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Author Topic: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017  (Read 2262 times)

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« on: November 28, 2017, 1722 UTC »
An update on the pirate:

I drove up to [random PA town that makes potato chips] yesterday to pick up some supplies for a new antenna at Lowes. I took the minivan, which does not have as good MW reception as the Nissan. I did not pick up the station until I got to near said potato chip factory. I mostly lost the signal once I got to Lowes.  The radio picks up a lot of ignition noise on MW, which does not help.

Second, I got the antenna built, a crossed parallel loop for my LZ1AQ amplifier. And wow, it is a great antenna. Very sensitive, sometimes equal to the sky loop, and sometimes beating it, as it is somewhat directional. So I tried 1620... and sure enough, I can hear the pirate, when aimed towards said town that makes potato chips! Also this is with the AirSpyHF+ which coincidentally just arrived yesterday.  I just checked with the netSDR and sky loop, and I think I have it there as well today, but much much weaker. So I am not sure if this is a fluke of propagation, or the operator slightly raised the power level? I'll have to check over the next few days.

I assume this is the same station that used to be on 1610 for a few years and ID's as The Wedge. I have not yet heard an ID, but even back then it did not ID often. I'll leave it on in the shack and see if it does ID.

Now if only I knew where to mail a reception report...  ;D
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
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Offline MDK2

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2017, 1844 UTC »
This brings me to ask a question about car radios. Our 2016 Impreza has much better MW reception than our 2007 Entourage, which matters for both night time reception as well as the fact that my favorite local AM station, located in Boulder and on pretty low power, can come in JBA even though we're well within its local coverage area. Is there anything that can be EASILY (that's the key word) done to improve it? A different radio, perhaps?
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Offline redhat

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2017, 0328 UTC »
A real antenna would help.  Most modern cars have a printed element which doesn't seem to do well on MW (or SW for that matter).  You could try a 3' whip in the fender...

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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2017, 1459 UTC »
Pretty sure I am hearing this station again, I've had non stop Christmas music today, 14 Dec 2017, since 1430z tune in. SIO 333 signal, maybe the op upped the power level a bit now that we are closer to Christmas?

Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
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Offline ThaDood

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2017, 0130 UTC »
              I heard it today! I was at work, on lunch, around 20:10UTC tuning into my own AM1620 Part #15 station, but 10min later came this station playing X-mas tunes obliterating my station. (Not hard to do since my station was over 2 1/2 miles away where any electrical QRM and night DX obliterates it easily.) Huh, only mid-afternoon, and still walked all over AM1620. O.F.W....
I can't decide upon what's worst, young and stupid, or old and chemically dumbed down.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2017, 1241 UTC »
              I heard it today! I was at work, on lunch, around 20:10UTC tuning into my own AM1620 Part #15 station, but 10min later came this station playing X-mas tunes obliterating my station. (Not hard to do since my station was over 2 1/2 miles away where any electrical QRM and night DX obliterates it easily.) Huh, only mid-afternoon, and still walked all over AM1620. O.F.W....

I suspect there's several people running pirates on 1620 right now playing Christmas music.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2017, 1821 UTC »
I heard one on 1620 yesterday afternoon about 18:30 utc running Xmas music and announcements looped to what I think was my due west? There's a small town down that way that has revived their town wide Nativity displays weekend before last after a couple of decades in mothballs. It definitely wasn't there a couple of weeks ago. The music levels were solid, but the announcements were down in the mud.

Don't tell Fansome, but they've got a petting zoo/ manger with goats.  I don't need him up here harassing people's livestock.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2017, 1254 UTC »
A fairly strong signal on 1620 this morning, I'll listen for a bit longer and see if there's an ID at the TOH or not. Could be the Christmas Music pirate, or a licensed X band station playing holiday music.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
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Offline Andrew Yoder

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2017, 0150 UTC »
I heard it across about 100 or so miles of PA in the car today. Christmas music, very occasional national ad blocks, and very occasional brief generic Christmas announcements by a woman--sounded like possibly from a pro jingle package. Weird thing about the station is that from the ad blocks that I heard, not a single one was for a local business or was a national ad with a local address tacked on. Also, the announcements sounded pro, but sounded like an ID or jingle should be inserted . . . but I haven't heard either. Given the coverage & audio quality, I thought it must be a licensed station testing with a Christmas theme before switching to a different format on the new year, but I ran a search on stations using the freq & nothing seems close enough to match.

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Offline ThaDood

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2017, 1015 UTC »
          That is the thing weird about this X-mas station, just national Ads and very generic promos, but no actual ID or Promos. To me, it sounds like someone is grabbing a packaged satellite feed, where normally a local station would insert their own Ads, PSA's, Promos, ID's, etc, but it's just the raw satellite feed. It's definitely different, and seems to have a wide area coverage. It's almost as if someone set-up a station, threw on a satellite feed, and just left it that way.
I can't decide upon what's worst, young and stupid, or old and chemically dumbed down.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2017, 1834 UTC »
I've yet to hear any ads or announcements. I wonder if we are hearing different stations?
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2017, 1952 UTC »
The closest thing I've heard to an id is a canned thing about "Your Christmas Music Station" in a male voice, then what sounds like a live announcer way down at Radio Cairo mod levels, into more canned stuff for "Credit Card Debt Relief" with a 1-800 number at full modulation, and back to Xmas music at full modulation.

Noise from Christmas lights hurt it around dusk when they kick on, but it still goes over them on peaks. As near as I can tell it nearly due west of me and slightly to the south, which puts it way off the bearing of the town with the Nativity displays which is solidly to the northwest.

It's an odd one.

Offline Andrew Yoder

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2017, 2305 UTC »
Yup, I'm hearing what ThaDood & Pigmeat are. I listened to it on the way home from work & was thinking about how often I go past a noisy pole pig or there's a fade out when a perfect place for an ID would be (reminds me of the address announcements on Radio Morania). A min or two later, got home & heard a clear "WDND, South Bend" ID.

I checked out the WDND website & they're running the feed from the FM sister station, which sounds *very* different from what we've been hearing. Also, I heard some ads from the FM & they're local. Does anyone know if the FM audio feed is simulcast on WDND or if they run separate programming?

Thing is that I can hear the Christmas station a large chunk out of the day & it wasn't audible at all for a couple of days about a week ago, which either means it's a pirate or the conditions were really unusual.

With the WDND ID, my guess is that either it's legit and the station's running separate programming from the FM (but this seems unlikely for some of the reasons mentioned previously), that WDND made a quick fade-in over top of the Christmas station (decent possibility), or that the op is having some fun (maybe having read our speculation about the operation?) and inserted the WDND ID.

Whichever it is, I'm entertained
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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2017, 2338 UTC »
Now that would be funny, Andy.

Whatever it is I can hear it from midday to well into the evening.  In the afternoon and evening a couple of stations will come in and out over top of it.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Christmas Music Pirate 1620 AM 1715 UTC 28 Nov 2017
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2017, 0019 UTC »
FWIW I have picked up the South Bend station on 1620 before, even in the daytime (it's been a while, however).   

I won't go into too many details here in public, but I did some driving around, and what I am hearing is semi local, and not getting out as far as WV, that is for sure. I'm pretty confident I know where it is within a mile or two, and that's all I'll say  ;D

I am pretty sure now that we're hearing different stations.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
NRD 545 / netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 670 ft horizontal loop / 500 ft northeast beverage / 58 ft T2FD / 300 ft south beverage / 43m / 20m / 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop