Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Skipping long and far

Interesting propagation on MW this evening. I tuned in to 186 metres at around 1800 UTC and was met with a whole host of Balkan pirate stations coming in strongly between 1620 and 1670 kHz. Dutch pirate Radio Boomerang also reported strange conditions at the same time with signals much stronger at his location than usual.

There were a few Dutch pirates on air here and there but most were struggling to compete with their Balkan counterparts, except for Radio Meteoor, who was coming in very well on 1611. Unfortunately the station he was qsoing with was not faring quite as well.

Conditions have remained far from optimum all evening, although that has not stopped Wadloper packing a punch on 1645 kHz. He signed on at 1845 and has just announced he will be closing down soon. Sure, he's been fading around with the propagation, but he's been very strong on the peaks.

On a different note there was a nice delivery from the postman a few days ago when a qsl card (yes, a real one and not electronic!) arrived from the Netherlands. It was from Radio Wipkikker, who I recently heard for the first time. Such a nice touch to receive this as it's such a rarity these days to have a momento from a station that you can actually touch.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Super Saturday

As I write this at around 0130 local time on Sunday morning I'm listening to 1625 kHz and to Zwarte Panter from Oldenzaal in the very east of the Netherlands - he's playing a mix of tracks from the 80s together with some Dutch sounds and has just announced a transmitter power of 300 watts. He's the only Dutch pirate left on air after a busy evening during which I heard 18 different stations. 

Propagation conditions might have been strange on shortwave during Saturday evening, but it was a different story on MW with signals arriving really well from the other side of the North Sea. There were some low-power stations audible and even a new station for me.

I made a few recordings as I was listening and, if you take a listen, you will hear Akai, Turftrekker, Wipkikker, Hooiberg, Uniek, Casablanca and Romax:

And here's the list of stations I heard tonight:

Saturday, September 19, 2015
1655          1850         Hooiberg 44444 music programme
1636          1851         Keizer en Keizerin 43443 music programme
1629          1851         Wipkikker 45444-55544 music programme
1648          1857         Moby Dick 45444-55555 music programme    
1620          1856         Akai 35333-45444 qsoing
1615          1858         Poema 35333 music programme
1640          1933         Batavier 33433-44444 music programme
1615          1933         Turftrekker 35333-45444 qsoing
1611          1958         Tamboer junior 44444 music programme
1615          2003         Blauwe Koe 24222 qsoing
1631          2043         Uniek 34333-44444 music programme
1635          2309         Digitaal 44444 qsoing
1620          2319         Monte Carlo 44444 qsoing
1620          2324         Spakenburg 45444 qsoing
1620          2331         Zwarte Panter (Oldenzaal) 22322-33333 qsoing
1647          2333         Casablanca 54444 qsoing
1636          2339         Romax 45444 testing
1621          2342         Jeneverstoker 33333 qsoing
1625          2355         Zwarte Panter (Oldenzaal) 35333 qsoing and music programme

Thursday, September 17, 2015
1617          2025         Turftrekker 34333-54444 music programme
1620          2036         Rebel weak signal music programme
1656          2038         Turfsteker 35333 music programme
1636          2056         Pandora 55444 music programme


  • Blauwe Koe (Blue Cow) is a relatively new station. I heard him for the first time in July when he was using 1620 kHz. This evening he was qsoing on 1615 with Turftrekker and Korak. The signal was not particularly strong, but I understand he was using only 30 watts, so all in all he was doing pretty well
  • I was thinking recently that I hadn't heard Radio Uniek for some time. And a look at the logs reveals it was January 30 when his signal last found its way to my antenna. That changed tonight and he was coming in loud and clear for several hours with a music programme followed by a qso. Previously I have always heard him between 1645 and 1652 kHz, but tonight he was operating around 1631 (he started out on 1632 but ended up a bit lower). He usually runs in the region of only 100 watts and always does very well, sounding as though it is somewhat more

  • Wipkikker is a new one for me. Broadcasting from Friesland he was very strong during his broadcast in which he announced an email address of wipkikker@live.nl. I understand he has been active for many years, and I recently saw a reception report that he was on air on a Saturday morning at the end of August. Perhaps he usually broadcasts during the daytime when propagation is against me. I am usually able to receive the Dutch MW pirates here only once the sun has gone down, although during the winter it can be possible to hear the high-power pirates a little earlier
  • Good to hear Romax on air late in the evening. I met him a few years back and it's always interesting to hear people on air when you can picture exactly where they are broadcasting from

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Knowing your Turf

For those not too familiar with the Dutch pirates, their names, their frequencies, there could have been some confusion on 183 metres this evening.

On 1617 kHz you could hear Radio Turftrekker (Turf tractor), while up the band on 1656 kHz was Radio Turfsteker (Turf cutter). Similar names and easy to confuse. But a handy pointer is that Turfsteker can nearly always be heard around 1655, while Turftrekker is at home around 1615-1630. 

Many of the Dutch MW pirates use coil antennas which have a very narrow bandwidth. This means moving up or down the band by only a few kilohertz can affect the efficiency of the antenna, which is why most stations stick to a similar frequency each time they broadcast. Think of Matrix, for example, and he is usually around 1670; Casablanca 1647; Utopia 1620; Keizer en Keizerin 1636; Witte Tornado 1647; Pandora 1636; Veronica 1640; Zonnester 1620; Moby Dick 1648. The list goes on and on . . .

