Pirate transmitter

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
On August 6, 1959, "Radio Wales" broadcast illegally for the first time in North Wales . Those involved cover their faces.

A pirate station (also known as a sea ​​station ) is a radio station - usually radio - that broadcasts its programs as a black channel within a national territory without a license .


The term “pirate transmitter”, meanwhile a common term in German usage, is generally to be found far more frequently than the word “black transmitter ” and is undisputed in professional circles ( radio amateurs , Association of German-speaking short-wave listeners ) as well as a separate category in their publications. In Switzerland the term "radio pirates" is used for the pirate transmitter phenomenon.

The term “pirate transmitter” was originally used throughout Europe and mainly only for the so-called “offshore” stations on the high seas (outside the three-mile zone ), such as Radio Nordsee International and Radio Caroline , which were then based on ships .

The first offshore pirate stations used a legal transmission option in international waters at the start and were only prohibited by unilateral changes in the law to the detriment of the sea stations, which were subsequently carried out. In a comment that has become famous on the discontinuation of Radio Caroline, a ship DJ even spoke of a "criminal act by the English government".

It was only over the years that the word “pirate transmitter” was also used for land-based illegal black channels in German-speaking countries.

In the English and Dutch-speaking areas, sea-based black channels are still called “Pirate Radio”, “Offshore Radio” or “Tarjacken Sender”. In Germany there is no memory of these radio makers, who, with their work from the high seas, can be considered the founders of today's diverse European radio landscape.


There are three types of radio pirates:

  • the political ones who want to get their political message across, but sometimes offer a broader program
  • the commercial ones that sell advertising and
  • the hobbyists who are fascinated by broadcast technology.

Those stations that are legal in the country in which they broadcast, but are disapproved by the authorities in a neighboring country where they can also be received are not referred to as pirate stations. If news and information in the reception area are subject to political or religiously motivated censorship , broadcast stations - usually referred to as "underground stations" or clandestine radio stations - are of particular importance.

Pirate stations are often referred to as "free stations" - but not to be confused with free radios or community radio . According to the common German understanding, pirate channels are also black channels ; the term black channels is much more comprehensive and includes other groups of unlicensed broadcasts. Clandestine radio stations must be clearly distinguished from this. These cannot always be classified properly, but they do not belong to the pirate broadcast sector. Some of these were even operated (secretly) by state governments. This small area does not belong to the group of black channels. All in all, the broadcasting stations, which cannot always be categorized straight away, reflected the special diversity of the medium of broadcasting - especially on medium and short wave . Medium wave in particular was very important at the beginning of the pirate station era in the early 1960s.


The designation “pirate transmitter” is due to the fact that free frequencies are used for broadcasting without being asked or frequencies used by other, legal transmitters are “hijacked” and superimposed with the own program ( jamming transmitters ). In the past, pirate transmitters were often "sea transmitters" because they used to be able to evade the authorities' access in international waters ("offshore"). This is where the term “offshore radio” comes from. In addition, the seawater offers excellent grounding, which is particularly advantageous for transmission on short and medium wave frequencies.

First "pirate station" in the USA

The first pirate channels, which were not designated as such, emerged in the 1920s in Mexico on the border with the United States . A commercial radio culture focused on selling advertising had developed in the United States by the early 20th century . It served a mass taste. However, because they were often used to sell questionable products, political propaganda, and other violations of US law, some providers' broadcast licenses were not renewed. These switched to extremely powerful channels on the Mexican border that broadcast in English and reached large parts of the USA.

As a foreign broadcaster, listeners could recognize them by the fact that the callsigns always began with an X, as with all Mexican broadcasters, while American broadcasters began with a W or a K, depending on their location (and still begin). In the USA it is common for broadcasters on air to identify themselves with their callsign and not with a self-chosen station name. It was broadcast with up to 500 kW, while in the USA only channels with a maximum of 50 kW are licensed.

