Shortwave Pirate Radio 2016 – A Year In Review

Overall, 2016 was another great year for shortwave pirate radio listeners. If you’re interested in hearing pirates, the best ways to keep up to date on what is being heard is via the HFUnderground.com message board, as well as the real time Ryver chat. Rather than finding out about a transmission after it is over, you can tune in while it is still on the air.

And of course, your loggings and other posts on the HF Underground are most welcome! This is how we find out what stations are being heard. I’m looking forward to see what new and interesting pirate radio programming 2017 brings us. Happy DX!

To gauge shortwave pirate radio activity in 2016, I analyzed the Shortwave Pirate loggings forum of the HF Underground (http://www.hfunderground.com). A computer script parsed the message thread titles, as well as the timestamps of the messages. This information was used to produce some statistics about the level of pirate radio activity. Of course, as Mark Twain has written: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Still, let’s see what we can learn.

There were 13,860 messages posted to 2,398 unique threads, compared to 13,944 messages posted to 2,183 unique threads in 2015. Activity levels are essentially flat, but still at historically high levels. Back in the 1990s, it was not uncommon for an entire month to go by with only a handful of pirate stations logged. If you want to know when the “golden age” of shortwave pirate radio was, I would say it is right now.

Ideally, each thread represents an individual pirate station transmission. Also ideally, each message posted to a thread represents one logging. In reality, there is some error involved.

First, we can look at the transmission mode used:
AM 1,083
USB 1,139
LSB 73
CW 18
FM 17
UNKNOWN 62 (no mention of the mode in the posting)

USB barely beat out AM this year. If we assume (as likely) that the cases where no mode was reported were one of these, AM and USB account for virtually all of the transmissions. Cold Country Canada is a major user of LSB, along with Peskie Party Radio.

Next, we can see how much activity there is for each day of the week:

Sunday 512 (21%)
Monday 237 (10%)
Tuesday 196 (8%)
Wednesday 192 (8%)
Thursday 240 (10%)
Friday 379 (16%)
Saturday 642 (27%)

The percentages for each day in 2016 are virtually unchanged from 2015. As one might expect, Saturday and Sunday are the big winners, with Friday in third place. But don’t give up on weekday listening! Over a third of all transmissions are on a Monday through Thursday.

We can also look at the number of logging threads per month, to gauge activity:

This chart clearly shows the typical summer slump in pirate radio activity, presumably caused by high static levels, and people doing other things than listening to the radio (or transmitting on the radio). There was a bump in July, however.

Here’s a graph showing the number of broadcasts per day of the year that were logged, please click on the image to see it full sized:

Holidays are, as usual, a great opportunity to hear pirate stations.

We might be interested in knowing the best time of the day to try to hear a pirate station. Here’s a plot of the start times of the logged broadcasts, binned
by UTC hour of the day:

As you might expect, evening Eastern Time is the best, roughly 2300-0200 UTC, with a broader peak of lower activity from roughly 2000-0500 UTC. There is some activity in the morning to afternoon time period, and very little during the wee hours.

The next question is where to tune. As one might expect, 6925 kHz was the clear winner:

3375 kHz: 4
3387 kHz: 1
3440 kHz: 3
3495 kHz: 2
4015 kHz: 1
4020 kHz: 5
4025 kHz: 2
4030 kHz: 1
4060 kHz: 1
4070 kHz: 2
4865 kHz: 1
4875 kHz: 1
4920 kHz: 1
5110 kHz: 2
5120 kHz: 3
5125 kHz: 1
5150 kHz: 77
5790 kHz: 1
6030 kHz: 1
6150 kHz: 33
6170 kHz: 5
6200 kHz: 1
6205 kHz: 3
6210 kHz: 7
6240 kHz: 2
6275 kHz: 2
6282 kHz: 2
6295 kHz: 1
6340 kHz: 2
6375 kHz: 1
6770 kHz: 109
6780 kHz: 4
6850 kHz: 10
6873 kHz: 13
6874 kHz: 1
6875 kHz: 13
6876 kHz: 23
6880 kHz: 3
6885 kHz: 3
6888 kHz: 1
6899 kHz: 1
6900 kHz: 21
6905 kHz: 1
6910 kHz: 2
6914 kHz: 1
6915 kHz: 2
6919 kHz: 1
6920 kHz: 5
6922 kHz: 1
6923 kHz: 3
6924 kHz: 46
6925 kHz: 808
6926 kHz: 17
6927 kHz: 7
6928 kHz: 1
6929 kHz: 16
6930 kHz: 245
6931 kHz: 1
6932 kHz: 8
6933 kHz: 5
6935 kHz: 201
6936 kHz: 1
6937 kHz: 4
6939 kHz: 2
6940 kHz: 59
6941 kHz: 1
6943 kHz: 2
6945 kHz: 37
6946 kHz: 2
6949 kHz: 22
6950 kHz: 207
6951 kHz: 10
6952 kHz: 6
6954 kHz: 6
6955 kHz: 101
6956 kHz: 12
6957 kHz: 2
6958 kHz: 2
6959 kHz: 1
6960 kHz: 22
6961 kHz: 1
6963 kHz: 1
6964 kHz: 3
6965 kHz: 8
6967 kHz: 1
6969 kHz: 28
6970 kHz: 3
6974 kHz: 1
6975 kHz: 7
6976 kHz: 15
6977 kHz: 2
6980 kHz: 1
6995 kHz: 1
7335 kHz: 1
7405 kHz: 2
7410 kHz: 2
7515 kHz: 1
7519 kHz: 1
7520 kHz: 1
7530 kHz: 5
7590 kHz: 1
7595 kHz: 1
7610 kHz: 26
7940 kHz: 1
8020 kHz: 1
8040 kHz: 7
8055 kHz: 6
8060 kHz: 9
8065 kHz: 3
8070 kHz: 9
8485 kHz: 1
11640 kHz: 1
12286 kHz: 1
13855 kHz: 1
15050 kHz: 1
15100 kHz: 1
25925 kHz: 1

6925, along with 6924 and 6926 kHz, account for about 36% of logged transmissions. Last year they accounted for 40% and the year before that 50%, so there has been some movement to other frequencies. Also worth considering is that Old Time Radio’s use of 6770 kHz accounts for about 5% of the broadcast threads, and Relay Station 5150 on, curiously enough 5150 kHz. Still, virtually all activity occurs within the 43 meter band, 6850-7000 kHz.

There has been some movement to the lower bands, 3, 4, and 5 MHz, due to 43 meters “going long” and being unusable for short distance (NVIS) reception at night. Whether or not this trend will continue remains to be seen. It’s a great band for nighttime use, but not as many listeners check it out, or have decent antennas for 90 meters.

The most popular station logged is of course “UNID”, short for unidentified. In the world of shortwave pirate radio, there’s a number of transmissions where no ID is given. There’s also cases where no ID could be heard, due to poor conditions. This year, 888 out of 2,398 threads were UNID, or about 37 percent, the same percentage as last year. For 2014, there were 651 threads with 2,788 loggings where no station ID was given – that’s almost 33 percent of the threads.

