Bandscan: From 1017 to 1035 kHz including Breffni Central Radio

Bandscan: From 1017 to 1035 kHz including Breffni Central Radio
Breffni Central Radio poster courtesy of Ian Biggar. We’ve never seen a medium wave band stretch quite as far as 2000 kHz!

This recording made by Brian Greene on AM in July 1985 shows how licensed stations were sometimes literally sandwiched between two pirates. The scan begins with Downtown Radio in Belfast, a faint signal as heard in north Dublin on 1026 kHz. Of course ABC Radio in Tramore were on the same frequency but could not be received on the northside of Dublin because of Downtown. Brian then tunes slightly to the left where Capitol Radio can be heard on 1017 kHz, before tuning back to Downtown again. The scan then moves up another channel to 1035 kHz, where a faint signal from Breffni Central Radio in Longford can be picked up, over 120 km from Dublin.

We are not aware of any online recordings of Breffni Central Radio, an offshoot of Breffni Radio in Kilnaleck in Cavan. Breffni Central began on the 10th of June 1985 and was intended for reception in counties Longford, Roscommon, Galway and Mayo. In fact the estimated 1 kW signal on 1035 kHz was heard over a wide area, helped by a 50-ft high mast. This stretched as far as Galway and Dublin, as this recording shows. Similar to the original Breffni Radio, Breffni Central broadcast Irish and American country music but the two stations each had separate services and did not share programming. We thank Seán Brady for help with information and Ian Biggar for the image.

You can listen to an interview with Gerry O’Reilly, who built transmitters for several stations including Breffni Radio, here.

Interview: Gerry O’Reilly, transmitter Man

On October 20th 2018 over 100 radio anoraks gathered in the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin. The purpose was to meet and record oral history of the pirate radio era.

In this interview, Walter Hegarty talks to Gerry O’Reilly, a transmitter man from the border regions. Gerry worked on transmitters for almost 50 stations including the following: Kandy Radio, Galway District Radio (GDR), Hometown Radio, Big M, Erneside, NWCR, CCR, Breffni Radio, Midwest Radio. East Coast Radio (Louth), Melvin Radio, Radio North, Riverside Radio, Boyneside Radio, DCR Letterkenny, Radio West, Rainbow Radio, Star Radio, North Star, KISS FM, KITS, North Atlantic Radio and many more.