by Nemesis of Radio Doomsday and Captain Eddy of The Radio Airplane Frequencies
The shortwave spectrum is a big place and each part of it has different characteristics. Knowing where you are and what to expect is a BIG part of successful broadcasting. The services and users on shortwave is staggering, but for all the activity there are selected parts of the spectrum where a Pirate and his Transmitter might find a listening audience!Groups of frequencies that support a particular service have traditionally been assigned a METER BAND designation that is the wavelength of those frequencies and can be used as a “generic” designation to refer to any or all frequencies of a particular band. I have researched pirate activity on the Shortwave bands and based on the usage patterns I am presenting, quite possibly for the first time, a complete list of “Pirate Bands” with unique and accurate Meter band designators. I hope that these are used and adopted by Broadcasters and Listeners.
Medium and Shortwave Pirate Bands
METER BAND FREQ. RANGE NOTES
185 Meters 1610-1640 kHz The expansion of the Broadcast Band to 1700 kHz
will see these traditional frequencies lost or
pirates may move to 1710 – 1750kHz.
90 Meters 3400-3500 kHz Some North American pirates have been testing
here recently, conditions on this band will be
best in the winter.
76 Meters 3900-4000 kHz Popular in Europe. NOT recommended for use in
74 Meters 4000-4100 kHz Not much activity in the Past.
51 Meters 5700-5900 kHz Used occasionally.
48 Meters 6200-6400 kHz Popular in Europe and used somewhat by North
45 Meters 6400-6800 kHz see 48 Meters.
43 Meters 6800-7000 kHz Majority of North American activity is taking
place in the vicinity of 6955 kHz.
41 Meters 7300-7500 kHz 7415, 7445 and 7465 still see activity.
38 Meters 7500-8000 kHz Sporadic Activity Europe & North America.
32 Meters 9300-9500 kHz Europe & North America Active here.
30 Meters 9900-10000 kHz Europe & North America Active here.
26 Meters 11400-11500 kHz Europe & North America Active here.
22 Meters 13900-14000 kHz Europe & North America Active here.
20 Meters 15000-15100 kHz Europe & North America Active around 15050.
19 Meters 15500-15700 kHz
14 Meters 21450-21500 kHz Good place to experiment with new frequencies!
11 Meters 25900-27000 kHz It’s a jungle out there!
And there you have it! There are also a lot of isolated frequencies that see use like 12255 Khz. Radio Clandestine was the first and others have followed by operating inside the Shortwave Broadcast bands as well.
Survival Tip – Unless you are crazy, DO NOT operate your station in a Amateur Band! Not only will you be jammed but in all likelihood the FCC WILL BE notified within minutes! If you want to draw the WRONG kind of attention to yourself, this is the best way!
With all these frequency choices it looks like picking a spot to set up shop could be a daunting task. Not so, simply look and listen to where others are being heard and try these frequencies.
Success Tip – When choosing a frequency to use, monitor it for several days to determine who or what might be using it. A clear frequency is a good frequency!
For beginning pirates, I suggest that you attempt 41 Meters to start with. Don’t worry about the other bands yet. 41 is the easiest to start out with and has the least interference potential and biggest listening audience. You also will probably not have to modify your transmitter in any way to get going on 41 and if your just starting out, keeping things simple and easy as possible will help you greatly. It is difficult enough just getting on the air! With time and experience under your belt, you will develop the skills and confidence to tackle the other bands! For intermediate pirates, give 87, 74, 43, 22, or 14 Meters a try! Most of these bands can be hit without having to modify your amateur transmitter in any way.