It doesn't feel like a particularly vintage year for activity - there's seems to be too many automated stations playing just music and jingles without a real person sitting behind a mic.
Also there's plenty of random broadcasts of internet stations (mainly Dutch). But out there are still some stations trying to make entertaining radio and playing music you won't hear on the mainstream radio.
Special mention should go to XTC, Radio Pandora and Radio Pamela who are keeping the spirit of free radio alive with their broadcasts. It was good to see many appearances from XTC this year with his shows.
Bogusman and The Ghoul continue but have gone down the legal route with relays via Channel 292.
Free Radio Service Holland celebrated its 42nd birthday and is one of the few stations which has a roster of shows presented by different DJs. Another station is Laser Hot Hits but their appearances on shortwave have become far and few between.
It was also the year two stations in Ireland were raided - Radio Sovereign and The Vault. This came after interference complaints made by regulators in the UK and Germany.
As for the numbers, in 2022 I logged 125 pirates on shortwave - not including internet relays or the licensed low power stations, like Piepzender.
In 2021 I logged 147 shortwave pirates but this included all of German pirate operator Dr Tim's different stations (23 in 2021). The Doc passed away at the end of 2021.
Some stations made only one or two appearances during the year while others were a regular presence during the past 12 months.
It will be no surprise that the majority of pirates heard were from The Netherlands (77), while in second place was the UK (15) then Germany and Ireland (8 each).
In all 15 countries in Europe saw some shortwave pirate radio activity, including Ukraine where Radio Europe has kept up regular broadcasts on 5835 despite bombardment and power cuts.
This is not an exhaustive list as there will been other stations on the air during the year who I haven't heard, but it is more of a guide.
Country breakdown (2021 figures in brackets):
- The Netherlands 77 (76)
- United Kingdom 15 (13)
- Ireland 8 (8)
- Germany 8 (9)
- Italy 4 (5)
- Unknown 3
- Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine (one each)
** The A to Z of European shortwave pirates can be seen HERE (the link should be fixed now)
Medium wave continues to be active.
In the UK Radio Blackbeard has been regularly heard on 1512 kHz but sometimes faces interference from Dutch pirates wanting to use this channel. Another popular frequency is 1494 where Radio Rock Revolution can be heard in the evenings. Energy Power AM from Dublin moved to old Radio Luxembourg frequency on 1440 while Radio Augusta is on every evening on 1611 with their oldies music, with an offshore feel.
Above 1611, continues to be dominated by Dutch, Greek and Balkan pirates.
Dutch listener AssenDX has put together an A-Z of the Dutch medium wave pirates heard in 2022. You can seen this list on his blog at: https://mgpiraten.blogspot.com/2022/12/middengolf-piraten-ontvangen-in-2022-z.html