Sunday, February 16, 2020

Stormy weather and unstable signals

It's been a quiet day on the bands as far as reception of the Dutch MW pirates goes at our side of the North Sea, but here's what has been heard, together with some other recent station logs and news

Freq      Time     Station name SINPO Type of broadcast

Sunday, February 16, 2020
1611      0701      Utopia 23432 music programme
1640      0707      Eigen Risico 24422 music programme
1645      0735      Avia weak signal music programme
1640      1702      Professor Sickbok 25222-35433 music programme
1645      1736      Vonkenboer weak signal report for Professor Sickbok
1656      1740      Johnny Pecon 25332-35333 report for Vonkenboer
1655      1747      Professor Sickbok 35333-45444 qsoing

     A week ago it was Storm Ciara. Today it was Storm Dennis doing it’s worst. Here in England it has been very wet and very windy, and the Netherlands has been the same. Sunday mornings are usually a busy time for Dutch pirate activity, but it was notably quieter today. Utopia was on 1611 kHz at breakfast time while Eigen Risico was on 1640 kHz, but signals were significantly weaker than usual as the operators were running with antennas at reduced height because of the high winds. Added to that, there were long-skip propagation conditions with US legal stations audible on 1610, 1620, 1630, 1640, 1650, 1660 and 1670 kHz!
     Many of the Dutch pirates use vertical antennas sitting at the top of adjustable masts which often reach in the region of 30 metres, so during storms they tend to run at much lower heights. While signals in the Netherlands might not be much affected, their strength will be much lower outside of the country as antenna height is crucial for getting out the skywave. Great that these stations were braving the weather, however, to provide some Sunday morning music. I hope the studios were nice and warm!
     By around 0800 here in the UK, any stations on air had faded out. Signals were back at 1700, however, with Professor Sickbok on his old favourite frequency of 1640 kHz. A qso followed with various stations, but conditions later in the evening were far from optimum.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
1645      1912      Meteoor 45434 testing
1617      2045      Marianne 55444 music programme

Monday, February 10, 2020
1648      2118      Oldtimer 45444 music programme

Sunday, February 9, 2020
1617      0653      Blauwe Piraat 35433 asking for report
1617      0701      Noordster 55444 report for Blauwe Piraat
1645      0728      Avia 25332-35333 music programme
1647      1842      Witte Tornado 45434 music programme
1642      1859      Turftrekker 34333-45434 music programme

     With Storm Ciara lashing the Netherlands today, the band was much quieter than usual on a Sunday, although conditions this morning were pretty good. Blauwe Piraat was coming in well and I also heard Avia for the first time. I thought this must be a relatively new station and after making contact with the operator found out that he has been on MW for a couple of years, although he had not previously received a reception report outside of his own country. Must have been those strong winds pushing his signal across the North Sea!

Friday, February 7, 2020
1636      0625      Dolfijn 35333-45434 music programme

Thursday, February 6, 2020
1636      0530      Torpedojager 35333 music programme
1636      0856      Noordzee 32442 report for Torpedojager
1636      0858      Havanna 44444 report for Torpedojager
1640      2359      Casablanca 55544-55555 music programme
1638      0013      Unidentified 25222 report for Casablanca

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
1633      0530      Noordzee 45434 music programme
1633      0833      Belladonna 24332 music programme

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
1635      2348      Vonkenboer 25332 music programme
1647      2354      Astronaut 24332 testing

     I managed just a little late-night listening today and caught two low-power pirates on air. Astronaut is not often active but was trying out a new 80 watt transistor transmitter. His signal was perfectly listenable and earlier in the evening had made it to Serbia as he had a qso with Radio Romeo in the Balkans.

Sunday, February 2, 2020
1611      0659      Interpol 44444 music programme
1636      0659      Santana en Cobra 45434 music programme
1631      0721      Kwiksilver 34433 report for Santana en Cobra
1655      0731      Digitaal 35333 music programme