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.
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.
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.
In this second part of the interview, Kieran Murray tells Brian Greene about his move from Radio Carousel to its biggest rival, Boyneside Radio, in 1983. Like Carousel, Boyneside had become a regional network and Kieran took over management of its satellite station in Kells, Co. Meath, which had its own opt-out programming.
Kieran also describes his involvement with Radio Rainbow International, a hobby station set up by Boyneside co-owner Eddie Caffrey. Rainbow could be heard far and wide due to its powerful shortwave signal and Kieran presented a weekly FRC programme which attracted correspondence from across Europe. Part 2 ends with Kieran’s memories of returning to Dublin to work for Liberty 104 at the end of the pirate era in 1987-88.
There’s an interview with Eddie Caffrey about Radio Rainbow International here. We’ll bring you recordings of Rainbow at a later stage in our series about the pirates of the northeast.
World Music Radio started as a land-based pirate in the north of the Netherlands in the mid 1960s. It continued broadcasting most Sundays on shortwave until it was raided in August 1973. Our colleague Ian Biggar of DX Archive remembers listening to the station: ‘I missed the original WMR, but first heard it in 1976 on 6230 kHz legally, via the transmitters of Radio Andorra. It tried to be a commercial station on shortwave, but the sponsors were just not there and programmes became sporadic as funds run out. There were religious programmes on shortwave, but regular advertisers just did not seem interested in a worldwide audience’.
Ian describes how WMR was broadcast on Radio Dublin: ‘Eventually they tried to get stations to pay for their programming, but I doubt if this brought in much cash either. I am not sure what the arrangement was with Radio Dublin, but doubt if Eamon Cooke paid for the programmes. Originally the arrangement was that WMR was aired early Sunday mornings on shortwave, but programmes were slotted in on other occasions’.
As well as Andorra and Ireland, over the years WMR was heard via transmitters in Italy, South Africa and nowadays in Denmark. You can learn more here. Ian heard WMR many times on both shortwave and medium wave via Radio Dublin and as the QSLs show, both before and after the 1988 act. The recording features DJ Lee Alvin. This professional broadcaster was very much an influence for some young would-be broadcasters in the 1970s with his programmes on WMR as well as Radio Kaleidoscope and Radio Jackie in London.
This recording was made from 1100-1145 on the 7th of February 1984 from Radio Dublin’s Channel 2 on 98.7 FM. It is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.
Radio Valleri was one of the long-running Irish shortwave pirates of the 1970s and 1980s. Founded by Mike Anderson and Derek Jones, it began testing in 1972 on 1525 kHz medium wave before moving to short wave. The station became a regular operator on Sunday mornings, one of many such pirates from Ireland in the 49 metre band. There’s a detailed history on the DX Archive pages. One of those involved at the beginning was Arno St Jude (Declan Meehan).
This recording from 1985 is of station jingles, voiced by Brian and Dónal Greene. The frequency announced is 6870 kHz.
We bring you an interview with Jimmy St. Ledger (Jimmy Howlett) of Premier Radio International, a long-running shortwave pirate station from Ireland. Premier began broadcasting on medium wave in 1976 and went on shortwave soon after. Jimmy’s first transmitter was used to broadcast Radio Cill Dara from Naas. He was also involved with Radio Dublin before the splits of the late 1970s. The interviewer is Eolann Aitken.
Premier continued on and off over the years and was among a small number to return to the air following the closedowns of 1988. It continues to broadcast today on shortwave as a hobby station. Further information is available on its website.