Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mid-morning coffee and pirates

On Monday I had a real surprise. I turned on the radio at 11am and was scanning the bands when I came across a signal on 1638 kHz. At first I thought it was some local interference . . . but then I heard the voice of Radio Bluebird. A few minutes later I heard Utopia on 1630. Then Havanna on 1636. Then Kontakt on 1645. I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing as daytime reception of the Dutch pirates at our location is very rare. At this time of year signals occasionally arrive at around 1400, and are also audible until around 0830, but it is unheard of to hear them mid-morning.

The four stations were qsoing, along with Alaska, who I couldn't quite hear. What was also interesting was that Havanna was stronger here than he was on the SDR at Enschede. His signal was generally around 35333 with very slow, long and deep fades. On the peaks, he sounded excellent.

On Monday at around 1845 it was nice to hear Toulouse on air. I remember this station from 20 years ago and visited him on one of my first trips to the Netherlands. He's not on air so much these days, but it's great that he still switches on his transmitter every now and again. His sinpo here was around 34433.

On Monday night there was another great signal, with Sluwe Vos blasting in on 1645. It was very quiet at the top of the MW band that night, so I listened to pretty much all of his broadcast and then his qso with Jeneverstoker and Snowman.

I was thinking recently that I had not heard Radio Batavier for a little while. But that was rectified on Wednesday evening when I heard his signal on 1660 - an unusual frequency for him as he can often be heard around 1625. His signal was peaking at around 34333 and it turns out he was using only 40 watts of power with a new coil antenna, which you can see on these pictures kindly sent to me this morning.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Catching up with some logs

Sunday, January 26, 2014
1612       1630       Daniel & Soto and Caroline 33333-44444 music programme
1647       1631       Witte Tornado 45544-55555 music programme
1640       1637       Valkenster 34433-44444 music programme
1632       1752       Verona 34433-44444 music programme
1670       1752       Viking 34333-54444 music programme
1625       1853       Relmus 54444 music programme
1665       2236       Polkaman 34333-44444 music programme
1620       2237       Utopia 54444 music programme
1650       2312       Monte Carlo 34333 report for Witte Tornado
1653       2332       Vliegende Schotel 43333
1641       2351       Jeneverstoker 45434 music programme

Saturday, January 24, 2014
1611       1730       Tower 54444-55555 music programme
1638       1730       Bluebird 44444 music programme
1655       1731       Digitaal 45434 qsoing
1636       1732       Keizer En Keizerin 43443 music programme
1645       1732       Vendor 34433-44444 music programme
1665       1732       Polkaman 33333-44444 music programme
1655       1843       Nachtzwerver 23322-34333 music programme
1671       2208       Armada 54434 music programme 
1648       2209       Moby Dick 44444 music programme
1643       2209       Wadloper 43433-53433 music programme

Friday, January 24, 2014
1512       1746       Denappel 55544 music programme
1630       1749       Zwarte Panter music programme
1476       1752       Verona 33433 music programme     
1671       1814       Viking 34433 music programme
1665       1900       Polkaman 25322-35333 music programme
1645       2140       Leopard 44444-55544 music programme
1640       2140       Veronica 34433-44444 music programme 
1655       2158       Digitaal 55555 testing 
1635       2159       Wadloper 54534-55555 music progranne
3123       2230       Sluwe Vos 35333 music programme
1632       2323       Musky 44444 asking for report
1647       2329       Zeewolf 33333-45544 report for Musky
1630       2333       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 54544 report for Veronica and Musky
1647       2350       Jeneverstoker 34333 qsoing
1657       0020       Jeneverstoker 44444 qsoing
1643       0045       Digitaal 55434 qsoing

Friday, January 17, 2014
1646       1811       Zwarte Bizon 35443-45444 qsoing
1654       1812       Twentana 25322-35333 music programme
1645       1813       Blauwe Reiger 35443 qsoing  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
1638       1650       Bluebird 34443 music programme
1653       1651       Digitaal 35333 music programme
1651       2118       Turfsteker 25322-35333 qsoing
1645       2121       Kristal 45433 qsoing
1645       2152       JB 34443-44444 music programme
1636       2203       Pandora 55444-55555 music programme
1629       2215       Napoleon 35333-45444 music programme

