Pirate Radio Listening

From: ktrummel@ozarks.sgcl.lib.mo.us (Kevin K. Trummel)

The following information is brought to you courtesy of - The Association of Clandestine Radio Enthusiasts (ACE)

"What's the ACE?" The ACE is a monthly journal documenting Pirate & Clandestine broadcasting from North America and the rest of the world. Regular columns include:

Subscriptions are $20 in the US, $21 in Canada & Mexico, $27 to the world Sample Copies are $2 ACE, PO Box 11201, Shawnee Mission, KS 66207-0201

January 5, 1995

"Where do I listen for Pirates?"

Recently the area of 6955 kHz (43 Meters) is seeing allot of activity and one should be able to hear something there on almost ANY weekend. With SWBC stations crowding the more traditional 41 Meter range, clear frequencies for pirate use are very difficult to come-by. Recent activity has been on 7375 kHz before Croatia on 7370 kHz and RFPI on 7385v kHz sign on, 7415 area is active at almost anytime of day, 7445 kHz has seen some use but the Israeli Mossad Station and Greece on 7448 kHz has discouraged many from using this frequency. 7465-7480 kHz sees a good bit of activity as well. Pirates also experimented with frequencies slightly above 7500 kHz but there was a lack of interest due to the limited coverage of some stations Transmitters and lack of a clear frequency. Other frequencies to check are 3400 kHz, 5850 kHz, 6295 kHz, 9900 kHz, 13900 kHz, 14400 kHz and around 15050 kHz.

"When do I listen for Pirates?"

There really isn't an answer, on the weekends keep a 24 hour vigil on 43 & 41 meter frequencies. The majority of the activity tends to concentrate from around 1900-0200 on Sat nights, with Fri & Sun showing some activity. Sunday mornings around 1300-1600 on both 43 & 41 meters is also a good time to check. The lower frequencies are primarily darkness paths and the higher frequencies are primarily daytime paths so keep that in mind.

"What mode should I listen in?"

Lately the trend amongst pirates has been to use Upper Sideband for the majority of the broadcasts you'll likely encounter. There are still a few stations that transmit in AM but they are far and few between. Lower Side band also sees a little use. Also keep alert for CW (Morse Code), RTTY, Narrow Band FM and I would suppose FAX & SSTV modes might be used on occasion as well.

"I Listen but don't seem to hear anything."

Always a problem when DXing low powered and erratic pirate broadcasts. One should be familiar with the frequency ranges that pirates use and KNOW what stations use what frequencies at what times so A: You don't waste your time listening to a legal SWBC station and B: It makes spotting pirates easier because you're hearing something that isn't normally there. I have produced VERY thorough listings called 40 Meter Notes and 43 Meter Notes that detail ALL broadcasting activity in these ranges. Just send your request via E-Mail and I'll send them to you. Your antenna is VERY important! Don't expect to hear allot of stations using your sets built-in whip antenna or an indoor job. A good performer is to build a 40 Meter dipole antenna and orient it North/South. I routinely compare mine to a random wire or an antenna that is resonant somewhere else and for DXing pirates a resonant antenna is difficult to beat. A good receiver is almost a necessity. Oh you'll be able to hear one or two stations with your Sangean 803 but a Communications Receiver with some good IF Filters makes for better results. Join the ACE, subscribe to Pirate Pages, form "Spotting Nets" with your friends, information is power and it helps to keep up on what the trends are in Pirate Radio.

I hope this helps a few people as I've seen VERY LITTLE helpful info other than the LEGAL FM-10 stuff. If you wish more info or just want to swap stories, you have my address. Good Luck and Good DX! end of message