Monday, March 31, 2014

Holiday time

It has been holiday time during the last few days. It was my birthday on March 27 and during the weekend we had a few days away by the seaside on the south-west coast of England. With lots of family time, a little drinking and even weather good enough for relaxing the beach, there was not so much radio listening. However, I managed a little MW dxing on the portable Sony receiver with small indoor loop.

A little holiday drinking

Propagation conditions seemed to be pretty good over the weekend. On Friday evening, Vrolijke Mijnwerker could be received with no extra antenna - the ferrite rod inside the radio was enough for reception that was perfectly listenable. And on Saturday there were some fine signals. Barcelona, for example, was coming in very well as usual, as you can see from the video:

On Saturday evening I received a message to tell me Desperado was testing on 1620 with just a few watts of power. He was interested to know if reception was possible in England. And, even with just the portable set-up I was able to identify the music he was playing. The signal was mixing was another station and there was a lot of fading and interference, but I could distinctly make out the trumpets on the record being played. Nice to hear low power Dutch pirates making it across the water to England without the need for a big antenna at this side.

Today we arrived home and I booked tickets for the ferry to the Netherlands. So, come the first week of August, we will be crossing the water to have plenty of fun and plenty of pirate visits! Right now I'm tuned in to Vrolijke Mijnwerker on 1646, one of the people I look forward to meeting in a few months from now.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The lure of low power

Good evening from England. It's Friday night and I'm listening around to the various pirate signals on MW from the Netherlands. There are powerful sounds on 1512 and 1620 right now, which make great listening, especially with some decent modulation and good audio quality. But there is also a signal on 1656 that interests me greatly. 

The station in question is Radio Noorderzon, who is new to MW but has been active previously on SW. I first heard him testing last Sunday evening on 1661 kHz and then, when Witte Tornado and the Lady closed down from their weekly music programme, Noorderzon came up for a qso. He gave out a phone number and I sent him a message - it was then that I found out he was using only 20 watts of power. Considering reception peaked with a sinpo of around 34333 and has done the same as I listen this evening, that is excellent work indeed. 

Noorderzon arrived on the airwaves having had a little help with his antenna from Blue Star, who was active on MW on Monday night with a cracking signal. Like a great deal of Dutch pirates, this latest addition to the band is working with a coil antenna, which gives a great deal of groundwave, but perhaps more skywave than many people might think. He was kind enough to send across a couple of pictures for me to share here on the blog:

Noorderzon's SK010 transmitter
About 25 watts on the meter

Hearing low-power pirates is always a bit of a thrill for me. There is a feeling that you are tuned in to something not many people are able to hear, and I enjoy letting the station operators know their signal is travelling across the North Sea, which sometimes amazes them. That very thing also happened last Monday when I found Radio Malibu on 1620 kHz. His signal here was not bad at all, so I sent him a message to say I was tuned in. He was very surprised I was able to hear him as he was also transmitting with just 20 watts and using a new home made FET transmitter. Take a listen to reception here . . . 

And time now for some recent logs from this side:

Monday, March 17, 2014
1650       1601       Batavier 25342 music programme
1655       1752       Batavier 55444 music programme
1645       1752       Casablanca (Twente) 25242-35343 qsoing
1651       1801       Turfsteker 34333 qsoing
1645       1816       Noordzee 45444 qsoing
1646       1830       Baanbreker 55444 qsoing
1630       1832       Vrijevogel 24222 music programme
1612       1840       Zwarte Panter (Oldenzaal) 25332-35333 music programme
1636       1853       Blue Star 45444-55544 testing and qsoing
1675       1900       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544 qsoing
1637       1901       Wilskracht 25222-35333 report for Blue Star
1645       1903       Dageraad 35333-35443 report for Blue Star
1675       1910       Blue Star 54444 qsoing
1620       1913       Malibu 33443-44444 testing
1642       2133       Wadloper 45434-55555 music programme
1653       2207       Batavier 55444 music programme

