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Author Topic: Why does it seem that all the pirates broadcast to/from the east coast of USA?  (Read 4594 times)

Offline Fried Chickin'

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I am really curious because I live on the west coast and almost NEVER hear anything on the pirate freq's.  Are there different pirate freq's for the west coast? ??? I am using an ICOM R75 with a PAR EF-SWL, so I don't think it has anything to do with my equipment being sub-par...
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Offline CoolAM Radio

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Guess your antenna maybe bad connected?

try to use 10 meters Wire as RX antenna & try the "pirate" freqs with it!

Goodluck!

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« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 2050 UTC by CoolAM Radio »
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Offline Fried Chickin'

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Definitely not a bad connection...
L.V.X.

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Offline Skipmuck

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That's a good question! I think the main reason is that pirates, if any, on the west coast, would be directing their broadcast for the best coverage in the US...that would be towards the East! The signal would then possibly be skipping right over you. Also, any Euro's trying to reach here would be directing towards the East coast of the US as that is the closest distance. The signals propagate better over the big pond. Lastly, although the pirates tend to be concentrated more in the Eastern part of the country, they aren't all on this side...most pirates tend to be low power that doesn't go very far except when propagation is good! A good dipole cut for the pirate bands would work wonders!
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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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While there are some pirates out west, I would say the vast majority are in the Eastern US. That, plus the relatively low power levels used (relative to SWBC stations) makes hearing them more difficult.

You may want to try joining the IRC chat (the link to a web based interface is at the top of each HFU page) when you are listening. Other people on the chat will post when they hear something, often within minutes of a station signing on. Then you know you have something to try for. Alternately, go to the Pirate loggings board here, and hit refresh a lot :-)
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Offline Fried Chickin'

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Thank you guys a lot! That's makes sense and, Chris, I will definitely sign up.  ;D
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Offline redhat

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I also think, however plausable or not, that the rockies have something to do with it as well.  I don't get a whole lot of reports from the 'left coast' but then again, I don't hear their AM's at night either.

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I've long felt that the time difference has something to do with it. People like to pirate starting at dusk or so, for various reasons. For the east, most of the country is still awake at that time, so an east coast pirate has a potentially large audience. By the time dusk makes it to the west coast, though, much of the east is getting ready for bed, or has gone to watch the news or some other pastime. The potential audience is much smaller.

I think too that the east is more comfortable with shortwave radio transmitting and receiving, perhaps as a legacy of the fact that such technology was more widespread in the east at an earlier time in history. I grew up on the west coast, and, outside of hams, shortwave listening was a fairly unheard-of hobby. When I moved east, I was surprised at how much more popular it seemed to be.

Offline Antennae

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Srfpunk138, I saw you first posted a report some weeks ago and I'm glad there's another Southern Californian here.  I look forward to seeing more reception reports from you.
 -I've been listening since October last year.  I listen for pirates after the sun goes down.  Often I'll see postings for a pirate and I can't hear them when the sun is up, but if I leave the receiver on, literally when the sun goes down I start hearing the station if they're still transmitting.
-Honestly, I get most enjoyment from the long distance reception. For my setup, most of the time the reception isn't good enough to enjoy a show and more than once I can't make out the ID.  But there are 3 to 4 super powerful ones I can think of. Wolverine, Red Mercury Labs (our side), XFM .  Sometimes RML skips over me so I don't receive much while others to the East have good reports.  The other day I heard KMUD for the first time which was transmitting from CA. Overall reception was 2/5. Whereas XFM has sounded almost as clear as an FM station.  There is one (XLR8) that I think can make it here pretty good but it doesn't because it seems to go off before the sun goes down for me.
-Just recently the time changed.  I don't know how much that will effect things.  Now I have to wait longer for the sun to go down.  If I were to hear an Easterner they would have to be up pretty late.

I also think of this picture when I ask myself the same question.  Its like there's more people on the other side.  I think you need to take matters into your own hands and get somebody you know to start transmitting.  :)



« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 0337 UTC by Antennae »
California Coast
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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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I run the SDR overnight, recording 6800-7000 kHz. I will often pick up late night (for me) transmissions past local midnight (0400z presently). I suspect many of these are from locations west of me, I cannot say how far west. But they'd be good candidates for west coast listeners to hear. If you do have an SDR, try doing that some time. If you don't, you could just tune your radio to say 6925 USB, record the audio, and hope for the best.
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Offline Pigmeat

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Because all the cool dx'ers like Al Fansome live on the East Coast.

Offline Beerus Maximus

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As has been mentioned, there definitely are west coast pirate radio operations on shortwave, just fewer in number versus the east coast.

It's funny, I think my first exposure to pirate radio was through Pump Up the Volume (very California-centric, and of course, FM) and later, Andrew Yoder's first book (early 90's). I had this pretty firm impression that California, being the free-wheeling counter-culture center of the universe (or so I thought) was probably where most pirate radio transmissions on shortwave also came from. When I was finally able to start hearing pirates on shortwave myself, it was evident that it was largely an east coast and mid-west phenomena.

I wouldn't despair. Pirate listening on shortwave is a challenge for everyone, just more-so for some. That's what makes it fun.
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Offline John Poet

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Too many pirates also use dipoles that are too close to the ground (1/4 wave or less) and are actually NVIS antennas.... so most of the signal goes vertical and comes back down within a few hundred miles, and distant listeners don't have much chance that way.  Dipoles really need to be close to a half-wave off the ground to have much signal sent at a lower take-off angle-- and for most, getting that kind of height is impossible.

After I started using a "center-fed inverted L  doublet" for transmitting (really just a dipole with one leg hanging down vertically) giving roughly half of my signal a lower take-off angle due to the vertical leg, I started getting a LOT more reports from the far west:  California, New Mexico, Nevada, Idaho, Baja California, etc.  There are fewer listeners out there, but I started hearing from them.  If I'd been running an SSB transmitter, it would have done better yet.

The "horizontal" leg of the "center-fed inverted L" doesn't really need to be horizontal either-- it can come down at an angle like an inverted V-- so really only one high support is necessary at around 35 feet or more.  A few feet of the vertical leg can even be laid across the ground if you have trouble getting the height, without much loss of performance, as most of the signal is sent out near the feedpoint.  That makes setup easier if you're doing some kind of portable operation, so long as you have a slingshot or some other way to get a rope up there over the branch of  a tree...

As it's a balanced antenna, there's no need for any ground radial system.

I recommend it to ops over the usual horizontal dipole, hands down slam-dunk.  
There's a download here:

http://freeradiocafe.com/1/antennas/1B-INVERTED-Ls.pdf
See page 3


« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 1757 UTC by John Poet »

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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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There's a very nice paper about the Inverted-L antenna freely available here, written by the well respected Cebik: http://w4rnl.net46.net/download/fdim10.pdf
Chris Smolinski
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