The classic pirate channels in Europe

The classic pirate stations developed in Europe in the 1960s, especially in Great Britain , where previously, as a model for Europe, a completely different radio culture had developed than in the USA. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which to this day represents the ideal model of public service broadcasting , had the monopoly here. It was based on the principles developed by Lord Reith of an educational mandate for broadcasters, the independent "Public Service Broadcasting". At the BBC, “ mass culture ” - in contrast to high culture - was a term with negative connotations. So found z. As the emerging since the 1950s rock 'n' roll in the UK almost exclusively on the in Luxembourg licensed private station Radio Luxembourg and the US Soldatensender AFN (in this sense, pirate radio stations because not approved by the British government) held that could be received via medium wave (often not particularly good).

Radio Mercur was the first European pirate broadcaster to start broadcasting off Denmark as early as 1958 , from a former German fishing ship renamed "Cheeta". Radio Veronica then went on the air off the Dutch coast , followed by Radio Nord off Stockholm.

The famous British pirate radio stations that were broadcasting from 1964, were Radio Caroline and Wonderful Radio London , called Big L . Both also broadcast their programs from ships outside the territorial waters off the British coast. Other sea transmitters had their transmitters built on abandoned forts from the Second World War in the Thames estuary (e.g. Shivering Sands , Red Sands).

Most of the programs were designed primarily to play popular music for teenage listeners, punctuated by commercials and news. Interspersed jingles, fast-speaking moderators and the moderation of a song into the music that has already started gave the programs a certain speed. At the time, it was popular to receive stations with the emerging transistor radios from anywhere.

The disc jockeys achieved the status of pop stars. Well-known DJs were z. B. Kenny Everett, Tony Blackburn, John Peel , Tommy Vance , Johnnie Walker, and Dave Lee Travis . The latter also moderated the German television program Beat Club at Radio Bremen at times together with Uschi Nerke .

After the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act came into force, almost all British marine broadcasters ceased broadcasting by August 14, 1967, only Radio Caroline remained on the air until March 3, 1968 under the name Radio Caroline International. On this day both ships were brought to the Netherlands by the Wijsmuller Company because of financial claims. This ended the classic era of the popular British pirate channels.

In the sixties and seventies, the Netherlands was the starting point for various pirate channels such as Radio Veronica and Radio Nordsee International (RNI), which broadcast from ships outside the territorial waters. They too had to cease operations on August 31, 1974 (Final Closedown Day) after the first and second chambers of the Dutch parliament - as the last government in the North Sea bordering states - had approved the so-called "Anti-Veronica Law".

History of the pirate channels in German-speaking countries


The left-alternative radio project Radio Dreyeckland (RDL) was founded in 1977 as Radio Verte Fessenheim and is the oldest free radio in Germany. The first broadcast lasted twelve minutes and was broadcast on June 4, 1977. It was the best known political pirate channel in German-speaking countries. Since 1981 it has been called Radio Dreyeckland , which broadcasts across borders in the border triangle of Switzerland, France and Germany and arose from the resistance against the three nuclear power plants Fessenheim, Wyhl and Kaiseraugst . In a comparison of the countries, according to the makers, the Swiss PTT was the most ruthless prosecution authority. After a raid on Radio Dreyeckland, François Mitterrand also supported a petition to legalize the station. After he became president, he actually contributed to it; since the late 1980s the radio from Freiburg im Breisgau has been broadcasting its politically left-wing program.

In the dispute over the repository for radioactive waste in Gorleben, Radio Free Wendland broadcast from May 18 to June 4, 1980 . With the storming of the Republic of Free Wendland by around 10,000 officials, the pirate station also had to cease operations.

In 1980, the radio station Radio Isnogud was established in Frankfurt am Main from autonomous contexts. In 1981 the runway opponents broadcast with their own transmitter (Radio Luftikus) from the Hüttendorf on the area of ​​the runway west .

From 1981 to 1984 Radio Benelux (BNL) legally broadcast a mostly apolitical music program from East Belgium to the south-western part of North Rhine-Westphalia. BNL took advantage of a change in the law in Belgium that made it possible to license VHF with 100 watts of radiated power and to broadcast it in mono. That the BNL could be heard well in NRW was solely due to the fact that it was broadcasting from Baraque Michel, 720 meters above sea level . Other German-language broadcasters followed, some of which were later licensed by the Belgian authorities, including Henri Radio from Henri-Chapelle and Radio Distel from Eupen . From 1983, from the border triangle (320 m above sea level) near Gemmenich, immediately before Aachen , radio 101 broadcasted on VHF 101 MHz. First from a converted vehicle, then from the Baudouin Tower on the Belgian side (354 m above sea level), then from the roof of a high-rise building on the Dutch side of the border triangle and finally from the Baudouin Tower again. From there, “Radio Telstar International” (RTI), in cooperation with the teams from Radio101 and Henri-Radio, broadcast a commercial German and Dutch-language music program for about half a year. During the night there were joint live programs with Henri Radio and Radio101. RTI fed the very strong signal from a converted aircraft radio transmitter from Rohde & Schwarz into two vertically polarized VHF dipole antennas that radiated towards the Netherlands and two other horizontal dipoles that were directed towards Germany. Aachen is said to have been irradiated better by RTI than by WDR ( broadcaster Aachen-Stolberg ) and was therefore of interest to advertisers. RTI was closed by the Belgian public prosecutor's office and then continued as a licensed local broadcaster Radio Telstar Offenburg (RTO) from 1987 to 1992 under rather unfavorable conditions (frequency splitting with Radio OHR). In the meantime, the public broadcasting monopoly in Germany had fallen. Most recently, some of those responsible at the time sent in the summer of 2008 and sporadically in 2009 under the name RealFM from East Belgium in the direction of Germany.

The parties in a then vacant house in Aachener Pontstraße were also legendary , the signals (DJ, music) of which were sent via radio relay to the Vaalserberg triangle , from where they could be heard on the Radio101 transmitter on VHF in the Aachen district .

Also at the beginning of the 1980s, “Radio Wahnsinn” broadcast a political program in the Cologne area from changing broadcasting locations . The start of broadcasting was announced shortly beforehand in newspapers. The station's signature tune was the song Wahnsinn by BAP . A program burst because the transmitter hung up on Cologne Cathedral was discovered by a group of schoolchildren and mistakenly mistaken for a bomb.

Radio P, operated by Aljoscha Rompe , used the turmoil of the fall in 1989/1990 and broadcast a chaotic program in Berlin . The transmitter systems were installed on the roofs of residential buildings such as the squatted houses in Schönhauser Allee No. 5 and No. 20 and the Kunsthaus Tacheles . Until 1994, however, Radio P did not broadcast continuously.

In 1997 TwenFM began broadcasting an illegal DJ program in Frankfurt / Main. In 1999 the station moved to Berlin and continued to broadcast illegally there. After the transmission systems were confiscated, the station paused in 2000 and went back on the air in 2001 with a 12-hour program. Again the station was confiscated. Until 2004 TwenFM participated in legal event radio stations. Until October 2005, TwenFM broadcast legally on FM as part of a DAB doctorate.

Radio Atlantis International, RAI for short, broadcast a briskly moderated pop and dance program in the Stolberg area (Rhineland) on VHF with 50 watts on Sundays every 14 days from 1985 until the confiscation in 1990 and from around 1987 also throughout Europe and partly as far as North America Short wave (with 30 watts).

The legal situation of pirate broadcasters is to be distinguished from private home radio in Germany , which does not achieve any relevant range .


The oldest political pirate channel in Switzerland was the wave witch (d'Wwallhäxe) , which from 1976 onwards in the Zurich area addressed issues of the women's movement such as gender equality and abortion, offered lesbians a mouthpiece and at that time already addressed the role of women in the male domain of rock music . The then PTT (State Company for Post and Telecommunications) only managed to find an abandoned transmitter once with its direction finders, a large number of police and a helicopter. There was also a leaflet with the text: "We don't need a license and we don't make any!"