Here’s the complete list of all stations with two or more logging threads:
UNID (888)
Moonlight Radio (171)
Old Time Radio (107)
Amphetamine Radio (92)
PeeWee Radio (84)
RELAY STATION 5150 (66)
Liquid Radio (61)
Radio Free Whatever (48)
Radio Azteca (47)
Radio Illuminati (40)
Radio Zed (39)
Captain Morgan (32)
Wolverine Radio (30)
XLR8 (30)
Channel Z (27)
WJD (27)
Cold Country Canada (24)
The Crystal Ship (19)
WREC (18)
Pirate Radio Boston (16)
Insane Radio (14)
XFM (13)
Boombox Radio (13)
Rave On Radio (12)
Radio Ga Ga (12)
Fab Four Radio Show (12)
WAZU (11)
YHWH (11)
Burn It Down Radio (11)
Skippy Radio (11)
Cool AM (10)
Pseudo Radio (9)
KCPR (9)
Red Beacon Radio (9)
CWCW (8)
Northwoods Radio (7)
Radio Free Euphoria (7)
Sousa Station (7)
WORK (7)
KIPM (6)
Radio True North (6)
Undercover Radio (6)
Radio Paisano (6)
Happy Hanukkah Radio (6)
Radio Fusion Radio (6)
WEEK (6)
X 2 (6)
Renegade Radio (5)
Blue Ocean Radio (5)
Toynbee Radio (5)
Black Cat Radio (5)
Partial India Radio (5)
WJFK (5)
Drunken DJ Radio (5)
The Bangalore Poacher (5)
Canadian Radio After Dark (5)
Ghost Shortwave (5)
BBC Pirate Radio (5)
Voice of Uncle Don (5)
The Fox (5)
Sycko Radio (5)
WEAK (4)
Radio Trump (4)
Howdy Doody Radio (4)
How Sweet It Is Radio (4)
Newport Pirate Radio (4)
Radio Free Ramones (4)
Doctor Detroit (4)
WBOG (3)
WHYP (3)
WEAK Radio (3)
XEROX (3)
Vo Pancho Villa (3)
The yodeler (3)
Network 51 (3)
CPRRS (3)
Brockett 99 (3)
Voice Of Greece (3)
Celtic Music Radio (3)
SEKIO Radio (3)
Nuttin’ On Shortwave (3)
Electric Circus Shortwave (3)
WGAY (3)
Old Classic Radio Plays (3)
Radio AV (3)
KFBN Fly By Night Radio (3)
KMUD (2)
WMPR (2)
Radio Jamba International (2)
Radio Free Mars Radio (2)
Radio First Termer (2)
WHJR (2)
WFUQ (2)
LTO Radio (2)
WLIS (2)
Pumpkin Patch Radio (2)
WAHR (2)
Witch City Radio (2)
Radio Halloween (2)
Amelia Earhart Comms (2)
COOLAM (2)
CKUT Relay (2)
KVR (2)
WPIG (2)
Girl Scout Radio (2)
Up Against The Wall Radio (2)
Radio Enterhaken (2)
KROW (2)
WYDX (2)
The Voice of Shortwave Radio (2)
The Gas Man Show (2)
Radio Metallica Worldwide (2)
No Coast Pirate Radio (2)
Bat Country Radio (2)
Radio Three (2)
Sonic Death Shortwave (2)
Cosmic Dust Shortwave (2)
RFF Radio (2)
Radio Free Do Whatever (2)

This gives us a guide as to which stations were most active in 2016.

Another thing we can look at are the total number of posts in all logging threads for each station, as a rough guide to how many listeners heard a particular station. There’s duplication of course, as the same listener likely reported several broadcasts for each station:
Moonlight Radio (917)
PeeWee Radio (627)
Amphetamine Radio (605)
Wolverine Radio (497)
Radio Free Whatever (442)
RELAY STATION 5150 (317)
Old Time Radio (315)
XLR8 (286)
Radio Azteca (281)
Liquid Radio (259)
WJD (259)
Radio Illuminati (249)
The Crystal Ship (210)
XFM (194)
Radio Zed (191)
Burn It Down Radio (158)
Channel Z (154)
Captain Morgan (153)
Cold Country Canada (134)
Insane Radio (116)
Skippy Radio (116)
WREC (109)
Boombox Radio (104)
Radio Ga Ga (93)
Pirate Radio Boston (91)
Drunken DJ Radio (88)
Northwoods Radio (81)
Fab Four Radio Show (77)
WEEK (69)
Undercover Radio (64)
WAZU (63)
Radio True North (61)
Cool AM (61)
Blue Ocean Radio (58)
Renegade Radio (55)
Red Beacon Radio (52)
Black Cat Radio (51)
CWCW (51)
Ghost Shortwave (48)
KIPM (47)
Rave On Radio (47)
The Fox (46)
Partial India Radio (45)
Voice of Uncle Don (44)
Radio Free Ramones (38)
Sousa Station (37)
Witch City Radio (36)
YHWH (36)
KCPR (35)
Canadian Radio After Dark (35)
Radio Paisano (34)
Radio Trump (33)
WORK (33)
X 2 (32)
Old Classic Radio Plays (32)
Happy Hanukkah Radio (31)
Doctor Detroit (31)
Radio Free Euphoria (30)
Brockett 99 (30)
WFUQ (29)
Radio Fusion Radio (29)
KMUD (28)
WBOG (28)
WGAY (28)
WHYP (26)
XEROX (26)
Pseudo Radio (26)
SEKIO Radio (26)
Bat Country Radio (26)
WEAK (25)
Newport Pirate Radio (24)
How Sweet It Is Radio (23)
Radio Free Mars Radio (22)
WJFK (22)
KFBN Fly By Night Radio (22)
LTO Radio (21)
Howdy Doody Radio (21)
Sycko Radio (21)
Nuttin’ On Shortwave (20)
BBC Pirate Radio (18)
Electric Circus Shortwave (18)
WEAK Radio (16)
The Bangalore Poacher (16)
COOLAM (16)
Girl Scout Radio (16)
CPRRS (16)
Radio Enterhaken (16)
The Gas Man Show (16)
Up Against The Wall Radio (15)
KROW (15)
No Coast Pirate Radio (15)
Amelia Earhart Comms (14)
The yodeler (14)
WHJR (13)
Radio AV (13)
Toynbee Radio (12)
CKUT Relay (12)
Network 51 (12)
Radio Three (12)
Cosmic Dust Shortwave (12)
WMPR (10)
Radio First Termer (10)
Vo Pancho Villa (10)
Pumpkin Patch Radio (10)
Radio Halloween (10)
The Voice of Shortwave Radio (10)
Radio Metallica Worldwide (10)
Voice Of Greece (9)
Radio Jamba International (8)
RFF Radio (7)
WLIS (6)
KVR (6)
WPIG (6)
WYDX (6)
WAHR (5)
Radio Free Do Whatever (5)
Celtic Music Radio (4)
Sonic Death Shortwave (4)

Next we can calculate the ratio of logging messages per thread, to gauge, in general, how many people reported hearing each station:

Moonlight Radio 917 171 5.36257
PeeWee Radio 627 84 7.46429
Amphetamine Radio 605 92 6.57609
Wolverine Radio 497 30 16.5667
Radio Free Whatever 442 48 9.20833
RELAY STATION 5150 317 66 4.80303
Old Time Radio 315 107 2.94393
XLR8 286 30 9.53333
Radio Azteca 281 47 5.97872
Liquid Radio 259 61 4.2459
WJD 259 27 9.59259
Radio Illuminati 249 40 6.225
The Crystal Ship 210 19 11.0526
XFM 194 13 14.9231
Radio Zed 191 39 4.89744
Burn It Down Radio 158 11 14.3636
Channel Z 154 27 5.7037
Captain Morgan 153 32 4.78125
Cold Country Canada 134 24 5.58333
Insane Radio 116 14 8.28571
Skippy Radio 116 11 10.5455
WREC 109 18 6.05556
Boombox Radio 104 13 8
Radio Ga Ga 93 12 7.75
Pirate Radio Boston 91 16 5.6875
Drunken DJ Radio 88 5 17.6
Northwoods Radio 81 7 11.5714
Fab Four Radio Show 77 12 6.41667
WEEK 69 6 11.5
Undercover Radio 64 6 10.6667
WAZU 63 11 5.72727
Radio True North 61 6 10.1667
Cool AM 61 10 6.1
Blue Ocean Radio 58 5 11.6
Renegade Radio 55 5 11
Red Beacon Radio 52 9 5.77778
Black Cat Radio 51 5 10.2
CWCW 51 8 6.375
Ghost Shortwave 48 5 9.6
KIPM 47 6 7.83333
Rave On Radio 47 12 3.91667
The Fox 46 5 9.2
Partial India Radio 45 5 9
Voice of Uncle Don 44 5 8.8
Radio Free Ramones 38 4 9.5
Sousa Station 37 7 5.28571
Witch City Radio 36 2 18
YHWH 36 11 3.27273
KCPR 35 9 3.88889
Canadian Radio After Dark 35 5 7
Radio Paisano 34 6 5.66667
Radio Trump 33 4 8.25
WORK 33 7 4.71429
X 2 32 6 5.33333
Old Classic Radio Plays 32 3 10.6667
Happy Hanukkah Radio 31 6 5.16667
Doctor Detroit 31 4 7.75
Radio Free Euphoria 30 7 4.28571
Brockett 99 30 3 10
WFUQ 29 2 14.5
Radio Fusion Radio 29 6 4.83333
KMUD 28 2 14
WBOG 28 3 9.33333
WGAY 28 3 9.33333
WHYP 26 3 8.66667
XEROX 26 3 8.66667
Pseudo Radio 26 9 2.88889
SEKIO Radio 26 3 8.66667
Bat Country Radio 26 2 13
WEAK 25 4 6.25
Newport Pirate Radio 24 4 6
How Sweet It Is Radio 23 4 5.75
Radio Free Mars Radio 22 2 11
WJFK 22 5 4.4
KFBN Fly By Night Radio 22 3 7.33333
LTO Radio 21 2 10.5
Howdy Doody Radio 21 4 5.25
Sycko Radio 21 5 4.2
Giles Letourneau Relay 21 1 21
Nuttin' On Shortwave 20 3 6.66667
Voice of Helium 19 1 19
BBC Pirate Radio 18 5 3.6
Electric Circus Shortwave 18 3 6
WEAK Radio 16 3 5.33333
Radio Casablanca 16 1 16
The Bangalore Poacher 16 5 3.2
Chairman Of The Board Radio 16 1 16
COOLAM 16 2 8
Girl Scout Radio 16 2 8
CPRRS 16 3 5.33333
Radio Enterhaken 16 2 8
The Gas Man Show 16 2 8
Up Against The Wall Radio 15 2 7.5
KROW 15 2 7.5
Brownie Radio 15 1 15
No Coast Pirate Radio 15 2 7.5
Amelia Earhart Comms 14 2 7
The yodeler 14 3 4.66667
Kid From Brooklyn 14 1 14
WHJR 13 2 6.5
Radio AV 13 3 4.33333
Toynbee Radio 12 5 2.4
Make Your Liver Quiver Radio 12 1 12
CKUT Relay 12 2 6
Network 51 12 3 4
Radio Three 12 2 6
Cosmic Dust Shortwave 12 2 6
Voice of Portugal 12 1 12
MAC Shortwave 11 1 11
Hit Parade Radio 11 1 11
Left Lane Radio 11 1 11
Mouth of Mohammed 11 1 11
WGXC 11 1 11
WNPP 11 1 11
Radio Free Furry 11 1 11
Euro Temptations Shortwave 11 1 11
WMPR 10 2 5
Kracker Radio 10 1 10
Radio First Termer 10 2 5
Vo Pancho Villa 10 3 3.33333
Radio Cinco De Mayo 10 1 10
Pumpkin Patch Radio 10 2 5
Radio Halloween 10 2 5
The Voice of Shortwave Radio 10 2 5
Radio Metallica Worldwide 10 2 5
Urea Radio 10 1 10
Cradle Rock Radio 10 1 10
Spy Numbers Relay 10 1 10
Voice Of Greece 9 3 3
KULP 9 1 9
Radio Jamba International 8 2 4
Peskie Party Radio 8 1 8
Radio Merlin International Relay 8 1 8
WTKY 8 1 8
Chamber Pot Radio 7 1 7
Fruitcake Station 7 1 7
WCTU 7 1 7
RFF Radio 7 2 3.5
Radio Morania 6 1 6
WLIS 6 2 3
Artem Radio 6 1 6
KVR 6 2 3
WPIG 6 2 3
WYDX 6 2 3
WRIR Relay 6 1 6
Auld Lang Syne Radio 6 1 6
Radio KEN 5 1 5
Germany Calling 5 1 5
KAMP 5 1 5
WAHR 5 2 2.5
IBC Radio 5 1 5
Old Turkey Radio 5 1 5
KDST 5 1 5
Radio Free Do Whatever 5 2 2.5
WBCQ Relay 5 1 5
WGWR 4 1 4
WRRI 4 1 4
Native Radio 4 1 4
Big Johnson Radio 4 1 4
Celtic Music Radio 4 3 1.33333
Lee County Radio 4 1 4
Ride of the Valkries 4 1 4
Sonic Death Shortwave 4 2 2
Union City Radio 4 1 4
Radio Saxophone 4 1 4
Fake UVB33 Numbers 4 1 4
International Free Radio Service 4 1 4
Radio Clandestine 3 1 3
WOLF 3 1 3
Hobart Radio 3 1 3
X 1 3 1 3
Radio Indiana 3 1 3
Potato Pirate 3 1 3
Bird Calls 3 1 3
He Man Radio 3 1 3
Pirate Radio Wilson 3 1 3
Mushroom Radio 2 1 2
Radio Gallifrey Intergalactic 2 1 2
Rcok and Roll Radio 2 1 2
Son of the Lincolnshire Poacher 2 1 2
NRUI 2 1 2
WGOD 2 1 2
Brother Stair Numbers 2 1 2
Indira Calling 1 1 1
Vivian Girls Radio 1 1 1
Friday Night Radio 1 1 1
Radio Tambour 1 1 1
Echo Radio 1 1 1
Radio Airplane 1 1 1
Soft Rock Radio Relay 1 1 1
Not For FCC Airplay Radio 1 1 1

For each station, the first number is the total number of reports, the second is the number of threads, the third is the ratio. One risk here is that the same transmission could be logged in two, or even more, threads, which would reduce this ratio. This gives us a very rough estimate of how well heard, or reported, anyway, each station is.

