Full recording: Shamrock Radio International

Full recording: Shamrock Radio International
A Shamrock Radio QSL from 1985 (courtesy of @ukdxer / piratememories.blogspot.com)

Continuing with our mini-series of pirate shortwave stations of the 1980s, today is the turn of Shamrock Radio International from the southside of Dublin. Shamrock was a sporadic operator, most active on Sunday mornings in 1985. Anoraks UK first logged the station on 6293 kHz (later 6245 kHz) on 7th October 1984 but there was no mention of the station again until the summer of 1985. It was logged most weeks from June to September 1985 on 6295 kHz and again on 2nd March 1986 on 6300 kHz but there is no sign of it after that.

This recording was made from 6295 kHz from 0900-0945 on 18th August 1985. The unidentified presenter plays music and says that Shamrock are on a test transmission. He asks for reception reports to be sent to 136 Sandyford Road, Dublin 16.

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: Radio Skywave International

Full recording: Radio Skywave International

We are processing hundreds of hours of recordings made by Radio Skywave International on an ongoing basis, and the Skywave Tapes Collection is one of the largest donations made to Pirate.ie.

Today we feature Radio Skywave International itself, as part of a mini-series this week on shortwave pirates of the 1980s. Like the many Irish shortwave pirates, Skywave was a part-time operation, usually on air on Sunday mornings. the first broadcast on was 28th July 1985 on 6260 kHz and they were first logged by Anoraks UK on August 11th. The address was 58 Seagrange Road, Baldoyle, Dublin 13 and later and later PO Box 1686, Dublin 1.

Full recording: Radio Skywave International
A rear view of 58 Seagrange Road, Baldoyle from where Radio Skywave broadcast (photo for house sale in 2020 as advertised by Movehome Estate Agents on myhome.ie).

Skywave broadcast almost every Sunday for the rest on 1985 on 6260 kHz and into 1986. There were occasional forays onto other shortwave frequencies. On 12th October 1986 the station was noticed relaying the religious programme Good News Radio on 6261 kHz which appeared to become part of their regular Sunday schedule from then on. Skywave seemed to take a break for a few weeks around April 1987 and was not logged until 17th May 1987 when noted on a new frequency of 6850 kHz. 

Full recording: Radio Skywave International
In the Skywave days, there was a long wire down this garden, which contained a 6×4 shed (photo from myhome.ie).

An Anoraks UK report of 31st May 1987 included a letter from station operator Michael Caine (Hegarty) stating that shortwave was being suspended in order to concentrate on an FM station called Downtown Radio. It had a 50-watt transmitter operating on 88 MHz and aimed to be a community station serving Dublin’s north inner city. There was another operation called the Irish Radio Relay Service that carried mostly an English pirate called Falcon Radio (which also used the PO Box in Dublin). This mainly used 6850 kHz, but Skywave appeared there on 23rd August 1987 and became regular towards the end of the year. The station continued into 1988 but was not logged every week. The final logging was on 6850 kHz on 12th June 1988. We thank Ian Biggar from compiling this station history.

This recording is from 6260 kHz from 1045-1200 on 2nd November 1986 and features Dominic Dillon on air, who beings his programme with the Radio Dublin theme song. For more information about the shortwave pirates see the DX Archive and Pirate Memories websites.

Full recording: ABC (Dún Laoghaire)

Full recording: ABC (Dún Laoghaire)

ABC Radio broadcast from Dún Laoghaire in south Dublin in 1982 on 96 FM. This recording is from 1557-1727 on the 27th of February 1982 and features Jonathan Stewart followed by Sid Reade. Hugh Farley presents television highlights. There is a laid back, studenty vibe to the station’s music and style and the lack of adverts suggests a hobby operation.

Information about ABC is scarce but we have pieced together some details. The station may have been linked to the earlier Sonic Independent Radio from Shankill. ABC was run by Ian McDonald from his house in Clarinda Park, Dún Laoghaire, referred to as ‘Broadcasting House’ in this recording! There was a medium wave relay for a time, announced as 297 metres. The Dún Laoghaire station had no connection with the other ABC which broadcast from Dublin city centre from 1981-1984, so there were two ABCs on air for a time within a few miles of each other. This ABC later changed its name to South City Radio in May 1982. An Anoraks UK listing from the 1st of November 1982 lists South City Radio from Dún Laoghaire on 98 FM and 999 kHz AM. South City Radio later became KOVE FM. We thank Ian Biggar for his donation of this recording.

Full recording: County Sound (Dublin)

Full recording: County Sound (Dublin)
Close-up of the cassette featuring County Sound from the Skywave Collection (photo by Brian Greene).

We have featured the popular Galway station, County Sound (1987-1988) elsewhere in this archive, but Dublin also had a County Sound. This seems to have been a short-lived operation in 1986, broadcasting from the Rathgar/Churchtown areas of south Dublin. The station is first listed on 105.7 FM in the Anoraks UK Weekly Report on the 23rd of February 1986, shortly after this recording was made. An Anoraks Ireland list from April 1986 lists County Sound as a full-time station (0700-0300) and gives an address in Churchtown. The same month, Anoraks UK logged the station on 104.7 and then 104.9 and gave an address in Rathgar. It also published a full daily schedule which included Ray Stephens, Stephen O’Rourke, Paul Smith, Mike Evans, Derek Hennessy and John Taylor. Whether these names were real or assumed, we do not know. County Sound announced 1503 kHz AM also but this was not confirmed. The station moved around the top end of the FM band for a few months from February 1986 but there are no references to it in logs from July onwards. Although full-time for a period and using a professional jingle package, it seems to have been one of the many short-lived hobby stations increasingly common on FM at the time.

This recording is from 106.2 FM on the 21st of February 1986 from 1140-1225 and features Dan Malone (whose voice hadn’t yet broken!) followed by Brendan Dowling (who sounds a bit older). It is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Full recording: South Dublin Community Radio

Full recording: South Dublin Community Radio

South Dublin Community Radio broadcast from c. 1982 to 1984 from Dún Laoghaire, one of many southside pirates of the era. The station was linked to Radio South County that first came on air in 1980 and was active on 963 kHz for a time. South Dublin Community Radio was based in Pottery Road in Dún Laoghaire. This recording is from 2155-2240 on the 27th of August 1983 from 102.7 FM and features Bruce Foxton, to be followed at 2300 by Jimmy Cliff. In the time-honoured pirate tradition, these were pseudonyms inspired by the singers of the same names!

An interesting aspect of this recording is the frequency, as 102.7 had been used by Chris Cary’s KISS FM up to the Radio Nova raids of May 1983. KISS would return to 102.7 on the 30th of September. South Dublin Community Radio shifted to 102 MHz but moved down the band to around 91 because of ongoing jamming by RTÉ of Nova frequencies. When RTÉ began broadcasting Radio 2 from the Three Rock transmitter on 90.7 in 1984, that was the beginning of the end of South Dublin Community Radio and it seems to have closed by the autumn of that year. Many of the same people got involved in the popular 1990s pirate DLR 106 which broadcast from the same address in Dún Laoghaire. Thanks to all those who provided additional background information to us.

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