Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween QSL Report Vault

Copyright 2010, Gayle Van Horn and Teak Publishing. May not be redistributed.

Halloween Tricks and QSL Treats

Tis the Season ... Of the Witch
Touted as broadcasting from Salem, Massachusetts, Witch City Radio was heard throughout the eastern seaboard, that fateful Halloween night 1993. Scores of others have joined Witch City and you can bet that pirate radio operators are planning this years Halloween broadcast. With this years holiday on Saturday, the ghouls will be haunting the airwaves once again.
The volume of pirate broadcast increases substantially on Halloween and is one of the more popular radio events for pirate fans and operators. Radio activity varies from those that reactivate their station for an annual broadcast, to stations that opt for special programming.
Unfortunately for fans, pirate stations do not adhere to a set broadcasting schedule. Almost all North American pirates are heard on 6925 (AM or USB), plus or minus 30 to 40 kHz. Broadcast hours can be at any time, however the majority of North American pirates operate between 2000-0400 UTC. Pre-Halloween shows are popular too, so begin checking the weekend of the 23-24, as well as Friday the 30th of October.
Various pirates scattered throughout Europe broadcast special Halloween programming, though not on the same scale as the US operators. European activity is best heard in North America from 2100-0200 so begin as early as Friday afternoon on the 30th. Most can be found on 3900-4025 and 5803-7490 upper or lower sideband. Check too on the weekends between 1300-1800 on 15055-15080 kHz. Operators present a variety of programming, usually with a mix of techno, pop, rap, rock or German schlager music.
Most pirates in the U.S. and Europe use mail drops to handle their mail. Letters to the drop are received by a “go-between,” who forwards the letter to the station operator. This method eliminates any trace of where the station is located.
As postal rates increase, a growing number of stations are using email for electronic QSLing. A few stations offer either drop or an email option. Usually the station will include their email address or postal drop announcement during the broadcast. This month’s Email Contact List comprises active stations using email correspondence. Some stations prefer bulletin logs or internet web site reports. The best method for submitting your pirate logs for a verification, is the Free Radio Weekly electronic newsletter. Produced weekly, FRW is devoted to the hobby of pirate listening. Editors alternate duties and distribute the electronic newsletter free to those who contribute. Newsletters focus on logs of the previous week, station news and of course QSLing. To request a sample or contribute to the FRW, send your email to For additional pirate news, programming, and the Pirates Week Podcast link, Radnar Daneskjold runs the Shortwave Pirate Info website at . Programming is biweekly and covers general pirate news.
Some pirate operators also verify by regularly scanning the logs posted on the Free Radio Network website at for potential QSLing, so be sure to include "please QSL" in your post. The site includes a Pirate Radio Photos & QSLs photo link of nearly 20 years from unlicensed stations.

Pirate operators may release special QSL cards for their Halloween broadcast. Former broadcaster He-Man Radio, broadcasting in upper sideband as “the manliest of modes,” pictured He-Man lifting an oversized pumpkin on his shoulders. Tommy Pickles from Radio Halloween graced his veries with tombstones and bats, and a photo of a lighted jack-o-lantern.
Fans can only speculate on who will grace the airwaves this year. Will Voice of the Purple Pumpkin or Voice of Halloween revive their shows ? Maybe Ann Hoffer Radio will revive last years Werewolves of London or the Door’s People are Strange on 6925AM around 2200 UTC.

Tis the season ...of the Witch
(Gayle Van Horn, QSL Report, Monitoring Times)