Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wall-to-wall activity

After a great day enjoying some warm weather - between the rain and hail showers! - I switched on the radio at around 2100 utc. Saturday nights are always busy on MW and this evening was no exception. It was wall-to-wall all night long and as I write these words there are stations still on air. Barcelona, for example, is booming in on 1633 while he plays a few records after qsoing . . . 


Also still on air at 0030 utc (0230 Dutch time) is Moby Dick on 1648 and Polkaman on 1665. There is also a little Balkan activity higher up the band.

Here's the list of stations heard here in England this evening:

Saturday, April 27, 2013
1620       2105       Batavia 35433 music programme
1629       2105       Quintus 45434-55544 music programme
1636       2105       Keizer En Keizerin 25322 music programme
1641       2105       UK44 24332-34333 music programme
1648       2105       Moby Dick 45444-55444 music programme
1671       2106       Viking 35433-45444 music programme
1665       2108       Polkaman 24322 music programme
1685       2110       Bravo Sierra 25332 music programme
1642       2130       Akai 44444 music programme
1655       2136       Witte Raaf 44434-55444 music programme
1611       2145       Dinkelland 34443 music programme
1636       2205       Spakenburg 44434-54444 qsoing
1647       2205       Noordzee 44444 qsoing
1647       2213       Monte Carlo 44444 qsoing
1662       2217       Majorca 33433-44444 qsoing
1665       2217       Relmus 43443 music programme
1647       2220       Digitaal 43443-55444 qsoing
1675       2228       Relmus 45444 music programme
1636       2312       Romax 34433-44444 qsoing
1625       2321       Batavier 45444-55555
1633       2333       Barcelona 55544 qsoing
1645       2336       Dinkelland 33333-44343 qsoing
1656       2352       Noordzee 54444 qsoing

Observations

  • There were some cracking signals on the Kenwood tonight. Quintus was blasting in with a long programme on 1629 - his regular channel at the top of the MW band. Also on air with a music show and cracking signal was Witte Raaf on 1655
  • It's been a while since I last heard UK44 on air, so it was good to hear him with non-stop music and jingles on 1641
  • A very big signal cropped up on 1625 at around 2320 utc. It turned out to be Batavier, who is now regularly strong here at our location in the UK. His big pal Relmus was on air at the same time, starting off on 1665 before moving to 1675. He sent over a couple of pictures while he was transmitting . . . 


  • As usual, plenty of stations were qsoing. I haven't heard Dinkelland for a while and, after a music programme on 1611, he joined in the chatting to a whole host of stations. One of those was Majorca, who I haven't heard before. If I heard correctly, he announced that he was running 60 watts. If that is so, he was doing very well indeed. Take a listen to reception by clicking here
  • Digitaal was qsoing and doing a little testing on 1645 and by the time he closed down his signal was very strong indeed. He often runs around only 100 watts, so if he was using normal power, it was very impressive, with a sinpo peaking as high as 55444

Friday, April 26, 2013

Thrilling Thursday?

It's been an interesting night on the MW band. After the sun had set - after some rain, as you can see in the picture - I switched on the Kenwood R5000 and heard plenty of signals. As I write these words at around 2345 utc, Santana is still busy with a music programme on 1619, Bluebird is playing records on 1629 and Bravo Sierra is still going on 1656. It's good to hear some music and chatting sometimes rather than qsos, especially when there is a little English talking as well!




