BRISTOL PIRATE RADIO RECORDINGS

This blog is intended for me to post my pirate radio recordings. Most of the recordings are from Bristol, most will be pirate but there will be some legal stations and stations from other cities or national stations.

IF YOU OR YOUR FRIENDS HAVE ANY TAPE RECORDINGS OF PIRATE RADIO FROM BRISTOL, PLEASE SUBMIT THEM TO THIS BLOG BY RECORDING THEM TO MP3 (CLICK HERE FOR A HELP GUIDE) AND UPLOADING THEM TO http://www.sharebee.com, or a similar site such as Megaupload, Mediafire, ZShare, but not Rapidshare as it's getting a bit hard to use. SEND THE URL IT GIVES YOU TO ME VIA A COMMENT ON MY LATEST POST or BY EMAIL AT bristolpirates at gmail.com (you'll have to correct that with the proper @ symbol, I started getting spam on the address). WE COULD ALSO ARRANGE A PICK-UP OF YOUR TAPES IF YOU LIVE IN BRISTOL AND CAN'T CONVERT TAPES TO MP3. THANKS IN ADVANCE, YOU WILL BE CREDITED.

Monday, 2 May 2016

SWU FM - 87.7 MHz - 1st May to 27th May 2016 (RSL)

http://swu.fm/

https://twitter.com/SWUfm

https://www.facebook.com/swu.fm/

In May 2016 SWU will be celebrating Bristol music culture with an exclusive radio station dedicated to the city’s Urban, Electronic & Dance music.

Finally, a decent station in Bristol, if only temporarily.

Unfortunately, I don't think the FM has been set up to work at it's best. This may be an Ofcom ruling that the aerial should be located on a low building or it could just be a lack of decent transmitter site. It could also be lack of experience in setting up.

This signal isn't all that good outside central Bristol. The 10 Watt rig is putting out a stereo signal with RDS 'SWU FM' and the aerial (gold plated dipole from the looks of it) is located on top of Hamilton House in Stokes Croft / Cheltenham Rd, so this is one reason for the poor signal. It's surrounded by hills and taller buildings. The aerial is also only half way up the thick white flag pole it is on, and may do better with the boom fastened at the top of the pole. I had trouble hearing it on my mp3 player's radio once I started heading towards Whiteladies Rd from Park Street, not that far away! I can only just hear it on my SDR setup at home in North Bristol / South Gloucestershire, the signal gets pretty weak by the time you get to Horfield Sports Center (I was using the Tecsun PL310 on the top deck of a bus for this). That said, if you get onto the M32 at Frenchay and travel into Bristol you'll have decent reception on a car radio all the way in. I've not yet explored how well it does going in other directions.

I've been listening on the stream (link below) and I like the pirate sound of the station. No jingles that I've heard, no ads, just back to back shows.

A lot of Bristol legends are involved, Roni, Krust, Die, Jakes, etc...

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Mixcloud updates

I'm slowly getting Will Morgan's archive of Galaxy Radio shows uploaded to my Mixcloud. Loads more to come...

https://www.mixcloud.com/bristolpirates/

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Handbag Heaven (Galaxy 101)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I've just had an email asking if I have any recordings of Handbag Heaven on Galaxy Radio from around 1997/8.

Has anybody else got any? If so, leave a comment below....


Friday, 21 August 2015

North Bristol Bandscan 23rd July 2015 - IQ Files

Here's 5 IQ files covering the complete 87.5 to 108 band taken late July 2015. It's taken a while to upload them as they are 1gig each. They span 8MHz each as they were made at home using my SDRPlay...

https://mega.nz/#F!bd8lxCaC!DxO2rpzvO9jdO7lhQe7W5Q

Sunday, 19 July 2015

SDR IQ Files of London Hyde Park Bandscan 18-07-2015

Why Am I Doing This?

1 - To archive bandscans of the FM dial in different places and different times, in an interactive way (as opposed to just watching somebody else tune through FM on a Tecsun via YouTube)
2 - An experiment to see if anybody else is interested, and try and get other people doing the same thing
3 - I'm insane?

A Lesson In SDR

Software Defined Radio, as a lot of you may already know, allows you to see a chunk of radio spectrum and click on signals to tune into them. It also allows you to record the chunk of spectrum to a huge .wav file called an IQ file. I sat in Hyde Park with a portable SDR set up (thin wire dipole, dongle and Win 8 tablet running SDR# which is free SDR software) and recorded about 17 gigs worth of IQ files covering 87.5 to 108MHz. The dongle is a cheap £15ish Freeview dongle, nothing special. The magic comes in the 3rd party 'Zadig' drivers which allow it to tune from 24MHz upwards. There are even DLLs and mods you can do to go lower into SW, and in some cases into MW. These things aren't perfect, they are wide open to problems from images and they have spurs which look like blank carriers and mess up your reception. They are cheap though, fairly portable, and a proper SDR will set you back £100s if not £1000s. So, can't complain really! You can get slightly better SDRs between £100 and £200 which are a bit cleaner, but you might have trouble powering them from a tablet.

It wasn't working it's best during this scan. There is one section of the band that was quite noisy and full of images. That said, I don't think it got in the way of too many stations.

The Files

I've rar'd all the .wav files to crush them down a touch and I've managed to keep all of them under a gig in size. You'll have to unrar them first. There are .txt files with descriptions of the content which are handy if you want to know what's in a file before you download it. The filenames show the time the recording started, and the center freq. of the chunk.

The files are in this folder on mega.nz as I don't know anywhere else that would allow me to store up to 50GB online for free...
https://mega.nz/#F!3UUUnSiD!WLhWZ3ff4f4Pi7Ko_zcodQ

What You Need - SDR# (SDR Sharp) / HDSDR

Install this software first, otherwise you can't play the files.

http://www.sdrsharp.com/#sdrsharp

When the .zip has downloaded, go into it and click the 'unzip' file, it should now unzip itself. Go into the unzipped folder and click the 'install' file, which will then extract the software into it's own folder. SDR# doesn't attach itself to windows through the registry or anything, it just works from the folder.

Alternatively, you can use HDSDR but it's not 100% compatible with the files. It doesn't have RDS built in, so you need to pipe the signal at 192k 24 bit to RDS Spy via VB Audio Cable Asio Bridge. This will give better RDS results than SDR# though.

http://www.hdsdr.de/
http://rdsspy.com/
http://vbaudio.jcedeveloppement.com/Download_CABLE/HiFiCableAsioBridgeSetup_v1007.zip
Link above taken from http://vb-audio.pagesperso-orange.fr/Cable/index.htm

How To Play The Files

Start SDR# and select IQ File (*.wav) from the Source drop-down. It will immediately ask you to locate an IQ wav file to play.
Make sure you tick 'Correct IQ' or you will have a massive spike in the centre of the display.
Snap to 100kHz for easy tuning.
Make sure you have WFM selected.
Press play.
Move the tuner around by clicking / dragging with the mouse and adjust the filter by dragging the edges.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

SDR# vs HDSDR & RDS Spy - Free FM

Here's a comparison between the capabilities of SDR# vs the HDSDR coupled with RDS Spy.

As you can see, SDR# is a little bit weaker than RDS Spy, and doesn't quite manage to decode the PS in the RDS. Other errors occur too.

This is using an IQ file recorded on my mobile SDR set-up. I was not in a good reception spot at the time, hence the lack of anything else surrounding Free FM.





CLICK HERE to download either the IQ file or a single frequency IF file to try yourself in whichever software you choose.

Software that will play the above linked file:-

SDR#
HDSDR

For RDS decoding in HDSDR...
RDS Spy

Use this to pipe the audio from HDSDR to RDS Spy...
http://vbaudio.jcedeveloppement.com/Download_CABLE/HiFiCableAsioBridgeSetup_v1007.zip
Link above taken from http://vb-audio.pagesperso-orange.fr/Cable/index.htm

Remember you need to set up the virtual audio cable to send out and 'record' 192000Hz (192KHz) sample rate. HDSDR needs to be set up to send out via the virtual cable, likewise RDS Spy needs to be set up to accept input from the virtual cable.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Portable SDR and Bandscan on Lansdown (remix)

I have recently started getting back into using my RTL SDR dongle and I discovered that it was possible to have Windows 8.1 on a tablet allowing me to use better software than just SDR Touch (an Android SDR app which is fine for listening but not so great if you want to make IQ / IF recordings) and also run the dongle from the USB socket alone although with reduced battery life. That means I don't have to take my laptop anywhere, which would be too cumbersome for me as I don't drive so all my outdoor radio adventures are done on foot, bus and train. Taking the tablet out with me is a lot easier. Although sitting in a field with the aerial in a tree and all the gear spread out on the ground is slightly embarrassing when dog walkers come by, I decided to have a go at my idea to do an SDR bandscan up on the hill at Lansdown. First time around, this wasn't so successful as I was in a hurry and getting cold (not great weather!), but it proved it was achievable. I did get some IQ recordings out of it, so not a total failure.

