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:

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