During the 1980s, I recorded many American pirate radio stations on cassette tape and actively traded tapes with other DXers. A slow and long process of transferring these cassettes to MP3 was undertaken a few years ago with many more tapes left to digitize. Below are stations that I have recorded and archived, with more to follow as time permits to process them. The quality varies from decent to down right horrible (depending on band conditions at the time, recording media, etc.), but nonetheless they are presented here for historical purposes. All recordings were made from a ca.1986 GE “World Monitor” shortwave receiver and a simple longwire antenna by me unless where noted.
More recent off-air recordings are also featured at the bottom of this page recording off my Microtelecom Perseus SDR receiver and BOG antenna.
1980s Pirate Radio Off- Air Archive:
Action Radio – 7416 kHz – December 25th, 1990 – 2320 UTC
Noted as the last entry in my pirate logbook, Action Radio’s Christmas Eve broadcast started out with a nice clear signal in this recording and gradually faded down by sign-off time (note the Cheers theme song that Action Radio used for a sign-off).
Celtic Nation Radio – 7416 kHz – October 31st, 1988 – 0245 UTC
Hope you like Irish folk songs!
Free Radio One – 7415 kHz – June 15th, 1989 – 0244-0305 UTC
“Free Radio One” was a very active shortwave pirate during the late 1980s. Classic shortwave anti-government ramblings using an interview format was the norm for this “Christian Patriot” station.
Hope Radio Int’l. & Others – 7415 kHz – December 25th, 1990 – approx 2340 UTC
This clip picks up where Action Radio (transmission above) left off, revealing a weaker station playing music down on 7410. The killer heterodyne that you’ll hear is coming from Hope Radio Int’l. up on 7415 seeking a two-way pirate QSO and later getting yelled at by another operator for causing QRM to the 7410 station. Note the massive signal from Hope Radio, probably a kilowatt or more. At about minute 7:30 in the clip I start shortwave dial spinning- sort of interesting in itself hearing some of the SW broadcasters from this time. The clip ends with two other pirate ops in a QSO, one possibly CEPR “Experimental Propagation Radio”.
KBFA – 8002 kHz – September 5th, 1987 – 0305 UTC More KBFA with 80s music “blowing the doors off WRNO”, or so the op claimed. Note the unusual frequency used. I have to admit the signal was pretty strong starting out!
KBFA – 7400 kHz – November 27th, 1987 – 1618 UTC
Calling themselves the “Broadcasters of Free America”, this pirate usually operated on the odd frequency of 8000 Khz and solicited reception reports to the Pirates Den column in Popular Communications magazine. This drove the column editor nuts and frustrated me since I could never get a QSL from these guys. KBFA played a good mix of 80s pop music and the station ops went by the name of “The Archer” & “Corona”. As noted here, KBFA also operated near 7400 Khz and used the slogans “AM 74” & “AM 8000” depending on the frequency used during a broadcast. KBFA claimed they were broadcasting at 200 watts.
KBFA – 7415 kHz – March 10th, 1990 – 0002 UTC
A rough reception, but also my last off-air recording of KBFA from 1990.
KPLU – time/date/frequency unknown – circa 1990
Short 2 minute clip of KPLU (?) broadcasting in SSB.
Radio Angeline – 7418 kHz – June 24th, 1989 – 0313-0353 UTC
Another 80s pirate gem in the form of “Radio Angeline” as heard here with their chilling Send In The Clowns music box interval signal, poetry readings set to odd background music, and other weirdness.
Radio Clandestine – 3445 kHz – September 26th, 1987 – 0423 UTC
Station op “RF Burns” operating here at the top of the 90 meter band with his classic anti hum-drum programming style.
Radio Clandestine – time/date/frequency unknown – should have kept better records
This short clip contains Radio Clandestine signing off, possibly continued from the broadcast noted above.
Radio Clandestine – 7415 kHz – September 5th, 1988 – 0546 UTC
More R.C. goodness, recorded off my GE World Monitor and random wire antenna – enjoy!
Radio Comedy Club International – 7414 kHz – June 27th, 1989 – 0202-0232 UTC
Radio Comedy Club International was another active pirate during the late 80s that I caught a few times. As usual, I had the recorder running when I caught this scratchy summer reception of RCCI.
Radio Free Euphoria / WREC – time/date/frequency unknown – circa 1993
30 second clip with nice ID “Broadcasting to the world, or at least some small part of it…”
Radio Free Willy – 7415 kHz – October 30th, 1988 – 0121 UTC
50 minutes of RFW with political humor and music with a nice signal.
Radio Mauser Worldwide – 7415 kHz – December 12th, 1987 – 8:05 PM EST
A discombobulated show to say the least during this broadcast. At one point it sounded like a QSO between Mouser and other op, and other times just endless ramblings. I stripped out the IDs and produced a short clip so that I have them “on record”.