Tablet - Dell Venue 8 Pro running Win 8.1, Intel Atom processor
Software - SDR Sharp (SDR#) with RDS Data Logger plugin
SDR device - RTL-SDR Dongle, NooElec NESDR Mini 2 (R820T2 chip)

I'm very pleased with how this runs on the tablet with very few drop-outs. Pity I hadn't really set the gain up properly (I didn't notice any major problems at 87.5 so assumed it was fine all the way, but higher up the band it was overloading), plus trying to do a bandscan automatically with the RDS logger and recording to an IQ file doesn't really work very well as on playback you find the band is scrolled at irregular intervals.





Anyway, from the IQ files I managed to grab on this first trip, here are a few of the more interesting signals.


93.2 BCFM (can be stronger than this on Lansdown, but I'd have to move the aerial around a lot to improve it)
96.1 BBC Solent
97.2 Wessex FM
97.5 Somer Valley FM
96.6 Frome FM
98 Ujima (stange effect on some stations causes there to be a trough rather than a peak at the center frequency, not sure why this happens)
105.8 Wave 105
105.5 WCR (Warminster Community Radio)
106.3 Bridge FM



I went back for a second go last weekend. I think I was up there about 3 hours in total! I was freezing by the end :D I found that different spots on the playing fields gave slightly different results, so had to try and do my best moving around with my flimsy wire dipole stung up in different trees / bushes, or even just being held as I was walking around. I need to build a portable wire yagi I reckon, one I can fold up and stuff in my backpack. I won't bore you with more videos, here's the best I can do going by what's in the IQ files...


87.5
87.6
87.7
87.8
87.9
88.0
88.1Radio 2
88.2Radio 2
88.3Radio 2
88.4
88.5Radio 2
88.6Radio 2
88.7
88.8Radio 2
88.9
89.0Radio 2
89.1Radio 2 (possibly)
89.2
89.3Radio 2
89.4
89.5Radio 2
89.6
89.7
89.8
89.9Radio 2
90.0
90.1Radio 2
90.2
90.3Radio 3
90.4Radio 3
90.5Radio 3
90.6
90.7Radio 3
90.8Radio 3
90.9
91.0Radio 3
91.1
91.2Radio 3
91.3Radio 3
91.4
91.5Radio 3
91.6
91.7Radio 3
91.8
91.9
92.0
92.1Radio 3
92.2
92.3Radio 3
92.4
92.5Radio 4
92.6Radio 4
92.7Radio 4
92.8
92.9Radio 4
93.0Radio 4
93.1
93.2BCFM / Radio 4 (directional)
93.3
93.4Radio 4
93.5Radio 4
93.6
93.7Radio 4
93.8
93.9Radio 4
94.0
94.1
94.2
94.3Radio 4
94.4
94.5Radio 4
94.6
94.7BBC Hereford and Worcester
94.8
94.9BBC Bristol
95.0BBC Gloucestershire
95.1
95.2BBC Oxford
95.3
95.4
95.5BBC Soms
95.6
95.7
95.8BBC Gloucestershire (or Wales, dunno!)
95.9BBC Wales
96.0BBC Unid - Too far back in the mush
96.1BBC Solent
96.2
96.3Heart
96.4Maybe something
96.5Unid - Too far back in the mush, Could be Wave or Heart
96.6Frome FM
96.7Heart
96.8BBC Cymru
96.9
97.0Fantasy Radio (Proabably!)
97.1Heart
97.2Heart / Kiss 101 / Wessex FM (Directional)
97.3
97.4Capital - Quite hidden by Somer FM
97.5Somer Valley FM
97.6
97.7Radio 1
97.8Radio 1
97.9Radio 1
98.0Ujima
98.1
98.2Radio 1
98.3
98.4Radio 1
98.5
98.6Radio 1
98.7Radio 1
98.8
98.9Radio 1
99.0
99.1Radio 1
99.2
99.3
99.4
99.5Radio 1
99.6
99.7Radio 1
99.8
99.9
100.0Classic
100.1Classic
100.2Classic
100.3Classic
100.4Classic
100.5
100.6Classic (slight trace)
100.7Heart (slight trace)
100.8Classic
100.9
101.0Kiss 101
101.1
101.2
101.3Classic
101.4Classic
101.5
101.6
101.7Classic
101.8
101.9
102.0Spire FM
102.1
102.2Heart
102.3Heart
102.4Breeze
102.5
102.6Heart
102.7
102.8Breeze (slight trace)
102.9Heart
103.0Heart
103.1
103.2Capital
103.3
103.4BBC Devon
103.5BBC Wiltshire
103.6BBC Bristol
103.7
103.8BBC Solent
103.9BBC Wales
104.0
104.1BBC Berkshire
104.2
104.3BBC Wiltshire
104.4Unid (slight trace)
104.5
104.6BBC Bristol
104.7Unid (slight trace)
104.8
104.9BBC Wiltshire
105.0
105.1
105.2Wave 105
105.3
105.4Heart
105.5Swindon 105.5 / WCR (directional)
105.6Breeze
105.7Heart
105.8Wave 105
105.9Heart
106.0Sam FM
106.1Badminton Radio (RSL)
106.2Sunshine
106.3Bridge FM
106.4
106.5Sam FM
106.6Breeze
106.7
106.8Nation
106.9
107.0
107.1Unid (slight trace)
107.2Breeze
107.3
107.4Breeze
107.5
107.6
107.7Sam FM
107.8
107.9Breeze
108.0


