Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Manic Monday

The Bangles could have been singing about the MW band yesterday evening in their 1985 hit Manic Monday. I switched on the radio at about 1730 local time thinking I might hear one or two stations if conditions were good enough. What did I hear? One station after another during a hefty qso round, followed later in the evening by a music programme or two. In total I identified over 20 different Dutch pirates, although I heard several more stations, too.

There were some familiar names among the many pirates I heard, stations like Digitaal, Vrolijke Mijnwerker and Monte Carlo, but there were some I don't hear so often like Alaska, Osaka and Blauwe Koe, and a new one for me with Blauwe Kaktus from the Veluwe:

Monday, February 15, 2016
1620          1728         Blauwe Piraat 25222-35333 qsoing
1647          1736         Twentana 35333-45444 testing
1665          1739         Digitaal 45444 qsoing
1622          1745         Pioneer (Rotterdam) 45444 asking for report
1630          1745         Alaska 35333 qsoing
1628          1754         Blauwe Kaktus 24222 qsoing
1628          1757         Digitaal 35333 qsoing
1630          1800         Pioneer 45444 qsoing
1638          1804         Osaka 35333 asking for report
1615          1809         Blue Star 25222-35333 testing
1629          1816         Daytona 55555 qsoing
1629          1825         Dageraad 34333 qsoing
1658          1839         Turfsteker 35333 qsoing
1640          1851         Veronica 45444 qsoing
1632          1852         Dageraad 35333 qsoing
1655          1855         Batavier 25222-35333 music programme
1634          1921         Blauwe Koe 25222 music programme
1629          1959         Malibu signal coming through the carrier of Daytona
1620          2007         Nova 4 44444
1622          2224         Vrolijke Mijnwerker 554444 music programme
1646          2245         Barcelona 45433-55444 qsoing
1630          2248         Pioneer (Rotterdam) 55444 asking for report
1646          2255         Monte Carlo 55444 qsoing
1615          2305         Napoleon 45444 music programme
1648          2311         Wilskracht 24222 qsoing

That was the busiest evening for pirate activity I can remember for a good while, and long may it last. There were high-power and low-power pirates on air, something for everybody. One of the best catches for me was Blue Star, who was testing with non-stop music on 1615. It turns out he was testing a new transmitter he has built. The power? Just ten watts. Amazing I could hear him at all. Even more amazing that the signal was peaking up to a very listenable sinpo of 35333.

The computer was recording much of what I was listening to last night, and I've compiled this soundclip with a collection of stations heard:



And to keep my log up to date, here are the stations I've heard since I last updated the list:

Sunday, February 14, 2016
1633          2310         Barones 55444 music programme
1646          2313         Barcelona 35333-45444 music programme
1656          2315         Monte Carlo 35333 qsoing
1638          2325         Calimero 34333-45444 music programme
1624          2359         Jeneverstoker 33333 music programme 

Saturday, February 13, 2016
1648          2106         Moby Dick 35333-45444 music programme
1636          2116         Kezier en Keizerin 25222-45444 music programme

Friday, February 12, 2016
1630          0049         Pandora 55434 qsoing
1624          0054         Jeneverstoker 25222 qsoing

Thursday, February 11, 2016
1629          1738         Admiraal 45444 testing
1640          1750         Sylvania 35333-45444 music programme
1627          1939         Dolfijn 35343-45444 report for Sylvania
1627          1944         Test Piraat 55555 report for Sylvania
1620          1947         Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 music programme
1638          2009         Calimero 35333 music programme
1635          2009         Ruisbreker 25222-35333 music programme
1650          2017         Kristal 35333-55444 music programme
1620          2123         Noorderzon 34333 report for Mijnwerker
1646          2337         Barcelona 45333 testing

Monday, February 8, 2016
1620          2027         Digitaal 45444 music programme

Friday, February 5, 2016
1622          2305         Uniek 45333-45444 music programme
1629          2312         Odynn 24222 music programme
1640          2318         Vrolijke Mijnwerker 45333-55444 music programme
1655          2319         Relmus 55444 music programme
1665          2338         Polkaman music 25222-35333 programme


