Monday, January 03, 2022

Shortwave pirates heard in 2021

 As we are into a new year, I've done my annual look at the European shortwave pirates heard during the past 12 months. In 2021 I logged 147 shortwave pirates - down slightly from the 153 heard in 2020.

As usual, the most stations came from The Netherlands, with this figure staying quite steady with 76 logged last year compared with 74 in 2020.

The second most active country was the United Kingdom with 13 stations logged, up one from 2020.

Some of the stations were only on air once or twice while others made regular appearances on the free radio bands throughout the year.

One of the most frequent, Charleston Radio International went off air last month with transmitter problems but hopes to be back in the next few months, while another, Laser Hot Hits, has been missing from shortwave for much of the year, although is still continuing online, while Merlin was raided in September and has been off air since but he is also streaming online.

And in November the free radio world mourned the loss of German free radio operator Werner, known as Dr Tim. He broadcast under many different names, as well as his own. Last year I logged 23 of his stations, plus his broadcasts as Radio Dr Tim. 

Some other stations also like to use different names like Johnny Tobacco (Triple L, Abu Dhabi, Black Bandit) and Ronalisa (Ronnie AM, Radio Tesla). 

In 2021 I heard shortwave pirates scattered across 15 European countries.

For this list I haven't included relays of internet or licensed medium wave stations. Also I haven't counted licensed low power stations, like Piepzender, or their relays. This is not an exhaustive list - some stations might have been on air, but I didn't hear them.

The shortwave free radio scene still seems quite healthy, although many of these stations consist of just music and jingles without anyone behind the mic.

The Shortwave Free Radio Memories blog was unhappy about this situation in a recent post:

Country breakdown (2020 figures in brackets)

  • The Netherlands 76 (74)
  • United Kingdom 13 (12)
  • Germany 9 (12)
  • Ireland 8 (9)
  • Italy 5 (9)
  • Unknown 3 
  • Belarus, Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden (one each)
  • Dr Tim stations 23 (not including Radio Dr Tim)

***** For my complete A-Z list of shortwave pirates heard in 2021, click HERE ******

The Dutch medium wave pirate scene continues to thrive with two 2021 round-ups done by the MW Free Radio blog in England and the MG Piraten blog, with both DXers logging more than 200 Dutch pirates during the past 12 months.

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