iPhone/iPad/iPod app to decode ALE Automatic Link Establishment
There’s been a rather dubious claim of pirate radio being destroyed. And the fun being taken out of it. Again. This concerned me very much, as I’ve been listening to pirate radio stations since 1978, and I’m pretty sure that it’s still fun. I turned on the radio, tuned to 6925 kHz, and sure enough, I didn’t hear any pirate radio, just static. Granted, it was one in the afternoon. If only I was living in New Zealand, then I’m sure I would have heard something.
Just to be sure, I decided to look at the last year or so to see how many pirate stations have been reported on the HFUnderground.com pirate loggings message board each month. Being as the HFU is the “original, most-viewed, reliable, blazingly fast, respected, loved, and imitated Pirate Radio site on the Net”.
Here’s what I came up with:
January 100 February 87 March 81 April 104 May 81 June 36 July 56 August 60 September 83 October 135 November 150 December 197 January 172 February 130 March 93 (as of March 23, so I'd estimate we'll end up with about 125 for the whole month)
There’s an average of about five messages per logging thread. So multiply the above numbers by five if you want to know approximately how many people reported hearing a pirate transmission on the HFU during each month.
You can certainly see the drop in activity over the summer, presumably because the bands are noisy from thunderstorms, and people have better things to do than sit in front of the radio and listen to static.
And there’s a big peak around the end of the year holidays. No surprise there, as there’s lots of once a year stations that pop up that time of the year. All operated by the same six old white guys that operate 99 44/100% of the pirate stations that we hear anyway.
Looking at these statistics, I’m not sure how someone can claim that pirate radio has been destroyed. The number of reported loggings for January and February 2012 are about 60% higher than those months from the previous year. And it looks like March will be up by about the same amount. Graphing the number of loggings shows a clear increase over time. By using a linear trend fit, much like Al Gore does with temperature measurements, it is pretty clear that by 2020, there will be millions of pirate radio loggings on the HF Underground every month. The sheer number of eQSLs being sent out will probably cause the entire internet to go down:
Alternately, one could claim that the numbers are only higher because people have been flocking to the HFU. Hmm… no, I don’t think he’ll claim that.