We can then sort these by that ratio:
21,Giles Letourneau Relay
19,Voice of Helium
18,Witch City Radio
17.6,Drunken DJ Radio
16.5667,Wolverine Radio
16,Radio Casablanca
16,Chairman Of The Board Radio
15,Brownie Radio
14.9231,XFM
14.5,WFUQ
14.3636,Burn It Down Radio
14,KMUD
14,Kid From Brooklyn
13,Bat Country Radio
12,Make Your Liver Quiver Radio
12,Voice of Portugal
11.6,Blue Ocean Radio
11.5714,Northwoods Radio
11.5,WEEK
11.0526,The Crystal Ship
11,Renegade Radio
11,MAC Shortwave
11,Radio Free Mars Radio
11,Hit Parade Radio
11,Left Lane Radio
11,Mouth of Mohammed
11,WGXC
11,WNPP
11,Radio Free Furry
11,Euro Temptations Shortwave
10.6667,Undercover Radio
10.6667,Old Classic Radio Plays
10.5455,Skippy Radio
10.5,LTO Radio
10.2,Black Cat Radio
10.1667,Radio True North
10,Kracker Radio
10,Radio Cinco De Mayo
10,Brockett 99
10,Urea Radio
10,Cradle Rock Radio
10,Spy Numbers Relay
9.6,Ghost Shortwave
9.59259,WJD
9.53333,XLR8
9.5,Radio Free Ramones
9.33333,WBOG
9.33333,WGAY
9.20833,Radio Free Whatever
9.2,The Fox
9,Partial India Radio
9,KULP
8.8,Voice of Uncle Don
8.66667,WHYP
8.66667,XEROX
8.66667,SEKIO Radio
8.28571,Insane Radio
8.25,Radio Trump
8,Boombox Radio
8,COOLAM
8,Peskie Party Radio
8,Girl Scout Radio
8,Radio Enterhaken
8,The Gas Man Show
8,Radio Merlin International Relay
8,WTKY
7.83333,KIPM
7.75,Radio Ga Ga
7.75,Doctor Detroit
7.5,Up Against The Wall Radio
7.5,KROW
7.5,No Coast Pirate Radio
7.46429,PeeWee Radio
7.33333,KFBN Fly By Night Radio
7,Chamber Pot Radio
7,Fruitcake Station
7,Amelia Earhart Comms
7,Canadian Radio After Dark
7,WCTU
6.66667,Nuttin’ On Shortwave
6.57609,Amphetamine Radio
6.5,WHJR
6.41667,Fab Four Radio Show
6.375,CWCW
6.25,WEAK
6.225,Radio Illuminati
6.1,Cool AM
6.05556,WREC
6,Radio Morania
6,Artem Radio
6,CKUT Relay
6,Newport Pirate Radio
6,Electric Circus Shortwave
6,Radio Three
6,Cosmic Dust Shortwave
6,WRIR Relay
6,Auld Lang Syne Radio
5.97872,Radio Azteca
5.77778,Red Beacon Radio
5.75,How Sweet It Is Radio
5.72727,WAZU
5.7037,Channel Z
5.6875,Pirate Radio Boston
5.66667,Radio Paisano
5.58333,Cold Country Canada
5.36257,Moonlight Radio
5.33333,WEAK Radio
5.33333,CPRRS
5.33333,X 2
5.28571,Sousa Station
5.25,Howdy Doody Radio
5.16667,Happy Hanukkah Radio
5,WMPR
5,Radio KEN
5,Germany Calling
5,Radio First Termer
5,KAMP
5,Pumpkin Patch Radio
5,Radio Halloween
5,IBC Radio
5,The Voice of Shortwave Radio
5,Radio Metallica Worldwide
5,Old Turkey Radio
5,KDST
5,WBCQ Relay
4.89744,Radio Zed
4.83333,Radio Fusion Radio
4.80303,RELAY STATION 5150
4.78125,Captain Morgan
4.71429,WORK
4.66667,The yodeler
4.4,WJFK
4.33333,Radio AV
4.28571,Radio Free Euphoria
4.2459,Liquid Radio
4.2,Sycko Radio
4,Radio Jamba International
4,WGWR
4,WRRI
4,Network 51
4,Native Radio
4,Big Johnson Radio
4,Lee County Radio
4,Ride of the Valkries
4,Union City Radio
4,Radio Saxophone
4,Fake UVB33 Numbers
4,International Free Radio Service
3.91667,Rave On Radio
3.88889,KCPR
3.6,BBC Pirate Radio
3.5,RFF Radio
3.33333,Vo Pancho Villa
3.27273,YHWH
3.2,The Bangalore Poacher
3,Radio Clandestine
3,WOLF
3,WLIS
3,KVR
3,Hobart Radio
3,WPIG
3,WYDX
3,Voice Of Greece
3,X 1
3,Radio Indiana
3,Potato Pirate
3,Bird Calls
3,He Man Radio
3,Pirate Radio Wilson
2.94393,Old Time Radio
2.88889,Pseudo Radio
2.5,WAHR
2.5,Radio Free Do Whatever
2.4,Toynbee Radio
2,Mushroom Radio
2,Radio Gallifrey Intergalactic
2,Rcok and Roll Radio
2,Son of the Lincolnshire Poacher
2,NRUI
2,Sonic Death Shortwave
2,WGOD
2,Brother Stair Numbers
1.33333,Celtic Music Radio
1,Indira Calling
1,Vivian Girls Radio
1,Friday Night Radio
1,Radio Tambour
1,Echo Radio
1,Radio Airplane
1,Soft Rock Radio Relay
1,Not For FCC Airplay Radio

Average Ratio 6.77086

Summary of Halloween 2016 Shortwave Pirate Radio Activity in North America

After a slow start, Halloween 2016 pirate radio activity over the extended weekend picked up, especially Sunday and Monday evening. At one point on Monday there were at least four stations on at the same time.

I counted 68 broadcasts that were logged, and have summarized them below in chronological order, each linked to the corresponding logging thread on the HFUnderground.com shortwave pirate radio message forum. Hopefully I haven’t made any typos.

A big thanks to all the stations that gave us listeners lots of programs to listen to!

Here’s the list:

Friday, October 28, 2016:
RELAY STATION 5150 on 5150 AM at 1359 UTC.
An UNID on 6925.5 AM at 1813 UTC.
Radio AV was testing on 6925 AM at 2102 UTC.
Old Time Radio on 6770 AM at 2245 UTC.
Moonlight Radio on 6929 LSB at 2351 UTC.

Saturday, October 29, 2016 (including Friday night):
An UNID on 6925 USB at 0015 UTC.
Bat Country Radio on 6955 USB at 0022 UTC
Another UNID on 6935 USB at 0055 UTC.
PeeWee Radio on 6955 USB at 0128 UTC.
WAHR (Automated Halloween Radio) on 6955 USB at 0300 UTC.
Yet another UNID on 6955 USB at 0348 UTC.
Amphetamine Radio on 6925 USB at 1514 UTC.
An UNID on 6925 USB and then AM at 1900 UTC.
Another UNID on 6930 AM at 2139 UTC.
Radio Illuminati on 6150 AM at 2206 UTC.
Pumpkin Patch Radio on 6930 USB at 2252 UTC.
Old Time Radio on 6770 AM at 2225 UTC.
Radio Free Furry on 6945 USB at 2352 UTC.

Sunday, October 30, 2016 (including Saturday night):
Moonlight Radio on 6930 USB at 0002 UTC.
Pee Wee Radio on 6955 USB at 0133 UTC.
An UNID on 6950 AM at 0204 UTC.
Another UNID on 6925 USB at 0215 UTC.
Another UNID on 6925.1 AM at 0218 UTC.
Yet another UNID on 6925 AM then USB then LSB at 0342 UTC.
Radio Halloween on 6925 AM at 1156 UTC.
One more UNID on 6930 AM at 1248 UTC.
Radio Halloween on 6925.4 AM at 1526 UTC.
An UNID on 6963 LSB at 1542 UTC.
Radio AV on 6925.7 AM at 1616 UTC.
An UNID on 6930 USB at 1635 UTC.
RELAY STATION 5150 on 5150 AM at 1901 UTC.
Radio Merlin via RELAY STATION 5150 on 5150 AM at 2014 UTC.
Witch City Radio 6925 AM at 2039 UTC.
Radio Merlin International relay on 6925 AM at 2128 UTC.
Radio Fusion Radio on 6930 USB at 2143 UTC.
Captain Morgan Shortwave on 6924 AM at 2155 UTC.
An UNID on 6950 AM at 2157 UTC.
Old Time Radio on 6770 AM at 2205 UTC.
The Yodeler on 6930 USB at 2228 UTC.
RELAY STATION 5150 on 5150 AM at 2234 UTC.
The Yodeler on 6925 USB at 2236 UTC.
Radio Fusion Radio on 6925 USB at 2242 UTC.
Rave On Radio on 6935 USB at 2300 UTC.
The Yodeler on 6930 USB at 2312 UTC.

Monday, October 31, 2016 (including Sunday night):
RELAY STATION 5150 on 5150 AM (received in Brazil) at 0018 UTC.
An UNID on 6924.7 USB at 0013 UTC.
NRUI (Amelia Earhart callsign) on 6925 CW at 0204 UTC.
WAHR (Automated Halloween Radio) on 6925 USB at 0216 UTC.
An UNID on 6925 USB at 0235 UTC.
An UNID on 6925 USB at 1524 UTC.
Amphetamine Radio on 6925 USB at 1753 UTC.
Radio AV on 6925 AM at 1916 UTC.
Amphetamine Radio on 6923 USB at 2053 UTC.
Old Time Radio on 6770 AM at 2205 UTC.
Doctor Detroit on 6935 AM at 2237 UTC.
Moonlight Radio on 6930 USB at 2254 UTC.
An UNID on 6925 USB at 2304 UTC.
Witch City Radio on 6873.4 AM at 2309 UTC.
An UNID on 6940 LSB at 2338 UTC.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 (including Monday/Halloween night):
An UNID on 6925 USB at 0008 UTC.
Wolverine Radio on 6935 USB at 0013 UTC.
Pumpkin Patch Radio on 6925 USB at 0034 UTC.
XFM on 6960 AM at 0042 UTC.
An UNID on 6950 USB at 0046 UTC.
Canadian Radio After Dark on 6950 USB at 0048 UTC.
Undercover Radio on 6975 USB at 0058 UTC.
Renegade Radio on 6925 at USB.
WJD on 6930 USB at 0130 UTC.

Only one Europirate was logged on this side of the pond: Enterprise Radio was on 6950 AM at 2200 UTC on the 31st They sent an SSTV image, which I was able to receive with poor quality:

RainBrandy from Germany had better reception, as you might imagine:

Those Wacky Pescadores

Pescadore is the term used by Pirate DXers to refer to a fishermen operating on the 43 meter band, the plural is pescadores, often abbreviated as peskies. While they can turn up anywhere on the band (or outside it), 6925 LSB seems to be the most common frequency, which can cause QRM to pirates operating on 6925 AM. They also turn up on 6933 LSB fairly often.

Usually you hear them chatting with each other; informal QSOs. Sometimes however they have been known to play music, or engage in other activities fairly close to broadcasting. They can actually be entertaining to listen to.

Here is a recording of them from the other night, starting just before 0000 UTC on 21 September, 2016.

Pescadores have even inspired a pirate radio station named Pesky Party Radio, most recently heard last month. This station plays Spanish language covers of popular songs, and is rather hilarious.

Seasonal Pirate Radio Stations

Tune into the 43 meter pirate radio band, which is roughly 6800 to 7000 kHz, but 6925 kHz in particular, on any given evening, and you’re likely to hear one or more broadcasts. While many stations transmit throughout the year, there are a few seasonal stations that you will only hear on certain days. To help you keep track of these stations, here’s a short summary of the more widely reported seasonal pirates. Note that the schedules of pirate radio stations are very flexible, and often broadcasts of these seasonal stations will be heard on a nearby weekend instead of the actual holiday, when there are usually more listeners.

I’ve also included QSLs from some of the stations.

WMLK – Recordings of speeches by Martin Luther King Jr, usually around his celebrated birthday, the next is January 18, 2016.

Voice of Pancho Villa – Heard during the time the NASWA Winter SWL Fest, which is usually in February.

WPDR Presidents’ Day Radio – Heard around Presidents’ Day with recordings of speeches by various Presidents. In 2016, Presidents’ Day is February 15.

Frederic Chopin Radio – Plays classical piano music, heard on our around his birthday of March 1.

XEROX – A classic parody of a Mexican radio station, usually on the air April Fools Day (April 1).

Radio Cinco De Mayo – Heard on or around the Mexican Holiday on May 5.

KHAQQ / Amelia Earhart Often heard on or around July 3, with simulated communications between ground station NRUI and Earhart (KHAQQ), trying to locate her.

Radio Paisano – A program of Italian related music which airs around Columbus Day, which is next observed October 10, 2016.

Halloween themed stations – Lots of stations are heard around Halloween, here’s several of the most active:
Peskie Party Halloween
Pumpkin Patch Radio
Radio Halloween
Satan Radio
The Great Pumpkin
WAHR Automated Halloween Radio
Witch City Radio




Edmund Fitzgerald Radio – Commemorates the sinking of the ship with the Gordon Lightfoot song as well as recordings of marine communications. Heard on November 10.

WJFK – Usually on the air around day of President Kennedy’s assassination, November 22. Traditionally, the station plays these three songs:
“Abraham, Martin & John” by Dion
“Sunny” by Bobby Hebb
“PT-109″ by Jimmy Dean

Another variant has appeared in recent years, which plays recordings of news announcements of the assassination.

Turkey Breast Radio – Heard on or around Thanksgiving.

Happy Hanukkah Radio – Heard during the eight days of Hanukkah. Usually the following is heard:
“Miracle of Miracles” from Fiddler on the Roof
“Hava Nagila” by the Effi Netzer Singers
“2000 Year Old man” skit by Mel Brooks.

Christmas themed stations – Another popular holiday for pirates:
Fruitcake Station
NOEL
Radio Jingle Bells
Snowball Radio

Irregular stations:

WUBR Ultimate Blizzard Radio – Occasionally heard during major snowstorms.

Victory Radio – Heard when University of Texas wins a football game.

Old Time Radio – Shortwave Pirate Radio Station Or Something Else ?

For about the past three weeks, we’ve had a bit of a mystery on the 43 meter pirate shortwave broadcast band. First logged on the HFUnderground on May 18, 2014 on 6772.6 kHz by EvilElvis as an UNID pirate playing “Tooth Powder commercial, 5 Minute Mystery, Red Skelton, Avalon Cigarettes commercial”, this station has been heard nearly non-stop since then, except for some short breaks, and a two day period between June 3 (it was last heard on June 2 at 2357 UTC and returned by 0035 UTC on June 5.

This station has been heard from coast to coast, and has a over 170 loggings on the HFUnderground Pirate Shortwave Radio Forum and has become quite the favorite of many shortwave pirate radio listeners. Many of us where disappointed when we turned on our radios on June 3 to just hear static, and equally thrilled to hear the station again when it returned two days later. I’m hearing it on 6772.6 kHz as I type this at 1323 UTC on June 6, 2014. It generally operates close to 6772 or 6773 kHz, but as also been heard on 6800 and 6880 kHz.

Possibly the same station was reported in the 13.56 MHz HiFer band previously. Glenn Hauser first logged it on 13560.7 AM on April 18 at 0520 UTC, and mentioned the following to me via email:

I haven`t heard it on any of the 6 MHz frequencies, but I keep wondering if it`s the same one I have reported thrice on 13560+. That would be 2 x 6780+ if that was ever a fundamental. Looking thru the posts (not sure I saw all of them) I don`t see anyone referring to that or to the webcast ID I heard from the 1920s Radio Network out of WHRO in Virginia. Should compare the programming to their schedule. They also have a separate mostly-music channel. 13560 was also pointed out to be a part 15 RF ID frequency which be some connexion.

The 1920s Radio Network has a website.

The general format seems to be playing music (often described as easy listening music, or even elevator music) during the daytime, and then old time radio shows overnight, hence the nickname Old Time Radio given by several listeners. No formal ID has ever been heard. News is typically heard at the top of the hour, and seems to be syndicated news audio provided by “Feature Story News“. I’ve noticed that today, June 6, I am not hearing any news.

The first thing that comes to mind is that this is a pirate radio station. There’s no SWBC stations assigned to these frequencies. While speculation about pirate radio station transmitter locations is often frowned upon by parts of the pirate radio community, propagation (based on who can hear the station at various times of the day) clearly shows that the transmitter site is somewhere in the northeastern USA or southeastern Canada. That is pretty obvious. And the signal levels are typical of what you’d expect from a pirate station running something on the order of 100 watts, give or take a factor or two or three. But the surprising thing is how active the station is, running nearly 24/7. Someone’s not that afraid of enforcement activity by the FCC. Or could it be something else, like a radio contractor doing some testing? It seems unlikely, but then again, we had the famous Yosemite Sam station years ago.

So, if you’ve wanted to hear a pirate radio station, but always seem to miss them, now is your chance. Just tune around 6772 when propagation favors reception in your location from a station somewhere around the northeast USA, and you may indeed hear Old Time Radio, or whoever they are.

June 7 Update:
At 2129 UTC on June 7, 2014, the station went QRT on 6771, then came back on 6976 (a new frequency for it) at 2136 UTC.

If you think there’s been more pirate activity during the shutdown, you’re right!

Here’s a graph showing the number of unique pirate logging threads on the HFUnderground.com

Each thread represents a different shortwave pirate radio broadcast. The red bars on the right are the number of broadcasts during the shutdown per day. I’ve also drawn in green the average number of broadcasts per day during the month before the shutdown (6.9 per day) as well as during the shutdown (12.2). As you can see, activity is up 77%. This past weekend was extremely active, setting records.

Boom Box Radio Early Morning Propagation Analysis

Boom Box Radio had an early morning transmission on March 10, 2013, from 1044 until 1212 UTC. They were trying to reach a listener in Guatemala. The time of this transmission, starting just before to after sunrise, lets us examine the effects of sunrise on reception on the 43 meter band.

This first waterfall shows when Boom Box Radio signed on at 1044 UTC. You can see a very faint trace appear on the waterfall about a quarter of the way up from the bottom, at 6925 kHz. Remember that with a waterfall, time flows or falls down, like with a real waterfall, so the latest information is at the top:

This next waterfall shows what happened at 1107 UTC, when the signal went from just a faint trace of a carrier on the waterfall, and no audio, to a very good S7 to S9:

Note again that the oldest information as at the bottom of the waterfall. At that time, there is just barely a carrier. Then you start to see some modulation, and then finally, in a matter of seconds, the signal shoots up to armchair quality.

Below is a graph showing the signal strength of Boom Box Radio, in dBm, from 1044 UTC sign on, until 1212 UTC sign off. You can click on it to see a larger version:

An S9 signal corresponds to -73 dBm. Every S unit is 6 dBm, so S8 is -79 dBm, S7 is -85 dBm, etc.

I have annotated several important times: The 1044 UTC sign on, 1107 UTC when the signal went up, 1125 UTC which was local sunrise, and 1212 UTC when it went off the air.

You can see that there is a very slow increase in signal level after the sign on, but the signal remains extremely weak. Then suddenly at 1107 UTC, the signal shot up to S9. Then for the rest of the transmission it mostly stayed in a range between S7 and S9.

The sudden increase in signal was caused by the Sun increasing the ionization level of the F layer of the ionosphere. This increase needs to have occurred at the point in the ionosphere where the radio waves are being reflected, most likely roughly midway between the transmitter and receiver locations. Note that in my case, this occurred before my local sunrise. This could be due two at least two factors I can think of. First, the transmitter site could be to my east. Second, the ionosphere is several hundred miles up, so it experiences sunrise before a point directly below it (on the Earth’s surface) does.

I believe this graph shows the importance of selecting the correct time for transmissions, depending on your target area. Just before sunrise is when the ionosphere is the weakest, and is only able to reflect radio waves on 43 meters at low angles. Too early in the morning, and the band is not open for local (NVIS – Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) reception. The band is, however, open for reception to more distant locations, that is, more than many hundreds of miles away (well over 500, perhaps close to 1,000 miles). If you’re trying to get out to DX locations, this is a good time to do it. Sunrise varies throughout the year, so as we move into summer, and it occurs earlier, the band will likewise open up earlier for NVIS. Likewise in the middle of winter in December, it is somewhat later.

For reference, the operator of Boom Box Radio stated that this was a Heathkit DX-60 transmitter putting out 40 watts into a 40 meter band dipole that was about 15 feet high.

I thank Boom Box Radio for conducting this early morning test.

Update: The operator contacted me again to mention that his local sunrise was at exactly 1107 UTC.

Shortwave Pirate Radio 2012 – A Year in Review

To gauge shortwave pirate radio activity in 2012, I analyzed the loggings to the HF Underground (http://www.hfunderground.com) message board. A computer script parsed the message thread titles, as well as the timestamps of the messages. This information was used to produce some statistics about the level of pirate radio activity. Of course, as Mark Twain has written: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Still, let’s see what we can learn.

There were 8683 messages posted to 2081 unique threads. Ideally, each thread represents an individual pirate station transmission. Also ideally, each message posted to a thread represents one logging. In reality, there is some error involved.

For example: the thread with the most messages, and therefore probably the most logs, and less probably the most listeners hearing it, was Wolverine Radio on October 19, 2012, with 39 messages. The numbers are slightly inflated, since a few reporters posted more than once. But it’s still a useful gauge how well heard a transmission was. If you’re interested, second place was a logging of an UNID on 3223 kHz on March 28, 2012, third place was Wolverine Radio again, on September 30, 2012, and fourth place was Pirate Radio Boston, on October 27, 2012. The UNID station had a lot of duplicate posts by individuals, which accounts for the high ranking.