Monday, January 13, 2014
1635       1627       Zwarte Boekanier 35333 qsoing
1630       1631       Musky 23322 qsoing
1621       1636       Pontiac 34333 testing
1650       1650       Digitaal 25222 
1625       1700       Zwarte Boekanier 24322-35443
1630       2224       Vrolijke Mijnwerker music programme
1638       2253       Batavia 25322 music programme
1620       2350       Noordzee 33433 report for Miner
1648       2352       Casablanca 55544 report for Miner
1635       2353       Monte Carlo 35333 report for Miner
1657       2355       Jeneverstoker 35333 report for Miner
1629       2358       Noordzee 34433 report for Miner
1647       0020       Monte Carlo 45434 qsoing
1647       0028       Noordzee 35333 qsoing
1629       0045       Napoleon 35433
1650       0055       Monte Carlo 45434-55444 qsoing
1647       0107       Veronica 25222 qsoing

Sunday, January 12, 2014
1649       2220       Uniek 22422-33433 music programme
1647       2220       Witte Tornado 44444 music programme
1638       2220       Bluebird 54444-55544 music programme
1646       2307       Monte Carlo 34333-44444 report for Witte Tornado
1620       2324       Utopia 33433 qsoing
1650       2330       Vliegende Schotel 44444 testing
1648       2343       Casablanca 55544 qsoing
1655       2356       Jeneverstoker 35443 qsoing

Saturday, January 11, 2014
1637       1807       Keizer En Keizerin 35333 music programme
1647       1807       Zeewolf 33433 qsoing
1611       1808       Tower 44434-55544 music programme
1647       1811       Vendor 34433 music programme
1664       1815       Digitaal 45444 qsoing
1648       1845       Casablanca 45444 qsoing
1646       2348       Monte Carlo 44444 qsoing
1675       2349       Batavier 45444 music programme
1636       2351       Barcelona 54544 qsoing
1648       2357       Moby Dick 43443 music programme
1655       2358       Digitaal 55444 qsoing
1649       2359       Uniek 33433 music programme

Friday, January 10, 2014
1625       2255       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 music programme
1638       2255       Bluebird 45544-55544 music programme
1512       2255       Wesley and Denappel 34433 music programme
1671       2256       Viking 25322-35333 music programme
1640       2315       Professor Sikbok 43444 asking for report
1650       2328       Zwarte Schaduw 25222 qsoing

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
1640       2133       Kristal 45434 asking for report
1636       2135       Nooitgedacht 45434 report for Kristal
1660       2135       Bravo Sierra 24322 music programme
1644       2147       Kristal 35333 qsoing
1671       2152       Armada 25322-35333 qsoing
1636       2215       Noordzee 35333 music programme
1620       2230       Monte Carlo 35333 music programme

Monday, January 6, 2014
1620       1625       Nova 4 34543 music programme
1622       1629       Zwarte Boekanier 34543 report for Nova 4
1638       2230       Bluebird music programme
1647       2245       Armada 24322 qsoing
1645       2250       Monte Carlo 24222 qsoing

Saturday, January 4, 2014
1611       0121       Brugwachter 54444-55555 music programme
1622       0158       Soerabaya 23422-33333 music programme

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bringing the weekend to a close

There's not too much of the weekend left, and I'm closing out the evening by listening to Radio Utopia on 1620 kHz. He's putting in an excellent signal at this side from his location in the east of the Netherlands, and whenever I listen to him I am transported back in time by around 20 years to when I stayed at his place in a tent in the garden during one of my Dutch pirate tours. Amazing to think I've been listening to some of these enduring illegal broadcasters for two decades or more.

Just up the band on 1647 is Witte Tornado and the lady, who have been on air since this afternoon with their regular Sunday programme. The signal has been strong since I tuned in at 1630 utc. Also coming in pretty well at this moment is Polkaman, on his usual slot of 1665 kHz.

