Sonic Independent Radio relayed on shortwave

Sonic Independent Radio relayed on shortwave
Bob Nailor in the Sonic Independent Radio studio in 1981 (courtesy DX Archive).

Sonic Independent Radio was one of many short-lived south Dublin stations during the early 1980s. Based in Shankill on the southside, it was first logged in the winter of 1980/1981 on 1314 kHz (announcing 228 metres) and was noted on that frequency several times during 1981. Sonic was run by Joe Jackson, who provided many AM transmitters for pirate radio around that time. According to an entry on DX Archive, the same transmitter was used for later short-term stations such as East Coast Radio, ABC (DĂșn Laoghaire) and South City Radio. Sonic features in a log of stations received in Lancashire in summer 1981 and was said to have a very good signal at the time. However reception of the station outside Ireland was soon to be hampered by the expansion of Norwegian station NRK of its broadcasts on 1314 kHz.

This recording of Sonic Independent Radio is of the weekly FRC (Free Radio Campaign) Ireland show, presented by Rick Davenport and Steve Johnston. The FRC show covers radio news, both licensed and pirate, and includes listeners’ letters and reception reports. The presenters announce that Sonic is to be relaunched the following day, with a new format and name. This edition of the FRC Ireland show was a relay by Capital Radio International on 6268 kHz. It was made on 8th November 1981 from 1200-1245 and begins with the voice of Capital Radio operator, Aidan Hughes. Capital Radio began broadcasting in 1981 and continued as a regular Sunday morning shortwave pirate throughout the 1980s. It returned in the early 1990s but ceased to broadcast after Aidan Hughes died prematurely.

Audio quality on this recording ranges from fair to poor, reflecting the fact that it is of a shortwave relay of an original medium wave broadcast. There is also some wobble due to degradation of the cassette, which is from the Anoraks Ireland Collection.

Easter Sunday on Westside Radio International

Easter Sunday on Westside Radio International
Prince Terry pictured in 1983 (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

Westside Radio International broadcast on shortwave from Dublin on Sunday mornings between 1975 and 1989, returning in the 1990s under different names. It was one of several shortwave hobby pirates operating during that period and was steeped in the free radio spirit.

This recording from Easter Sunday 1986 features one of the station founders Roger Lloyd (Prince Terry on air) with his trademark musical mix of rock and oldies. The other founder of Westside, Don Moore (Dr Don) died in 2021. There are generic jingles and promos for free radio, including a long advert for Anoraks Ireland. The weekly DX Programe follows, with plenty of news about the pirate scene and following Westside’s closedown, the station is to hold a QSO with fellow shortwave pirate Radio Valleri. No times are noted and there are some edits in the tape. Part 1 above begins after 1100 and Part 2 below finishes after 1300.

Part 2 of Westside recording

The recording was made from 6280 kHz on Sunday 30th March 1986 and is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.

Northeast series: first broadcast of Radio Rainbow International

Northeast series: first broadcast of Radio Rainbow International

Radio Rainbow International was a high-powered shortwave pirate broadcasting on Sundays from Co. Louth between the summer of 1985 and the end of 1988. It was operated by Boyneside Radio DJ and engineer Eddie Caffrey and several other Boyneside presenters were also involved. In an interview with, one such DJ, Kieran Murray, described Radio Rainbow as the ‘Radio Nova of shortwave’, such was its high power output in contrast with other Irish shortwave pirates of the era. Using the tagline ‘broadcasting from the east coast of Ireland’, Radio Rainbow put out about 1 kW of power on 6240 kHz in the 48-metre band. The station received reception reports from all over Europe during its three years on air.

Northeast series: first broadcast of Radio Rainbow International
Original cassette label from Anoraks Ireland Collection.

This is a studio recording of the first broadcast of Radio Rainbow International on Sunday 28th July 1985. The DJ is Jim Agnew on his first shortwave broadcast. There are no times and the tape is airchecked. It was made by Kieran Murray and is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated by Paul Davidson.

Sunday on Radio Valleri International

Sunday on Radio Valleri International
Early Radio Valleri poster (DX Archive).

Radio Valleri was a pioneering pirate station broadcasting from Dublin in the 1970s and 1980s. One of the early hobby operations in the city, it was set up in 1972 by Derek Jones and Mike Anderson and broadcast initially on medium wave from a garden shed in Drumcondra. In 1973, Radio Valleri switched to shortwave and was heard sporadically, often on Sunday mornings, on various frequencies in the 49-metre band over the following years. In the 1980s, the station became one of many to broadcast regularly on shortwave on Sunday mornings, by which time it had settled on 6400 kHz.

This tape is of one of Radio Valleri’s founders, Mike Anderson, with a Sunday show from 1200-1300 in April 1986 (the precise date is unknown). Mike announces broadcasting hours of 0900-1300 and gives a postal address in Baldoyle in northeast Dublin. That broadcast is to be followed by a QSO with another well-known Dublin shortwave pirate, Westside Radio, and Weekend Music Radio in Scotland.

The recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Westside Radio International returns for New Year’s Eve 1989

Westside Radio International returns for New Year's Eve 1989
Westside operator Prince Terry in May 1983 (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

Westside Radio International was a long-running shortwave pirate broadcasting on Sunday morning from Dublin between 1975 and 1989 with later appearances under different names including Ozone Radio. The station was set up by the late Don Moore and was taken over by Roger Lloyd (Prince Terry on air) in 1977. It was steeped in the pirate spirit and created a real sense of community among free radio enthusiasts in Ireland and abroad. The station closed down on 31st December 1988 along with the vast majority of Irish pirates but returned for a special commemorative broadcast exactly one year later.

This airchecked recording was made between 1123 and 1253 on 31st December 1989 from 6280 kHz shortwave. Prince Terry announces that Westside has returned just for that day to mark the first anniversary of the pirate closedowns and says that it is also broadcasting on FM and medium wave. There are greetings to well-known radio anoraks and news about the small number of remaining pirate stations, including Radio Dublin which is said to have switched back on its AM transmitter.

Audio is fair to poor with deep fading but is an authentic representation of how Westside sounded on shortwave in the west of Ireland at the time. The recording was made in Co. Clare by John Breslin, who we thank for the donation.