Pirate radio
Pirate radio is illegal or unregulated radio transmission. The term is most commonly used to describe illegal broadcasting for entertainment or political purposes, but is also sometimes used for illegal two-way radio
Two-way radio
A two-way radio is a radio that can both transmit and receive , unlike a broadcast receiver which only receives content. The term refers to a personal radio transceiver that allows the operator to have a two-way conversation with other similar radios operating on the same radio frequency...

 operation. Its etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 can be traced to the unlicensed nature of the transmission, but historically there has been occasional but notable use of sea vessels
Offshore radio
Offshore radio is radio broadcasting from ships or fixed maritime structures, usually in international waters. The claimed first wireless broadcast of music and speech for the purpose of entertainment was transmitted from a Royal Naval craft, the HMS Andromeda, in 1907...

 – fitting the most common perception of a pirate – as broadcasting bases.

Rules and regulations vary widely from country to country but often the term pirate radio generally describes the unlicensed broadcast of FM radio, AM radio, or short wave signals over a wide range. In some cases radio stations are deemed legal where the signal is transmitted, but illegal where the signals are received—especially when the signals cross a national boundary. In other cases, a broadcast may be considered "pirate" due to the nature of its content, its transmission format (especially a failure to transmit a station identification
Station identification
Station identification is the practice of radio or television stations or networks identifying themselves on air, typically by means of a call sign or brand name...

 according to regulations), or the transmit power (wattage) of the station, even if the transmission is not technically illegal (such as a web cast or an amateur radio
Amateur radio
Amateur radio is the use of designated radio frequency spectrum for purposes of private recreation, non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication...

 transmission). Pirate radio stations are sometimes called bootleg stations (a term especially associated with two-way radio
Two-way radio
A two-way radio is a radio that can both transmit and receive , unlike a broadcast receiver which only receives content. The term refers to a personal radio transceiver that allows the operator to have a two-way conversation with other similar radios operating on the same radio frequency...

), clandestine stations (associated with heavily politically motivated operations) or Free Radio stations.

Pirate-radio history and examples

Radio "piracy" began with the advent of regulations of the public airwaves in the United States at the dawn of the Age of Radio
History of radio
The early history of radio is the history of technology that produced radio instruments that use radio waves. Within the timeline of radio, many people contributed theory and inventions in what became radio. Radio development began as "wireless telegraphy"...

. Initially, radio, or wireless as it was more commonly called, was an open field of hobbyists and early inventors and experimenters, including Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer...

, Lee De Forest
Lee De Forest
Lee De Forest was an American inventor with over 180 patents to his credit. De Forest invented the Audion, a vacuum tube that takes relatively weak electrical signals and amplifies them. De Forest is one of the fathers of the "electronic age", as the Audion helped to usher in the widespread use...

, and Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. In addition, he created the world’s first industrial...

. The United States Navy began using radio for time signals and weather reports on the east coast of the United States in the 1890s. Before the advent of valve (vacuum tube) technology, early radio enthusiasts used noisy spark-gap transmitter
Spark-gap transmitter
A spark-gap transmitter is a device for generating radio frequency electromagnetic waves using a spark gap.These devices served as the transmitters for most wireless telegraphy systems for the first three decades of radio and the first demonstrations of practical radio were carried out using them...

s, such as the first spark-gap modulation technology pioneered by the first real audio (rather than telegraph code) radio broadcaster, Charles D. Herrold, in San Jose, California, or the infamous Ruhmkorff coil used by almost all early experimenters. The Navy soon began complaining to a sympathetic press that amateurs were disrupting naval transmissions. The May 25, 1907, edition of Electrical World in an article called "Wireless and Lawless" reported authorities were unable to prevent an amateur from interfering with the operation of a government station at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard using legal means.

In the run-up to the London Radiotelegraph Convention in 1912 (essentially an international gentlemen's agreement
Gentlemen's agreement
A gentlemen's agreement is an informal agreement between two or more parties. It may be written, oral, or simply understood as part of an unspoken agreement by convention or through mutually beneficial etiquette. The essence of a gentlemen's agreement is that it relies upon the honor of the parties...

 on use of the radio band, non-binding and, on the high seas, completely null), and amid concerns about the safety of marine radio following the sinking of the on April 15 of that year (although there were never allegations of radio interference in that event), the New York Herald
New York Herald
The New York Herald was a large distribution newspaper based in New York City that existed between May 6, 1835, and 1924.-History:The first issue of the paper was published by James Gordon Bennett, Sr., on May 6, 1835. By 1845 it was the most popular and profitable daily newspaper in the UnitedStates...

of April 17, 1912, headlined President William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States...

's initiative to regulate the public airwaves in an article titled "President Moves to Stop Mob Rule of Wireless."

When the "Act to Regulate Radio Communication" was passed on August 13, 1912, amateurs and experimenters were not banned from broadcasting; rather, amateurs were assigned their own frequency spectrum and licensing and call-signs
Call sign
In broadcasting and radio communications, a call sign is a unique designation for a transmitting station. In North America they are used as names for broadcasting stations...

 were introduced. By regulating the public airwaves, President Taft thus created the legal space for illicit broadcasts to take place. An entire federal agency, the Federal Radio Commission
Federal Radio Commission
The Federal Radio Commission was a government body that regulated radio use in the United States from its creation in 1926 until its replacement by the Federal Communications Commission in 1934...

 was formed in 1927 and succeeded in 1934 by the Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

. These agencies would enforce rules on call-signs, assigned frequencies, licensing and acceptable content for broadcast.

The Radio Act of 1912
Radio Act of 1912
The Radio Act of 1912 is a United States federal law that mandated that all radio stations in the US be licensed by the federal government, as well as mandating that seagoing vessels continuously monitor distress frequencies....

 gave the president legal permission to shut down radio stations "in time of war", and during the first two and a half years of World War One, before US entry, President Wilson tasked the US Navy with monitoring US radio stations, nominally to ensure "neutrality." The Navy used this authority to shut down amateur radio in the western part of the US (the US was divided into two civilian radio "districts" with corresponding call-signs, beginning with K in the west and W in the east, in the regulatory measures; the Navy was assigned call-signs beginning with N). When Wilson declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, he also issued an executive order closing most radio stations not needed by the US government. The Navy took it a step further and declared it was illegal to listen to radio or possess a receiver or transmitter in the US, but there were doubts they had the authority to issue such an order even in war time. The ban on radio was lifted in the US in late 1919.

In 1924, New York City station WHN
WEPN is a 24-hour sports talk formatted radio station in New York City featuring national and local sports talk programs and live broadcasts of sports matches. It is the New York affiliate for ESPN Radio...

 was accused of being an "outlaw" station by AT&T
AT&T Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications corporation headquartered in Whitacre Tower, Dallas, Texas, United States. It is the largest provider of mobile telephony and fixed telephony in the United States, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services...

 (then American Telephone and Telegraph Company) for violating trade licenses which permitted only AT&T stations to sell airtime
Airtime is a free and open source radio management application for remote broadcast automation , and program exchange between radio stations.-History:...

 on their transmitters. As a result of the AT&T interpretation a landmark case was heard in court, which even prompted comments from Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

 when he took a public stand in the station's defense. Although AT&T won its case, the furor created was such that those restrictive provisions of the transmitter license were never enforced.

In 1948, the United Nations brought into being the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly . The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled...

, of which Article 19 states
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

In Europe, Denmark had the first known radio station in the world to broadcast commercial radio from a vessel in international waters without permission from the authorities in the country that it broadcast to (Denmark in this case). The station was named Radio Mercur
Radio Mercur
Radio Mercur was a Danish offshore broadcasting commercial radio station. Started regular transmission on August 2nd 1958 and ceased officially on July 31st 1962, though there still were 3 days of illegal transmissions from August 13-15 1962...

 and began transmission on August 2, 1958. In the Danish newspapers it was soon called a "pirate radio".

The term had been used previously in Britain and the US to describe unlicensed land based broadcasters and even border blasters. For example, a 1940 British comedy about an unauthorized TV broadcaster, Band Waggon
Band Waggon (film)
Band Waggon is a 1940 British comedy film directed by Marcel Varnel and starring Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch and Moore Marriott. It was based on the BBC radio show Band Waggon.-Plot:...

