Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bringing you right up to date

It's been a busy week or two at the top of the mediumwave band with lots of activity and some new names too. Here are the latest logs from England, together with plenty of news:

Freq       Time      Station name SINPO

Tuesday, February 21, 2017
1630       1859       Wilskracht 35343 qsoing
1635       1905       Batavier 35343 qsoing
1630       1913       Golfbreker 35333 qsoing
1655       1920       Batavier 34443 qsoing
1645       1925       Skywire 25442-35443 qsoing
1630       1945       Marianne 45444 music programme
1636       1954       Blauwe Koe 34333-44444 music programme
1650       2010       Batavier 35333 music programme
1643       2037       Kristal 45434 music programme
1665       2037       Digitaal 45444 testing


Observations

  • Interesting to hear Wilskracht on 1630 kHz tonight for a qso with Batavier, Golfbreker and Skywire. He's usually active on 1655 and has been testing late in the evening on that frequency recently

Sunday, February 19, 2017

1620       0600       Zonnester 45434 music programme
1620       1543       Technical Man 24442
1656       1545       Transparant weak signal
1647       1618       Witte Tornado 25322, 45444 at 1721 music programme
1629       1703       Digitaal weak signal qsoing
1620       1928       Weduwe 55444 music programme
1630       1932       Golfbreker 25432-35433 music programme
1635       2034       Batavier 35433 music programme
1655       2038       Relmus 35333-45444 music programme
1620       2042       Spakenburg 45444 report for Weduwe
1620       2043       Blauwe Piraat 34333 qsoing
1619       2045       Toulouse 34333 qsoing 
1611       2047       Technical Man 54444 music programme
1629       2149       Spectrum FM 44333-44444 music programme relay
1645       2325       Monte Carlo 45343-45444 report for Witte Tornado

Observations

  • Zonnester kicked off the day with one of his regular Sunday morning transmissions. Tune in to 1620 kHz just before breakfast and you will usually hear him or the Bootsman. And after breakfast you will often hear Zonneschijn en Derby on the channel, although they start too late for the signal to reach my location
  • Relmus was doing well with just over 100 watts tonight and on Friday evening. Sometimes peaking up to a level that sounded like much more power, although it isn't. A good antenna, good location and the right ground help to get his signal out incredibly well
  • There was a bit of a mystery on 1629 late in the evening with Spectrum FM. This is an internet station that was being relayed on to MW, although the presenter knew it was happening as he was mentioning the frequency and name-checking some international listeners

Saturday, February 18, 2017
1611       1409       Atlantic weak signal qsoing
1620       1510       Mike weak signal music programme
1646       1547       Zwarte Bizon 25222 qsoing
1630       1552       Moscou weak signal qsoing
1655       1648       Dikke Betta 35232 music programme
1620       1657       Alice 35343 music programme
1636       1657       Keizer en Keizerin 33333-34333 music programme
1670       1712       Noordzee 35333 testing
1625       1719       Batavier 25232-35333 music programme
1629       1732       Nachtzwerver 24322 qsoing
1655       1738       Dikke Betta 55444 qsoing
1611       1747       Twentana 34333 music programme
1611       1759       Blackstone 32422 report for Alice
1620       1803       Derdeman 34343 report for Alice
1640       2122       Yogi en Einstein 34333, 44444 at 2236 music programme
1615       2123       Turftrekker 54444 music programme
1654       2144       Noordzee 34333-45444 music programme
1625       2219       Derdeman 25322 music programme
1634       2306       Jeneverstoker 25222-35333 music programme
1636       2314       Romax 43433 short music programme
1620       2330       Napoleon 35333-45444 music programme
1645       2356       Monte Carlo 35333 asking for report
1620       0054       Monte Carlo 35333 report for Napoleon

Observations

  • Although I haven't listed it in the logs above, one of the stations I listened to on Saturday night was playing continuous music on 1648 kHz. This frequency at the weekend is often home to Moby Dick, but the style of music here was different and I was told it wasn't that station. Not sure who it was, but the signal and modulation were very good
  • Also sounding very good from this side of the North Sea was Turftrekker on 1615. I heard him testing a few weeks earlier with only seven watts of power, but safe to say he was back with the bigger transmitter this time
  • 1636 tonight was home to Keizer en Keizerin, who are a regular on a Saturday evening. They were troubled for much of their broadcast by stations broadcasting very close to them, often resulting in an annoying hetrodyne