The following graph shows the number of logging threads with a given number of messages:

Looking at the graph, we see that there were 464 broadcasts with a single logging. 344 broadcasts had two loggings, 318 had three loggings, and so on. This tells us that the vast majority of transmissions were only reported by a small number of people. Over half were logged by three or fewer people, and three quarters by five or fewer people.

This of course does not mean that only that number of people heard the transmission. It is quite probable that the vast majority of pirate radio listeners do not log their reception reports on the HFU or any message board. Some may directly contact the station, while others listen but have little or no contact with other pirate enthusiasts or stations. Anecdotal evidence suggests there are a lot of “lurkers” in pirate radio, who may in fact be the vast majority of listeners. It is unfortunately impossible to come up with a good estimate of how large the pirate radio listening community really is.

If we assume each thread represents a unique transmission, then if we count the number of threads per pirate station, we can estimate how many transmissions they had. There are a few flaws with this method. First, it’s possible that there are some duplicate threads for a given transmission (two threads started by two listeners for the same transmission). This could inflate the estimate number of transmissions. Second, the loggings posted on the HFU represent what users heard and reported. There’s often stations that people hear but do not log, perhaps because they don’t get around to it, or because they’re not HFU users. Hang out on IRC #pirateradio for a while, and you will see many transmissions being mentioned, but never logged. This could make the estimated number of transmissions obtained by this method too low. Third, there’s also the question of what “counts” as a transmission. If a station was on for a few seconds with a test, but was logged by name, then it gets count. Finally there likely are some transmissions that no one heard, possibly due to poor propagation conditions.

Tabulating the information by station name, here are the stations with at least two or more transmissions logged on the HFU, sorted by number of transmissions (message threads):

Stations With Most Transmissions:
#1 Rave On Radio (85)
#2 Radio True North (82)
#3 Captain Morgan (81)
#4 Undercover Radio (79)
#5 Radio Ga Ga (66)
#6 Blue Ocean Radio (62)
#7 Wolverine Radio (51)
#8 Radio Ronin (49)
#9 Red Mercury Labs (42)
#10 WBNY (36)
#11 Turtlehead Radio (33)
#12 WMPR (32)
#13 XFM (23)
#14 Pirate Radio Boston (23)
#15 Renegade Radio (21)
#16 Channel Z (19)
#17 Metro Radio International (18)
#18 The Crystal Ship (18)
#19 WPOD (18)
#20 Big Boobs Radio (15)
#21 Grizzly Bear Radio (15)
#22 Voice of Captain Ron (15)
#23 Northwoods Radio (14)
#24 Toynbee Radio (14)
#25 Radio Bleh Bleh (13)
#26 MAC Shortwave (12)
#27 EAM Guy (11)
#28 Insane Radio (10)
#29 Northern Relay Service (10)
#30 Radio Free Mars Radio (10)
#31 Chamber Pot Radio (9)
#32 Liquid Radio (9)
#33 Radio 2012 International (9)
#34 Radio Free Euphoria (9)
#35 Radio Jamba International (9)
#36 Stone Circles Radio (8)
#37 WFMT (8)
#38 Eccentric Shortwave (7)
#39 All Along The Watchtower Radio (6)
#40 Appalachia Radio (6)
#41 Hot Legs Radio (6)
#42 KPZL (6)
#43 Mushroom Radio (6)
#44 PeePee Vagina (6)
#45 Radio Casablanca (6)
#46 Radio Strange Outpost 7 (6)
#47 WBOG (6)
#48 XLR8 (6)
#49 Pissant Radio (5)
#50 Radio Whatever (5)
#51 The Machine (5)
#52 WEMP (5)
#53 Ann Hoffer Live (4)
#54 CYOT (4)
#55 Radio Vixen International (4)
#56 KAOS (3)
#57 EAM Girl (3)
#58 Hard Tack Radio (3)
#59 KIPM (3)
#60 KMUD (3)
#61 WPON (3)
#62 Cool AM (2)
#63 Dit Dah Radio (2)
#64 Pandora’s Box (2)
#65 Radio Clandestine (2)
#66 Radio KEN (2)
#67 WHYP (2)

Not making this list are stations with only one transmission reported. Also, since the loggings were analyzed with a script, it is possible that
some logs were missed due to misspelling of the station name, etc.

And in reality, in #0 position way at the top, would be:
#0 UNID (534)

As you can see, there are a lot of UNID stations reported. Many of these are short test transmissions, or one or two songs played. Some are longer, full length transmissions, with either no attempt at an ID by the operator, or conditions were such that no listener was able to pull out an ID.

It’s worth pointing out, again, that these lists are based on the logs posted on the HFU. There are many reasons why a particular station’s broadcasts occurred but were not reported. The user base of the HFU is heavily centered around the Northeast and Midwest of the US. There could be transmissions from other parts of the country, particularly the West Coast, which are not being reported, because there are too few users from that region. There are also certain stations which some listeners have decided not to publicly log, for a variety of reasons.

Next, we can count the total number of loggings for each station, and see how they rank. Note that this is sensitive to duplicate posts by the same listener for a given transmission, so values for some stations can be inflated:

Stations With Most Loggings:
#1 Undercover Radio (429)
#2 Wolverine Radio (413)
#3 Captain Morgan (382)
#4 Radio True North (357)
#5 Rave On Radio (346)
#6 Radio Ronin (341)
#7 Blue Ocean Radio (288)
#8 Radio Ga Ga (229)
#9 WMPR (195)
#10 Red Mercury Labs (189)
#11 XFM (168)
#12 Turtlehead Radio (129)
#13 Renegade Radio (116)
#14 Channel Z (114)
#15 WBNY (108)
#16 Metro Radio International (96)
#17 Pirate Radio Boston (88)
#18 WPOD (74)
#19 The Crystal Ship (70)
#20 Big Boobs Radio (69)
#21 Grizzly Bear Radio (69)
#22 Radio 2012 International (62)
#23 Northwoods Radio (55)
#24 MAC Shortwave (54)
#25 Voice of Captain Ron (54)
#26 Toynbee Radio (53)
#27 EAM Guy (50)
#28 Radio Bleh Bleh (46)
#29 Liquid Radio (45)
#30 Radio Jamba International (45)
#31 Radio Free Mars Radio (45)
#32 WFMT (38)
#33 Hot Legs Radio (38)
#34 Radio Vixen International (38)
#35 Northern Relay Service (37)
#36 KAOS (34)
#37 Ann Hoffer Live (34)
#38 Radio Strange Outpost 7 (34)
#37 Mushroom Radio (33)
#40 Eccentric Shortwave (31)
#41 All Along The Watchtower Radio (31)
#42 Radio Casablanca (31)
#43 Insane Radio (29)
#44 XLR8 (28)
#45 KPZL (27)
#46 Appalachia Radio (27)
#47 Radio Whatever (27)
#48 KIPM (26)
#49 Radio Free Euphoria (26)
#50 WBOG (22)
#51 The Machine (22)
#52 Chamber Pot Radio (21)
#53 Pissant Radio (21)
#54 Hard Tack Radio (20)
#55 PeePee Vagina (20)
#56 Stone Circles Radio (19)
#57 Dit Dah Radio (15)
#56 Pandora’s Box (11)
#57 WEMP (10)
#58 WPON (10)
#59 KMUD (8)
#60 CYOT (7)
#61 WHYP (7)
#62 Radio KEN (7)
#63 EAM Girl (6)
#64 Cool AM (4)
#65 Radio Clandestine (4)

In general, the stations that transmitted the most, were reported the most. The largest exception to this rule is Wolverine Radio, which is #7 for total broadcasts, but #2 for total reception reports. Wolverine is often noted with a very strong signal, this may count for some of the larger ratio of reception reports to transmissions.

