It doesn’t matter if you’ve been listening to pirate radio stations for a while now or your just getting started, information is power (as they say). Being more clued up about the whole pirate radio scene (along with whats happening right now), gives a great edge in what is a side of hobby radio that’s ever changing.
Things are looking up for pirate radio at the moment with a large amount of persistent stations taking the time to put out some great content every week. The Internet has also giving them a platform where listeners can throw instant feedback, not only with reception reports, but also to show some love for the music/chat they send our way.
I’ve broke this pirate radio reference blog down into sections to make it easier finding the information your after.
Guides on Listening to Pirate Radio
Knowing when and where to listen for pirate stations saves many frustrating hours sat by the radio just spinning that dial. Depending on your location there’s some excellent available information aimed at those new to the pirate radio scene which cover those all important frequencies, best times to listen and even a run down of the radio equipment that’s going to do the job properly (crucial information to those brand to shortwave radio and can be extended to general HF broadcast use).
How To Tune In Pirate Radio Broadcasts On Shortwave This may be an article from 2014 but it still holds true. Written in an easy manner, its a good grounding for jumping into pirate radio listening.
Pirate Radio Logs
As an addition to the guides on where to listen, its also good to look at other peoples logs, as this give you a clear view on what stations are using certain frequencies and when they’re on the air. There’s a huge amount of websites that publish pirate radio logs, but to get the most up to date information its best to head out to the more consistent ones first.
www.achimbrueckner.de has wall to wall text and audio logs and is one website I class as a great reference tool for pirate radio.
This is a link to the pirate radio logs I’ve added to ShortwaveOTG
Having a well filled stream of logs gives you the chance to look for patterns not only in where the stations are/were but also how propagation affects pirate radio reception at certain times of the day or night.
Pirate Radio Social Networking
Getting social is a great aid to logging stations and will help you to make sense of the mechanics of pirate radio. One thing you’ll notice pretty quickly is that the mainstream social platforms (and forums) are a big point of contact between those who run the pirate radio stations and those who listen.
freeradiocafe.com is very busy forum jam packed with massive amounts of information on pirate radio.
The Pirate Radio on Shortwave has a great chat box on this website that gets real busy during the weekend evenings. Along with many other pirate radio loggers, you’ll also find many pirate radio stations themselves using the chat.
Just make sure you register with the chat and at least say hello because lurkers get kicked off (nobody likes a lurker).
The Software Defined Radio Gift to SWL’s
I bang on a about SDR a LOT and I now don’t know how I could live without it, but there’s no getting away from the benefit for the SWL of being able to see a large chunk of the HF bands at a glance.
This works well for pirate radio as some of the stations have short operating times or can fade up and out very quickly, meaning if your looking elsewhere you can easily miss something you’ve not heard before (or are hunting for).
Although basic SDR doesn’t have to break the bank there’s a more technical learning curve (and the possible need for a modern computer) that should be taken into consideration before setting off down the software defined radio route.
In a try before you buy test, you can check out what software defined radio has to offer by using the collection of web enabled receivers over at websdr.org