, uses the phrase "pirate station" several times.

In the 1960s in the UK, the term referred to not only a perceived unauthorized use of the state-run spectrum by the unlicensed broadcasters but also the risk-taking nature of offshore radio stations that actually operated on anchored ships or marine platforms.

A good example of this kind of activity was Radio Luxembourg
Radio Luxembourg (English)
Radio Luxembourg is a commercial broadcaster in many languages from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is nowadays known in most non-English languages as RTL ....

 located in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

. The English language evening broadcasts from Radio Luxembourg were beamed by Luxembourg licensed transmitters. The audience in the United Kingdom originally listened to their radio sets by permission of a Wireless License issued by the British General Post Office
General Post Office
General Post Office is the name of the British postal system from 1660 until 1969.General Post Office may also refer to:* General Post Office, Perth* General Post Office, Sydney* General Post Office, Melbourne* General Post Office, Brisbane...

 (GPO). However, under terms of that Wireless Licence, it was an offence under the Wireless Telegraphy Act
Wireless Telegraphy Act
Wireless Telegraphy Act is a stock short title used for legislation in the Republic of Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom relating to wireless telegraphy....

 to listen to unauthorised broadcasts, which possibly included those transmitted by Radio Luxembourg. Therefore as far as the British authorities were concerned, Radio Luxembourg was a "pirate radio station" and British listeners to the station were breaking the law (although as the term 'unauthorised' was never properly defined it was somewhat of a legal grey area). This did not stop British newspapers from printing programme schedules for the station, or a British weekly magazine aimed at teenage girls, Fab 208 from promoting the "DJs" and their lifestyle (Radio Luxembourg's wavelength was 208 metres (1439, then 1440 kHz)).

Radio Luxembourg was later joined by three other well known pirate stations received in the UK in violation of UK licensing, Radio Caroline
Radio Caroline
Radio Caroline is an English radio station founded in 1964 by Ronan O'Rahilly to circumvent the record companies' control of popular music broadcasting in the United Kingdom and the BBC's radio broadcasting monopoly...

, North and South, plus Radio Atlanta
Radio Atlanta
Radio Atlanta named after Atlanta, Texas, was an offshore commercial station that operated briefly from 12 May 1964 to 2 July 1964 from a ship anchored in the North Sea, three and a half miles off Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, England...

 which became Caroline South and Radio London
Wonderful Radio London
Radio London, also known as Big L and Wonderful Radio London, was a top 40 offshore commercial station that operated from 16 December 1964 to 14 August 1967, from a ship anchored in the North Sea, three and a half miles off Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, England...

, all of which broadcast from vessels anchored outside of territorial limits and were therefore legitimate. Radio Jackie, for instance (although transmitting illegally), was registered for VAT
Value added tax
A value added tax or value-added tax is a form of consumption tax. From the perspective of the buyer, it is a tax on the purchase price. From that of the seller, it is a tax only on the "value added" to a product, material or service, from an accounting point of view, by this stage of its...

 and even had its address and telephone number in local telephone directories.

Where actual sea-faring vessels are not involved, the term pirate radio is a political term of convenience as the word "pirate" suggests an illegal venture, regardless of the broadcast's actual legal status. The radio station XERF located at Ciudad Acuña
Ciudad Acuña
Ciudad Acuña, also known simply as Acuña, is a city located in the Mexican state of Coahuila, at and a mean height above sea level of 271 meters...

, Coahuila
Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Coahuila de Zaragoza is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico...

, Mexico, just across the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 from Del Rio, Texas
Del Rio, Texas
Del Rio is a border city in and the county seat of Val Verde County, Texas, United States.. Del Rio is connected with Ciudad Acuña via the Lake Amistad Dam International Crossing and Del Río-Ciudad Acuña International Bridge...

, USA, is an example.