With some very interesting propagation conditions there are also plenty of Balkan pirates fading up and down at the top of the MW. And last night there was some interesting goings-on down on 3100 kHz. Sluwe Vos, who can often be heard on MW, was back in action, this time qsoing on this unusual part of the AM spectrum - and talking with Russian pirates! As far as I am aware, this is the first time a Dutch pirate has qsoed with one from Russia. You can click here to listen to a few minutes of the Russian side of the qso, which was recorded in Kiev. Listen carefully and you can hear several mentions of the Netherands. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Interesting frequencies

I'm always on the lookout for pirates using interesting frequencies, especially Dutch stations as they can be quite adventurous, trying out all sorts of channels to find their own little place on the AM spectrum that works for them.

This morning I received an email telling me that the Blauwe Piraat was testing on 819 kHz. This comes a couple of weeks after Radio Ascona was trying out 927 kHz. With more and more FM pirates migrating to the MW band and with frequencies at a premium, it is not surprising that operators are seeking alternatives to the small space at 186m+

And on SW there was a very interesting broadcast on Friday night from Sluwe Vos. He had been listening to some Russian pirates at around 1750 kHz and, perhaps inspired by their activity, he switched on his transmitter to 3123, a section of AM band where Russians can often be heard qsoing illegally. The signal was really very good with just 20 watts of power. You can listen to a recording here

Another day, another FM raid

Yesterday the AT was busy taking another Dutch FM pirate off the air. This was a pirate with a difference though - with an antenna 56 metres high attached to an electricity pylon carrying 380,000 volts. The station called Fish and the Calf from Emmen was using an mp3 player for the audio, so once again there was nobody at the site to face prosecution. 

It seems the FM pirates are getting more and more ingenious with the way they operate, but surely the risks involved with this are a step too far . . .

And you can see a short film by clicking here

Friday, January 24, 2014

AM pirates on a Friday evening

The sun went down around two hours ago and I've been having a tune around the bands for pirate activity for the last hour or so. The first station I came across was Twentana on 6280 kHz. He operates on MW primarily and I think this was the first time I've heard him on SW and it was a very pleasant surprise, with a very fine signal over here. And a few minutes later I found Mustang just up the band on 6320. He also operates on MW but is heard more on SW these days and often puts in a stonking signal. Today was no exception - it sounded like he was in the same street as me!

Right now I'm listening to Radio Verona on 1476 kHz. It's always nice to hear stations operating in-band and the signal from Verona is fair. There is some interference from nearby stations, but on the peaks he is doing well with low power. Great work. You can listen to a short recording here. If you heard him and want to send an email, his address is

Up the band a little is Radio Denappel. He is becoming a regular on 1512 and the signal is very good right now.

It won't be long before the top of the band gets packed for the Friday night music programmes and qsos. Viking and Tante Foek have already started on their regular frequency of 1671 and there is a signal coming in well on 1629. It seems conditions are pretty good. Let's hope it stays that way all weekend.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Photographs from raided Dutch FM pirate

With huge fines as big as 45,000 euros for FM pirates caught in action in the Netherlands, stations are becoming ever inventive with their choice of transmitting site, using 3g audio feeds to link to the studio. 

On Sunday afternoon I received a message with some photographs taken from the scene of a raided FM pirate near the town of Enter. The transmitting equipment, including antenna mast, had been on a tiny island in a nature reserve.

Take a look at these incredible images . . .

You can see more on this video . . .

And you can read more here

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Late-night qso

I had two spells of listening to the Dutch pirates on Monday, firstly during the early evening and also from around 2215 for a couple of hours. Vrolijke Mijnwerker was busy with a big signal on 1630 kHz, playing music for his listeners across Europe and also for a dxer in Minnesota in mid-western USA who had also heard the station on Friday. Fine work indeed!

When the Mijnwerker closed down there were four stations standing by for a qso - Casablanca, Jeneverstoker, Noordzee and Monte Carlo. Have a look at the video of his reception down in the radio room 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

International flavour

It's Sunday evening at around 2300 utc and I'm listening and watching pirate radio right now. Sluwe Vos is keeping me entertained on one screen courtesy of his webcam while he is live on 6220 kHz, and I'm writing these words and making a note of activity on MW on another screen here in the radio room.

