Bonus Track - WARG Pirate Radio 1980

1980 was a red hot year for Pirate radio in North America - it was something of a new phenomenon for many listeners - many of whom did not appreciate the newcomer to the highly organized SW spectrum. The likes of Voice of the Voyager, KVHF and the Voice of Clipperton (RX4M) ruffled many a feather. Here is a sample of a short lived pirate on 6960 Khz in AM Mode - soon to be over run by sideband operators.

This one was received on my DX150B on April the 20th, 1980.
 

San Francisco - October 17, 1989 at 5:04 p.m.

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred in Northern California on October 17 at 5:04 p.m. local time. The shock was centered in The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park approximately 10 mi (16 km) northeast of Santa Cruz on a section of the San Andreas Fault System and was named for the nearby Loma Prieta peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. With a moment magnitude of 6.9 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), the shock was responsible for 63 deaths and 3,757 injuries. The Loma Prieta segment of the San Andreas Fault System had been relatively inactive since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (to the degree that it was designated a seismic gap) until two moderate foreshocks occurred in June 1988 and again in August 1989.

Like many people I was watching the game but quickly started tuning the amateur radio bands and KGO San Francisco on 810 Khz the moment the sun started to sink on the horizon. I have about 1/2 hour or more of live audio from KGO that evening and the following evening. Here is some of the most breath taking audio from shortly after the quake.


The Voice of Chile - 1979 - received in Victoria B.C. Canada

The 70's were a tumultuous time in Chile but one of the more positive things to come out of that era was a powerful and professional sounding National voice under the Pinochet regime. The Voice of Chile was a byproduct of that era and I was blessed to find a very clean recording of them from the Spring of 1979. Received on the west coast on my DX150B and a simple inverted-L antenna - recorded on an old mono cassette recorder from Sears that was bought in 1971!

Radio Korea from July the 3rd 1977

Living here on the West coast, I have always been fascinated by Asia - particularly the coastal Asian countries of Korea, Japan, Vietnam and China - in part because we are only separated by a vast salt water ocean between us.

And countries like Korea fascinate me even more because of the intricate, complicated and often globally impactful instabilities that occur in the region on a regular basis. In this recording I capture the essence of the Korean broadcasting centre in Seoul, Korea. Professionally produced, the media out of Korea during the late 70's was on a par with any other broadcaster on the World stage - in stark contrast to what was coming out of Pyongyang to the North (featured in future recordings!)

Enjoy this snippet recorded on a 1973 DX150B receiver attached to an inverted-L antenna in my backyard - in a quieter time where the only interference was from an old TV set or a furnace motor!

 

Ian McFarland on NHK Tokyo in 1995

Ian McFarland (who is retired and living on Vancouver Island) had a long and illustrious career with Radio Canada - but wrapped up his career in international broadcasting with NHK in Japan.

On September 11, 1995 Canadian DXer, Dr. Walter Salmaniw, caught this media broadcast on NHK with Ian interviewing program developer and budget director, James Atherton from the Voice of America. The program is Media Round-up which Ian was responsible for. This snippet starts a little rough but improves significantly during the edit. Ironically, the subject of the interview was the decline of shortwave broadcasting budgets!

The rare 5 day existence of DXCR on 2654 Khz: September 11th, 1975

Hello! I am Colin Newell, the new editorial assistant to Thomas Witherspoon of SWLing.com.

I have been DXing and SWLing since 1971 and have amassed something of an unusual audio archive going back to around 1975. In the upcoming months I will be sharing many of these snippets with our readers. Enjoy!

On September 11th, 1975 while tuning around for Papua New Guinea stations on my DX150B, I discovered a loud signal on 2654 Khz - playing bouncy big band and instrumental music. Much to my amazement, many station ID's would soon pop out of the noise. This would turn out to be one of the shortest lived shortwave broadcasters ever!

I believe I phoned a few DXer's out west to report this station but this is one of the only known recordings of this 2 X harmonic of a Philippines religious station (that had only been on the air 2 or 3 years. The 2nd harmonic on the "120 meter band" would live for another couple of days and be gone forever. One of the joys of Short-wave listening that has captivated me all these years is the pure randomness and unpredictability of the experience.

Like a box of chocolates... you never know what you are going to get!

Radio Sultanate of Oman: February 5, 2016

Live, off-air, approximately one-hour recording of the Radio Sultanate of Oman English Service on 5 February 2016 beginning at 13:59:36 UTC on a shortwave frequency of 15140 kHz. This service is a relay of the domestic English service on 90.4 MHz in Muscat and is broadcast from a 100 kW transmitter in Thumrait, western Oman, with an antenna beam azimuth of 315°.