While Mexico issued radio station XERF with a license to broadcast, the power of its 250 kW
The watt is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units , named after the Scottish engineer James Watt . The unit, defined as one joule per second, measures the rate of energy conversion.-Definition:...

 transmitter was far greater than the maximum of 50 kW authorized for commercial use by the government of the United States of America. Consequently, XERF and many other radio stations in Mexico, which sold their broadcasting time to sponsors of English-language commercial and religious programs, were labelled as "border blaster
Border blaster
A border blaster is a licensed commercial radio station that transmits at very high power from one nation to another. Border blasters should not be confused with international broadcast stations...

s", but not "pirate radio stations", even though the content of many of their programs were in violation of US law. Predecessors to XERF, for instance, had originally broadcast in Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, advocating "goat-gland surgery
John R. Brinkley
John Romulus Brinkley was a controversial American medical doctor who experimented with xenotransplantation of goat glands into humans as a means of curing male impotence in clinics across several states, and an advertising and radio pioneer who began the era of Mexican border blaster radio...

" for improved masculinity, but moved to Mexico to evade US laws about advertising medical treatments, particularly unproven ones.

Free radio

Another variation on the term pirate radio came about during the "Summer of Love
Summer of Love
The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, creating a cultural and political rebellion...

" in San Francisco during the 1960s. These were "Free radio", which usually referred to clandestine and unlicensed land-based transmissions. These were also tagged as being pirate radio transmissions. Free Radio was only ever used to refer to Radio transmissions that were beyond government control, as was offshore radio in the UK and Europe.

The term free radio was adopted by the Free Radio Association of listeners who defended the rights of the offshore "radio stations" broadcasting from ships and marine structures off the coastline of the United Kingdom.
Félix Guattari
Félix Guattari
Pierre-Félix Guattari was a French militant, an institutional psychotherapist, philosopher, and semiotician; he founded both schizoanalysis and ecosophy...

 points out:
In Europe, in addition to adopting the term free radio, supportive listeners of what had been called pirate radio adopted the term offshore radio
Offshore radio
Offshore radio is radio broadcasting from ships or fixed maritime structures, usually in international waters. The claimed first wireless broadcast of music and speech for the purpose of entertainment was transmitted from a Royal Naval craft, the HMS Andromeda, in 1907...

, which was usually the term used by the owners of the marine broadcasting stations.

More recently the term Free Radio implied that the broadcasts were commercial free and the station was only there for the output, be it a type of music or spoken opinion. In this context, 'Pirate' radio thus refers to stations that do advertise and plug various gigs and raves.

Pirate radio by geographical area

Since this subject covers national territories, international waters and international airspace, the only effective way to treat this subject is on a country by country, international waters and international airspace basis. Because the laws vary, the interpretation of the term pirate radio also varies considerably.

Propaganda broadcasting

Propaganda broadcasting may be authorized by the government at the transmitting site, but may be considered unwanted or illegal by the government of the intended reception area. Propaganda broadcasting conducted by national governments against the interests of other national governments has created radio jamming
Radio jamming
Radio jamming is the transmission of radio signals that disrupt communications by decreasing the signal to noise ratio. Unintentional jamming occurs when an operator transmits on a busy frequency without first checking whether it is in use, or without being able to hear stations using the frequency...

 stations transmitting noises on the same frequency to prevent reception of the incoming signal. While the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 transmitted its programs towards the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, which attempted to jam them, in 1970 the government of the United Kingdom decided to employ a jamming transmitter to drown out the incoming transmissions from the commercial station Radio North Sea International
Radio North Sea International
Radio North Sea International also known as Radio Nordsee International in German and Radio Noordzee Internationaal in Dutch, was a European offshore radio station, run by the Swiss firm Mebo Telecommunications, jointly owned by Swiss engineer, Edwin Bollier, and his business partner, Erwin Meister...