Sunday, March 16, 2014
1647       1627       Witte Tornado 45444, later 55555 music programme
1670       1627       Matrix 25222-35443, 45444 at 1758 music programme
1638       1627       Bluebird 55444, later 55555 music programme
1653       1646       Batavier 45344, 55555 at 1731 music programme
1611       1819       Twentana 34443-44444 music programme
1655       1924       Studio 69 35333-55544 music programme
1661       1946       Nova 4 55555
1620       2002       Nova 4 54444-55555 music programme
1661       2155       Noorderzon testing 24222
1644       2320       Jenverstoker 33433 report for Bluebird
1636       2327       Pandora 55444 qsoing
1647       0013       Noorderzon 24222-34333 report for Witte Tornado
1655       0115       Noorderzon 25222 testing. Close at 0152


  • Good old Batavier continues to blast into our location with consistently strong signals. When I first him on Monday evening at around 1600 utc it was well before sunset, but once the sun started to go down, his signal started to go up, and at its peak it was like listening to a local station. It seems that around 1800-1900 is currently the optimum. It was right in the middle of those times on Monday that Baanbreker surprised me with the best signal I have ever heard from him. Perhaps he was testing a new transmitter, or perhaps it was just down to the propagation conditions, but he was very strong at that time
  • It was very nice to hear Matrix on air on Sunday evening - a good reminder of when he came to England with his brother and some other famous pirate names for my wedding last year
  • Perhaps the stongest signal heard last Sunday came from Nova 4. Take a listen to this recording . . .

And now you've heard the Nova 4, you can see him in action in this superb video:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

New names

We have flipped into the early hours of Sunday morning and I'm currently listening to several stations at the same time. At the top of the MW band, Radio Barones is just winding down after a long programme and he's qsoing with Jeneverstoker. Just up the band is Radio Snowman from Friesland on 1656, and I'm also keeping one ear on 6940 kHz USB, where the mysterious Wolverine is broadcasting from the USA with a nice signal in these parts.

Earlier in the evening I heard two stations for the first time. One of those was Zwarte Golf, who was testing on 1620. You can hear how his signal was reaching the radio at this side of the North Sea . . .

Here are the latest logs from our part of England . . .

Saturday, March 15, 2014
1620       1811       Derby 55544 qsoing
1621       1814       Alpenjager 25322 qsoing
1620       1819       Kruik 25222 qsoing
1620       1824       Zonnester 45333-45444 qsoing
1655       1832       Jan Kachel 44444
1653       1834       Batavier 44444 music programme
1651       1849       Turksteker 32332 music programme
1660       1850       Jan Kachel 55444
1615       1859       Dageraad 44444 music programme
1620       1906       Zwarte Golf 45333-45434 testing
1620       1925       Torpedojager 45333-45434 report for Zwarte Golf
1625       1940       Barones 54444 music programme
1647       1949       Vuilnisman 33322-34443 report for Zwarte Golf
1648       0010       Moby Dick 55544 music programme
1656       0016       Snowman 25222-35333 music programme
1640       0044       Jeneverstoker 35333 report for Barones

Thursday, March 13, 2014
1653       1854       Batavier 55544-55555 music programme               
1626       1903       Monza 34333-44444 testing
1638       1908       Osaka qsoing
1640       1909       Professor Sickbok 55444 qsoing
1618       1923       Dageraad 33433 qsoing
1665       2031       Meteoor 44444 qsoing
1670       2031       Zeepiraat 35553 qsoing
1688       2035       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544 qsoing
1648       2040       Turfsteker 34333 qsoing
1625       2100       King 25222-35333 music programme with 30 watts
1675       2129       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55434 calling Balkan pirates
1645       2152       JB 45444-55444 report for Mijnwerker
1655       2234       Vliegende Schotel 45444-55444 report for Mijnwerker
1660       2240       Noordzee 45444-55544 music programme


  • Zwarte Golf announced that he has a new transmitter and had been making some antenna adjustments during the day. This was the first time I had heard him, so perhaps this was another station using a different name?
  • After the Zwarte Golf had closed there were several stations with reports for him, one of which was Vuilnisman (Garbage Man) - another new name for me. The signal here was fading but came up quite well a couple of times, as you can hear on this recording . . .