Friday, February 17, 2017
1647       1438       Athene (Barones) weak signal testing
1636       1458       Noordzee weak signal report for Athene
1636       1500       Dolfijn weak signal report for Athene
1642       1507       Noordzee weak signal qsoing
1646       1709       Zwarte Bizon 25332 asking for report
1636       1729       Dolfijn 35443 music programme
1615       1805       Batavier 25222-35433 music programme
1688       1814       Digitaal 45444 qsoing
1685       1816       Noordzee 35433 qsoing
1659       1816       Alabama weak signal qsoing
1686       1820       Alabama weak signal qsoing
1655       1822       Relmus 35333-45444 music programme
1620       1839       Napoleon 45444 qsoing
1625       1842       Nachtzwerver 35333 qsoing
1625       1848       Napoleon 45444 qsoing
1615       2114       Batavier 25222-35333 music programme
1635       2129       Bluebird 55444-55555 music programme
1620       2229       Kruik 35333 asking for report
1625       2235       Noordzee 35333 report for Kruik
1625       2300       Nachtzwerver 35333 qsoing

Observations

  • There was a nice surprise during the afternoon on Friday when a familiar voice appeared on 1647 kHz. He was calling himself Athene, but during the qso that followed, all the other station operators were referring to him as Barones! One of those stations was Radio Tornado from Croatia. Now the signal from Baro was only weak here at that time of the day, but amazing that he could be heard in Croatia and also that Tornado could be heard in the Netherlands during daylight. His signal wasn't making it to the UK but could quite clearly by heard on the SDR at Enschede
  • Batavier has been trying out wire antenna recently instead of his usual coil. For me that's not so good as the coil always give much superior reception here, but he tells me the wire antenna has been giving him much better results to the north

Thursday, February 16, 2017
1636       0649       Torpedojager (Twente) 34333-45444 music programme
1620       1410       Johan weak signal qsoing
1629       1440       Vriendschap weak signal qsoing
1636       1451       Dolfijn weak signal, 25222 at 1505 qsoing
1630       1456       Rodester 25222-35333 qsoing
1620       1502       Mascotte weak signal qsoing
1646       1515       Zwarte Bizon 35333 qsoing
1620       1801       Columbia 35333 music programme
1636       1804       Twentana 35333 music programme
1674       1823       Digitaal 35333 music programme
1660       1842       Batavier weak signal music programme
1645       1934       Casablanca (Twente) 25222 music programme
1630       1959       Marskramer 25222-45444 music programme
1645       2029       JB 45444 report for Casablanca
1646       2031       Zwarte Bizon 35333 qsoing
1657       2035       Batavier 25222 music programme
1494       2037       Blauwe Piraat 23422 music programme
1611       2042       Horizon 33333-44444 music programme
1620       2058       Santana 45444 music programme
1636       2305       Noordzee 35333-45444 qsoing
1636       2317       Monte Carlo 35333 qsoing
1638       2323       Lorelei weak signal-25322 qsoing from Germany
1649       2330       Monte Carlo 35333 qsoing
1619       2341       Jeneverstoker 23332-34333 qsoing
1655       0004       Wilskracht 45444 testing

Observations

  • Thursday morning is always a good time to listen out for Torpedojager. There are two stations that use this name, but this is the one from Twente who always uses 1636 kHz and sends a good signal into the UK around sunrise
  • Mascotte was a new name today. A new name, but not a new station. He was using his usual frequency of 1611 kHz and was doing various tests
  • Later in the day there was a new station as Lorelei appeared late on 1638 for a qso with Jeneverstoker. I wasn't quite sure of the name to begin with but, with a little help from friends Barones and Zeewolf, the ID became clear. As Zeewolf tells me, legend has it that a maiden called Lorelei lives on the rock in the Rhine and lures fishermen to their death with her song. Clever name for this station broadcasting from southern Germany 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
1633       1646       Noordzee weak signal asking for report
1620       1646       Zwarte Bouvier weak signal, 35343 at 1745
1625       2218       Napoleon 45444 music programme

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
1619       1535       Toulouse weak signal qsoing
1645       1538       Casablanca (Twente) weak signal-25442 qsoing
1628       1736       Rodester 45444 testing
1620       1746       Johnny Camaro 33433 report for Rodester
1633       1750       Pontiac 55444 asking for report
1629       1800       Mike 35343-45554 report for Pontiac
1625       1806       Wegpiraat 45444 qsoing
1620       1806       Rodester 45444 qsoing
1670       1832       Zwarte Panter (North Holland) 35333
1620       1843       Alice 35343-45454 qsoing
1620       1850       Blackstone 25442 report for Alice