, which was based aboard the Motor Vessel (MV) Mebo II anchored off southeast England in the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

. Other examples of this type of unusual broadcasting include the USCGC Courier (WAGR-410), a United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

 cutter which both originated and relayed broadcasts of the Voice of America
Voice of America
Voice of America is the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government. It is one of five civilian U.S. international broadcasters working under the umbrella of the Broadcasting Board of Governors . VOA provides a wide range of programming for broadcast on radio...

 from an anchorage at the Greek
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 island of Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

 to Soviet bloc countries. Balloons have been flown above Key West, Florida
Key West, Florida
Key West is a city in Monroe County, Florida, United States. The city encompasses the island of Key West, the part of Stock Island north of U.S. 1 , Sigsbee Park , Fleming Key , and Sunset Key...

 to support the TV transmissions of TV Martí
TV Martí
TV Martí was created by the US government to provide news and current affairs programming to Cuba. It is named after Cuban independence leader José Martí, and is the television equivalent to Radio Marti.-History:...

, which are directed at Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 (the Cuban government jams the signals). Military broadcasting aircraft have been flown over Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and many other nations by the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

. The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 financially supported a radio station broadcasting news and information into the former Yugoslavia
Former Yugoslavia
The former Yugoslavia is a term used to describe the present day states which succeeded the collapse of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia....

 from a ship anchored in international waters.

New media pirate radio

Pirate radio has long been synonymous with AM (LW,MW & SW) and FM (VHF) unlicensed broadcasting and "border blasting" in most parts of the world. With the advent of the internet, many conventional AM/FM radio stations have also taken to simulcasting via the web. These range from public broadcasters, licensed commercial radio, and in some countries, the 3rd tier of low power license exempt radio stations.

Despite pirate radio being known for over the air transmission, a new type of so called "pirate radio" stations now operate on-line. The distinguishing feature is that these on-line pirates will usually not pay music copyright fees, like most of their AM/FM pirate cousins.
These on-line stations will usually attract a small and loyal audience and may go unnoticed by the authorities, unlike the real AM/FM pirates who can easily be heard and traced on a conventional radio. The common term for this type of operation is better served by the term "Studio Pirates" rather than pirate radio, as no real radio transmitter is used.

A recent case of on-line studio pirate was seen in the UK. Hitz Radio(UK) (not to be confused with HitzRadio.com in the United States) managed to attract large amounts of mainstream media publicity in early 2007. This publicity resulted from Ryan Dunlop, the owner of the station, nominating Hitz Radio for various business awards. After this publicity, many people with radio industry knowledge began to probe the station, which had claimed "millions of fans" and tens of thousands of listeners on-line. These claims, along with others, were part of the portfolio put forward for the business awards. When industry insiders checked these claims, it resulted in the UK music copyright agencies PPL
Phonographic Performance Limited
PPL is the London-based United Kingdom music licensing company which undertakes collective rights management of recorded music and music videos for public performance, broadcast and new media use...

 and MCPS-PRS Alliance
MCPS-PRS Alliance
The MCPS-PRS Alliance rebranded PRS for Music Jan 2009 - MCPS and PRS are the not-for-profit UK collecting societies that ensure composers, songwriters and publishers are paid royalties when their music is used: from live performance to TV and radio, CDs to DVDs, downloads, streams and everything...

 chasing back fees owed by Ryan Dunlop and Hitz Radio. That in turn resulted in the audience claims to be false, based upon the amount of back dated fees owed for copyright.

Piracy in amateur and two-way radio

Illegal use of licensed radio spectrum (also known as bootlegging in CB circles) is fairly common and takes several forms.
  • Unlicensed operation—Particularly associated with amateur radio and licensed personal communication services such as GMRS, this refers to use of radio equipment on a section of spectrum for which the equipment is designed but on which the user is not licensed to operate (most such operators are informally known as "bubble pack pirates" from the sealed plastic retail packaging common to such walkie-talkies). While piracy on the US GMRS band, for example, is widespread (some estimates have the number of total GMRS users outstripping the number of licensed users by several orders of magnitude), such use is generally disciplined only in cases where the pirate's activity interferes with a licensee. A notable case is that of United States amateur operator Jack Gerritsen operating under the revoked call sign
    Call sign
    In broadcasting and radio communications, a call sign is a unique designation for a transmitting station. In North America they are used as names for broadcasting stations...