    • On Saturday evening there was a surprise when Zonnester popped up on 1620 during a qso. I have only ever heard him on air on Sunday mornings with his regular programme. When he closes down he often has a qso with stations including Alpenjager and Kruik, who were also on air on Saturday. I was beginning to think I had got my days mixed up!
    • Snowman was apparently running only around 20 watts of power on 1657. With a sinpo that reached 35333, this was very good work
    • On Thursday evening Vrolijke Mijnwerker went off air rather suddenly. The reason? A tuning coil caught fire. It shouldn't be long before he's back on air though

    Monday, March 10, 2014

    Names from the past

    It was a beautiful day at our location in England today. I was working at home with the doors and windows open and the warmth of the sun creeping in. And while I worked I listened mainly to Radio Pink Panther from the Netherlands on 6803 kHz. He was putting in the best signal I ever recall hearing from him, and I stayed tuned for several hours during the afternoon.

    As evening arrived, I switched over to the top of the MW band where I had a nice surprise in hearing Radio Derby on air for the first time in ages. I have heard him very occasionally in recent years and remember the name from 20 years or more ago. And Radio Zeewolf told me he remembered hearing the station in the 1980s on a small transistor radio. Great that these stations dust down the equipment every now and again and make sure it still works. Listen to the recording below and you will hear Derby's signal was arriving in very good style

    Conditions seemed to hit a peak here at around 1800 utc. As well as Derby, there was a huge signal from Batavier at this time on 1655 kHz, while there were also fine signals from Zwarte Boekanier (1645), Anton (1620), Derdeman (1620) and Zeewolf (1647).

    As I write these words, Wilskracht and Studio 69 are having a qso on 1655 - two stations I haven't heard very often in recent months. Both are doing very well and it's good to hear them on the band.

    I make recordings of many stations I hear. Another one I made recently was of the Zwwwwwwwwwwwwwwarte Bizon . . . 

    Here's the lowdown on the Dutch MW pirates I've heard recently - all using the Kenwood R5000 and Lowe HF225 receivers with the outdoor loop antenna.

    Monday, March 10, 2014
    1655       1702       Batavier 35343, 45454 at 1726, 55555 at 1741 music programme
    1640       1707       Digitaal 34343
    1645       1709       Zwarte Boekanier 24322, 35443 at 1725, 55555 at 1745
    1620       1743       Derby 55544-55555 asking for report
    1647       1750       Zeewolf 22442-33443 report for Derby
    1620       1757       Derdeman 35433 report for Derby
    1620       1811       Anton 44444-55444 qsoing
    1629       2133       Calipso 55444 music programme
    1651       2134       Turfsteker 34333 music programme
    1640       2148       Professor Sickbok 55544-55555 report for Turksteker
    1655       2215       Vliegende Schotel 44444 music programme
    1647       2253       Jeneverstoker 34433-44444 report forCalipso
    1665       2255       Philadelphia weak signal music programme
    1651       2305       Wilskracht 34433-44444 qsoing
    1655       2311       Studio 69 34443 qsoing
    1655       2335       Wilskracht 35333 qsoing

    Friday, March 7, 2014
    1611       1510       Brugwachter weak signal
    1646       1657       Zwarte Bizon 45444 qsoing
    1645       1700       JB 35343 qsoing
    1629       1703       Calipso 45444 qsoing
    1635       1752       Eldorado 34443 testing audio with low power and low antenna
    1632       1755       Verona 23332-34443 music programme
    1655       2201       Batavier 45444 music programme
    1649       2201       Uniek 33333-44444 music programme
    1630       2202       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544 music programme
    1622       2205       Soerbaya testing audio amplifier
    1640       2205       Veronica 34433 qsoing
    1645       2206       Casablanca (Twente) 34433 qsoing
    1636       2209       Noordzee 44444 qsoing
    1636       2216       Dutchman 23322-33443 music programme
    1664       2224       Amigo 43443-45444 music programme  