Thursday, April 25, 2013
1615       2026       Batavier 45434-55544 music programme
1629       2026       Bluebird 55544 music programme
1646       2027       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544 qsoing
1670       2029       Underground 24332 music programme
1644       2029       Vuurvogel 55444 qsoing
1620       2032       Kruik 24322-35333 music programme
1647       2037       Armada 45434-55544 qsoing
1656       2050       Bravo Sierra 24332 music programme
1649       2111       Monte Carlo 43543 qsoing
1638       2129       Batavia 34433 music programme
1654       2134       Noordzee 43433 music programme
1627       2142       Vuurvogel 44444 qsoing
1619       2206       Santana 34433-44444 qsoing then music programme
1665       2213       Polkaman 24332 music programme       
1648       2213       Casablanca 55544 qsoing
1645       2219       Noordzee 44444 qsoing
1645       2222       Monte Carlo 44444 qsoing
1629       2226       Calipso 55544 qsoing
1650       2305       Jeneverstoker 35443 qsoing
1650       2307       Monte Carlo 55544 qsoing
1665       2331       Monte Carlo 55544 qsoing


Observations

  • Good to hear Underground earlier in the evening than usual and on a weeknight. It is often 0100-0200 in the early hours of a Saturday or Sunday morning when he appears on his usual frequency of 1670, so this was a nice surprise
  • I was listening to 1620 for quite some time, trying to work out who was on the frequency. The station closed down at 2141 and I still wasn't sure who it was. However, he came back to qso with various stations and I finally got the ID of Kruik - and 1620 is where he can usually be found
  • Bluebird is often one of the strongest stations here and tonight was no exception. He was booming in on 1629, playing music, then qsoing before playing more music. I often leave one of the old valve radios tuned to Bluebird while I'm doing things like writing this blog. In fact, I am listening to him right now!
  • Among his selection of Dutch and English music, Santana was playing plenty of jingles, which were a nice touch. Not so many of the Dutch MW pirates have these, so it's always good to hear them

Building your own radio

A couple of days ago I was chatting to the operator of Radio Soerabaya. He hasn't been on air for a while, but he's still been busy with his soldering iron - making his own MW radio set. He sent me this video . . .


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The birds

What a superb day we've had here in the UK. The sun showed itself and we had a fine time walking in the local park. And as the sun went down, our loop antenna was glowing . . .



There was time for some radio listening during the evening, and for bird watchers it was very interesting at the top of the MW band! Vuurvogel (Firebird) was busy qsoing on 1655; then Bluebird joined the chat on 1629; he was followed by the other Firebird on 1650. And while all this was going on, Kolibrie (Hummingbird) was on 1620 with his regular Tuesday music programme. I don't think I've ever heard so many Dutch birds in one place at the same time!

Here's the full list of stations heard on Tuesday evening, together with a few other recent logs . . . 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013
1664       2020       Kristal 44444 music programme
1647       2020       Calipso 55544 music programme
1620       2026       Kolibrie 25232 music programme
1654       2050       Vuurvogel 55444 qsoing
1663       2100       Readymix 34333 qsoing
1629       2105       Bluebird 35333-45343 qsoing
1655       2107       Studio 69 25222-25332 qsoing
1632       2127       Albatros 34433 qsoing
1650       2133       Firebird 25332-35443 qsoing
1646       2207       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544 testing
1674       2228       Pluto weak signal testing
1648       2250       Casablanca 55544 report for Mijnwerker

Sunday, April 21, 2013
1670       2035       Matrix 35433-35544 music programme
1635       2035       Johnny Camaro 25332 music programme
1647       2035       Witte Tornado 35343 music programme
1610       2040       Anton 43543-43544 music programme
1652       2045       Uniek 25322 music programme    

Observations

  • Many thanks to Chris from Radio Uniek who sent over this great qsl yesterday. I think he must have the largest selection of qsls for his listeners I have ever come across. With every report seems to come another qsl and they always look great. Keep up the good work
  • Apart from Kolibrie on 1620, Tuesday night was mainly qso action with some fine signals arriving from across the North Sea. Top of the pile were Calipso, Vrolijke Mijnwerker and Casablanca. Using somewhat less power was Firebird, operating with 100 watts and peaking really well
  • Bluebird announced on air that he was operating with just 45 watts, but it sounded more than that at times! With less power still was Studio 69, broadcasting with his now usual 25 watts
  • A few weeks ago Pluto started testing on MW with around 40 watts, and our friend Pacman heard him with a good signal. I told Pacman that I would soon hear Pluto here in England, and he told me he didn't think that would be possible. Well, this evening, I was able to detect a carrier from Pluto on 1674. I had to use USB mode to hear it, but it was audible, as was some speech saying "Radio Pluto.... Radio Pluto" . So, Pacman.... I think you must buy me a very nice cake when I see you next!
  • Great to hear Albatros in the air on Tuesday night. This is the one from the south of the Netherlands, not be confused another station with the same name further north! The signal was coming in really well, and you can listen to a recording by clicking here
  • Conditions on Sunday evening were far from optimum but one of the best signals on the band was coming from the east of the Netherlands and from Matrix on 1670. This was the best reception we've had of the station for some time and it was a pleasure to listen to this low power pirate. 100 watts was certainly doing very well. More programmes soon please!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend listening

We woke at around 0600 utc on Saturday morning and, as the portable radio was sitting next to the bed, I thought I would have a quick tune around at the top of the MW. Straightaway there was a signal on 1645 with pretty decent reception. I soon found out it was Vriendschap, from the east of the Netherlands.

I spent most of the day at work, but as I write these words in the very early hours of Sunday morning I am listening to Chris from Radio Uniek on 1652 kHz. He is a regular with long music programmes, always on the same frequency. I'm listening again with the old Pye receiver, which is currently hooked up to a coil antenna sitting around ten metres high. Uniek is peaking at 44444, which is super reception as Chris says he is running his usual 90 watts of power.

I've been tuning around for the last half and hour or so and I've also heard Monte Carlo, Polkaman, Moby Dick and Jeneverstoker. Underground has also been busy on 1670 again, although I couldn't hear him this time, which suggests conditions are going long skip.

I'll hopefully be enjoying some sunshine on Sunday, but there will be time for some listening as well, so I will report back here soon.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mixed bag

A quick scan around the top of the MW band this evening revealed conditions were not particularly good. Dutch pirates Calipso and Vuurvogel were nice and strong as usual, but Radio Anton on 1610 kHz was weaker than typically. That is in contrast to Tuesday evening when most signals were coming in very well while we were listening on the 1950s Pye valve radio. Batavia was doing well with his music programme, and there were some great signals from the various stations qsoing with each other. One of those was Casablanca. Have a look at this video of the reception . . . 


Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Sunday Star

During the winter Radio Zonnester from the Netherlands can often be heard here in England with a long music programme on 1620 khz on a Sunday morning. Today I switched on the portable radio at around 0700 utc and got a nice surprise when the station was coming in loud and clear. With the clocks having changed and with the days getting longer, I did not expect to hear very much on the frequency, but Zonnester was blasting in and could still be heard at 0800, with reception finally disappearing at around 0815. A nice start to the day and great to listen to a pirate while lying in bed during the daytime! Have a look at the video to see my reception . . .



Have a look at our YouTube page for more videos. Click here

In the news


Many thanks for the comments we receive every now and again for this blog - I am very happy everybody seems to be enjoying what I have to say! In response to Paul, who asked to see some old free radio magazines, our friends at The Pirate Archive have many editions of old publications that can be downloaded. Take a look here

On location

It's been a busy few days here in England, and last weekend we spent a little time in a caravan by the sea in Devon. We watched the Grand National on television (the horse we backed finished second!) with the sun beaming through the windows and it was a fine day. Of course, the Sony portable and small loop antenna made the journey with us . . .



On Sunday evening (April 7), I switched on the radio in the evening and heard plenty of stations from the Netherlands. Utopia was coming through loud and clear on 1620 . . . 


I also heard Bluebird, Vuurvogel, Batavia, Uniek, Jeneverstoker and Underground on 1670. In fact, Steve was peaking with a really nice signal, sometimes better than at home. Conditions were particularly good that evening. I made a small video of Monte Carlo's signal . . . 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Noises and surprises

I switched on my radio on Friday evening to be greeted with some terrible local interference at the top of the MW band. I soon worked out that I was the cause of the noise as I had my camcorder battery on charge and it has no regard for dxers! So, I turned it off and turned my attention to the Dutch pirates. Just like the night before, there was a lot of static around, which could have been a result of a solar flare earlier in the evening. 

