- June 22, 2003 at 8:15 am #1035761
How To Tune Into Pirate Radio
Pirate stations can be more difficult to receive than legal stations, due to the fact that the legal stations have their aerials on giant masts and towers almost anywhere they like, and pirates are restricted in their transmission sites.
You can hear some pirates on cheap portable radios, but you’ll hear a lot more with a decent tuner and an outside aerial. For instance, I use a Sony RX90 system (R.R.P. £499) to receive, but you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds to hear these stations.
The reason you won’t hear much on cheap radios is because they aren’t designed to be particularly sensitive. You can hear most local legal stations due to their power output and the height of their aerials, but pirates use lower power levels and only have access to sites such as tower blocks and such.
Old transistor based analogue radios are excellent for listening. If you are fortunate to have one, clean it out and make sure there are no dry connections or split tracks on the board. Connect up to an outside aerial, and you’ve got yourself an excellent listening apparatus. If you don’t have one, you can get one quite cheaply from a radio rally. The longer the frequency display is (analogue only), the better, as you can tune more finely.
To hear what there is, you will need :
A good quality tuner, a suitable FM aerial (e.g. Dipole, available from most aerial shops at around £10-20), the required length of coaxial RF lead, to connect your radio with the aerial (RG59 or most types of 75 ohm coax can be used, but best results will be achieved using RG59. It really depends on what impedance your aerial input is) and a connector (usually a TV Plug type. Not more than £1. Maplin order code CC68Y).
It doesn’t really matter what coax you use, as long as it is 75 ohm (TV aerial lead RG59 type) or 50 ohm (RG58 type) to match your aerial. Dipoles will get you the best reception without moving it, as they are omnidirectional.
Now that’s the best way to do it, but if you don’t want to spend that much money here’s an alternative:
A length of wire (any wire will do) and an aluminium rod or something metal to attach it to (e.g. the frame of satellite dish) and a digital Tuner.
That’s the cheap way to do it. The higher the aerial is, the better reception you’ll get. Don’t use several bits of wire together, as this attenuates the signal.
To check if your aerial works, use your standard aerial (wire or telescopic) fully extended (if using wire aerial, pin it to a wall, high up), and find a station with a medium signal strength. Then, attach your aerial to your radio set instead, and listen to the signal. If it gets stronger, the aerial works. If it gets weaker, this means your aerial is acting as an attenuator. Attenuators cut down signals, you’ll need to check it’s connections and cable. Also try repositioning your aerial. Keep your coaxial lead well away from any other wires, whether electrical, audio or other. TVs and PCs also interfere, so move your coax as far away as possible.September 2, 2013 at 9:33 am #1061369
Well, Listening to pirate radio is perfectly legaland and can be heard more clearly due to their power output and the height of their aerials. I’ve installed a 40 meter delta loop which is particularly ideal for pirates radio.September 2, 2013 at 10:15 am #1061370
if the pirates were as powerful as you say then you would not need a delta loop to receive them , and being directional it wouldn’t be much good for TX unless you are wanting to target a certain area.
also in most Commonwealth nations which follow the UK legal system it is technically illegal to listen to pirate radio or even anything else other than licensed broadcasters and amateur bands, but the Communications Ministry in the more stable nations isn’t too bothered about unlicensed reception as most countries have digital encrypted radios for the emergency services and there are no analogue mobile phones used any more.September 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm #1061372
@General Lighting 555763 wrote:
if the pirates were as powerful as you say then you would not need a delta loop to receive themJuly 19, 2014 at 11:05 am #1061371
in the 1980s Adje on the Ross Revenge (Radio Caroline) tried to get 2 x 15 000W MF transmitters on one antenna by modulating the two signals with a big rf-trafo and 50 Hz signal sourced from the 400V ships generator set.
I am no Rf-expert, but couldn’t help but think isn’t that a bit dangerous?
it just about worked at 1 000 W ERP; but when he turned the power up the whole array spectacularly exploded, lots of sparks and shouts of “brand op de brug!” which is really not what you want to hear on board ship at any time. This was in the middle of the Cold War, the resulting electromagnetic pulse would have been picked up in Soviet territory and they would have thought it was some NATO weapon; Ronan’s “cost saving” exercise nearly got us all blown to ash across Europe..
Caroline got turned over by the old bald guys from PTT Netherlands and some of our DTI men, the PTT guys carried Walther pistols (lots of British people thought they were the Navy, but the Dutch Navy only supplied the boat). They pulled the quartz out of the TX and knocked the shit out of the final stage with some sledghammers to ensure that the Ross did not transmit any more signlas of any kind.
It is unusual for telecom engineers to be armed and use heavy force but it is permitted in extreme circumstances (I’m not allowed a firearm in the UK, but I am still allowed to kick a door in to get at a locked enclosure if there is badly defective equipment inside that is causing harmful interference)
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