Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The end of Zeewolf?

On July 26 two men were seen outside the house of the operator of Radio Zeewolf, who was transmitting on MW at the time. They were taking photographs of the antenna and were thought to have been representatives of the AT, who are responsible for keeping the airwaves clear of illicit radio stations in the Netherlands. However, they were not seen again and nothing was heard about the visit. Not until October 31.

On that Saturday morning there was a special delivery at the Zeewolf studio, containing a letter from AT detailing their visit during the summer, together with photographs and personal information. There was also a warning that if the station is heard again during the next five years there will be a penalty, starting at 2,250 euro, but up to a maximum payment of 33,750.

The annoying thing for Zeewolf is that he had been on air only a short time on the day of the AT visit, testing his antenna after returning from a family holiday. 

Since receiving the AT letter, Zeewolf has removed his transmitting antenna for MW and so removed the temptation to come back on air. Instead he is concentrating on listening to the pirates and has been testing a very small whip antenna where his coil antenna used to stand. It has been working well and he has been impressed with reception from such a small antenna.

So, it seems another Dutch AM pirate has been silenced. It could have been worse - in the old days equipment might have been seized straight away with no warning. And this is the way the authorities are operating these days - a kind of gentle but effective approach that is slowly removing the stations we enjoy listening to. Rode Adelaar was another pirate to get the letter recently and he too has taken leave of the airwaves.

I first heard Zeewolf in June 2011 on 1647 kHz. He had yet to venture on to shortwave and it was the first time the former FM pirate had been heard in England. He was thrilled when I sent a reception report and some recordings from this side. Here is one of those recordings from later that year, made on October 21:

1 comment:

  1. I am sad to hear this news. You would have thought that, with everything migrating to FM and DAB, that the authorities would be losing interest in pursuing AM free radio stations. This certainly seems to be the case in Greece, where I understand that AM stations are left alone or in Germany, where the old shortwave transmitters of Deutsche-Welle have been leased out to hobby operators like Channel 292.

    Here in Bristol, I hear a few Dutch AM pirates most evenings - particularly now that optimum Winter listening conditions are here. Occasionally, I can even discern something around 1690 kHz from Greece or Serbia. It's great that, even in these days of digital radio, internet broadcasting and the like, AM free radio is still popular.