Monday, November 24, 2014

Something different in SSB

Greetings from the radio room and apologies for the lack of recent blog action from this side. The reason: conditions being unsuitable for listening to the Dutch MW pirates here in England.

I just switched on the radio at 2215 and all I could hear was a Balkan pirate around 1630 kHz and various local noise. And that has been the story for the last few weeks. Couple that with the 48 metre band fading out during the late afternoon, and there hasn't been a great deal to pull me towards the radio just recently. The good news is this has been the same for the last few years and it won't be long before propagation changes and the MW pirates start coming through with consistently good signals.

I was having a tune around earlier in the evening - at about 1700 - and there were some final signals before the conditions changed. I heard the Zwarte Boekanier (who was also using the name Eenzamejager, which means Lonely Hunter in English) qsoing with Osaka and Digitaal. All were coming through really well. And then I heard a somebody around 1637 kHz whistling into a microphone. 

At first I thought it was somebody tuning up a transmitter. Then I realised the signal was in SSB, so I switched mode on the radio and heard somebody calling for the Boekanier. There was no station ID, but he was coming through very clearly. Who it was, I have no idea, although there were some Dutch fisherman on 1675 kHz a few minutes later, so just perhaps it was one of them and they had been enjoying some polka sounds and thought they would give a report. 

The same thing happened back in the late 1990s on the 76 metre band. There used to a lot of late-night pirate activity around 3945 kHz, where some Scottish fisherman also used to illegally chat to each other from time to time. From listening to them it turned out that they often used to listen to the pirates while they were out in the North Sea. The likes of Live Wire Radio, Subterranean Sounds and the Wizard's Magic Spell could then often be heard sending them best wishes and playing records for them!

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