Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Global HF Weekend coming up in a few days!

Halloween evening was awesome! We had somewhat average activity here in North America over the weekend leading up to it, but the day of 10/31 through the night of 11/1 UTC was fantastic. A big thank you to all of the stations who made Halloween evening (and some of the other days) a blast by the receiver. And, as some people have mentioned, there isn't a lot on shortwave to get excited about these days, but on Monday night, 43 meters was a blast. BTW, Chris Smolinski summarized the weekend activities on his blog.

Halloween is over but the fun is not. This weekend coming up is the first revival of the Global HF Weekend. I wrote about it in the October issue of The Spectrum Monitor. If you aren't subscribed and are interested, check here.

Here's what I wrote about the Global HF Pirate Weekend:

DXers love tuning in long-distance stations. Pirates love to experiment and be heard across long distances and in obscure places. Dating back to the late 1970s, some stations, such as RX4M and Radio Confusion, announced tests on high frequencies. The latter broadcasts were regularly publicized in FRENDX (now NASWA) and some of the European radio newsletters, bringing in many reports from two continents.

The problem with announcing tests in advance is that it can make a pirate more susceptible to an enforcement action, whether official or vigilante. Although most stations that ran announced tests did so successfully, there are a few examples of stations that ran into problems with enforcement.

On a worldwide scale, the first hugely successful mass tests of pirates were the Global HF Pirate Weekends organized by Finnish DXer Harri Kujala in the early 2010s. Kujala had a fascination with logging stations of all sorts (licensed or not) from foreign cultures. Within the pirate niche, this meant logging hundreds of Dutch and Balkan MW pirates and Irish church services on the CB band. In addition to hardcore DXing of these stations, Kujala even took trips to the Netherlands and Serbia and visited a number of the operators.

Kujala's pirate webpages and blogs attracted radio fans from around the world to read of things like new pirates from Russia and Hungary, and tests from new stations hoping to be heard in distant locations. Finally, he organized what he called the HF Global Pirate Weekend, when he published schedules of different pirates testing on high frequencies. A number of pirates participated and were very successful in reaching listeners in different continents. In particular, Cupid Radio and Borderhunter Radio received a number of reports from listeners in India, Japan, New Zealand/Australia, and countries from the former Soviet Union.

Kujala hasn't updated the pirate portions of his websites for several years and the intercontinental tests have essentially disappeared over that time. But some of those who tuned in or tested have not forgotten.

A few of the operators from those years said “I'm always up for these special tests and experiments. I can't believe the last Global Pirate Weekend was 4 years ago. Time really flies.”

“I always love to do this kind of broadcasts. I was thinking about this two years ago, I got great memories on the weekend from 2012, youtube is filled with clips from the pirates then.”

“Of course, we want to make broadcasts if such a day will be organized.”

Such a day weekend has been scheduled for this year and it's coming up soon, so mark your calendars.

Some of the European hobbyists have been busy contacting others who would be interested and I've e-mailed a lot of people about it as well. I've had listeners from South America, Asia, and Eastern Europe tell me that they were excited about the chance to hear North American stations. Likewise, I think a number of North American listeners would like the chance to hear stations from other continents with hopefully some good signals. Also, if conditions are good, it should enable North American stations from either coast to be well heard on the opposite coast.

That all said, I do plan to mention schedules on the blog if any operators want to let me know in advance. But I will not include the station names. It will be something like: "A station let me know that it will be on Saturday 11/5 from 1500-1600 on 15070 kHz" This system seemed to work when Harri organized the activities. This time, there is no organizer but I'm happy to report what I hear.

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