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Author Topic: Question on pirate radio  (Read 9825 times)

Offline scott123

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Question on pirate radio
« on: July 28, 2016, 1603 UTC »
I know this is probably the wrong forum, but I couldn't find one to match it, so I apologize.
I'm interested in pirate radio found on MW. Are there any stations around anymore ... maybe on 1710 or on the low end?
I did see a forum for MW loggings, but that seemed to be for licensed stations, so that's why I posted here.
Any info would be appreciated ... fascinated by finding pirate stations, whatever band they're on. Thanks.

Offline EliteData

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 1620 UTC »
thats an interesting point actually, but i think the topic doesnt exist because there has not been much, if any AM pirates on for a long awhile.
this might be due to the fact that the antenna and transmitter requirements are a bit more difficult to achieve in an efficient realistic easy manner, because its where a large stake of financial interest is at, like FM radio (commerical stations dont like competition from free pirates) and also because there is a God-awful amount of those "travelers information stations" located between 1610 and 1710.
id be lucky to pick out any possible pirate at 1710khz through the multitude of multiple TIS stations and the stereo sub-carrier interference from a powerful NYS station at 1700khz.
perhaps Chris (ChrisSmolinski) may want to add a new forum topic "Free AM Radio", that would be up to him to decide though.

Offline scott123

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2016, 1703 UTC »
Thanks for your reply. I know it's not as common as it used to be, would just like to find one sometime ... as well as an FM pirate. I've only pulled in SW pirates so far, but that's still fun too.

Offline EliteData

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2016, 1714 UTC »
Thanks for your reply. I know it's not as common as it used to be, would just like to find one sometime ... as well as an FM pirate. I've only pulled in SW pirates so far, but that's still fun too.
new york city has a crap load of FM pirates though i havent heard any AM pirates there, many of the FM pirates in NYC really sound terrible, i guess they have not heard about professional sound processing/clipping/limiting/compression lol.
the really good pirates are the ones who appear, sound and operate like a commercial/public station, aside from checking the frequency licensing database, it can be difficult to distinguish whether theyre legit or not.
many pirates have irregular operating schedules as well, catching them on the air is akin to a game of "whack-a-mole", patience is key :)

Offline Beerus Maximus

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2016, 1823 UTC »
The Boston area has a good number of active AM pirates but be prepared to listen in Spanish or Portuguese.
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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2016, 1231 UTC »
Some of the shortwave guys will occasionally play around on 1710, normally around the holidays.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2016, 1532 UTC »
I think I have picked up one or two MW pirates in the last few years. As others have mentioned, it is a tough band antenna-wise, both for the broadcaster and listener.

Radio Celestial used to be very active from NYC on 1710, and before them Lubavitcher Radio. Is Celestial still on?

A few years ago, there was a semi local pirate that would appear on 1610 between Thanksgiving and New Years, with ID's as WEDG The Wedge, playing non stop Christmas music. I heard it for a few years in a row, but nothing of the last year or two.

I can certainly add a new forum dedicated to MW pirate loggings/etc, that's a good idea.
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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2016, 0328 UTC »
I know a few guys who have Part-15 stations up there, but with the antenna and power restrictions, if you can squeeze a half-mile of solid coverage out of one, you're doing great. The plus is it's legal, so the hassles are minor if you do your due diligence in setting up to meet FCC regs. The thing with 530 and 1710 is they're used for both special event and TIS stations. TIS stations are easy to avoid, but if your town sets up a special event station for the parade, on say National Kielbasa Day, and you don't know about it, you could have some trouble.

A lot of the Part-15 stations can be pretty cool to listen to. Finding them due to limited range is the problem. Occasionally you'll tune on to one that for either atmospheric or power diddling is coming in from quite a distance.

I once logged a Part-15 station from roughly one hundred and seventy miles away in the early part of this century. They gave out an email addy so I sent them one and let them know I heard them, I was pirate, and asked if they were, too? They said they weren't, and they were running legal. It was just an odd night for reception. They were as stunned as I was. They didn't stream their shows on the net, as a lot of people in those days didn't know how, so it wasn't a local doing a relay.

It was a couple in a small town tx'ing from their house with a homemade antenna. They sent me a pic of the thing, nothing but a loading coil on a piece of PVC stock mounted on a post and topped by what looked like a CB whip. I can't recall the ground system they were using but it was a simple affair.

I wish I hadn't lost touch with them, they were nice folks. Keep tuning around, AM pirates are interesting.

