Interview: John Brady (Radio Ireland International)

Interview: John Brady (Radio Ireland International)
Image from the Radio Ireland International QSL card (courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

Radio Ireland International was one of several hobby shortwave stations operating from Ireland in the 1980s, usually on the air on Sunday mornings. The station was set up by two 20 year-olds, John Brady and Tony Healy (Clarke on air), on 1st May 1983 using an output power of 90 watts on 6293 kHz. Programmes were mostly pre-recorded with occasional live shows. Shortwave logs from that period are scant but Radio Ireland was heard relaying Radio Nova by Anoraks UK on 9th December 1984 on 6310 kHz. An address in Glasnevin North was given and a recording from around that time said that the station was broadcasting from near Dublin Airport.

Interview: John Brady (Radio Ireland International)
1983 letter from Radio Ireland International to Ian Biggar, giving further station information.

Radio Ireland International was logged again on 6312 kHz on 30th December 1984 and from 1985 on, was a regular on the Irish shortwave scene. An Anoraks Ireland listing from 1986 gave 31 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1 as the address. On 12th April 1987, Anoraks UK reported that the station had closed for ‘personal reasons’.

Interview: John Brady (Radio Ireland International)
1983 Radio Ireland International QSL (courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

In this interview, John Brady tells Eolann Aitken about the early days of Radio Ireland International and described how they used a low-powered FM link to avoid being raided. The interview was conducted on 20th October 2018 at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin at a meet-up of people involved in Irish pirate radio over the years.

Full recording: Skull and Bones Radio System

Full recording: Skull and Bones Radio System
A poster for Skull and Bones Radio System (courtesy DX Archive).

The Skull and Bones Radio System was the original of the species. Named after the pirate radio symbol of the skull and crossbones, it broadcast originally in 1977 and 1978 on 6220 kHz and then left the air for over 6 years. Skull and Bones returned on Sunday 4th August 1985 on a test transmission on 6210 kHz and resumed regular broadcasts the following week. This recording is from the first regular broadcast on Sunday 11th August 1985 and features station founder Gary St. John on air from 1025-1110. Gary welcomes listeners back and announces that Skull and Bones will link up on air with other shortwave pirates Radio Valleri International and Radio Ireland International later that day.

Full recording: Skull and Bones Radio System
Skull and Bones Radio System QSL from 1977 (courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

There’s a strong sense of the camaraderie between the hobby shortwave pirates of the time and a good overview of the other stations on shortwave that morning. Gary also reads a letter from Radio Skywave International which had begun broadcasting a few weeks previously. The address given for reception reports is 310 Collins Avenue West, Dublin 9 which was of course the same address for Anoraks Ireland.

For more information about the shortwave pirates see the DX Archive and Pirate Memories websites. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.