Monday, November 16, 2015

How low can you go?

Ever wondered why a Dutch pirate might be strong one night and weak the next? Sure, propagation has a big say in all of that, but there is another reason to think about.

A few minutes ago I heard Radio Montecarlo from the east of the Netherlands with a reception report on 1646 kHz for Professor Sickbok. He is usually very strong here, with typical signal strength of four out of five on the SINPO scale. Tonight he was more of a two, coming in with a SINPO of 25342. I was listening carefully and he mentioned his antenna was in the low position. 

Many of the Dutch pirates use what they call 'spool' antennas. This is basically a coil high up a mast with some top-loading and then an earth system which usually features plenty of copper piping buried around the base of the mast in a star shape. This type of antenna generally produces a good groundwave (although the skywave is not at all bad, either), which makes it ideal for covering a good part of a small country like the Netherlands. 



Such an antenna is also pretty compact, especially when it is on a hydraulic or electric mast, like that used by Montecarlo. At the press of a button, the mast rises, and so does the antenna. And reception generally improves in line with how high the antenna is. When pirates come on air with a reception report for a station in their locality there is often no need to have the antenna as high as possible as they will be heard regardless, so it stays low - and that is when overseas reception dips. 

So, next time you hear a pirate with a lower signal than you sometimes get, it might not be the fault of propagation or solar flare.


Here's the list of stations I've heard tonight, together with some other recent listings:

Monday, November 16, 2015
1620          0545         Nova 4 45344 music programme
1640          2205         Veronica 44444 music programme
1640          2213         Professor Sickbok 45444 report for Veronica
1630          2216         Anton 45444 music programme
1646          2303         Monte Carlo 25342 report for Professor Sickbok
1626          2315         Jack Sparrow 35333-45444 qsoing
1625          2347         Jeneverstoker weak signal qsoing

Sunday, November 15, 2015
1620          0623         Amigo 35333 music programme
1620          0747         Zonnester 25222 report for Amigo
1620          0752         Johan 35343-45444 qsoing
1647          1627         Witte Tornado 35343 music programme
1675          1850         Batavier 25222 music programme
1611          1912         Atletico weak signal music programme
1657          1944         Turfsteker 25222-35333 music programme

Saturday, November 14, 2015
1620          1544         Druckstromjager 35343-45444 asking for report
1640          1558         Professor Sickbok 25332-35333 qsoing
1629          1604         Pioneer (Rotterdam) 35333 asking for report
1640          1620         Professor Sickbok 35333-45444 music programme
1650          1651         Vendor 35333 music programme
1636          1707         Keizer en Keizerin 35333, 45444 at 1752 music programme
1620          1725         Zwarte Golf 35333 testing
1611          1840         Atletico 25222-35333 music programme
1622          1901         Dageraad 35333 music programme     
1648          1908         Mustang 55444 music programme
1620          1943         Monza 45444 report
1648          2127         Moby Dick 35333-45444 music programme

Thursday, November 12, 2015
1620          0545         Nova 4 35333 music programme
1626          1724         Zwarte Boekanier 55434 asking for report
1655          1725         Hooiberg 25222-35333 music programme
1620          1732         Sterrekijker 25222 music programme
1611          1740         Zwarte Boekanier 55434 asking for report
1645          1916         Amigo 35333 testing
1614          1933         Zwarte Panter (North Holland) weak signal music programme
1665          1936         Polkaman 25222-45444 music programme
1620          2041         Saporro 35333-45444 qsoing
1633          2048         Turftrekker 33333 qsoing
1680          2129         Armada 45333 testing and asking for report

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
1646          2206         Wadloper 45434 music programme
1630          2240         Pandora 45434 music programme
1630          2320         Spanningzoeker 45434 report for Pandora
1633          2330         Spanningzoeker 45434-55444 qsoing
1624          2342         Jeneverstoker 35333 qsoing
1615          2345         Soerabaya 25332-35333 qsoing

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
1620          0545         Nova 4 35333 music programme
1654          1600         Oldtimer 35322-35333 music programme
1615          1604         Zwarte Boekanier weak signal
1620          1612         Zwarte Boekanier weak signal
1660          1650         Digitaal 45434-55544
1635          1704         Ruimzicht 25222 asking for report
1645          1726         DB 35333 qsoing
1620          1730         Pontiac 45333-55444 asking for report
1638          1743         Osaka 25222-35333 qsoing

Monday, November 9, 2015
1655          2325         Witte Raaf 35333 music programme

Friday, November 6, 2015
1636          1501         Havanna 35353 music programme
1637          1624         Blonde Zwerver 35333 qsoing
1653          1624         Rode Ster 45444 qsoing
1635          1635         Ruimzicht 25242 qsoing
1620          1638         Sterrekijker 25222, 34443 at 2018 
1655          1730         Hooiberg 35333-45444 music programme       
1629          1904         Relmus 45444-55555 music progamme            
1646          2054         Mustang 55444 music programme
1620          2110         Nova 4 45444-55444 music programme
1640          2114         Moskou 35333-45444 testing
1640          2127         Poema 45444 qsoing
1633          2336         Uniek 33433-55444 music programme

Thursday, November 5, 2015
1620          1845         Nova 4 55444 music programme
1647          1847         Armada 35333 qsoing
1646          1850         Zwarte Bizon 45444 qsoing
1615          2106         Barones 25222-35333 music programme
1636          2106         Barones 45434-55444 music programme         
1660          2106         Noorderzon
1620          2242         Baantje 34333 qsoing
1622          2351         Pontiac 55544 testing

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
1620          0545         Eskimo 35333-45444 qsoing
1620          0603         Johan 55444 qsoing
1620          0650         Noordzee 45333-45444 music programme

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
1620          0545         Nova 4 55444-55555 music programme until around 0630
1635          1749         Boogschutter 25222-35333 music programme
1615          1809         Batavier 35333 music porgramme
1647          1830         Nachtzwerver 24222-35443 testing
1620          1832         Spanningzoeker 55444-55555 testing
1620          2134         Station from northern Greece with report for Mijnwerker 35333
1620          2135         Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 qsoing
1629          2147         Pioneer 35323 asking for report
1646          2208         Wilskracht 45334 music programme
1640          2217         Professor Sickbok 45434-55444 qsoing
1665          2301         Amigo 45434 qsoing
1640          2307         Noordzee 45434 qsoing
1635          2307         Ruimzicht 25222-35333 qsoing

Observations

  • Nova 4 is pretty busy early in the morning. He can be heard several times a week on 1620 kHz, always closing down at around 0630 UTC (0730 Dutch time)
  • Sterrekijker has been on air for the last couple of Friday evenings, running at just 30 watts. He used to run considerably more power for his weekly programmes and, although the signal is obviously weaker now, it still seems to be getting out pretty well
  • Sunday morning on 1620 kHz is usually the time and place you will find a music programme from Zonnester or Dokwerker. Last Sunday, though, Amigo took their place. Zonnester made his appearance a little later for a QSL, along with Johan, who always has a strong signal over here
  • Last Saturday was interesting with some stations I haven't heard in a while. It was good to welcome back Zwarte Golf, Vendor, Atletico and Dageraad to my receiver

No comments:

Post a Comment

MW Free Radio