Thursday, February 4, 2016
1626          2222         Barones 45444 music programme        
1662          2224         Turfsteker 25222 music programme
1645          2242         Dinkelland 55444 asking for report
1646          2316         Monte Carlo 45444 report for Dinkelland 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
1620          1820         Zonnester 45333-45444 qsoing
1631          2001         Oldtimer 45444 music programme
1656          2005         Twentana 34333 music programme
1631          2023         Speedygonzales 45434 report for Oldtimer 

Monday, February 1, 2016
1611          1837         Saporro 33333 qsoing       
1611          1845         Bizon 34333-44444 qsoing
1642          1953         Turftrekker 34333 music programme
1635          2009         Batavier 25222-35333 music programme
1620          2021         Blauwe Piraat 25222-35333                     
1620          2028         Meteoor 35333-45444 report for Blauwe Piraat

Sunday, January 31, 2016
1625          1824         Barones 45444 music proramme
1647          1825         Witte Tornado 45444 music programme

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
1665          1737         Digitaal 35333 music programme
1635          1809         Monza 45544 testing
1625          1815         Ruimzicht 33443
1625          1835         Marskramer (Friesland) 25222-35333 music programme
1656          1959         Malibu 25222-35333
1615          2004         Turftrekker 44444-55444 music programme
1658          2024         Twentana 24222-35333 music programme
1625          2039         Meteoor 45444 report for Marskramer
1646          2100         Kristal 45444 music programme
1625          2255         Napoleon 45434 music programme

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
1638          1812         Admiraal 45444 qsoing

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
1620          1657         Wegpiraat 25222-35333 asking for report
1638          1701         Columbia 35343 asking for report
1620          1713         Monza 35333 report for Columbia
1640          1715         Zwarte BMW 33343 report for Columbia
1636          1818         Caballero 35333 qsoing
1650          1822         Lotus 25222-35333 qsoing
1627          1823         Pontiac 35333 qsoing
1630          1951         Marianne 25222-35333 music programme
1635          2001         Ruisbreker weak signal testing
1685          2002         Digitaal 35333
1611          2004         Turftrekker 34333 music programme
1620          2015         Desperado 24222-34333 music programme
1657          2043         Turfsteker 25222 music programme
1645          2107         Capri 45434-55444 music programme

Saturday, January 16, 2016
1652          2345         Moby Dick 55444 testing
1628          2345         Vrolijke Mijnwerker 54444 music programme
1630          2350         Barones 54444 music programme
1620          2352         Desperado 34333 music programme
1640          0100         Barones 45434 music programme

Friday, January 15, 2016
1620          1638         Poema weak signal
1670          1643         Blackbeard 25222-35333 testing
1659          1740         Turfsteker music programme
1621          1741         Pioneer 25222 qsoing
1620          1746         Monza 35322 qsoing
1638          1750         Calimero 35333 music programme
1616          1814         Quintus 35333-45444 testing modulation
1620          1902         Desperado 25222-35333 music programme
1647          1946         Mustang 55444 music programme
1635          1956         Relmus 55444 music programme         
1611          2038         Turftrekker 45444 music programme
1629          2059         Odynn 24222-34333 music programme
1645          2117         DB 45333-45444 qsoing

Thursday, January 14, 2016
1624          2337         Jeneverstoker 25222 music programme

Monday, January 11, 2016
1620          1709         Zwarte Boekanier 45454 music programme
1630          1750         Spanningzoeker 55444 asking for report
1640          1851         Veronica 25222-35333, 45444 at 2120 music programme
1611          1933         Eldorado 45333-45444 testing
1650          1940         Vrijevogel 25222 music programme
1635          2057         Blauwe Koe 25222 music programme
1625          2104         Batavier 25222 music programme
1647          2111         Armada 45333-45444 testing
1625          2123         Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55434 music programme
1615          2131         Batavier testing wire/coil antennas. Better with coil, 25222  

