Monday, August 29, 2016

Blackbeard flying the flag

On May 12 I mentioned that I had heard Dutch pirate Batavia on 1494 kHz. That frequency has been home to another pirate in recent months. Radio Blackbeard from the UK has been testing for a while and tonight (Bank Holiday Monday), I heard him for the first time on the channel and for the first time on MW since last Christmas.

The station was a SW regular in the late 90s/early 2000s and returned to action in March 2014 after a break of some years. For the last few months he's been turning his attention more and more to MW, improving his antenna system, adding more earth radials, changing this and that to try and get his signal out further and further. He was up on 1655 and 1611 kHz last December and tried out 1476 before settling down on 1494. And his hard work paid off tonight when his signal arrived here. 

Although reception tonight wasn't fantastic, it was listenable and not bad at all for the distance involved and considering the transmitter power. Blackbeard was using around 120 watts into an inverted L antenna (cut to a quarter of a wave), which is around 50 feet high.

Traces of the signal have been heard at the SDR in Enschede and I believe there are plans for a little more power, so the signal could be going even further soon. Check out 1494 when you get a few minutes, and you could make an old pirate very happy if you hear him!

The conventional pirate part of the MW band was nice and busy tonight. Conditions were a little up and down and a little noisy at times, but low-power Friesland pirate Rebel was making it through, while it was good to heard Brandaris for the first time in ages.

Monday, August 29, 2016
1645          2014         Zwarte Boekanier 45444 music programme
1635          2014         Twentana 44444 music programme
1624          2015         Brandaris 35333 music programme
1640          2018         Veronica 34433 music programme
1615          2058         Rebel 25232 music programme
1620          2109         Anton 45444 music programme
1494          2126         Blackbeard 23422 music programme
1656          2159         Noordzee 55444 qsoing
1653          2201         Monte Carlo 44444 qsoing
1665          2204         Polkman 25222-35333 testing
1660          2207         Noordzee 55444 qsoing
1645          2223         Noordzee 55344 music programme

Sunday, August 28, 2016
1615          2110         Batavier 45333-45344 music programme
1647          2115         Witte Tornado 45333-45344 music programme
1635          2221         Monte Carlo 35333 report for Witte Tornado


  1. I first heard Blackbeard in the summer of 1994, I would guess. Hopefully a few more 'back in the day' UK stations will come out of retirement.

  2. Nice catch, I've not caught Blackbeard on MW since 1st January and then he was on 1476. I hope he doesn't wait until the next Bank Holiday. He was on 1611 Boxing Day 2015, so perhaps he will, get Monday 26th December 2016 in the diary,