Full recording: Dublin Broadcasting Corporation

Full recording: Dublin Broadcasting Corporation

The Dublin Broadcasting Corporation (sometimes Dublin Broadcasting Company) appeared briefly in 1984, broadcasting music and apparently fake adverts and promos. This recording was made from 98 FM from 1925-2010 on 5th March 1984 and features spoof promos sending up Radio Nova voiced by Nova staff as well as repeated use of an ad for Philips audio. The 98 FM frequency is the only one announced but the cassette box also logs 233 metres (1287 kHz). However, no pirate would dare to place itself right next to RTÉ Radio 2, then putting out high power on 1278 kHz. We have no further information about the Dublin Broadcasting Corporation but given the inconsistency with the name and the unusual content, it seems to have been a purely hobby station having a bit of fun in the crowded radio scene of the time.

This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

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: Capital Radio International

Full recording: Capital Radio International
A Capital QSL from 1981 (courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

Capital Radio International began broadcasting from Dublin in 1981, one of many shortwave pirates from Ireland during that decade. It broadcast for the most part on 6268 kHz with a strong signal – the QSL above records an output of 180 watts which was well above average for the hobby shortwave stations. Capital Radio sometimes operated from the site of another shortwave pirate Radio Valleri.

Our recording was made from 6268 kHz from 1120-1205 on Sunday 11th August 1985 and features the station operator Aidan Hughes. The signal is indeed strong but over-modulated in places and seems to drift slightly off channel. Capital returned to the air in the early 1990s but came to an end when Aidan Hughes died prematurely.

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.

Full recording: Westside Radio International

Full recording: Westside Radio International
Prince Terry on air in Westside Radio International c1987
Full recording: Westside Radio International
An early QSL from Westside Radio issued in 1977 (courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

Westside Radio International was one of the longest-running shortwave stations from Dublin in the pirate era. Westside was originally operated by Dr. Don (Don Moore) in 1975 and 1976 at a time when he and Prince Terry (Roger Lloyd) were also involved with Radio Dublin on medium wave. Westside returned to the air on 25th September 1977 on 6210 kHz, this time operated by Prince Terry. It moved to 6280 kHz where it was a permanent feature on Sunday mornings until the end of 1988 when the new radio legislation came into force.

Full recording: Westside Radio International
A leaflet outlining the early history of Westside Radio International (courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

Our recording was made on Sunday 21st July 1985 from 1140-1225 and features part of Prince Terry’s FRC programme with his trademark rock music and news about the free radio scene. The programme gives a great sense of pirate radio on both sides of the Irish Sea at the time, delivered through the unique audio experience of shortwave. A panel discussion involving both Prince Terry and Dr. Don can be heard here.

Full recording: Westside Radio International
Westside QSL on its last day of operation in 1988 (courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

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.  

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.