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TUCoPS :: Radio :: piradio.txt

Pirate Radio (a not-entirely-accurate summary)




Pirate Radio
May 18 2002

What is Pirate Radio?

Pirate radio is simply broadcasting on an AM or FM band without a
liscence. Pirates broadcast either because they want to become radio
personalities, or they don't find commercial radio all that interesting.
Clandestine, or "Guerilla" radio stations are pirate radio stations that
are politically motivated and are most often run by opposing governments
or revolutionary groups.

What is DXing?

DXing is the hobby of scanning for distant broadcasts that you would
normally not be able to hear. This is where QSLing comes in.

What is QSLing?

QSLing is the hobby of finding distant broadcasts, and then sending the
radio station a report log. A report log takes quite a bit of time to
make if you want a QSL card. In a report log notes, among other thing,
what time you heard the broadcast, what band you heard it on, and what
they were broadcasting. If the station thinks you wasted enough time
writing the report, most of them will be nice and send you a QSL card.

Wait wait wait! Go back! What's a QSL card?

QSL cards put simply are business cards for free radio stations. They
come in various sizes, most of them are made by hand, and the pictures
on them give you a sense of what kind of people run the station. They
are basically the stations way of telling the listener,
"Congratulations, you heard us!"

Why is Pirate Radio illegal?

Because the FCC doesn't make any money off of pirate radio. Heh, I
looked for quite a while to find a legitimate answer as to why pirate
radio is illegal, but I couldn't find one. So my only guess is because
since the FCC thinks they control any and all air in which broadcast
exist, if someone is broadcasting without paying up the ass to the FCC,
they get shut down, their equipment gets taken away, and they get a
hefty fine. Ain't America grand?

If Pirate Radio is illegal why isn't Ham Radio?

Simply because ham radio is peer-to-peer broadcasting. Not everyone can
hear the broadcast, unless of course they too have a ham radio and are
tuned into the same band as you are.

Conclusion

My hope is that this information will encourage whoever reads it to get
into pirate radio, or at least ham radio. It's a hobby, like any other,
that yeilds a ton of information. Not only from the construction of your
transmitter, but from the kind of stuff you hear being broadcast. People
talk on ham radio like their talking on a cell phone. I've heard stuff
from kids using their parent's UHF radios to play cops and robbers, to
people hanging around my old elementary school at 2 in the morning.

Pirate radio should be legal because air is free. The only time when air
isn't free is when you pay 25 cents to fill up your tires, but I think
that's worth it.


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