In fact, we can produce a table of the ratio of reports to transmissions for stations (with more than 10 transmissions, to reduce errors due to insufficient data). Stations with a high ratio have a lot of listeners per transmission, stations with a low ratio have few listeners per transmission:

8.10 Wolverine Radio
7.30 XFM
6.96 Radio Ronin
6.09 WMPR
6.00 Channel Z
5.52 Renegade Radio
5.43 Undercover Radio
5.33 Metro Radio International
4.72 Captain Morgan
4.65 Blue Ocean Radio
4.60 Big Boobs Radio
4.60 Grizzly Bear Radio
4.55 EAM Guy
4.50 Red Mercury Labs
4.50 MAC Shortwave
4.35 Radio True North
4.11 WPOD
4.07 Rave On Radio
3.93 Northwoods Radio
3.91 Turtlehead Radio
3.89 The Crystal Ship
3.83 Pirate Radio Boston
3.79 Toynbee Radio
3.60 Voice of Captain Ron
3.54 Radio Bleh Bleh
3.47 Radio Ga Ga
3.00 WBNY

The average ratio is 4.75.

If we look at the estimated number of broadcasts by day of week, the results are inline with what we expect, namely that the weekends are most active, with a lull during the middle of the week:

Sunday 485
Monday 205
Tuesday 174
Wednesday 173
Thursday 173
Friday 320
Saturday 551

However, even the days in the middle of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) have some level of pirate activity, about 3 or 4 transmissions per day. This is a very high level of activity as compared to what I remember from the 1980s and even the 1990s. Back then, weekday transmissions were much less common.

Breaking down the activity by month, we see there is some variation, with the busiest month, December (as we’d expect, with all the holidays) a little less than twice as active as the slow months in the Spring:

January 172
February 152
March 148
April 217
May 151
June 160
July 182
August 153
September 148
October 211
November 139
December 248

Looking at the transmitting modes used, AM and USB are virtually tied, with USB having a slight edge. The other modes are literally noise, with a small handful of reports. There’s a significant number of logs where no mode was reported, but it is virtually certain that either AM or USB was used:

AM 822
USB 849
LSB 21
CW 29
FM 21
SSTV 65
UNKNOWN 274

And what about the choice of transmission frequency? 6925 is the big winner, accounting for over half, and close to two thirds, of the logged broadcasts. If you add in the logs for 6924 kHz, which no doubt are pirates trying to end up on 6925 but who have a crystal or VFO that is slightly off, you end up with an even larger total. Clearly, if you can only monitor one pirate frequency, 6925 is the one:

6240 kHz: 4
6850 kHz: 5
6899 kHz: 9
6900 kHz: 12
6920 kHz: 5
6924 kHz: 82
6925 kHz: 1343
6926 kHz: 7
6927 kHz: 6
6929 kHz: 5
6930 kHz: 132
6932 kHz: 4
6933 kHz: 8
6935 kHz: 75
6940 kHz: 47
6945 kHz: 24
6949 kHz: 6
6950 kHz: 104
6951 kHz: 11
6955 kHz: 39
11428 kHz: 5
15070 kHz: 16

There are still a significant number of transmissions on other frequencies, with 6930 and 6950 being the most popular. 6955, which at one time was the most used pirate frequency in North America, is now down to 6th place, lower than the number of broadcasts by ops on 6925 kHz with a off frequency crystal.

Your comments, questions, and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

A Very Busy Christmas Weekend/Eve For Pirates

Here’s what folks have been hearing since Friday night. 41 different North American pirate radio transmissions so far, a total of 163 loggings, and it’s not even Christmas yet!

A big thank you to the operators for their shows, and the listeners for their reports.

All of these loggings can be viewed at the HF Underground

Pirate Radio Boston 6925 AM 1945 UTC December 24, 2012
WBNY 6240 AM 1604 UTC December 24, 2012
Eccentric Shortwave 6930 USB 1529 UTC December 24, 2012
Channel Z 6925 AM 1400 UTC December 24, 2012
UNID 6925 USB 1455 UTC December 24, 2012
Metro Radio International 6975 AM 1323 UTC December 24, 2012
Radio Ronin 6920 AM 1308 UTC December 24, 2012
Northwoods Radio 6925 USB 1200 UTC December 24, 2012
Channel Z 6925 AM 0427 UTC December 24, 2012
UNID 6955 AM 0212 UTC December 24, 2012
Rave On Radio 6925 USB 0200 UTC December 24, 2012
Radio GaGa 6925 USB 0140 UTC December 24, 2012
Radio Appalachia 6935 AM 0125 UTC December 24, 2012
Dit Dah Radio 6925 USB 0025 UTC December 24, 2012
Dit Dah Radio 6935 USB 2156 UTC December 23, 2012
WBNY 6913.34 AM 2150 UTC December 23, 2012
WKND 6924.6 AM 2148 UTC December 23, 2012
Metro Radio International 6925 AM 2008 UTC December 23, 2012
WEDG The Edge 1610 AM 1700 UTC December 23, 2012
Pirate Radio Boston 6925 AM 1612 UCT December 23, 2012
Pirate Radio Boston 6950 AM 1610 UTC December 23, 2012
Pirate Radio Boston 6925 AM 1805 UTC December 23, 2012
Channel Z 6925 AM 1346 UTC 23 December 23, 2012
1720 KHz “The Big Q” 0509 UTC December 23, 2012
Channel Z 6925 AM 0405 UTC December 23, 2012
WPOD 6925 USB 0130 UTC December 23, 2012
Wolverine Radio 6925 USB 0048 UTC December 23, 2012
Toynbee Radio 6925 AM 2258 UTC December 22, 2012
Monkey Mayan Memorial Radio 6925 AM 2222 UTCDecember 22, 2012
UNID 6950 USB 2218 UTC December 22, 2012
UNID 6924.7 Khz AM 2215 UTC December 22, 2012
Toynbee Radio 6925 AM 2131 UTC December 22, 2012
Pirate Radio Boston 6949.39 AM 2015 UTC December 22, 2012
UNID 6935 AM 1902 UTC December 22, 2012
Pirate Radio Boston 6949.39 AM 1355 UTC 2December 22, 2012
Rave On Radio 6925 USB 1241 UTC December 22, 2012
The Big Q 1720 & 1710 AM 0525 UTC December 22, 2012, 2208 UTC
Captain Morgan Shortwave 6950.7 AM 0240 UTC December 22, 2012
UNID 6925 AM 0225 UTC December 21, 2012
UNID 6924 AM 0203 also 6929 AM 0207 December 22, 2012
Insane Radio 6925 AM 0121 UTC December 22, 2012
Insane Radio SSTV 6925 AM 0021 UTC December 22, 2012