A look at the world of shortwave free radio
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Soul of England is a shortwave pirate heard broadcasting from the UK
WHERE TO FIND FREE RADIO STATIONS
Most stations can be found in specific parts of the shortwave spectrum.
76 metres: 3900-3945/4010-4100 kHz:
This is popular with European pirates, especially in the evenings when skip is longer, and during the day in winter months.
60 metres: 4700-5150 kHz:
Once this band was full of stations from Africa, Asia and South America but not now. This part of the band has become increasingly popular with pirate stations such as Charleston Radio on 5140 and Mystery 21 around 4870.
52 metres: 5780-5840 kHz:
European pirates can also be found here, overspill from 48 metres.
48 metres: 6200-6400 kHz:
This is a prime area for the Euro-pirates, especially at weekends, although some are also using the 49 metre broadcast band
47-42 metres: 6400-6900 kHz:
Other pockets of pirate activity occur in this area ... in particular between 6400 & 6450 and around 6850. Stations often pop up wherever they find a clear frequency
43 metres: 6900-7000 kHz:
This area tends be mostly used by North American pirates, but is also used by some Euro-pirates.
39 metres: 7500-7750 kHz:
Unreliable propagation means this band isn't widely used but some Euro-pirates can be heard here.
Others also can be heard on higher shortwave frequencies ... such as 9290, 12256, 15070 among others.
Very few operate to fixed schedules and will just come on air when they feel like it. Weekends are the busiest times, especially Sunday mornings in Europe. Some can be heard outside these frequencies.
A good source for finding out which stations are on air is the popular Pirate Radio Chat where stations and DXers chat about all things pirate radio. Go to: https://xat.com/PirateRadio2011
What can you expect to hear:
The vast majority of European pirates come from the Netherlands, although there are also active stations in Germany, UK, Scandinavia and Italy and other European countries. The main diet is music - pop, rock, dance, schlager, polka, indie. Some of the programmes are pre-recorded, others transmitted live. Power used ranges from a few watts to up to 1kW (or more sometimes!).
Many will issue QSLs for correct reception reports. See the QSL Gallery section for QSLs I've received over the years.
The Links page has many links to websites with logs, information and other useful resources for the DXer.
So, happy hunting!
- Apr 27 2023: QSL Gallery - Soul of England, Undercover Radio, Radio Intersound
- Apr 19 2023: Addresses - Radio Avia, Soul of England
- Feb 12 2023: QSL Gallery - ABC Germany
- Jan 31 2023: QSL Gallery - Blue Moon Radio, Hobby Broadcasting Radio
- Jan 8 2023: Addresses - GTMR; QSL Gallery - Radio Batavia, Radio Intersound
- Dec 30 2022: QSL Gallery - Speedwing Radio, Premier Radio Int
- Nov 6 2022: QSL Gallery - GTMR, Radio Cuckoo
- Oct 2 2022: Addresses - Sweet Rock n Roll Radio
- Sept 19 2022: QSL Gallery - XTC
- Aug 27 2022: QSL Gallery - Enterprise Radio, Premier Radio Int, Bogusman
- Aug 20 2022: QSL Gallery - Radio Intersound
- Aug 6 2022: Addresses - Cold Beer Radio, Radio Anthony; QSL Gallery - Cold Beer Radio
- Jul 24 2022: Addresses - Radio Pigeon
- Jul 10 2022: QSL Gallery - Premier Radio Int, Radio Intersound
- Jun 12 2022: Addresses - Radio WDR; QSL Gallery - Premier Radio Int, Radio Intersound
- Jun 5 2022: QSL Gallery - Radio Central Bohemia
- May 30 2022: Addresses - Radio Central Bohemia; QSL Gallery - Radio Intersound
- May 15 2022: QSL Gallery - Radio Anthony; Addresses - Radio Europe (Ukr)
- May 9 2022: QSL Gallery - Star Radio, Radio Universe, Radio Afterburner; Addresses - Radio Vliegende Hollander