Monday, April 28, 2014

Enjoying the weather and the radio

It's been a fine day here in England, with very pleasant weather during the late afternoon. I spent a little time out in the garden, where I'm preparing the ground for some earth radials for my MW coil antenna, which is coming along - very slowly!

Conditions on shortwave this morning were good, with the Rode Adelaar coming in strongly during a short audio test. Propagation went downhill after that, though, and I spent much of the day listening to Radio Caroline and then the internet stream of Dutch SW pirate Radio Telstar while I was working. 

There is some activity at the top of the MW band as I write this. Oldtimer has just closed down from a music programme on 1655 and is now chatting to Vliegende Schotel and Wilkskract. Just down the band on 1620, Nova 4 has been coming in well. It's a little noisy on 1.6 MHz this evening - perhaps some local disturbance in the neighbourhood, although propagation is not particularly good, it seems.

UPDATE AT 2230 UTC Conditions seems to have improved. Studio 69 is playing some good tunes on 1654 kHz and coming in very well indeed despite using only 100 watts of power. His audio sounds very fine as well with a good, deep bass. Here's a recording of his signal at this side: 



And here are my my recent logs:

Monday, April 28, 2014
1620       1913       Nova 4 55444 music programme
1655       1913       Oldtimer 55444 music programme
1653       2022       Vliegende Schotel 44334-55444 report for Oldtimer
1652       2028       Wilskracht 33333-45334 report for Oldtimer
1620       2058       Calipso 55544-55555 music programme
1654       2144       Studio 69 35333-45344 music programme
1640       2145       Monte Carlo 44444-55444 music programme
1633       2154       Barcelona 55544 report for Monte Carlo
1644       2253       Monte Carlo 55544 report for Calipso
1653       2253       Jeneverstoker 32432 report for Calipso

Saturday, April 26, 2014
1611       1739       Tower 35333 at 1815 music programme
1620       1739       Anton 45344 music programme
1627       1742       Admiraal weak signal asking for report
1632       1747       Verona 35343 at 1818 music programme
1648       1749       Moby Dick 45444 music programme
1636       1759       Keizer en Keizerin 34333 at 2018 music programme
1625       1959       Barones 54444 music programme
1655       2001       Oldtimer 45344 music programme
1635       2002       Marskramer (Friesland) 34333-44344 music programme
1665       2003       Polkaman 34333 music programme
1615       2003       Tower 44344 music programme
1620       2006       Tower 44344 music programme
1627       2012       Barones 45344-55444 music programme
1692       2115       Blauwe Ster 45344 music programme
1628       2125       Tower 45344 music programme
1655       2130       Barones 44344-55344 music programme

Thursday, April 24, 2014
1630       1919       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 music programme
1645       1920       Batavier 55444-55555 music programme
1653       1924       Turfsteker 34343 music programme
1660       2206       Snowman 24222-45343 music programme
1650       2206       Klaas Snoek 55444 music programme
1665       2224       Philadelphia 24322 music programme

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
1630       2149       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444
1665       2159       Philadelphia 24222 music programme
1625       2200       King 24322-34333 music programme
1653       2224       Jeneverstoker 35343 qsoing

Monday, April 21, 2014
1619       0558       Zwarte Bouvier weak signal music programme
1658       0713       Twentana weak signal music programme
1642       2047       Wadloper music programme
1655       2048       Studio 69 35333 qsoing
1653       2054       Klaas Snoek 45444-55555 qsoing
1645       2114       Leopard 44444-55544 music programme
1652       2145       Jeneverstoker 35333-45444 qsoing

Sunday, April 20, 2014
1655       1753       Relmus 45444 music programme
1647       1754       Witte Tornado 35333, 55555 at 1826 music programme
1636       1856       Havanna 55444 music programme
1665       1945       Dikke Betta 45444
1636       2017       Akai 44444 music programme
1629       2019       Kruik 45444 qsoing
1630       2030       Schaduwjager 55544 qsoing
1638       2140       Bluebird 54444-55555 music programme
1647       2202       Monte Carlo 54444 qsoing
1645       2210       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 qsoing
1630       2240       Monte Carlo 54444 qsoing



Observations

  • On Sunday it seems Radio Barones was even more popular than usual . . . he signed on 1625 kHz and got his international music programme under way, but was hit with interference from another station. He moved to 1627 and eventually 1655 before escaping
    There's only one way to listen to Barones!
  • Snowman from Friesland was doing really well last Thursday. He has only 20 watts of power, but on the peaks his signal was hitting a sinpo of 45343
  • It was good to hear Leopard on Easter Monday, for the first time in a good while. He was coming in loud and clear. Earlier that day I had been listening to a few stations via the SDR at Enschede and, among others, I heard Poema on 1476. He was playing some records with his six-year-old son who can already speak English better than I can Dutch!

Caroline North - the final broadcast

During the last four weeks I've spent a fair few hours listening to Radio Caroline North, broadcasting on 87.7 and the internet with a 28-day licence from the Planet Lightship in Liverpool's Albert Dock. Last night this tribute to the offshore station that was anchored in Ramsey Bay on the Isle Of Man between 1964 and 1968 closed down after an entertaining evening.




I listened to the final broadcast while I was on the move. With my mobile phone and an in-car transmitter I listened as I drove over 100 miles on the motorway. I even tuned my radio to the Caroline North channel of 87.7 for added authenticity! The 3g signal stayed with me throughout the whole journey, so there were no breaks in transmission, and I even recorded nearly two hours of the final programme, which you can listen to here:



Monday, April 21, 2014

Nice start to the bank holiday

I was down in the radio room at just before 0600 utc this morning and I had a nice surprise when I tuned to the top of the MW band. I didn't expect to hear anything from the Netherlands as the sun had risen and it was fully daylight. However, there was some audio on 1619, followed by music on 1646 and more on 1655. None of the signals were particularly strong, but just to hear stations at this time at our location in England was noteworthy. With a little help from the SDR at Enschede, I found out that the station on 1619 was the Zwarte Bouvier and the signal on 1655 was Radio Twentana. I'm not sure who the other station was - just somebody testing as there were no announcements.

After the signals on my radio had completely faded I spent a few hours listening to the Dutch activity via the SDR and enjoyed hearing a few stations I haven't heard for a while. Zender Johan was busy playing records, while Ijsvogel was also on air, and various stations including Black Power were qsoing. And during the afternoon Utopia was airing a music programme on 1611 and Barones was busy on 1640.

Moving qsl

I received a nice email today from Jan at Radio Soerabaya and attached was my first animated pirate qsl! Cheers


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter



A very happy Easter to all readers of the blog, old and new. I hope you are all having a fun weekend with perhaps some pirate radio listening as well.

Following an afternoon of Disney films and Easter eggs, I've popped down to the radio room to see what's happening on the bands. Conditions on SW don't seem too great, although The Bogusman is doing very well on 6285, while Radio Universe from the Netherlands has a fair signal on 6385.

Over at the top of the MW band I'm very pleased to hear some atrocious local interference plaguing me last night has disappeared. It was causing a real problem to my pirate listening, so I'm very happy it's done one for now.

As I write at around 1830 utc, Relmus (1655) and Witte Tornado (1647) are doing best of all, while there is a lower-powered station on 1620 and a few minutes ago there was another on 1611. The band is a bit noisy and there conditions aren't at their peak yet, but that should hopefully improve in the next hour or two. In the meantime, here are the station's I've heard recently:


Saturday, April 19, 2014
1623       2305       Yogi 35443 music programme
1640       2313       Zwarte Schaduw 25322 qsoing
1640       2315       Monte Carlo 35333-45444 qsoing
1615       2318       Barones 55544-55555 music programme

Monday, April 14, 2014
1611       1759       Brugwachter 45454-55555 qsoing
1620       1801       Blue Star weak signal qsoing
1655       1804       Oldtimer 35333-55544 music programme
1638       1923       Bluebird 44444-55555 music programme
1611       2016       Batavia 33433-34443 music programme
1653       2126       Vliegende Schotel 45434-55544 music programme
1670       2140       Noorderzon 24222-34333 music programme with 45 watts
1633       2155       Barcelona 54444 music programme

Sunday, April 13, 2014
1638       2155       Bluebird 55544 music programme
1653       2235       Vligende Schotel 45444 qsoing
1650       2306       Jeneverstoker 34333 report for Bluebird

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Keeping the logs up to date

Conditions are pretty good this evening and there has been some nice signals. A shame Barcelona and Witte Raaf were both airing music programmes on 1633 kHz at the same time. Listeners outside of the Netherlands can never quite understand this, but there is an explanation. With Witte Raaf broadcasting from Friesland and skip conditions being as they are, Barcelona from the east of the Netherlands was probably unable to receive Witte Raaf with a decent signal and therefore regarded the frequency as clear before he switched on. At distance, however, Witte Raaf is much stronger, which makes for a bit of a mess on 1633 with the stations mixing and taking it in turns to fade up into the foreground, sometimes with one station talking and the music from the other station coming through. You can hear it on this recording . . .



Time to fill in the gaps and get the logbook up to date now 

Saturday, April 12, 2013
1645       2120       Batavier 54444 music programme
1656       2129       Studio 69 44444 music programme
1650       2130       Amigo 33433-44444 music programme
1633       2130       Witte Raaf 42422-54444 music programme
1620       2131       Akai 34333-44444 music programme
1633       2136       Barcelona 42422-54444 music programme
1614       2230       Monte Carlo 45444-55444 music programme
1621       2251       Soerabaya 24222-34333 report for Monte Carlo
1629       2326       Zwarte Boer 25222 qsoing

Thursday, April 10, 2014
1615       1732       Wegpiraat 25342 asking for report
1645       1734       Zwarte Boekanier 54444 music programme
1620       1739       Calipso 54444 music programme
1643       1740       Batavier 45444 music programme with new antenna
1650       1745       Zwarte Boekanier 55444 qsoing

Monday, April 7, 2014
1655       2026       Studio 69 34333 qsoing
1655       2027       Oldtimer 54454 qsoing
1611       2029       Batavier 33333 music programme

Sunday, April 6, 2014
1611       1833       Viking 44444 music programme
1638       1833       Bluebird 54544-55555 music programme
1640       1833       Veronica 42542
1648       1835       Hooiberg 34333-45544 music programme
1665       1837       Polkaman 25432-44444 music programme
1670       1837       Batavier 55444 music programme
1630       1950       Anton 55544-55555 music programme
1615       2111       Piepzender 45434 music programme
1643       2111       Wadloper
1648       2118       Uniek 33433-44444 music programme
1650       2123       Monte Carlo 42542 report for Anton
1629       2125       Kruik 44444 report for Anton
1626       2129       Monte Carlo 45444 report for Anton
1615       2244       Amigo 34333 report for Piepzender



Friday, April 4, 2014
1611       2010       Barones 53544-54444 music programme
1640       2018       Relmus 55444-55555 music programme
1665       2018       Polkaman 35333-35443 music programme
1636       2019       Polidor 33433-45444 music programme
1620       2019       Zwarte Diamond 24332-35333 music programme with new transmitter
1630       2142       Monte Carlo 34333 report for Polidor
1621       2211       Soerabaya 25322-35333
1626       2221       Soerabaya 25322-35333
1624       2255       Hemmeling 45434-55544 asking for report
1638       2300       Bluebird 55544 report for Relmus and music programme

Monday, March 31, 2014
1622       1733       Dageraad 24332 qsoing
1636       2047       Pandora 55544-55555 music programme
1646       2048       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 music programme
1611       2049       Armada 44444 music programme
1620       2050       Batavia 23222-35333
1658       2059       Klaas Snoek 54444 music programme

Saturday, March 29, 2014 (On holiday in Devon with Sony and loop)
1625       1838       King 34433 music programme
1620       1840       Anton 54444 music programme
1660       1841       Klaas Snoek 44444 music programme
1625       1914       Zwarte Arabier 44444-55444 music programme
1611       2230       Barones 54434 music programme
1655       2230       Barones (via Batavier) 44444
1620       2300       Desperado 22222 music programme with 7 watts
1633       2310       Barcelona 55444 qsoing
1640       2315       Veronica 34333 qsoing
1636       2340       Romax 44444 qsoing
1611       0020       Romax 33333 qsoing

Thursday, March 27, 2014
1655       1830       Scorpion 54444 qsoing
1627       1835       Baanbreker 25322 qsoing
1649       1837       Uniek 35333-44444 qsoing
1646       1839       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 qsoing

Monday, March 24, 2014
1645       1906       Zwarte Boekanier 35333 music programme
1638       2116       Bluebird 55444-55555 music programme
1660       2118       Noorderzon 25342 qsoing
1668       2120       Digitaal 35343 qsoing
1645       2121       JB 35443-45444 qsoing
1646       2122       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 qsoing           
1611       2123       Armada 45344 music programme
1651       2127       Turfsteker 34333 qsoing
1636       2129       Noordzee 44444 qsoing
1657       2133       Jan De Roos 55434 music programme
1633       2148       Mustang 55434 qsoing
1656       2158       Noordzee 55444 qsoing
1630       2204       Mustang 54444 qsoing
1660       2208       Overijjsel (via Noorderzon) 23222-35333 music programme
1645       2238       Monte Carlo 44333-44444 qsoing
1660       2246       Jan De Roos 54444
1665       2255       Philadelpha 24222-35333 music programme
1640       2320       Monte Carlo 55444 qsoing
1630       2328       Monte Carlo 44444 qsoing
1647       2338       Monte Carlo 55444 asking for report

Friday, March 21, 2014
1656       1856       Noorderzon 25222 music programme
1629       1858       Calipso 54444 music programme
1620       1859       Sterrekijker 45434-55544 music programme
1636       1900       Keizer en Keizerin 34333-44444 music programme
1646       1927       Zwarte Bizon 45444
1611       2016       Turftrekker 33433-45444 music programme
1647       2051       Armada 55444 music programme


Observations

  • Nice to hear Amigo this evening with a music programme on 1650 kHz. I think he might also have been testing on 1614 kHz a little later, where the signal was even better
  • Studio 69 is not as regular on air as he was a few months ago, but it's always nice to hear his music programmes. It seems he might not enjoy his music as much as his listeners however . . . while he was on air tonight, he was inside his house watching TV with the station running on autopilot!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Wet wet wet

It's been a wet day here at our location in the UK, particularly this afternoon when heavy rain lashed down for a couple of hours. 


Our mast with inverted V antenna

I was working at home and today and looking forward to listening to some pirate action on SW, but conditions were far from good, and the only station I heard was Telstar on 6285, who was putting in a decent signal as the sun began to go down. Before that, I listened to the internet stream of Radio Caroline North, currently broadcasting from the Planet lightship in Liverpool's Albert Dock with a one month RSL on 87.7 MHz. Very nice to hear the generator close down completely three times while I was listening - now that is an authentic pirate sound if ever I heard one.

I was hoping propagation would improve throughout the evening, but as I write this, conditions are not good. The top of the MW band has the odd Balkan pirate coming through, but there is nothing else to hear. Batavia has just closed down on 1611, but his signal was not as good as it often is, peaking at a sinpo around 33333. A little earlier I also heard Studio 69 qsoing with Oldtimer, who was doing really well, beating conditions in style with a super signal, as you can hear on this recording . . . 


Saturday, April 05, 2014

Nice catches

It's just hit Saturday morning and I've been listening to the Dutch sounds at the top of MW for a few hours. Bluebird on 1638 kHz is currently coming out of the speakers as though it was broadcasting from the next town - this is consistently one of the strongest stations I hear. 

There were some other powerhouse signals on the band on Friday night. Barones was blasting on 1611 and there was a nice surprise on 1640 with a broadcast from Relmus. He used to be a regular at this time of the week but has not been on air so much recently. He was together with Wadloper and Batavier with a nice show. You can get an idea of reception here from this recording . . .



It was pretty quiet for a Friday night, with only a handful of stations. It was great to hear Soerabaya on 1622 and then 1626 testing a few things out and sounding good with his new vintage microphone:


New to the Soerabaya collection, and with original box

Just as Soerabaya was thinking about closing down, a signal came up on 1624. I listened to most of his short broadcast, and right at the end came an ID - it was Hemmeling. The last I heard he was using a transmitter with 2 x 807 valves and around 100 watts of power. The signal this time sounded more powerful. You can judge for yourself with this recording, which also features Polkaman and Bluebird as I scan the band


MW Free Radio