Offline skeezix

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2016, 0133 UTC »
Have heard The Big Q and W807 on 1710. Unknown if they're still around. I've only caught them on occasion. Once I heard Undercover Radio on 1710, but he didn't broadcast often down there. Think he tried 1720 once (or not. Its been a while).

I try to check 1710 often (after dark) to see what's pops up, but usually just get a weak carrier and splatter from 1700.

On 530, we have a TIS in the area and some nights can get Canada or even Cuba.
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Offline CrackedLCD

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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2016, 0333 UTC »
I was under the impression that there were still some AM pirates in The Netherlands... I have heard some interesting music above 1610 on the Twente SDR... But in the USA, I have never heard anything.  If I could setup a prorate stain, I'd give AM serious thought just because it's so out of the ordinary. But I live 1500 feet from a radio station so it might not be a great idea. ;)

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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2016, 1857 UTC »
Every so often I will see an AM pirate turn up in the FCC enforcement list of NOUOs, but it is pretty rare. I would bet that there's a fair number of ethnic pirates in many of the larger cities, but they probably don't get out more than a few miles, and as they are not radio hobbyist related, we don't hear much about them.

While the band was pretty active in the 80s (I recall being able to hear an AM pirate from NYC most weekends), the expanded band took out most of the frequencies for wide coverage area (high power) hobbyist related AM pirates. TIS stations on 1710 were the final nail in the coffin. 1720 is generally open, but I assume stations don't use it because you can't tune it in on a regular AM radio. Which perhaps doesn't make sense since the target audience are really hobbyists with full coverage receivers. Some may think MW/SW pirate radio potentially has a wide audience from the general public, but I think this is delusional  ;D    (FM pirate radio OTOH obviously does have a wide audience)
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Offline redhat

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2016, 0842 UTC »
The definition of 'wide audience' is a matter of perspective.  MW/SW pirates have the potential to reach far greater audiences than the average FM pirate, simply from a signal footprint aspect.  Receiver availability or signal quality are other concerns, but I'm still in awe of the fact that 100 watts can cover a continent on SW, whereas at 100 MHz and a good location, your generally limited to a dozen or so miles.

It is likely in the future that we will play on 1720, but for reasons already pointed out, its a tough cookie to crack, the footprint of the antenna system is the biggest hurdle I see.  A 300' circle is hard to fit into the average suburban lot, and low dipoles at those frequencies don't work that great either.

Part of me thinks, at least from a professional aspect, the MW will continue to decline, probably starting with some of the rimshot stations with complicated directional arrays that either cost to much to maintain, or don't generate enough revenue to subsidize the land taxes and power they consume, to say nothing of licensing and staffing costs.  This may be one of the silver linings of the AM translator debacle; if the FCC decides that AM's with translators can let the AM plant go dark and maintain the FM signal.  It would lead to a new cry for FM spectrum, but may provide a new means for some of these struggling stations to stay afloat.

There is also the matter that FM doesn't seem to have the appeal it once did either.  The number of nights I gave out a phone number on a relatively high powered FM pirate and never got calls told me a lot.  I'm sure its a different story for ethnic stations that have a built in audience to support it, but the average joe is just pushing buttons, or listening to itunes.

I have a feeling there are more people listening to shortwave than any of us would guess based on some of the email I've received over the years.  You never know whose out there, and that's what makes it fun.

Time will tell,

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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2016, 1330 UTC »
Satellite radio becoming near standard in all new vehicles is hurting FM, too. No more tuning around and no more hitting that pirate station with limited range.

When I was pirating on SW, it always surprised me how many emails I got from broadcast engineers. We would swap tips and tricks and how not to electrocute yourself. They were normally my best monitors. On the technical side of radio there's not much animosity between the pros and pirates. It's management that is the PIA.

Offline MDK2

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2016, 1441 UTC »
This is slightly off topic, but I used to wonder about the DJ character in the movie "Do The Right Thing" played by Samuel L Jackson. I found it odd that he was broadcasting comments about the characters when he saw them on the street. Now I'm guessing that he was an FM pirate who was only transmitting to the neighborhood, which would make a lot of sense. Growing up out west I never had any idea. Of course if there are low power pirates with 2 mile diameter broadcasts here, I've probably never lived within any of those circles and would have little idea that they weren't legit if I heard them but they were in Spanish.
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Offline BDM

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Re: Question on pirate radio
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2016, 1607 UTC »
I agree with RH for the same reasons. My experience with FM free radio over the last 10 years has given me the same experience.
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