Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Flying like an eagle

On Monday evening I heard the Twentse Adelaar qsoing at just before 1800 UTC. And later in the evening he was back on his regular channel of 1638 kHz to spin a few records into the early hours of Tuesday morning.

While he was broadcasting from the region of Twente in Overijssel in the east of the Netherlands, which is well known for its large number of pirate stations, I found out he has been active as a pirate on MW for some three years. He runs relatively low power at around 100 watts but as I've mentioned many times before, that is more than enough to put a decent signal across the North Sea and into the UK, and the Eagle was doing well last night.

As you can hear from this recording there is some fading, but some great peaks on the signal and pretty good for the power . . .



As the station was broadcasting I was sent some photos straight from the studio, which I have been kindly allowed to share . . .









Monday, February 23, 2015

High energy

1476 kHz is becoming an increasingly popular frequency with the Dutch pirates as they seek an alternative to the sometimes congested area at the top of the MW band, and lots of stations have been testing on the channel recently.

But there was something a little different to hear late on Friday and Saturday night. With a strong signal here in England and also doing well into the northern part of the Netherlands was Energy FM. This was an internet stream from Tenerife being relayed by the same transmitter that was airing SW pirate Laser Hot Hits some weeks ago on the same frequency. The direction of the loop antenna when gaining best reception suggests the broadcast was emanating from Ireland. 

Very nice to hear activity from a little closer to home on MW . . . let's hope this is a sign of things to come and we get something regular from Britain or Ireland on 1476.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Flashback to the 80s

I paid a visit to Stoke-on-Trent this week and popped in to the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, where among the various exhibitions is a display called Shout Out! UK Pirate Radio in the 1980s.



So it doesn't quite fit in with what I usually do on this blog, but I thought it might be worth a mention and a few photos. 

The exhibition is only small but features lots of newspaper clippings from the era in the 1980s when there was a surge of pirate activity on FM as stations starting appearing to cater for audiences who struggled to find their style of music on mainstream radio. It mentions how at the peak of FM piracy in the UK some 600 stations were operating up and down the land. 

There is even a mixer and limiter on display that were used in a pirate studio back in the day, together with a TV screen showing an interview with the operator of one of the biggest pirates in the midlands in the 1980s, and an iPad on which you can listen to jingles from the days when Kiss FM was still a pirate








The exhibition will remain at its current home until May 9.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sad news

There is sad news to report from the Achterhoek in the east of the Netherlands. Last Saturday morning the man behind Radio Nooitgedacht died after suffering with pancreatic cancer. 

Johan had been active at the top of the MW band for many decades and his powerful signal made him popular with local listeners and dxers across Europe. When there was a big sound on 1636 kHz and the familiar records started playing, you knew you were tuned to Nooitgedacht.

Johan was 70 years old and leaves behind his wife Hannie and children Eddie, Theo and Jolanda. 



I heard Johan on the air a couple of weeks ago on what I think turned out to be his final broadcast. You could tell he was ill as he talked, but so nice he decided to transmit one more progamme. When he closed down he had a short qso with Radio Havanna and I made a recording of his last words which you can listen to here.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Dutch visitor

Last week I received a message from one of the Dutch MW pirates saying he would be in England in a few days time through his work as a lorry driver. And it turned out he would be travelling pretty close to where we live. So, on Tuesday at just after midday we met up with Cyril, the operator of Radio Benjamin, who can be heard at the very top of the MW band every now and again.

We thought it best he didn't bring his lorry to our small street, so we met Cyril at the local railway station and took him to a pub out in the country for lunch, where a few pints of cider and a plate of sandwiches went down pretty well. After that we did a little sight-seeing and showed Cyril some of the high points in area. As the Netherlands is so flat, hills are always of interest!

Then it was back to our place, where we cracked open a few bottles of Grolsch and spent some time down in the radio room. 

A few of the empty beer bottles!
Conditions weren't particularly good on either SW or MW while Cyril was here, but he did get to hear a fine signal from Vrolijke Mijnwerker, who was coming in loud and clear. Interestingly it seems that when Mijnwerker uses his wire antenna the signal is better here than at Cyril's location. The greater skywave would explain that, but still surprising.

My two children were particularly interested in our Dutch visitor and even put on a little magic show for him! When the time came to take Cyril back to the railway station they had to come in the car and wave goodbye to their special guest. Perhaps we will be seeing him over in the Netherlands next time.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Sunday surprise

I haven't listened early on a Sunday morning for some time, so this morning I made an effort to do so. Well, I cheated a little bit and set my computer to record my radio on 1620 kHz from 0500 local time. This is a busy frequency on a Sunday morning and I was hoping this week would prove the same.

When I checked my recording I found that from the very start Amigo was busy with a music programme, which carried on through until just after 0600 when Dokwerker came on air. And then at just after 0800, Zonnester came on the frequency. Signals were pretty good, especially Dokwerker who was coming through very well indeed with some great peaks. It seems he came on at around the optimum time for early-morning reception of the Dutch pirates at my location in England.