Despite the noise, there were a few stations coming through, although nothing like the usual amount for a Friday night. I had a quick scan of the shortwave 48 metre band at around 2140 utc and found that pirates were still coming through. In fact, as I write this at 2345 utc, Powerliner from the Netherlands is still blasting through with S9+10 and a sinpo of 55434. Reception on 48 metres at this time of the day has been unheard of for some time now - a very nice effect of the sun flare.

It is often wall-to-wall qsos on MW, but it was programmes tonight . . .

Friday, April 05, 2013
1625       2130       Witte Reus 45343-45344 music programme
1640       2137       Witte Raaf 44343-45444 music programmes
1665       2147       Polkaman 24322 music programme
1659       2203       Studio 69 23322 music programme
1656       2203       Bluebird 44343 music programme
1647       2220       Monte Carlo 44344 asking for report
1630       2233       Monte Carlo 45344 music programme
1670       2316       Underground 25332 music programme

Observations

  • Strongest signal of the evening goes to Witte Raaf, who was booming in here from when he was first heard to when he closed down at 2347 utc. He was using 200 watts, peaking at 400 watts with the audio, although it sounded like more. Great work
  • Witte Reus was busy on 1625 from the studio of Batavier, and with Relmus on the microphone as well. Another good signal
  • Underground signed on at around 2315 utc and is still going strong on 1670 with his unusual mix of Dutch and English music! As I write this, his sinpo is 24332. If the noise level would drop a bit, it would be better, but  I can understand most of what Steve is talking about
  • I check the Twente SDR every now and again and noticed a strong signal on 1620 earlier this evening. I had a listen for a while and quite enjoyed the music and presenting style. it turned out to be Radio Morningstar. I check the frequency on my own radio, but could not even detect a carrier, which was a shame. I have heard the carrier in the past, but it would be good to hear some audio from Morningstar and to enjoy his fine programmes
  • A station I did not hear myself on Friday was Radio Pluto. Better known for his exploits on shortwave, he was testing on 1644 during the afternoon with a helical antenna. The power was only low, but I am determined to hear Pluto's signal on my own radio. I have made a deal with him that he will test when we find a clear frequency and conditions are good with a low noise level

Friday, April 05, 2013

Going back in time

On Thursday afternoon I was sorting though some old boxes at my parents' house and I came across a pile of free radio bits and pieces from the late 80s. There were newsheets from the Scottish SW pirates Weekend Music Radio and Radio Freedom International . . . old copies of Anoraks UK Weekly, Communication and Medium Wave News.



I also found what was left of my very first homemade loop antenna. I remember it well - it went to all sort of places throughout the UK when I was younger. In particular I recall it going on holiday with us to Norfolk, where I was amazed to be able to hear Dutch pirates blasting over the airwaves at all times of the day and night. I remember hearing a station called Rooie Piraat. I heard him just the once and never again. I often think living in that part of Britain would be great for listening to the pirates from the Netherlands and that I would hear all sorts I am unable to hear otherwise, but maybe I would find myself listening to pirates all day long, every day!

As I update the blog I am listening to Radio Barcelona from the eastern part of the Netherlands playing some music on 1633. His signal, as usual, is huge. Last summer I sat drinking beer with the man behind the microphone and with Radio Barones. Two powerful pirates together - good times. 

I've been listening for a couple of hours tonight and although there have been some strong signals, there is a lot of static on the band. This generally increases as we get into the summer months and tends to make life a little tricky for the international listeners. Anyway, this is what I've heard, together with some logs from Tuesday evening . . .


