Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Still going strong

On Sunday night I was driving through North London and when I got caught in some traffic I thought it might be a good time to have a quick scan of the FM band for pirate activity. These days with internet radio and so many way to communicate, together with big fines when caught illegally transmitting on FM, you might expect the number of pirate stations to be right down. But I was happy to be proved wrong.

In just five minutes I counted 31 stations operating between 87.50 and 108 MHz, and not all playing the usual types of music. On 102.50 I came across a station called Galaxy playing plenty of old soul tunes, including Ben E King's version's of Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree, a track I can safely say I have never before heard on an FM pirate! 


An FM dipole high above the city, typical of the type used by FM pirates

One of the strongest stations I heard was Crystal on 104.30, which was audible for a good few miles as I travelled away from London. The RDS most of these stations uses is very handy for ID purposes as hardly any of them seem to identify themselves very often.

I even heard one station playing some retro dance tunes from the 90s, which made a nice change from the reggae, drum n bass, house etc that seems so popular.

It's good to see the scene in the capital still flourishing, and long may it continue. 

You can have a look here at a website with some handy listings. 

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