Peter Käppeli's radio station Radio Atlantis, also operating in Zurich in 1976, was already broadcasting in stereo, while the official Swiss radio was still broadcasting in mono.

Starting in November 1979, Radio 24 broadcasted from Pizzo Groppera in Italy around 130 km with what was then the strongest FM transmitter in the world into the Zurich area. The broadcast studio was located in a family house in Cernobbio , in the province of Como . The Swiss authorities tried by all means to persuade the Italian state to shut down the “pirate channel”, which is legal under Italian law. In the greater Zurich area, a real popular movement emerged across all social classes that campaigned for free radio in Switzerland.


On September 2, 1923, Radio Hekaphon, whose operation would have been officially closed, broadcast a speech by the Federal President on the occasion of the opening of the Vienna Autumn Fair.

Radio Pfeilheim 1968 (according to the author Gerald Freinhofer, then a student) broadcast in the student residence of Akademikerhilfe 1080 Vienna, Pfeilgasse 1–3, built in 1965.

Radio Ö Frei 1980, broadcast by the student body of the Technical University, was a popular broadcaster for people who read Falter and sympathized with the Green Alternative Party in Austria, which was founded shortly afterwards.

In the mid-1980s, Radio Ö4 broadcast in the Kitzbühel-Tirol area. After a while, the three radio producers (Chris M., Raimund G. and Harald B.) were caught red-handed during a broadcast on the Kitzbühler Horn. A few years later, Radio 101 broadcast on VHF 101 MHz (an offshoot of the station in the Aachen area). Attempts by the Austrian post office, the transmitter or the radio makers to get hold of were thwarted by guards with CB radios. Only once was it possible to find the transmitter buried in the forest floor on a mountain, as the officers drove up the mountain in a private car (without a visible direction finder antenna).

1992–93 environmental activists agitated in the Upper Drautal with the radio Rübezahl against the planned bypass of the Drautal road around Greifenburg .

Other countries


At the end of the Prague Spring in 1968, around 500,000 Warsaw Pact soldiers, mostly from the USSR , marched into Czechoslovakia . Czech citizens improvised pirate channels to keep their fellow citizens informed of the invasion. The Soviet occupation troops did not succeed in eliminating them completely right away.

Outside of Europe

At about the same time as the heyday of the sea station off the English coast in the 1960s, radio Hauraki broadcast off the New Zealand coast on Auckland's radio station . The station quickly became the most popular radio station in the country, but was plagued by technical problems and rough seas. In 1970 the station received a license to broadcast on land and continues to broadcast under the same name to this day.

The attempt made in 1987 to set up a sea station for New York under the name Radio New York International failed after a few days due to the tough crackdown on the part of the authorities.

Pirate channels today


By awarding broadcasting licenses since the late 1980s on private radio stations , on non-commercial local radio and community radio stations and open channels of pirate radio stations have become less frequent. There are still strongholds of pirate culture along the Dutch border, in East Friesland, in the Ruhr area, in the Frankfurt area and in the Ulm area .

There are also German pirate stations on the shortwave , these mostly use hourly rented stations in countries with more liberal legislation. Due to the special properties of shortwave, these can be received in Germany. Although the studios are located in Germany, there is no formal violation of German law.

Great Britain

The responsible supervisory authority, Ofcom ( Office of Communications ), has not yet issued any end-to-end licenses for free, non-commercial broadcasters such as community or university radio stations: They are allowed to broadcast for a maximum of 28 days a year at low power and still bear comparatively high costs. The only exception is the London artist channel Resonance FM . The pirate channel culture is still very pronounced here, especially in large metropolitan areas.

