Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pirate and Free Radio QSLs from Europe

Listening to Pirate and Free Radios is very popular among European and North American listeners & hobbyists. However, sitting here in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, it is next to impossible to hear these broadcasts. The chief roadblocks are – low powered transmitters (mostly a few wattage of power) and  the broadcast timings (mostly early mornings and late afternoons CET & GMT) which is mid-day to early evening in this part of the world, hence unfavourable day-time propagation on the SW band plays havoc. To add to the tough luck, my QTH is in the busiest part of the city and full of QRM (human-generated interference) from use of everyday electronic gadgets. So it leaves me with no choice but to log and monitor Pirate and Free Radio stations from Europe and North America through remote receivers over an internet connection. The WebSDR at University of Twente, in particular, is my wonder toy! I spend hours listening to Pirate and Free Radio stations operating from the Adriatic to the British Isles and even across the pond from the Appalachians to the Rockies and beyond.

I am amazed to find so much interest in Pirate and Free Radios among listeners at a time when international broadcasters are closing their doors for shortwave radio listeners and dismantling historic transmitting facilities citing lame reasons like lack of funds, lack of listeners, policy change, evolving to a digital only presence and so on. I am into DXing for over 18 years now and I like to enjoy my hobby in all its shades. Having said that I must also confess that nothing beats the sheer charm of slowly turning the tuning knob of radios and adjusting the fine tune/ BW filter to hear voices from across the seven seas! Notwithstanding, Web-SDRs and remote receiver logs are equally fascinating to me. 

With the intention to explore the world of Free Radios and Pirate Radios, I started sending e-reports of my monitoring of Pirate and Free Radio broadcasts since early 2015. I was fascinated to receive my first WebSDR* logged QSL from Radio Geronimo. Then one QSL followed another - Radio Quadzilla, Europa 24, Radio Underground, Radio Merlin InternationalAtlantic 2000 Internationall, and a few more are in the queue.

Radio Geronimo Shortwave QSL, Germany
Quadzilla Radio QSL, East Holland

Europa 24 QSL, Germany

Atlantic 2000 International QSL, Germany

Radio Underground QSL, England

Radio Merlin International QSL, England

Radio Merlin International QSL, England

         Radio Carrierwave QSL, The Nederlands

I must add here that although these are QSLs received after monitoring hours of radio broadcasts (with a Wide Band WebSDR) I would personally consider these as my souvenirs for general listenership. When it comes to ‘real’ QSL hunting and collecting I prefer to remain old school. In the coming months I will keep on adding exotic pirate & free radio mementos to my collection here and will share with you from time to time. Stay connected. 73's