The recording begins with music in progress for about 30 seconds or so and then a station identification: "Oman Radio, 90.4 FM." This is followed by the call to evening prayer, using nature-sound music, specifically the track "The Runoff" from Dan Gibson's Solitudes "Rocky Mountain Suite" album. There is no muezzin; just an announcement. Then follows the "6 p.m. News Bulletin." This, in turn, is followed by the program "Jazz Café." The transmission ends abruptly in mid-song at about 15:04:30 UTC. Normally, there would be a switch to Arabic programming at this time but the carrier stayed on without any audio for a number of hours.        

The broadcast was received by the Web-interface wideband software-defined radio at the University of Twente in Enschede, The Netherlands, with a "Mini-Whip" antenna in AM mode with initially 5.09 kHz RF filtering but this was changed after a few seconds to 8.09 kHz. Reception quality was excellent with almost full quieting during audio pauses.

Voice of Korea: January 17, 2016

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Jordan Heyburn, who submits this SoundCloud recording of the Voice of Korea. This broadcast was recorded on January 17, 2016, on 12,015 kHz starting at 15:30 UTC. 

Jordan recorded this broadcast from his home in Armagh, Northern Ireland with his Kenwood R1000 and dipole antenna.  Jordan notes that his reception, unfortunately, does include some heavy RFI (noise/interference).

Radio Denge Kurdistane: September 24, 2015

Radio Denge Kurdistane recorded in London, UK on September 24, 2015 at 1652 UTC, on the frequency of 11600 kHz using SDRPlay with SDR# software and a 2 x 6m long wire dipole. At the start of the recording, the transmission originates from Kostinbrod, Bulgaria. At 1700 UTC that transmission closes, and recommences on the same frequency from Issoudun, France.

Papua New Guinea: December 4, 1978

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Colin Newell, who notes:

December 4, 1978 0800 UTC - one of my most cherished recordings - anything from PNG was a treat and this was at a time (clearly) when their transmitters were running properly.

Colin recorded this broadcast from his home in British Columbia, Canada. It is, indeed, a treat to hear PNG once again:

RX4M - The Voice of Clipperton station ID: Circa Late 1970s

(Source: North American Pirate Radio Hall Of Fame)

(Source: North American Pirate Radio Hall Of Fame)

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Colin Newell, who shares two recordings from the late 1970s of the pirate radio station RX4M The Voice of Clipperton. 

Colin recorded both of these station IDs from British Columbia, Canada, using his cassette recorder. Colin also notes that he may be the only person to have ever recorded RX4M off-air. RX4M was inducted into the North American Pirate Radio Hall Of Fame in 2011.  The following is an excerpt from an article written by Andrew Yoder on the NA Pirate Radio Hall of Fame site :

RX4M (Radio Experiment on 40 Meters) put in more time and hours to overcome obscurity, only to quickly fall back into obscurity, thanks to a pirate-unfriendly location in Washington State. Even by the mid-‘80s, few DXers or pirate listeners had heard RX4M, and few remembered it.
The first difficulty for RX4M to overcome was the poor communications of the late ‘70s. When the station began broadcasting in August 1979, there was no Internet and all DX news either was discovered via monthly bulletin or magazine, meaning a minimum delay of two months for information to be reported. 
The next problem was the Pacific Northwest. At the time, very few shortwave DXers and almost no pirate listeners were located in the region. Some young pirate listeners were networking in southern California, toward Los Angeles, but even that was a long haul from the Seattle area. 
Despite a nightly broadcast schedule and boasting two transmitters (20 and 100 watts), no DXers in either NASWA or the Newark News Radio Club (two of the largest shortwave clubs of the time, and two of the best for pirate news) reported RX4M until April 1980 on 7370 kHz.
The few listeners who remember RX4M know it as possibly the only North American pirate to operate with a regular shortwave station, like a licensed outlet. It was on nightly from *0550-0630* UTC with a variety of programs produced by different station staff: News with Tony Giles, Post Office Box 80 with Aaron Richardson, DX Forum with Mickey Anderson, Let’s Talk Technical with Larry Adams, and the Good Morning Show with Jerry Nelson. Other time slots were filled with old-time radio programs, such as Burns & Allen, Jack Benny, Fibber McGee & Molly, Sherlock Holmes, Fred Harris & Alice Faye.
[...]RX4M, the Voice of Cliperton, was never heard again and no shortwave pirate since has adopted its style. At a time when many DXers were bitterly anti-pirate, many reporters said that RX4M programming sounded very professional. 

BBC World Service report of Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster: January 28, 1986

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, who submits these notes with his timely off-air recording of the BBC World Service from January 28, 1986:

Thirty years ago today the US Space program came crashing down with the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
I was a student at Purdue University at the time, living in a dormitory.
I decided to make some recordings knowing this would be a historic event.
This is a recording I made of the BBC on the evening of Jan 28 (0200 UTC on January 29). The frequency was most likely 5975 kHz or 9590 kHz.  The dorm environment didn't make a great place for SWL reception and the recording is noisy but still of decent quality.
Recorded using a Sony ICF-2001 with a wire attached to a window screen for an antenna.

Click here to download as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below: