I don’t know of any pirates that operated during World War II, but the events of the era proved the importance of shortwave radio. Shortwave is sometimes dismissed by the government budget cutters as just a quaint, obsolete medium. Pirates have been dismissed as “kids playing radio.”
But . . . if you read personal accounts of World War II or even watch movies, one of the key points is broadcasting, usually by the BBC. The BBC was the lifeblood of freedom. Even though the Axis controlled the skies of Europe, along with the governments, the press, the roads, and the seas, they could not stop the shortwave radio signals from entering their territory.
Today, the Internet is the information highway. More music, newspapers, magazines, and opinions can be found on the Internet than had been published in any given year ever. But with the click of a button, sites can be removed or blocked. Postings can be traced. And posters can be jailed.
If you travel to North Korea, you won’t be accessing the Internet or your smart phone. You won’t be accessing any unrestricted media, unless you own a shortwave radio. Because Kim Jong Un can stop anything from happening in his country, except he can’t stop Dennis Rodman from making a fool of himself and he can’t stop shortwave signals.
I’m not saying that shortwave radio or pirate radio makes a healthy democracy, but I do feel that it’s a component of one.
* I hate to say it again, but I feel like I have to mention it one last time. I'll have a pirate radio presentation at the HOPE X convention that's being put on by 2600 magazine. It's happening on Friday at 1 PM EDT in in the Frank Olson room on the 18th floor of the Hotel Pennsylvania. I've been spending a lot of time writing the presentation and hoping to not wind up on a YouTube ultimate fails video.
* I'm not sure what to make of the latest Germany Calling station that's been on the air. Have any of the station's announcements been recent or have they all been from the English service of the German Reichssender system during World War II. I heard about 30 minutes of a recent broadcast and heard several Lord Haw-Haw's announcements. But, I've been seeing the station ID'd as "Lord Hee-Haw." I'm not sure if new announcements were added with this different ID or if listeners mis-heard the ID? Regardless, the station was playing WWII-era music by Charlie and His Orchestra. Here's a good set of links to their music, plus some information about their propaganda.
* I've found a bunch of audio of stations that I need to write reception reports to. Sorry to everyone that I've been slow in writing to.