Sunday, January 10, 2016
1647          1722         Witte Tornado 55444 music programme
1625          2209         Witte Raaf 35222-35333 music programme
1634          2302         Odynn weak signal report for Witte Tornado
1636          2305         Monte Carlo 25222-35333 report for Witte Tornado

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A big welcome back

Over 20 years ago when I was much younger and had more hair I began visiting Dutch pirates. It was on one of my first trips across the North Sea that I went to meet Appie of Radio Sylvania. I had heard him often on my radio and, although he spoke little English and I spoke very little Dutch, I enjoyed my visit, accompanied by Radio Barones, who did a great job of translating and all these years later is still very good at this!

I had not met many of the Dutch pirates at this stage and I remember being struck by the enormity of the mast in the small back garden. It seemed huge, towering above the house with a coil antenna perched up on top. I also remember the studio upstairs in a back room - in fact, I have some photos taken in that very room in front of me now. There's no sign of computers - it was 1994, I think - although there is a cd player. I can see the Geloso audio amplifier, a mainstay of the Dutch pirate studio. And there is a record player on top of another amplifier and a well-maintained valve radio. There is also a little echo chamber box.


Like myself, Appie had a break from the hobby for some years, although I heard last year that he had made a return to the airwaves but was broadcasting only during the daytime. But tonight I was transported back in time when I heard his voice coming out of my speakers for the first time in what must be around 15 years. I recognised him straight away, and it was a pleasure to listen to him again. Some stations capture the imagination and Sylvania is always one I enjoyed listening to. So when I heard him tonight at around 1720 UTC I stayed tuned until he closed down at 1938.

The signal was fading around with the conditions, but there were some great peaks, like the one on this recording:



When Sylvania closed down I was expecting a few stations to come on air and give him a report. Sure enough that's what happened. But I couldn't believe my ears when Radio Dolfijn was the first one. He hadn't been active on the air for many years. It seems he has returned, though, and his signal was arriving loud and clear in England:



A big welcome back to these pirates of the past. I wonder who will be next?

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Big sounds as the weekend kicks off

Im doing a bit of late-evening listening before hitting the bedroom, and there are some big sounds at the top of the MW right now on Friday night. Relmus is blasting away on 1655 kHz, while Mijnwerker is also very strong on 1640. Elsewhere, Polkman (1655), Odynn (1629) and Uniek (1622) are also doing well. It seems conditions are pretty good right now. 

I made a short video of the reception, so you can see just how the signals are being received over here:




Late last night I was also tuning around and heard Barones on 1626 kHz and Dinkelland on 1645. Both were very strong, but was what almost incredible was that I was able to hear them on this receiver:

 

I remember buying this novelty transistor radio about 25 years ago, but then I lost it for a couple of decades. My dad recently found it and handed it back, so last night I thought I would try popping it inside my old indoor loop. 

It was a bit noisy in the radio room what the the computers and monitors, so at around 2330 local time I took it out into the garden to see what I could hear. Imagine my surprise when, clear as a bell, I heard Radio Dinkelland coming out of the tiny speaker! And then a few minutes later came Radio Barones. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. 

It just goes to show you don't also need fancy receivers and antennas to hear something a bit different!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Inside a Dutch pirate studio

A regular low-power Dutch pirate at the top of the MW band is Radio Batavier. Broadcasting from Friesland, he's been active for many years now and can usually be heard several times a week with his low-power broadcasts. 

He's just got hold of a 'new' transmittter. Of course, it's actually very old but is a mainstay of the AM pirate scene. You wont visit too many studios in the Netherlands without seeing the SK010, which will give out somewhere in the region of 40 watts carrier power. This is the transmitter Batavier was using for his transmission on 1635 kHz on Monday night when he sent me these pictures from his studio as the music was playing out on the airwaves. Like he said to me, the set-up is very 'old school'!





The signal here on Monday was peaking with a sinpo of around 35333, which is typical for reception of the station despite the low power.

MW Free Radio