     KG6IRO who was successfully prosecuted by the FCC for unlicensed operation and malicious interference. A subcategory of this is free banding, the use of allocations nearby a legal allocation, most typically the 27 MHz Citizen's Band using modified or purpose-built gear.
  • Inadvertent interference—Common when personal communications gear is brought into countries where it is not certified to operate. Such interference results from clashing frequency allocations, and occasionally requires wholesale reallocation of an existing band due to an insurmountable interference problem; for example, the 2004 approval in Canada of the unlicensed use of the United States General Mobile Radio Service
    General Mobile Radio Service
    The General Mobile Radio Service is a licensed land-mobile FM UHF radio service in the United States available for short-distance two-way communication. It is intended for use by an adult individual who possesses a valid GMRS license, as well as his or her immediate family members...

     frequencies due to interference from users of FRS
    Family Radio Service
    The Family Radio Service is an improved walkie talkie radio system authorized in the United States since 1996. This personal radio service uses channelized frequencies in the ultra high frequency band. It does not suffer the interference effects found on citizens' band at 27 MHz, or the...

    /GMRS radios from the United States, where Industry Canada
    Industry Canada
    Industry Canada is the department of the Government of Canada with responsibility for regional economic development, investment, and innovation/research and development. The department employs 6104 FTEs across Canada....

     had to transfer a number of licensed users on the GMRS frequencies to unoccupied channels to accommodate the expanded service.
  • Deliberate or malicious interference—refers to the use of two-way radio to harass or jam other users of a channel. Such behaviour is widely prosecuted, especially when it interferes with mission-critical services such as aviation radio
    Airband or Aircraft band is the name for a group of frequencies in the VHF radio spectrum allocated to radio communication in civil aviation, sometimes also referred to as VHF, or phonetically as "Victor"...

     or marine VHF radio
    Marine VHF radio
    Marine VHF radio is installed on all large ships and most seagoing small craft. It is used for a wide variety of purposes, including summoning rescue services and communicating with harbours, locks, bridges and marinas, and operates in the VHF frequency range, between 156 to 174 MHz...

  • Illegal equipment—This refers to the use of illegally modified equipment or equipment not certified for a particular band. Such equipment includes illegal linear amplifier
    Linear amplifier
    A linear amplifier is an electronic circuit whose output is proportional to its input, but capable of delivering more power into a load. The term usually refers to a type of radio-frequency power amplifier, some of which have output power measured in kilowatts, and are used in amateur radio...

    s for CB radio, antenna or circuit modifications on walkie-talkies, the use of "export" radios for free banding, or the use of amateur radios on unlicensed bands that amateur gear is not certified for. The use of marine VHF radio
    Marine VHF radio
    Marine VHF radio is installed on all large ships and most seagoing small craft. It is used for a wide variety of purposes, including summoning rescue services and communicating with harbours, locks, bridges and marinas, and operates in the VHF frequency range, between 156 to 174 MHz...

     gear for inland mobile radio operations is common in some countries, with enforcement difficult since marine VHF is generally the province of maritime authorities.

Examples of known pirate radio stations

  • Voice of Peace
    Voice of Peace
    Voice of Peace was an offshore radio station that served the Middle East for 20 years from the former Dutch cargo vessel MV Peace , anchored off the coast of Tel Aviv...

    , Israel (Pirate Ship)
  • Radio First Termer
    Radio First Termer
    Radio First Termer was a pirate radio station which operated in January 1971 in Saigon during the Vietnam War.The station was hosted by a United States Air Force sergeant calling himself "Dave Rabbit". The two other members of the crew were known as "Pete Sadler" and "Nguyen"...

    , Saigon, Vietnam 1971
  • Free Radio Santa Cruz
    Free Radio Santa Cruz
    Free Radio Santa Cruz is an unlicensed radio station in Santa Cruz, California, USA. The station has been on the air since Spring, 1995; its broadcast content is a mix of daily news, music, and cultural programs, produced both locally and nationally...

     California, USA
  • Berkeley Liberation Radio California, USA
  • Laser 558
    Laser 558
    Laser 558 was an offshore pirate radio station launched in May 1984 by a consortium of British and American business and broadcasting executives, some of whom have never been named. Laser 558 used disc jockeys recruited from the USA. The station was aboard the ship the MV Communicator in...