While stations like to have their regular channel so listeners know where to find them, it's also as much to do with the antenna. So, next time if you're not 100 per cent sure who you're listening to, the frequency might just give the game away.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Three for the price of one

Conditions have been favourable for receiving the Dutch pirates tonight and I've spent much of the evening with the radio tuned in to 1645 kHz.

From around 1800, Radio Wadloper was coming in loud and clear until he closed down at around 2230. He wasn't alone in the studio - he was joined by Relmus, and also by Radio Nora, who was paying his first visit. As the picture shows, they had plenty of refreshments!

The signal from Wadloper became more stable as the evening continued and at times was like listening to a local station. Have a listen to the recording and you'll see what I mean:

Here's what else I heard tonight and a roundup of other recent logs made here in the UK:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
1645          1812         Wadloper, Relmus, Nora 45444, 55555 at 2109
1635          1816         Boomerang 55444 testing
1654          1816         Oldtimer 45444 music programme
1620          1820         Quintus 34333 music programme
1629          1937         Marskramer (Friesland) music programme
1611          1945         Saporro 34433-44444 music programme
1625          2010         Boogschutter 25332-35333 music programme
1655          2037         Turfsteker 35232-35333 music programme
1626          2216         Jack Sparrow 55444 testing
1615          2238         Soerbaya 25232 testing

Monday, September 14, 2015
1640          2115         Veronica 25222-35333 music programme
1611          2135         Baantje weak signal music programme
1645          2137         Noordzee 35333 report for Veronica
1636          2159         Pandora 45444-55555 music programme
1621          2208         Omegha 25222 music programme

Friday, September 11, 2015
1620          1841         Zwarte Boekanier 34333, 45444 at 1941 music programme
1656          1923         Mustang 45444-55555 music programme
1629          1924         Turftrekker 35333 music programme
1640          1942         Batavier weak signal music programme
1620          2008         Calipso 55444 report for Zwarte Boekanier
1620          2013         Pontiac 55444 qsoing
1645          2017         Blauwe Reiger 45444 report for Mustang
1655          2020         Turfsteker 35333 qsoing
1645          2021         Nachtzwerver 35333 qsoing
1646          2036         Mustang 55444 qsoing
1660          2037         Zwarte BMW 35333 qsoing
1646          2320         Monte Carlo 45444 qsoing
1621          2329         Omegha 25222 testing

Wednesday, September 9, 2015
1615          1914         Spanningzoeker 55434 asking for report
1611          1932         Brugwachter 45434 report for Spanningzoeker
1611          1936         Saporro 34333 report for Spanningzoeker
1615          1937         Poema 44434 report for Spanningzoeker
1636          1937         Pandora 55544 report for Spanningzoeker
1629          1938         Marskramer (Friesland) 45333 music programme
1615          2011         Zwarte Golf 44333-44434 qsoing
1636          2032         Mi Amigo 45333-45434 music programme

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
1630          2129         Marianne 35333
1638          2130         Calimero 45444-55444 music programme
1640          2136         Noordzee 42542 qsoing
1625          2143         Ruimzicht 25222 qsoing
1629          2145         Noordzee 35333 qsoing
1636          2205         Romax 42432

Sunday, September 6, 2015
1620          0445         Zonnester 45444 music programme        

Saturday, September 5, 2015
1656          1842         Mustang 45434-55444 music programme        
1627          1907         Barones 45444 music programme
1611          1908         Moonbreaker 23322 music programme
1636          1909         Keizer en Keizerin 35333 music programme
1648          1920         Moby Dick 35333-45444 music programme        
1615          2031         Schaduwjager 55544 music programme      
1617          2228         Barones music programme
1642          2230         Nachtzwerver 34333 music programme  

Thursday, September 3, 2015
1665          2031         Meteoor 35333-45444
1648          2049         Armada 35333 music programme

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The place to be

Radio Sterrekijker has started a new trend, it seems. Following his broadcast on 747 kHz this week, other pirates have followed suit. On Tuesday evening Blauwe Piraat carried out a short test while this morning Sterrekijker was back on the channel qsoing with Blue Star and Meteoor

The signals were heard in the north of the Netherlands and I'm hoping these stations and more of them will also be active during the hours of darkness so we get a chance to listen here in the UK.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Stargazing on 747

An era in broadcasting came to a close on Monday night when national Dutch broadcaster NPO closed down its MW outlets on 747 and 1251 kHz at around midnight local time and Radio Maria ceased broadcasting on 675 kHz.  

This leaves a few holes on the MW band, but one pirate station was quick to fill the gap on 747 kHz. As Radio 5 Nostalgia closed its transmitter Radio Sterrekijker switched on and stayed on air throughout the night and well into the afternoon today with non-stop music and the occasional announcement, interspersed with jingles.

Although I couldn't hear the signal last night due to mixing of various other stations, and couldn't hear it today as it was several hours before sunset, Sterrekijker was getting out very well across the Netherlands with his 50-metre high inverted L antenna. These recordings and pictures give a good idea of how the station was being received. The first one comes courtesy of Radio Pacman:

Sterrekijker is no stranger to trying out interesting frequencies and has tested on 1224 kHz in recent weeks. The success of this latest adventure into the main part of the MW suggests 747 will be the place to look out for him in the future. Don't forget Friday evening is the regular time to catch this industrious Dutch pirate.