Observations

  • The best signal award today went to Pontiac, who was incredibly strong as usual. But perhaps the best catch was Blackstone, who switched on his transceiver, giving around 25 watts, to send a report to Radio Alice

Monday, February 13, 2017
1655       1621       Digitaal 35343 qsoing
1629       1708       Noordzee 35343 qsoing
1629       1711       Edelkampieon 45343-45444 qsoing
1620       1718       Sterrenboog weak signal qsoing
1647       1753       Armada 35333 music programme
1665       1816       Zwarte Panter (North Holland) 35333-45444
1645       1909       Oldtimer 35443-45444 music programme
1611       1926       Atlantic 35333 testing
1646       2311       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55544 music programme
1620       2355       Monte Carlo 35333 music programme
1634       0020       Vonkenboer weak signal qsoing
1640       0025       Monte Carlo 34333 qsoing

Observations

  • There was another new station on MW tonight. Vonkenboer was heard qsoing with Vrolijke Mijnwerker. The signal was weak here, but the power was only 10-15 watts

Sunday, February 12, 2017
1647       1755       Witte Tornado 45444 music programme
1695       1759       Digitaal 45433 testing
1665       1803       Zwarte Panter (North Holland) 25322-35333
1685       2111       Kristal 45434 asking for report
1667       2122       Vrij Drenthe 35433-45434 music programme
1657       2122       Barones 45434-55444 music programme
1625       2122       Twentana 35333 music programme
1636       2135       Noordzee 35333 report for Twentana
1629       2142       Noordzee 35333 music programme
1619       2147       Toulouse 34333 music programme
1629       2257       Noordzee 35333 report for Toulouse
1625       2309       Barones 45444 in parallel with 1657

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
1629       1711       Vriendschap 35343 music programme
1640       2030       Wilskracht 45434-45444 music programme
1611       2031       Quintus 44444 music programme
1635       2031       Ruisbreker 34333 music programme
1626       2056       Twentana 35333-45444 asking for report
1653       2056       Batavier 34333-44444 music programme
1670       2114       Kristal 55444 music programme
1660       2155       Noordzee 34333-44444 music programme
1646       2212       Vrolijke Mijnwerker 55444 music programme

Tuesday, February 7, 2017
1635       0715       Havanna 55444 music programme
1611       1907       Nachtzwerver weak signal-24332 testing
1665       1909       Batavier 35433, 45434 at 1929
1630       1938       Marianne 55444 music programme
1633       2217       Noordzee 45333 report for Marianne
1638       2218       Snowman 25222 music programme
1621       2219       Monaco 33443 report for Marianne
1633       2228       Monte Carlo 25222-35333 report for Marianne

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Hunting for Dutch pirates: now and over 20 years ago

Conditions are pretty good tonight with a fair bit of activity, so I made a short video while tuning the band. Take a look at what I heard at around 2120 local time:



And now let's spin back in time. I was asked recently to post anything I could find from the Pirate Chat magazine that I operated during the 1990s. I featured plenty on the Dutch pirate scene, detailing my various trips across the North Sea to pirate land, profiles of some of the bigger stations of the day, regular logs and news. Here's a page from the edition of July 1996



Monday, February 06, 2017

Why do we listen to AM in this day and age?

The operator of longtime British AM pirate Radio Blackbeard asked an interesting question on his Facebook page on Monday evening. He wanted to know if anybody listens to a SW or MW station longer than the time it takes to get an identification. Good point, and one I often think about.

As readers of this blog will know, I provide lists of the Dutch pirate stations I've heard on MW, which means I spend a fair bit of my time tuning around the band. I guess, in a way, that means I am a collector of station names. However, it goes a bit further than that with me - I don't listen just to catch a station name so I can send off a reception report for a QSL card. 

For me, there are so many strands to our hobby. Many of the stations I hear are very low power... many talk little English... some don't have the greatest modulation... some broadcast on the same frequency and at the same time as other stations... all these are complications that I enjoy trying to master. 

I also like to let the station operators know I have heard them - that signal report can bring a great deal of pride for somebody who has built his own transmitter bit by bit, trial and error over several months. I remember the first time I heard Radio Soerabaya. So does the station operator - he has the date written on a bottle in his studio. He simply couldn't believe it when I got in touch to tell him that his little transmitter was sending out a signal right across the Netherlands and into the UK. It more than made his day.