I have a better SDR device on the way - an SDRPlay - which doesn't suffer so much with overloading and images. If I can get that running from the tablet, it'll make things even easier for bandscanning, but it might be a bit too much try to power it from the USB socket alone.

Radio Badminton 106.1MHz - RX Bradley Stoke 2015 05 08

The RSL station for the Badminton Horse Trials, Radio Badminton, manages to make it 11 / 12 miles on 106.1MHz. In the past I've heard it in Alexandra Park (on a big hill in Bath). Of course, this is with finely tuned filters, loft aerial and .1 away from Sunshine so a regular radio may not be able to hear it. I have to have the Tecsun radios tuned to 106.07 to be able to hear it.



Faze FM Southampton

A new pirate popped up in Southampton recently, Faze FM on 87.5. It seems to be primarily a DnB station (yay!) and has a huge reach. The furthest North I've heard it at anorak listening levels is just south of Bath on the train going down to Warminster and Salisbury. I also may have heard it even further North on the massive hill at Birdlip near Gloucester, but that was on a car radio (boosted aerials and big groundplane from the car body helps a lot pulling in signals) and I couldn't confirm this as it was just a blank carrier and at the time no RDS to decode. That said, it's also been heard the same distance away on high ground in Watford, so it's certainly possible.

This was recorded up a hill in Warminster. I tried to get better reception but ended up wandering around a lot while recording this. The best place was on a golf course where I didn't feel like hanging around looking out of place for too long. Much better reception in Salisbury a week later but no live shows... Listen for my shoutouts ;)


Friday, 8 May 2015

Free FM 10/4/2015

Here is a recording of Free FM from a few weeks back. It wasn't a long broadcast that evening as the stream it was relaying started to stutter after only 20 mins and eventually they gave up to try again another day. I managed to catch the RDS too...






Thursday, 12 March 2015

Free FM still going...

Free FM is currently running relays of American pop station Star 104 for a couple of hours most evenings, though personally I think he's chosen better stations to relay in the past. Not bad reception considering I was walking around and recording this on a cheap-ish mp3 player / radio. The stereo drops out and the signal does dip a tiny bit in places. This goes right up to the end of the broadcast which is quite abrupt.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Old Files Re-Upped For 2015!

I'm currently trying to do a mass upload of loads of my own recordings that are probably out there on the net somewhere, but I don't have any of them uploaded to my own Mixcloud. This includes some Full Cycle shows, some Tristan B etc...

Go here --- http://www.mixcloud.com/bristolpirates/