Since the late 1980s, stations such as Kiss FM (not identical to the Berlin or Timișoara station of the same name), Kool FM, Rinse FM or Rush FM have developed electronic music styles such as jungle , dubstep , drum and bass , techno , especially in the greater London area or Speed ​​Garage and created its own MC culture. Broadcasters from ethnic minorities are also often to be found.


The Netherlands is a stronghold for pirate broadcasters. There, especially on the weekends, an unmanageable number of pirate stations (not only on VHF, but also on shortwave) are operated predominantly above the 49 meter band, i.e. from 6220 kHz to approx. 6350 kHz, and in the upper range of the medium wave band , which also far from the borders of the Netherlands. Programs in German can also be heard from time to time.

Pirate stations occasionally go on air in the neighboring parts of Germany. There are some radio stations that started their broadcasting operations out of a somewhat unclear legal situation and were later legalized, like almost all Dutch private stations, such as Radio 10 Gold, Keizerstad FM and Stadsradio Rotterdam. There were numerous political pirate channels in Amsterdam, including a. Radio Got.

Other countries

In other countries, pirate channels are often divided into two different classes: political channels and commercial programs. The latter usually only exist for a short time. However, if one understands by pirate transmitters (i.e. not land-based free radio) - for a clear conceptual differentiation - only the broadcasting stations of radio ships (offshore radio), it should be mentioned that only broadcasting activities off the Israeli coast had existed for a long time, including the “ Voice of Peace ”, which campaigned for an understanding between Israel and the Arabs from the ship of the same name.

Radio Arutz 2000 followed as the last non-European offshore station . The ship ran aground in January 2000 after the creators had named themselves four years earlier after the millennium year 2000, so that further broadcasting from the ship became impossible. Nevertheless, a short time later, under the name Radio 2000, broadcasting operations as a land-based black channel were resumed. To date, there are several websites promoting the programs, and there are also broadcasts via satellite. A club partly enables financial survival.

Movies on pirate channels

The topic of pirate channels was also dealt with in the cinema: In a film from 1982, Mike Krüger and Thomas Gottschalk play the presenters of the pirate channel Powerplay , which has its broadcast studio in a US van. At the end of the film, the two presenters appear as official speakers on ARD radio - a story that sometimes actually happened on successful pirate broadcasters. The film Hart auf Sendung (Pump Up The Volume , 1990) also revolves around an illegal broadcaster operated by a young person, and with Pogo 1104 , ARD even had its own youth series on the subject. In Pirate Station Permanent Stand (Beate Uhse, 2003), a pirate station broadcasts music with moans and is very successful with it. In April 2009 the film Radio Rock Revolution , which takes up the story of the English pirate station Radio Caroline from the 1960s, was released in German cinemas.

In 1984 the topic of pirate stations was processed in the four-part television series Pogo 1104 . Contributors included Ralf Richter , Anja Schüte , Richy Müller and Erich Bar . The film tells the story of four young people “who are reluctant to be stepped on their feet” and set up a pirate transmitter on an old cutter at the gates of Hamburg against all odds such as the police, authorities and tight budgets.

The US teen series Parker Lewis (episode: “Radio Free Flamingo”, 1990) also takes up the topic and in particular demonstrates the usefulness of a voice changer.

There are also numerous documentaries on the subject, including Jolly Roger , a documentary on Radio 24 , and Radio 24 - Duell am Pizzo Groppera on Swiss television , which was broadcast on March 5, 1980. The ZDF even took up the topic for the Mainzelmännchen , who at the end of the 1970s had to do with the fictional station Northern Lights in several cartoon episodes .