And I actually like the AM sound - those warm, rich tones you get from listening to the stations still using this old-fashioned method of transmission. You can't beat getting a cracking signal and putting it through a decent amplifier and speakers and enjoying the sheer quality. 

Today I listened to a recording I made on Sunday night of the Zwarte Panter from Oldenzaal. I was busy with other things while he was on air, so I spent over two hours enjoying his programme this afternoon - unable to tune away to hear anything else - just his signal. I also listened to some other recordings I made last week - Barones, Bluebird and others, appreciating their sound and the effort I know they sometimes have to go to just to get a signal on the air.

When you have listened to as many Dutch pirates as I have, you are often able to work out who they are before they even open the microphone fader. The strength of the carrier... the stability of that carrier... the quality of the audio... the music being played... the depth of the modulation... the frequency... all clues to the station you are listening to, and I always enjoy trying to work out exactly who it is before any announcements. For me, that is another slice of the hobby that entertains me. Yes, I could switch on my FM receiver and listen to the local legal station, but where is the excitement? You'll be waiting a long time to hear music that is anywhere near slightly obscure, and most of the presenters may as well be robots. In fact, many stations are merely computers late at night, with no actual people in sight. Sure, there is any number of internet stations to tune into these days but, again, for me there is little excitement.

There is also a social aspect to our branch of the radio hobby. I've been tuning around for over 20 years and have made many friends in this country, in the Netherlands and around Europe. And it is always a bit of a thrill to hear those friends in the air, playing music for me. I know there are probably not many listeners - but I am listening, part of an exclusive club, a special band of people.

So yes, I write down the names of the stations I hear and share them here on the blog, but that is just a tiny part of my interest in the AM radio scene. 

Perhaps I am a rare breed, but in my case I certainly do listen for longer than the time it takes to get an ID.

Let me know your thoughts. Leave a message on this post, drop me an email through the site, drop by the Facebook page, or make contact through Twitter. In the meantime, here are some logs from the first days of February:

Monday, February 6, 2017
1651       1628       Vrijevogel weak signal, 35333 at 1703 music programme
1628       1659       Zwarte Schaduw weak signal asking for report
1628       1709       Digitaal 35343-45444 report for Zwarte Schaduw
1655       1722       Batavier 25222-35333 qsoing
1620       1724       Johnny Camaro 25222-35443 music programme
1660       1738       Batavier 35333 qsoing
1665       1742       Digitaal 35343 qsoing
1635       1755       Digitaal 35333 qsoing
1635       1816       Vrij Drenthe 35333 qsoing
1655       1849       Batavier 45444 testing
1630       1855       Moonbreaker 35333 qsoing
1629       1857       Spanningzoeker 55444 qsoing
1611       1930       Meteoor 44444 report for Moonbreaker
1634       1950       Toulouse 35333-45444 qsoing
1611       1957       Poema 34433 qsoing. Modulation problems
1611       2006       Malibu 34433 qsoing
1611       2028       Digitaal 44444 qsoing
1635       2029       Ruisbreker 35333-45444 music programme
1629       2034       Malibu 24222-35333 music programme
1665       2037       Batavier 45434-55444 testing
1647       2222       Armada 45434-55444 music programme
1629       2222       Noordzee 35333-45444
1611       2223       Batavia 33333 music programme
1625       2230       Monte Carlo 35333 asking for report
1650       2241       Wilskracht 35333-45434 reporting
1645       2300       Monte Carlo 35333 report for Wilskracht
1652       2301       Alabama weak signal report for Wilskracht

Radio Batavier was doing lots of testing on
Monday evening. The reason? He's trying out
this new transmitter which is working very well

Sunday, February 5, 2017
1615       1853       Illegaal Kabaal (Zwarte Panter) 34333-45444 
1626       1854       Twentana 35333-45444 music programme          
1635       1854       Relmus 25322-35333 music programme
1647       1854       Witte Tornado 35333-45444 music programme 
1620       2200       Alabama weak signal-25222 report for Zwarte Panter
1645       2326       Monte Carlo 35333 report for Witte Tornado

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
1623       0600       Eskimo 35443 qsoing
1629       2203       Noordzee 35333 music programme
1610       2206       Anton 34433
1635       2221       Bluebird 45434-55555 music programme
1620       2221       Anton 35333 report for Noordzee
1629       2235       Barones 43434-54444 testing new microphone amplifier
1625       2314       Barones 45434 testing

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