  • Radio Caroline South, United Kingdom
  • Radio Jackie, United Kingdom (Now licensed and legal)
  • Radio Caroline North, United Kingdom
  • Radio Scotland
    Radio Scotland
    Radio Scotland was an offshore pirate radio station broadcasting on 1241 kHz mediumwave , created by Tommy Shields in 1965. The station was located on the former lightship M.V...

    , United Kingdom (1960's Pirate Ship)
  • Radio 270
    Radio 270
    Radio 270 was a pirate radio station serving Yorkshire and the North East of England from 1966 to 1967. It broadcast from a converted Dutch lugger called Oceaan 7 positioned in international waters off Scarborough, North Yorkshire.-Origins :...

    , United Kingdom
  • Swinging Radio England
    Swinging Radio England
    Swinging Radio England was a top 40 offshore commercial station billed as the "World's Most Powerful" that operated from 3 May 1966 to 13 November 1966 from a ship in the North Sea, three and a half miles off Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, England...

    , United Kingdom
  • Britain Radio, United Kingdom
  • Radio City
    Radio City (pirate radio station)
    Radio City was a British pirate radio station that broadcast from Shivering Sands Army Fort, one of the abandoned Second World War Maunsell Sea Forts in the Thames Estuary.- Origins :...

    , United Kingdom
  • Radio 390
    Radio 390
    Radio 390 was a pirate radio station which operated from Red Sands Fort, near Whitstable), a former Maunsell Fort located on the Red Sands sandbar....

    , United Kingdom
  • Radio Mercur
    Radio Mercur
    Radio Mercur was a Danish offshore broadcasting commercial radio station. Started regular transmission on August 2nd 1958 and ceased officially on July 31st 1962, though there still were 3 days of illegal transmissions from August 13-15 1962...

    , Denmark
  • Radio Milinda
    Radio Milinda
    Radio Milinda was the first pirate radio station in the Ireland to be raided by police and prosecuted. On Sunday, December 17, 1972 almost 100 police raided the station at 5 North Gloucester Place, Dublin . Seven people were arrested and taken to Store Street police station, where they were later...

    , Dublin
  • Radio Veronica
    Radio Veronica
    Radio Veronica was an offshore radio station that began broadcasting in 1960, and broadcast from offshore for over fourteen years. It was set up by independent radio, TV and household electrical retailers in the Netherlands to stimulate the sales of radio receivers by providing an alternative to...

  • Thameside Radio
    Thameside Radio
    Thameside Radio was a pirate radio station launched in the Winter of 1977 which offered "very slick pop rock with competitions", according to Time Out magazine...

  • Rinse FM
    Rinse FM
    Rinse FM is a London-based community radio station, licensed for "young people living and/or working within the central,east and south London areas.". The station plays grime, dubstep, UK garage, funky, drum and bass and other genres....

    , London (Gained a licence in 2010)
  • Wonderful Radio London
    Wonderful Radio London
    Radio London, also known as Big L and Wonderful Radio London, was a top 40 offshore commercial station that operated from 16 December 1964 to 14 August 1967, from a ship anchored in the North Sea, three and a half miles off Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, England...

    , United Kingdom

  • Dread Broadcasting Corporation
    Dread Broadcasting Corporation
    Dread Broadcasting Corporation was a west London pirate radio station established in 1981.DBC has been credited as Britain's first black music radio station, and eventually featured DJs like Neneh Cherry, and Ranking Miss P. Joe Strummer of The Clash even made a guest appearance on the station,...

    , London's first black music radio station.
  • Citizens Radio 102.8 FM, Hong Kong
  • Ke Huelga Radio 102.9 FM (southern Mexico City
    Mexico City
    Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

  • Freelance Radio 91.3 FM (Harare, Zimbabwe)
  • Radio Hauraki
    Radio Hauraki
    Radio Hauraki is a New Zealand radio network, specialising in album-oriented rock and classic rock. It was the first private commercial radio station of the modern broadcasting era in New Zealand and operated illegally from 1966-1970 to break the monopoly held by the government...

    , New Zealand

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.