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014
    1625       2058       King 35333 music programme
    1638       2058       Monza 34333 qsoing
    1643       2058       Wadloper 44444-55444 music programme
    1650       2058       Batavier 35333-45444 music programme
    1671       2118       Armada 55544 music programme
    1649       2206       Uniek 32442-34433 music programme
    1637       2214       Noordzee 45343 qsoing
    1644       2219       Monte Carlo 34333 qsoing
    1640       2225       Professor Sickbok 55444 qsoing
    1638       2232       Bluebird 55444
    1655       2250       Witte Raaf 55434 testing audio
    1655       2342       Jan Kachel 55444 report for Witte Raaf

    Monday, March 03, 2014

    Scanning the band

    Monday is coming to a close, and it's been an interesting one. I was working at home today, which meant I had the chance to catch some radio activity throughout the day, kicking off on shortwave. 

    Radio Telestar started the ball rolling, and later there was Odynn, Rona Lisa and Ascona from the Netherlands, while Baltic Sea Radio from Finland was testing with a good signal in LSB on 18 MHz. But perhaps the most interesting activity on SW today came in the form of Radio Mir on 6285. The station was broadcasting a political programme on Russia and the Ukraine, which was attracting a greal deal of attention on the SDR at Twente, with listeners clambering to hear what was going on. Real pirate radio indeed.

    On MW, Radio Barones on 1625 was the highlight, and there were plenty of other big signals around at the top of band as well. It was also nice to hear some stations I don't often hear, including Alaska and Roderover.

    I made this video of reception down in the radio room at around 2310 utc . . .

    And here are tonight's logs and some other recent catches . . .

    Monday, March 3, 2014
    1630       1703       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544 qsoing
    1650       1706       Zwarte Boekanier 45444-55555 music programme
    1645       1706       Digitaal 45454 qsoing
    1638       1709       Osaka (Twente) 25322-35333 qsoing
    1620       1713       Roderover 34443 qsoing
    1645       1829       Alaksa 44444 qsoing
    1627       1835       Soerabaya 25332-35333 qsoing
    1645       1903       Nachtzwerver 44444 qsoing
    1625       2052       Barones 55544 testing new tube
    1638       2056       Bluebird 44444-55544 music programme
    1655       2126       Witte Raaf 44434-55444 music programme
    1651       2145       Turfsteker 22422-33433 music programme
    1632       2242       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 54544 qsoing           
    1640       2253       Professor Sickbok 55544 qsoing
    1647       2306       Monte Carlo 35333-45444 qsoing
    1625       2319       Continental 23222 report for Baro
    1625       2329       Napoleon 45434 music programme
    1655       2335       Batavier 44434-45444 music programme
    1636       2341       Pandora 43433 music programme

    Saturday, March 1, 2014
    1629       2309       Relmus 45434-55444 music programme
    1611       2310       Tower 44444-55444 music programme
    1648       2311       Moby Dick 45444 music programme
    1653       2311       Studio 69 34433 music programme
    1645       2312       Monte Carlo 44444 qsoing
    1640       2317       Veronica 34433 qsoing
    1656       2320       Digitaal 44444 qsoing
    1637       2330       Spakenburg 54444 qsoing
    1656       0018       Romax 23432-34333 qsoing
    1655       0025       Monte Carlo 43443 qsoing

    Thursday, February 27, 2014
    1647       2040       Armada 45433-45444 music programme
    1638       2041       Bluebird 55434 music programme    
    1625       2049       King 24222-34333 music programme
    1649       2308       Uniek 24322 music programme
    1642       2315       Jeneverstoker 34333 qsoing
    1633       2317       Barcelona 44333 music programme
    1655       2322       Vliegende Schotel 44433 qsoing


    • Nachtzwerver was packing a real punch on 1645 this evening, putting in his best-ever signal here in England. Modulation was also pretty good, especially on the speech
    • On Saturday, it was good to hear Relmus for the first time in a while. He was very strong here for his long music programme. Here's a look at his studio in a couple of photos sent to me recently . . .