It's pretty interesting at 1610+ right now, with a mix of Dutch and Balkan amateurs to listen to. There is what sounds like a Greek pirate on 1611, peaking at around S5 here on the Kenwood R5000, and at 42% on the Dutch-style meter with some very clear announcements but it is always tricky to identify these stations.

There was a Dutch station on 1615 that closed down a few minutes ago, so the next activity is on 1629, again from the Balkans and coming in very well indeed at around S7 and 50%. It is one of the most powerful I have heard from the area for some time. You can listen to a short recording here.

The strongest pirate signal right now though belongs to Bluebird on 1638 kHz, while Witte Tornado (1647) and Uniek (1649) have been doing pretty well although interfering with each other from time to time when the wide filter is used. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mustang and Monopoly

I've had a little time off work this week, getting some jobs done around the house, spending time with the family and of course listening to the radio a little. And at around 5pm today I switched on the Lowe HF150 in the living room while I was having a game of monopoly on the iPad - and I found an enormous signal on 6295 kHz with supreme modulation. I listened and soon heard a voice I recognised - it was Radio Mustang from the east of the Netherlands. 

I stayed tuned until he closed down, and it was a very fine listen - the sort of solid signal you can enjoy while doing other things and so strong sometimes that it could almost be a local station. It's nice to hear pirates coming through so well when conditions are not at their best. 

And after Mustang closed down was Radio Pluto, using somewhat less power but still coming through with a fair signal. I look forward to the days when AM propagation is more favourable for listening to stations like these.

Right now I'm listening to the top of the MW band - my usual port of call during the late evening. King of the band right now is Vrolijke Mijnwerker on 1625, while Bluebird has his usual strong signal on his regular slot of 1638. A bit higher up the band on 1671 is Viking and Tante Foeke, while Professor Sickbok and Zwarte Schaduw were having a qso a few minutes ago. Down on 1512 is Wesley and Denappel, fighting it out with a legal station, but fading up quite well every now and again.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

The only way is up

Around two hours ago when reception on the 48 metre band began to fade out, propagation conditions on MW were pretty good. There were some fine signals at the top of the band. Nova 4 was leading the way on 1620 and there were other stations coming in well with programmes and various pirates qsoing. However, with the time approaching 1930 in the UK, signals are well down, just like they were last night, and Batavier is the only station now coming through with any strength, although the signal is very up and down. Time to go and get a cup of tea and some food. Let's hope things improve as the evening goes on.

Thursday, January 2, 2014
1620       1753       Nova 4 45444 music programme
1630       1754       Hooiberg 24432-34433 music programme
1636       1754       Dutchman 24222-35333 qsoing
1650       1755       Twentana 34433-44444 music programme
1655       1755       Batavier 35333-45444 music programme
1645       1759       Blauwe Reiger 44444 qsoing
1645       1810       Casablanca (Twente) 34333 qsoing
1660       1813       Dikke Betta 44444 qsoing

I've had food and tea and I'm back by the radio at around 2330. Conditions have indeed picked up. I've just heard Sluwe Vos running low power on 1640 kHz and he's also had reports from Sweden and Finland. Vrolijke Mijnwerker is playing records on 1630 with a big signal, while Bluebird is strong on 1638 and Viking is weaker but audible on 1670. Digitaal is putting in a decent signal on 1611. The propagation report has mentioned blackouts for the last few days, and the same today, which would explain why conditions so variable

1640       2309       Sluwe Vos 24322-35333 music programme
1630       2310       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544 music programme
1611       2311       Digitaal 35433 music programme
1671       2320       Viking 25322-35333 qsoing
1638       2324       Bluebird 54444-55555 music programme
1622       2346       Soerabaya weak signal qsoing
1648       0005       Monte Carlo 24332-34333 asking for report
1653       0029       Jeneverstoker 34333 qsoing

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year

A very happy new year to you from our listening post here in England. 

We were out and about on New Year's Eve, but I managed a little listening before we left the house, and I switched on the radio in the living room when we got back at around 0115. There was quite a bit of activity from the the Netherlands, with powerhouse signals from Vrolijke Mijnwerker on 1630 and Radio Barones on 1625. Nice to hear these two pirates on the air, even though they were a bit close to each other.

