso all coming in very well. I made a recording while all three were on air at the same time - it makes for interesting listening when you compare the signal strengths together with audio and modulation quality. Click here to take a listen

As I write these words I am listening to the 'pirate' station Radio North from Ireland on 846 kHz. The signal here for their non-stop country music is very strong. 

Here are the recent logs from this side . . .

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
1629       2115       JB 34433
1655       2144       Relmus 44444-55444 music programme
1646       2321       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 34333 qsoing
1650       2326       Monte Carlo 24322 qsoing
1636       2330       Romax 24322-34333 qsoing
1638       2350       Calipso 55544-55555 music programme
1648       0000       Casablanca 54444 music programme
1656       0030       Jeneverstoker qsoing

Monday, February 4, 2013
1655       1747       Relmus 34433-55555 testing the audio
1650       1748       Zwarte Boekanier 44434 music programme
1633       1757       Vrije Vogel music programme
1662       1814       Oldtimer 33433 music programme
1638       1905       Calipso 55544 music programme
1670       1909       Luxemburg 24322 testing
1645       2248       Batavier 23432-44444 music programme
1630       2306       Pandora 44444 qsoing
1629       0005       Bluebird 23422 qsoing
1652       0006       Jeneverstoker 24432-34533 report for Relmus
1647       0024       Casablanca qsoing
1620       0041       Pionier testing


Observations

  • On Tuesday evening many of the sinpos were lower than usual because of the poor conditions. By around midnight, however, propagation seemed to have improved and stations were coming in nearer to their usual strength
  • There were a couple of interesting catches on Monday. Bluebird was again doing well with low power, and it is was interesting to hear Luxemburg on 1670. It sounded like he was testing as he was playing lots of jingles and IDs. Maybe also low power? 

  • As Tuesday morning arrived there was some dance music on 1620. I've heard this a few times recently, often late at night. The signal is coming from a new 30 watt transmitter of Radio Pionier. And for the power, it has been doing very well. The station previously used a vertical antenna as many of the Dutch pirates. Now, though, Pionier has a dipole.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Beating the weather

With strong winds lashing parts of the UK once again this evening, it is literally blowing a gale outside right now. The MW band has been a little quiet tonight - perhaps many of the Dutch pirates are keeping their antennas in the low position and waiting for the weather to improve? One station who keeps going whatever the weather is Relmus. At around 1745 this evening he was testing his audio. As I write these words he is still going strong with girlfriend Sandra at the microphone. The signal is good as usual, and Relmus was also coming in loud and clear on the old transistor radio as you can see on this latest video . . . 


Saturday, February 02, 2013

Incredible video

On Thursday evening I was looking at an old, small transistor portable radio that has been lying around the studio here for some time. In fact, I could not remember the last time I switched it on. You can see from the dial that it has not had much use recently



I got thinking how it be an achievement to hear some Dutch pirates on the old receiver. So, I opened it up, made a few adjustments and the radio was soon able to tune right up to around 1700 kHz. And a few minutes ago in the early hours of Saturday morning I placed it inside my small indoor loop antenna to see what I could hear. Take a look at the results . . .



I was really amazed to hear Casablanca so well on this old radio. I was also able to hear Radio Uniek, who was running less than 100 watts. And all this when conditions were long skip and far from ideal for listening to Dutch pirates here in the UK.

MW Free Radio