Thursday, April 04, 2013
1654       2135       Santana 45333 qsoing
1670       2140       Underground weak signal testing
1646       2142       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 554444-55555 qsoing
1638       2142       Calipso 54444 qsoing
1640       2142       Veronica 42343-44344 qsoing
1629       2142       Noordzee 55344 music programme
1619       2143       Ruisbreker 24222-35333 music programme      
1655       2147       Vuurvogel 55444 qsoing
1658       2151       Amigo 34343 qsoing
1653       2154       Monte Carlo 34232 qsoing
1648       2154       Casablanca 45444-55544 qsoing
1670       2155       Underground 34333 testing with dipole
1656       2215       Bluebird 44344 qsoing and music programme later
1657       2226       Jeneverstoker 33222 qsoing
1647       2249       Noordzee 44333 qsoing
1659       2259       Studio 69 34232 qsoing
1633       2303       Barcelona 55444 qsoing
1625       2314       Marskramer (Friesland) 35343 qsoing

Tuesday, April 02, 2013
1645       2205       Noordzee 44544 music programme
1655       2205       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544 qsoing
1638       2211       Calipso 55544 qsoing
1661       2211       Jeneverstoker 34433-45444 qsoing
1654       2229       Vuurvogel 55544-55555 qsoing
1645       2231       Monte Carlo 42432 qsoing
1648       2232       Casablanca 55444 qsoing
1646       2236       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544 qsoing

Observations

  • Conditions on Tuesday evening were very good and the Jeneverstoker was delivering his best ever signal into our location. From what I understand he runs around 100 watts and was doing very well. Have a listen to this. The beginning of the recording is particularly impressive
  • There was a big qso on Thursday evening with station after station joining in, and very little doubling up, which made for pleasant listening. It would have been even better without the annoying static on the band. Vuurvogel particularly caught the ear, with his fine signal, audio and radio voice. Running considerably less power was Studio 69. He was operating with 25 watts and a vertical coil antenna at around 16 metres high and arriving into our radio room with a perfectly listenable signal
  • Underground from right here in the UK was busy testing on his regular channel of 1670. He started with a T antenna and later switched to a dipole, which gave us much better reception, peaking with a SINPO of 34333 and a peak of 42% on our stand alone meter. This way of measuring signals is used greatly throughout the Netherlands, and our meter came from Radio Zeewolf. With a scale of 1 to 100, even slight deviations from day to day can be seen. When we heard Underground a few days earlier, for example, he was peaking at 38%, although the noise level was a little lower that day

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Going Underground

I was just about to hit the hay on Monday evening and I noticed a signal on 1670. I thought it was a Balkan pirate but then heard a familiar voice - it was shortwave regular Radio Underground from England. There are a few pirates operating on MW from the UK - Radio Dinosaur on 846 and RKNW on 1521 are two low power regulars operating in the south - but only Underground can be heard at the top end of the band alongside the Dutch pirates.




I am listening to Underground as I write these words, and Steve is being heard well in the north of the Netherlands as well as at my location here in the UK. He is using a half-wave dipole antenna, unlike most of the Dutch pirates who use the coil antenna. 

Since he started on MW at the end of 2011, Underground has had several qsos with Dutch stations, including Calipso and Albatros - the first station to do so since Live Wire Radio, who qsoed with a good number of stations from the Netherlands when he was active with a mobile transmitter of around 500 watts at the turn of the century. It's great to finally have another international MW pirate on air from the UK. 

More programmes and for longer please Steve!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Schoolboy error

Greetings from England, where the weather is incredibly changeable at the moment. Today has been very cold, while yesterday afternoon was very warm indeed and gave me the chance to do a little bit of antenna maintenance. It was my birthday on March 27 and I woke to see snow falling from the sky once again! We have moved into British summer time although it feels anything but, and spring is yet to really arrive. 



I was going to share my weekend logs with you on this post, but I have made a schoolboy error by deleting the Sunday entries (March 31, 2013) from my file! However, if my memory is correct, I heard Polkaman, Salo, Calipso, Vuurvogel, Jeneverstoker, Wadloper, Orban, Batavia, Batavier, Ruisbreker and Cowboy.