A couple of nights back it was good to hear Radio Casablanca on air. Hans, who has been broadcasting for an astonishing 41 years, has been quiet in recent months so it was a nice surprise to hear him blasting out of the radio with a fine signal . . . 

Propagation conditions right now at the top of the MW are not very good at all - long skip, with a few Greek stations rising out of the noise from time to time, and Dutch pirates who are usually blasting in hardly audible. Things can only get better! 

And some recent pirate logs from this side . . . 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
1636       1809       Admiraal 35333 qsoing
1611       1809       Akai music programme
1655       1810       Batavier 25232 music programme
1625       1821       Monza 35333 qsoing
1615       1855       Akai music programme

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
1512       1832       Wesley and Denappel 44544 music programme
1611       1832       Farmers and Milano 24222, 34333 at 1911, 44444 at 1936 music programme
1635       1833       Relmus 55544 music programme
1620       1835       Desperado 44444 music programme
1665       1838       Polkaman 25222, 34433 at 1934 music programme
1671       1839       Viking 25222, 35343 at 1914 music programme
1625       1855       Nachtrijder weak signal music programme
1645       1912       Vendor 34433 music programme

Monday, December 30, 2013
1611       1723       Eldorado 34443 music programme
1630       1728       Zwarte Boekanier music programme
1730       1729       Digitaal 45434 testing
1512       1808       Kleine Rieksie 35333 music programe
1640       2353       Wadloper 45444 music programme
1647       2354       Monte Carlo 24322 qsoing
1512       2354       Wesley and Denappel 45544 music programme
1650       2355       Digitaal 45544 qsoing
1648       2359       Casablanca 45444-55555 qsoing
1653       0003       Jeneverstoker 34443 qsoing
1645       0004       Digitaal 54544 qsoing

Sunday, December 29, 2013
1611       1925       Barones 44444 music programme
1625       1930       Relmus 45444 music programme
1648       1932       Witte Tornado 34333-44444 music programme
1670       1933       Barones 35333-45444 music programme in parallel with 1625

Tuesday, December 24, 2013
1622       1515       Zwarte Boekanier 44444 music programme
1512       1517       Sanussie 44444 music programme
1636       2157       Keizer En Keizerin 44444 music programme
1642       2158       Wadloper 45544 music programme
1655       2158       Batavier 44434 music programme
1663       2158       Readymix 34333 music programme with Christmas tunes
1668       2158       Bravo Sierra weak signal music programme with 4 watts
1611       2205       Barones 44444 music programme
1629       2240       Turftrekker 34333 music programme
1650       2302       Uniek 34433 report for Readymix
1622       2331       Soerabaya

Monday, December 23, 2013
1638       1408       Osaka 24322 qsoing
1640       1418       Professor Sickbok weak signal qsoing
1645       1421       JB qsoing 25322 qsoing
1611       1549       Nova 4 35333-45444 music programme
1647       1600       Armada weak signal music programme
1623       1611       Drukstroomjager 45344
1629       1655       Vrijevogel 25322 music programme        
1620       1700       Zwarte Boekanier 34333, 55444 at 1803 music programme
1636       1713       Pandora 45444-55555 music programme
1647       1802       Zeewolf 25322 report for Pandora with 100 watts and antenna at 7m
1636       1812       Akai 35333, 45444 at 1828 qsoing
1659       1818       Digitaal 44444 qsoing
1654       1856       Zwarte Boekanier 45444 qsoing
1656       1904       Noordzee 35333 qsoing

Sunday, December 22, 2013
1631       1607       Dageraad 45434 music programme
1647       1617       Witte Tornado 45454 qsoing       
1636       2245       Digitaal 45434-55444 music programme
1652       2329       Monte Carlo 25332 report for Witte Tornado
1625       2344       Napoleon 35333-55555 testing transmitter
1665       2356       Polkaman 24222 music programme
1636       0022       Monte Carlo 25332 report for Digitaal
1638       0033       Underground 24222 testing dipole antenna