Looking back at my logs, it seems I haven't heard Dokwerker since October 10, 2013, so it was certainly good to hear him on my radio once again with such good reception. He runs fairly low power and was pretty pleased when I sent an email this morning with a recording of his reception.

I also recorded Amigo and Zonnester, and you can listen to all three here . . .

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Hanging in there

These propagation conditions are frustrating. The other night they were so bad I thought there was a problem with the antennas outside. The general level of noise at the top of MW and right across SW has been pretty high for the last few days as well, making listening far from as enjoyable as it can be. But things can change pretty quickly.

I switched the radio on this evening, for example, at around 2030 local time. Stations like Meteoor, who would usually be very strong were coming in okay but nothing special. All in all, I nearly switched off and headed to bed for an early night. And then, at around 2200, the signals started to increase and Meteoor and the others on air started to pick up to the strengths I would expect from them. 

Right now, at around 2330 I'm listening to Utopia on 1620. It's been a good while since I heard him, and over 20 years since I spent a few days in a tent in his back garden!

Here's what I heard tonight, along with some other recent listings . . .

Thursday, February 5, 2015
1645          2040         Northcoast 35333 music programme
1611          2049         Meteoor 35333 music programme
1640          2050         Veronica 35333 music programme
1657          2105         Kristal 45333-55444 music programme
1615          2111         Desperado 24222-34333 music programme
1611          2134         Blauwe Piraat 24222 report for Meteoor
1645          2135         Wadloper 45444-55444 music programme
1620          2141         Meteoor 35333, 45444 at 2206 qsoing
1620          2145         Blauwe Piraat 25222 qsoing
1620          2149         Anton 35333, 45444 at 2212 qsoing
1620          2237         Utopia 45333-45444 testing
1629          2241         Belladonna 24222 music programme
1630          2305         Vrolijke Mijnwerker 54444 report for Kristal

Wednesday, February 4, 2015
1620          1820         Zonnester 35333-45444 qsoing
1620          1831         Blauwe Piraat 35243 weak signal qsoing
1620          1854         Monza 35232-35333 qsoing
1476          1917         Rietvink 23442 music programme
1620          2046         Batavia 35333-45344 music programme
1640          2047         Digitaal 34333 music programme
1638          2100         Twentse Adelaar 25222 music programme
1643          2115         Wadloper 45434 music programme
1650          2253         Jan De Roos 35333 Music programme
1630          2254         Anton 45434-55444 music programme
1632          2304         Toulouse 44444 report for Anton
1630          2322         Monte Carlo 34333-44444 qsoing

Monday, February 2, 2015
1640          1748         Digitaal 35232
1648          1755         Zwarte Boekanier 35232-35343 asking for report
1629          2129         Witte Raaf 35333 music programme   
1636          2155         Topedojager 35343 music programme
1625          2257         Black Devil 23422-45434 music programme
1628          2301         Vrolijke Mijnwerker 44444 music programme

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
1636          1812         Nooitgedacht 35333 music programme
1636          1843         Havanna 55444 report for Nooitgedacht

Friday, January 30, 2015
1620          1822         Sterrekijker 35333 music programme
1629          1845         Belladonna 22322 music programme
1620          2202         Calipso 55544 music programme
1629          2203         Twentana 35333 music programme
1643          2203         Wadloper 45444 music programme
1668          2204         Armada 55444 music programme
1646          2206         Uniek 33433-45434 music programme
1611          2214         Turftrekker 44444 music programme

Thursday, January 29, 2015
1629          1709         Zwarte Boer 32342, 34333 at 2024 music programme
1611          2005         Malibu 33333-44444 music programme
1617          2006         Digitaal 45444 music programme
1620          2006         Johnny Camaro 33433 music programme
1640          2008         Vrolijke Fluiters (Batavier+Zwarte Panter) 35333 
1656          2025         Nachtzwerver testing
1705          2055         Aeneas qsoing from Greece 
1655          2110         Turfsteker 25222-35333 testing antenna

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
1643          2034         Wadloper 45444-55555 music programme
1652          2035         Batavier 35343 music programme
1620          2040         Zwarte Golf 43443 testing modulation

Sunday, January 25, 2015
1616          0035         Barones 55444 music programme
1648          0036         Moby Dick 55444 music programme
1627          0037         Digitaal 44444 music programme
1636          0040         Keizer en Keizerin 34433 music programme
1665          0040         Polkaman 35333 music programme
1632          0103         Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 report for Moby Dick
1636          0128         Jeneverstoker qsoing
1611          2053         Jamaica 54434 qsoing
1647          2054         Witte Tornado 35333-55444 music programme
1640          2055         Wadloper 45434 music programme
1625          2104         Soerabaya 25322 testing