There were some nice low power catches. Batavier was testing with just five watts, while Ruisbreker, who are also active on FM, were busy with a long programme using just 40 watts of power. The results were pretty good at our location. Click here for a recording. Salo was testing on 1611 with around 30 watts with his antenna not very high, and his carrier and a little audio could be heard at this side.

And here are the logs I managed to keep on my computer! All times are UTC as usual . . . 

Monday, April 01, 2013
1620       2020       Technical Man 44444-55544 music programme
1630       2040       Utopia 44434 music programme
1512       2045       Kameleon 33533 music programme
1652       2052       Uniek 25332-35333 music programme



1665       2054       Polkaman weak signal music programme      
1675       2055       Orion West weak signal
1674       2109       Batavia 23322-34333 music programme
1638       2115       Calipso 55534-55555 music programme
1615       2153       Napoleon 43533-44544 music programme
1658       2227       Studio 69 23322-34333 music programme
1670       2315       Underground 24322-34333 music programme
1656       2349       Bluebird 45444 music programme
1636       2353       Pandora 55444-55555 music programme

Saturday, March 30, 2013
1615       2220       Batavier 54544 music programme
1648       2225       Moby Dick 45444 music programme
1636       2225       Keizer En Keizerin 34333 music programme
1675       2228       Witte Reus 23432-34333 qsoing
1611       2230       Schaduwjager 54544 qsoing
1625       2234       Monte Carlo 44544 qsoing
1611       2238       Kruik 42542 qsoing
1626       2240       Korak 24322-35443 music programme
1636       2247       Pandora 43543-54544 report for Witte Reus
1655       2250       Electron 33433-44444 qsoing
1630       2257       Babylona 34333-44444 qsoing
1662       2258       Turftrekker 22432 testing
1655       2300       Monte Carlo 55444 qsoing
1630       2306       Batavier 44444-55544 qsoing
1640       2321       Relmus 44444-55544 music programme
1660       2348       Monte Carlo 45434 qsoing
1643       0000       Monte Carlo 43433-44444 qsoing
1667       0010       Monte Carlo 43433-44444 qsoing
1633       0020       Babylona 35433-44444 music programmes
1655       0116       Jeneverstoker 35333 report
1665       0119       Polkaman 23322-34333 music programme

Friday, March 29, 2013
1629       2146       Flevojager 34333-44444 music programme
1656       2146       Bluebird 54444 music programme
1645       2146       Relmus 45534-55544 music programme
1638       2152       Batavia 33433-45433 music programme
1674       2156       Digitaal 35433-45444
1612       2250       Babylona 35333 music programme


Observations

  • It was good to hear Flevojager on Friday evening for the first time in a while. He was on air with a music programme and, according to my logs, it was the first time I have heard him in 2013. There were some fine peaks on the signal
  • Saturday's award for the station using the most different frequencies goes to Monte Carlo! He was busy qsoing and moving around the band trying to avoid the stations on air with music programmes. One of those was Korak, who had a long show on 1626 and was fading up quite well at times. I believe he is using only low power and a longwire antenna, so the results were pretty good. Also achieving good results was Turftrekker, who was testing with just 40 watts with his antenna around only five metres high
  • Conditions on Sunday night were not too good and it was not until quite late in the evening that most stations started to come through with any strength, although Technical Man was strong throughout. Click here to take a listen. Orion West and Polkaman were weaker than usual due to the propagation, but Studio 69 was doing a good job with just 25 watts at around 2230 utc
  • Kameleon was a new one for me on Sunday. He was busy on 1512 with a music programme that finished just after 2200 utc. The frequency seemed a little clearer tonight than it sometimes is
  • It was good to hear 'the low power boy' Napoleon on 1615 as Sunday evening came to a close. He had a little interference from Technical Man on 1620 but his signal was still very good and with some fine music - the sort of tunes we are used to hearing on Radio Barones

MW Free Radio