NASWA Journal Columns · Pirate Radio Report, April 1996

Chris Lobdell • P.O. Box 146 • Stoneham, MA 02180-0146 clobdell◊

Pirate Radio Report, April 1996

Winterfest Report

The 9th annual Winter SWL Fest was held on March 14-16th in Kulpsville, PA and I’m happy to say that I was among the participants for the first time. What a blast! Besides meeting many folks for the first time, I re-acquainted myself with people such as Dan Henderson and Gerry “birthday boy” Dexter whom I hadn’t seen in over 20 years! George Zeller and Andy Yoder gave a very well attended “Pirate Year In Review” on Friday afternoon which I’ll summarize below. There were over 4 pirates going at the Fest including an All Radio Azteca Station, KULP, WSWL and Radio Free Speech, and of course the VOICE OF PANCHO VILLA celebrated Gerry Dexter’s birthday at midnight Saturday on both 6955/7415 kHz.

Pirate Year In Review

Some of the main topics centered upon the change in broadcast times. In the past, most pirates operated on weekend nights after dark, but because of the low MUFs these days, the bands die after sunset. Because of this, many pirates are being heard in the day time on both Saturday and Sunday. In the winter, signals can be heard up to 500 miles distant. A “kinder gentler FCC?” There were no known busts by the FCC/DOT of shortwave pirates during the past year. Does this mean the FCC is more understanding/tolerant of the hobby? The consensus was no, not really. The money is just not there to pursue pirates and it appears that unless someone files an interference complaint, that they are leaving them alone. George and Andy gave an overview of the most active pirates of the past year, frequencies used and maildrop info. One of the more interesting developments mentioned was the use of a small lightweight battery operated pirate transmitter made by Radio Animal of WKND. These transmitters weigh about 2 lbs and are no larger than a half a case of cigarettes. They put out about 10 watts of a well modulated AM signal. These units will allow pirates to operate on foot, go into the woods and set up shop away from any roads. Anyway, it was a nice presentation by both Yoder and Zeller, whose 1996 edition of the PIRATE RADIO DIRECTORY should be available from Tiare Publications by the time you read this.

Vox Shuts Box!

Just about a year ago, a new station appeared in the pirate bands, calling itself VOX AMERICA. They operated in the AM mode and announced a new maildrop in Schenectady, NY (Box 3913) for reception reports to be sent to. The unusual thing about this station was that they required $3.00 for a QSL, not the usual 3 stamps, or $1.00. This was justified saying the Box was extra secure, mail was not opened, etc before being forwarded on. Well, reporter Jill Dybka of Tenn. sent a reminder to VOX AMERICA in February and guess what? Yep, the Box had been closed and her postcard was returned. No QSLs have yet been received from this station. Jill wrote a note saying “hmm, I guess I got gypped”. Well, Jill, we hope not, but the situation doesn’t look promising. Rumor has it that Vox America was run by the same folks who gave us Hope Radio a few years ago. I never got my QSL from them either!

Station Profile–Partial India Radio

I’m pleased to report that my plea for station profiles has brought in two more. One from Partial India Radio and Radio Free Speech. This month we’ll hear from PIR. “PIR is a new free radio station which began operations on 3 February 1996. Our station came about through a series of long standing conversations between Sanjay and Harold Krishna about DXing and other pirate/shortwave matters. Also, the creation of this station was influenced by the need for a general external radio service representing only PARTS of India, but not all of India! By the way, The P.I.R. staff view the DX/SWL hobby and All India Radio most positively. So naturally we hope to continue to satirize AIR and our favorite hobby. Above all, our philosophy is to ensure a fun time for our listeners by having “on air” fun. We want to thank all those who responded (17 sates and 2 Canadian provinces) for your encouragement. The next show will include a mailbag segment and several surprises. In keeping with the “partial” spirit of P.I.R., we will usually issue only partial data QSLs, but will strive to QSL 100%. As this is a hobby, we do not want to emulate the occasionally stingy QSL policies of some pirates. Through all these efforts we hope to support free radio. To receive our partial data verie, contact us via the Stoneham, MA maildrop (Box 146) 02180. Be sure to include 3 USA first class units of postage (no Indian mint stamps!) unless you want to be reincarnated as camel dung! All glories to Shri Lanka!”–Harold Krishna

Many thanks to Harold Krishna for the info. In next month’s column, we’ll have a station profile sent to us from Radio Free Speech, one of the more active stations this year.

Radio Pirana International–A South American Pirate

Recently, we received “Information Sheet #1-1996” from Jorge Garcia of Radio Pirana International. Here’s what they have to say: “Greeting from South America. Radio Pirana International has now begun to normalize its activities after the move from Europe last year. We think (we know!) that RPI will be heard in the future too. Maybe it will be a little more difficult for our European friends, but for North American listeners, it will probably be easier. We have already been able to catch several North American pirates operating on 6955 kHz, but haven’t been able to ID them because of fading and lack of good clear IDs. We started our broadcasts from our new QTH here in South America on the 3rd of December 1995 at 0200-0240 utc on 6955 USB. This transmission was well heard in Buenos Aires over 1000 km away! In the last days of October, we set up two dipole antennas, one for 6955 kHz and the other for 11415 kHz. We will in the future be active around 6955 kHz and later, probably mid-April, also make tests to Europe on 13950 +/- 15 kHz. Another frequency we will use is 6925 kHz with our home made plate modulated crystal controlled AM transmitter we are constructing. The 11415 kHz outlet is also a possible frequency of RPI. The best time for reaching our region is from around 0030 UTC to around 0300 UTC for Europeans on the 48 and 41 meter bands. Also the 76 meter band could propagate was well, but power of at least 100 watts would be needed. In the next months, Radio Pirana International will be active in the 6955 kHz region from around 0200 UTC. If you do hear us, please send a reception report to either of the following mail drops: Box 109, Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214 or Box 220342, D-42373 Wuppertal, Germany.

Pirate Bandscan

Most activity continues to center around 6955 kHz, but don’t ignore 6940, 6950 and 7415 kHz! Loggings Wanted. Because of our expansion, we’ll have more room for your logs.

Until next month, Happy Pirate DXing!


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