Friday, January 23, 2015
1620          1605         Sterrekijker 25332, 35333 at 1840 music programme
1636          1655         Digitaal 35333 music programme
1629          1833         Twentana testing antenna
1655          1835         Columbia 35333-45444 asking for report
1646          1840         Kaaiman 35333 report for Columbia
1629          1858         Belladonna 22432 music programme
1656          1900         Skywire weak signal 
1627          2005         Titanic 44444 testing
1645          2018         Kristal 54444 music programme
1635          2018         Eldorado 45434 report for 1604. 
1539          2033         Batavia 32422 music programme
1640          2040         Wadloper 44444-55555 music programme
1620          2107         Akai 44444 report for Sterrekijker
1620          2111         Jamaica 55544 report for Sterrekijker
1627          2134         Zwarte Diamont 43433-45444 report for Musky
1620          2138         Spanningzoeker 54444 qsoing
1646          2206         Uniek 34433-44444 report for Kristal
1611          2217         Batavia 45434 music programme
1655          2230         Batavier 25222-35333 music programme
1622          2232         Soerabaya 23322-34433 testing
1630          2255         Pandora 55555
1622          2256         Digitaal 45444 report for Soerabaya    
1629          2313         Pioneer 33433 from Rotterdam
1620          2325         Soerabaya qsoing
1680          2337         Alex Warner very weak qsoing
1635          2338         Stem Van Twente 45444 qsoing
1680          2349         Digitaal 45434 qsoing
1680          0002         Stem Van Twente 45434 qsoing
1640          0006         Stem Van Twente 45434 qsoing

Friday, January 16, 2015
1620          1835         Titanic 35353-45454 report for Sterrekijker
1645          1850         Kaaiman 25242 testing
1650          2100         Kristal 45343-45444 music programme
1660          2110         Kristal 35333 calling for qso       
1630          2125         Soerabaya weak signal asking for report
1640          2131         Wadloper 34443-45554 testing
1650          2311         Batavier weak signal music programme
1630          2312         Vrolijke Mijnwerker 45434 music programme
1656          2314         Nachtzwerver 25222-35443 music programme
1638          2327         Calimero 45334 testing

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
1620          1723         Jamaica 55555 qsoing
1630          1725         Wegpiraat 35343-45454 qsoing
1620          1727         Monza 35443-45454 qsoing
1660          1745         Digitaal small signal testing 
1620          1750         Marskramer (Friesland) 35333 music programme
1644          1820         Pecon 45444
1611          1822         Texas weak signal testing
1636          1857         Baanbreker 34443
1629          2154         Mustang 35333, later 45434 music programme

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
1620          1728         Admiraal 25322 qsoing
1627          1749         Admiraal 25322 qsoing
1620          1753         Moonbreaker 25332-35333 qsoing
1651          1845         Turfsteker 24422 qsoing
1651          1847         Baanbreker 24422 qsoing
1641          1857         Baanbreker qsoing
1611          1907         Malibu weak signal
1638          2220         Calimero 35333-45444 music programme
1630          2326         Pandora 35333-45444 music programme
1623          2338         Snowman 24222 qsoing
1622          2347         Rebel weak signal qsoing
1623          2352         Amigo 33343 report for Pandora

Monday, January 12, 2015
1636          0913         Havanna 25342 music programme
1622          2122         Soto 25222 music programme

Saturday, January 10, 2015
1638          1730         Osaka (Twente) 25332 qsoing
1476          1731         Edelkampioen 33433 music programme
1638          1733         Spanningzoeker 45434 qsoing
1640          1749         Bonte Specht weak signal music programme
1622          1822         Aktief 35333-45444 qsoing
1476          1827         Coberco report for Edelkampioen
1620          1844         Nova 4 45333 music programme
1622          1849         Amigo 24322 report for Nova 4
1665          1858         Polkaman 25222 music programme
1620          1948         Moonbreaker 25222 music programme
1611          2121         Barones 54444-55544 music programme
1620          2121         Zonnester 45444-55544 music programme
1625          2122         Yogi 35343 music programme

Observations

  • One of the strongest stations on the air this evening was Wadloper on 1645 kHz. It's been snowing at the location of the Pier Clan, and no doubt the transmitters will have been helping to melt a little bit of the white stuff . . . 

  • Interesting on Wednesday evening to hear Zonnester on air. I've pretty much heard him only on Sunday mornings over the years, so to catch him cropping up midweek for a qso was a novelty
  • On Monday there was an appearance from Nooitgedacht on the 1636 kHz frequency he has been using ever since I started listening to the MW pirates over two decades ago. It was a nice step back in time as he played many of the tunes I will always associate with him. Nice to hear Havanna switch on his transmitter for a qso after the broadcast as well


  • This Friday evening has the promise of being a busy one if January 23 is anything to go by. That's a pretty long list of stations above on a night when conditions were good and lots of pirates were standing by to switch on. An interesting catch that particular night was Alex Warner, who can occasionally be heard on SW and was having a crack at MW with ten watts of power into an inverted L antenna. The signal was pretty weak here but somewhat better in the Netherlands and Germany

MW Free Radio