Shortwave Pirates

A look at the world of shortwave free radio


An eQSL from Dutch station Radio Tidalwave


Most stations can be found in specific parts of the shortwave spectrum.

76 metres: 3900-3945/4010-4100 kHz:

This is popular with European pirates, especially in the evenings when skip is longer, and during the day in winter months. 

60 metres: 4700-5150 kHz:

Once  this band was full of stations from Africa, Asia and South America but not now. This part of the band has become increasingly popular with pirate stations such as Charleston Radio on 5140 and Mystery 21 around 4870.

52 metres: 5780-5840 kHz:

European pirates can also be found here, overspill from 48 metres.  

48 metres: 6200-6400 kHz:

This is a prime area for the Euro-pirates, especially at weekends.

 47-42 metres: 6400-6900 kHz:

Other pockets of pirate activity occur in this area ... in particular between 6400 & 6450 and around 6850. Stations often pop up wherever they find a clear frequency 

43 metres: 6900-7000 kHz:

This area tends be mostly used by North American pirates, but is also used by some Euro-pirates.

39 metres: 7500-7750 kHz:

Unreliable propagation means this band isn't widely used but some Euro-pirates can be heard here.

Others also can be heard on higher shortwave frequencies ... such as 9290, 12256, 15070 among others.

Very few operate to fixed schedules and will just come on air when they feel like it. Weekends are the busiest times, especially Sunday mornings in Europe. Some can be heard outside these frequencies.

A good source for finding out which stations are on air is the popular Pirate Radio Chat where stations and DXers chat about all things pirate radio. Go to:  

What can you expect to hear:

The vast majority of European pirates come from the Netherlands, although there are also active stations in Germany, UK, Scandinavia and Italy and other European countries. The main diet is music - pop, rock, dance, schlager, polka, indie. Some of the programmes are pre-recorded, others transmitted live. Power used ranges from a few watts to up to 1kW (or more sometimes!).

Many will issue QSLs for correct reception reports. See the QSL Gallery section for QSLs I've received over the years.

The Addresses section has contact and web site details for many pirates.

The Links page has many links to websites with logs, information and other useful resources for the DXer.

So, happy hunting!


  • Apr 11 2021: Addresses - Radio Frieloo, Radio Moonbreaker
  • Mar 25 2021: QSL Gallery - Premier Radio Int, Radio Zeewolf, Sound of the Seventies
  • Mar 11 2021: Texas Radio SW eQSL added to QSL Gallery, Radio Monte Carlo added to Addresses
  • Feb 23 2021: QSL Gallery updated
  • Feb 11 2021: Links - new link added for UK Free Radio SW memories blog
  • Feb 8 2021: Addresses - BAD Radio Station
  • Feb 3 2021: Addresses - Truth Radio Int, Lockdown Radio, Dazzle FM
  • Jan 31 2021:  Addresses - Image Radio, Ros AM Radio
  • Jan 14 2021: QSL Gallery - eQSLs from Delta Radio, Radio Black Molly, Premier Radio Int
  • Dec 29 2020: QSL Gallery - eQSLs from Radio Blackstone, Radio Voyager & All Tribes Radio; Addresses - Radio Olympia
  • Nov 30 2020: Addresses - Rebel Radio, Zenith Classic Rock
  • Nov 29 2020: QSL Galley - eQSLs from The Ghoul & Radio Johnny Camaro
  • Nov 21 2020: QSL Gallery - eQSLs from Premier Radio Int, Ros AM, Radio Jennifer, Texas Radio SW, Radio Grote Versierder
  • Nov 11 2020: Addresses - Radio Jennifer
  • Nov 2 2020: Addresses - emails for Texas Radio SW & Radio Golf Victor 
  • Oct 27 2020: QSL Gallery - added QSL for Pop Shop Radio, eQSLs from Bob's 60's Splash & Radio Gaar; Addresses - email for Radio 59

  • Oct 12 2020: QSL Gallery - added eQSLs from Radio Klein Paris, Premier Radio & Pop Shop Radio

  • Oct 10 2020: Links - removed some dead links and added a few new ones 

  • Oct 8 2020:  QSL Gallery - added eQSLs from Texas DXer & Radio 319; Addresses - added website link for Radio Europe (Italy)