Radio North Coast International – 3445 kHz- November 1st, 1987 – 0520 UTC
Captain Willy’s well polished RNCI shortwave Halloween Special / Phil Spector Special. Classic shortwave pirate parody programming at its finest. Nice signal received.
Radio USA – 7475 kHz – October 30th, 1989 – 0003 UTC
12 minutes of classic Mr. Blue Sky punk music and skits in this off-air recording.
Secret Mountain Laboratory – unknown date/time/frequency – circa 1987
A rough cut here of a SML shortwave broadcast.
The Crooked Man – 7416 kHz – October 16th, 1988 – 1947 UTC
Crazy rants by the Crooked Man himself in this clip with a good selection of music to balance the program out.
The Voice of Free Long Island – 7415 kHz -December 24th, 1987 – 2226 UTC
The VOFLI began operations in 1987 on Long Island, NY. using 100w and described itself as a politically conservative pirate supporting such causes as the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters and the Afghan Freedom Fighters. Though conservatively focused, the VOFLI also played pop music at times, as in this clip, and took live phone calls from DXers. In this clip you’ll hear the op take a live call from yours truly, though problems with the station’s phone patch prevented the telephone call from being heard over the air. The station’s op went by the handle of “The General” and was a licensed 21 year old ham radio operator at the time of this broadcast. Interestingly, some of the early VOFLI QSL cards were the op’s ARRL sanctioned cards with a label simply stuck over the ham’s call letters!
The Voice of Free Long Island – 7415 kHz – March 19th, 1988 – 0430 UTC
VOFLI with a new feature called “DX Darren” with SWL and DX tips. If you can imagine Cliff Clavin from Cheers reading DX tips, then you get the idea…
The Voice of the Purple Pumpkin – 15038 kHz – October 29th, 1989 – 2143 UTC
A familiar name in pirate radio history, the operator in this clip claims to be the original VOTPP during this special Halloween broadcast, about 17 minutes in length.
WBST – 6210 kHz – October 28th, 1989 – 0412-0421 UTC
On October 28th, 1989 I logged an old Halloween favorite, pirate radio station “WBST” on 6210 kHz at 0412 UTC. Here’s a scratchy off-air recording of that reception including a nice ID.
WBLO – 7420 kHz – October 23, 1988 – 0134 UTC
Another historical shortwave pirate, WBLO. My orignal notes indicate this WBLO transmission was relayed by Radio Clandestine. This clip is rather short as the rest is pretty unlistenable due to poor conditions.
WDOG – 7415 kHz – October 10th, 1987 – 0014 UTC
Perhaps the only broadcast (and logging) of this shortwave pirate calling itself “WDOG” testing and playing a string of songs by Gary Numan.
WFIX – 7445 kHz – August 10th, 1988 – 2215 UTC
“Fix It Radio” seemed mostly preoccupied with playing their interval signal, so much so that I had to crop about 10 minutes of it out. Check out the cool spook signal that’s clearly heard when the op leaves the air!
WGAT – 7415 Khz – December 31st, 1987 – 0202 UTC
From deep in the Dismal Swamp of Eastern Virginia comes WGAT – GATOR RADIO! Though more music based, I always enjoyed hearing Dr. Klystron’s voice coming over the airwaves. The station claimed to be using a 1956 commercial RCA 500 watt transmitter and a half wave dipole supported from two cyprus trees.
WGAT – 7415 Khz – December 31st, 1987 – 0331 UTC
Gator Radio returned later in the evening on New Years Eve for a second broadcast as heard here.
WLIS – unknown date/time/frequency – circa 1990
Short sample of “We Love Interval Signals” in this clip broadcasting in SSB.\
World Mission Radio (WMR) via Radio Caroline – 6215 kHz – August 6th, 1988 – 0500 UTC
Radio Caroline, aboard the MV Ross Revenge, relayed World Mission Radio (WMR) during the evening hours as heard in this clip from 1988. Aside from some mild summer static, reception is pretty good.
WXOR – 7418 kHz – April 3rd, 1988 – 0152 UTC
“Captain Bottle Cap” & “Pull Tab Hunter” playing Elton John and others while broadcasting in Satan sideband.
WPN – unknown date/time/frequency – circa 1989
Three minute clip of WPN with anthem and nice YL ID and “first ever color pirate shortwave broadcast”.
WYMN Woman’s Radio – 7430 kHz – November 7th, 1987 – 1712 UTC
Probably the world’s first feminist pirate radio station. This short clip contains some local QRN but the ID is clearly heard under the noise.
Zeppelin Radio Worldwide – 7416 kHz – July 11th, 1987 – 0100 UTC
I had the recorder running for what turned out to be my first ever pirate catch back in 1987 that netted a classic ZRW QSL card (and business card, and paper bookmark).
Pirate Radio Off- Air Archive, 2011-present:
Just placeholders, work in progress, check back soon!
Metro Radio International
Pirate Radio Saint Helena
The Big Q (1710 kHz) Clips
Undercover Radio Clips
X-FM Stereo Shortwave Clips