List of known former pirate channels

Netherlands and Belgium

Great Britain

Denmark and Sweden

France and Italy

  • Radio Verte
  • Radio Ivre
  • Radio Drops (late 1980s) broadcast from Strasbourg
  • Radio Active in Lyon (1976)
  • Radio Lorraine Coeur d'Acier in Nancy (1978)
  • Azure 102 (1977-1984)
  • Radio Continental (1977–1979) broadcast from Bordighiera
  • Radio Vintimille Internationale (1977–1981) broadcast from Ventimiglia
  • Radio K (1981–1982) broadcast from Bussana di Sanremo
  • Radio Lina (2003–) broadcasts in Naples
  • Radio Riposte (around 1979) in Paris, operated by the Parti socialiste


  • RealFM (2008-2009 broadcast a German hip-hop and R'n'B program from Belgian territory to Germany)
  • Radio Lambada (Emlichheim, Grafschaft Bentheim, 2008–) with a transmission power of up to one kilowatt on VHF 98.6 MHz
  • Kick! FM (Ruhr area), most recently with site frequency on 87.45 MHz, but transmits on 87.49 MHz with up to 2 kW.
  • D42C radio (regular broadcast times in the district of Bernkastel-Wittlich (last excavated in Traben-Trarbach), and irregularly in many parts of the Federal Republic.)
  • Radio Central, Pulheim (1991–1995), transformed itself after its lifting as a legal event radio and broadcast on special occasions from the Pulheimer Gymnasium on VHF 99.9 or 96.9. All frequencies used legally and illegally by Radio Central were put out to tender promptly by the LfM, thus making retransmission impossible.
  • Radio Costa Brava (2008 – today, irregular)
  • Pirate FM (irregularly in the Gummersbach area 88.6 MHz, plays mainly electronic music).
  • Free Radio Aachen (Politpirate 1980–1982, irregular)
  • BNL Rock (German-language memorial program in honor of the former Radio Benelux; 1981–1984). The program was also broadcast on MW 1593 and short wave.
  • Radio Free Wendland (several hours of live reporting from drilling site 1004 in Gorleben , 1980) is still broadcasting today during the Castor transports as part of Radio ZuSa.
  • Radio ABS FM in Altena, Westphalia (1965–1966)
  • Nordlicht-Radio International (1989–1995) was the best known and most active shortwave pirate on the German ether at the time. Nordlicht-Radio International sometimes broadcast programs in the foreign languages ​​English, French and Russian. It was also the first station to broadcast regularly in AM stereo and with high transmission power. The elaborately produced program consisted of entertainment elements and a separate program for shortwave listeners (DX corner). The operator was called Felix de Fries.
  • Pirate Trio Vreden (VHF)
  • Radio Hafenstrasse (1987–1993)
  • City FM (Düsseldorf, 1994-2001)
  • Radio Diamond (since 1985) one of the older German land pirates, first broadcast on November 10, 1985 on 6206 KHZ on Radio Delmare (Belgium) - now still active sporadically, sometimes even as a pirate from Holland or its own via a transmitter
  • Radio Dreyeckland (RDL), since 1977, legalized in 1988
  • TwenFM (1999–2001; from 2002 via internet and with interruptions legally on VHF)
  • Radio West TV
  • Radio 108.0 / MegaRadio (Halle / Saale 2003–2008) Broadcasts with self-built transmitters at the end with up to 150 watts in stereo and RadioText (RDS), mostly from Friday to Sunday continuously, program 1980s to then currently Querbeet
  • Skyradio FM 103.3 (1987–1989) broadcast from the inner city of Freiburg im Breisgau mostly on Fridays and Saturdays, FM mono with 30 watts of power (professional control transmitter from a 1 kW power amplifier) ​​- the focus was black music (soul and funk) .
  • Radio Outaspace (July 9, 2002 to March 7, 2003) broadcast with 40 watts in Dresden
  • Radio Bunte Republik Neustadt (almost every year on VHF)
  • Paradise Radio, Rockradio from Meinerzhagen, Sauerland, could be heard from 1984 to 1993 on VHF (frequencies between 105.2 MHz and 106.6 MHz) for nine years almost every day as far as the Rhineland.
  • Radio Cosa Rosa broadcast in Leverkusen from 1986 to 1988
  • Radio Marabu
  • Radio Benelux (BNL)
  • Sender Free Paunsdorf (1965–1969), one of the few pirate stations in the GDR, which was transmitted by three young people using a self-built transmitter on the medium wave 935 kHz
  • Radio Canale Grande / RCG since 1987, legalized in 1995
  • Crazy Wave Radio
  • Telstar radio
  • Radio Hitwelle since 1994, legalized in 1998
  • Radio Freier Odenwald 1981
  • Lemon transmitter (approx. 1955–1956), later legalized
  • Laser 208 KW
  • RadioAktiv (1994/1995 in the Leipzig / Halle area on 104.4 MHz / VHF and 27.505 MHz / SW, was lifted on June 7, 1995)
  • Radio 101 (still active on Sporadic E on 27.035FM)
  • Radio HighLife / RFN / 248 (April 4, 1989 to 1992)
  • Radio Likedeeler
  • Studio Aragon - East Frisia
  • Radio Westerkamp - East Frisia
  • Radio Moorkatze - East Friesland border
  • Station to Schunkelaugust Ostfriesland
 106.30 MHz 
  • Studio Völlenerfehn - East Frisia
  • Radio Calibra - East Frisia
  • Radio Renaldo (almost every Saturday on VHF)
  • Studio in the country - East Frisia
  • Studio 33 - East Frisia
  • Radio Arizona
  • Radio Rainbow (every Sunday at 48 m)
  • Radio Caroline Eifel ("Shortwave Pirate")
  • Radio Driland
  • Station Vrij Gildehaus Kanaal (can still be heard regularly in the county of Bad Bentheim)
  • Radio Malaga East Frisia
  • Radio Halli Galli East Frisia
  • Radio Milano Bunde 108.00 MHz
  • Radio Valentine International
  • Radio Wahnsinn (broadcast in the Cologne area in the 1980s )
  • Radio Wahnsinn was also on the shortwave, also in the 1980s, has nothing to do with the station from Cologne and later formed a new project
  • Studio E, Düsseldorf
  • Level 48
  • Northeast radio (always on Sundays, late 1960s to 1970/71 in Berlin-Mitte and Northeast, medium wave)
  • Radio Atlantis (1969–1971, Berlin-Mitte, Lichtenberg and Prenzlauer Berg, almost every day in the morning and in the afternoon, medium wave)
  • UKW-100 (1976–1978, downtown Jena, almost every evening until midnight, FM stereo 100 MHz, music)
  • In the years 1988–1989, FM radio broadcast in the Heidelberg area on FM 105.1 MHz and 106.1 MHz. The program consisted of entertainment and music, with broadcast times on Fridays from 6pm to 8pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 2pm. It was broadcast with a 3-watt mono transmitter via a four-element VHF directional antenna. Transmitter location approx. 510 meters above sea level The signal could partially be heard up to Wiesbaden, approx. 60 km away as the crow flies
  • Radio Bonanza (medium wave pirate, 1972–1976, then only occasionally until 1978. Transmitted with sometimes over 700 watts in the county of Bentheim )
  • Kanal X from Leipzig (immediately after the reunification, 1990/91)
  • Radio D3 Blaubeuren pirate station from March 1st, 1996 to November 30th, 1996
  • Hitradio-Dancestation Kleve Niederrhein from 1990 to 2003 on VHF always on weekends, initially with 25 watts, later up to max. 1200 watt RDS stereo. Today it is partially received again on shortwave at 6300 kHz.
  • Radio Atlantis International (RAI), VHF and shortwave pirate in the Stolberg area (Rhineland), 1985–1990
  • Free Waldersee transmitter: private transmitter in the former GDR, from January 1965-August 1965, discontinued in August due to treason against the Stasi. Broadcast times, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Range around five kilometers. Music genre, mainly hit of the week, mostly takeover of hit of the week from RIAS Berlin (frequency 88.5 MHz)
  • Bosrand company, heard regularly in the county (frequency 95.90 MHz)
  • Wave 106 on FM 106 MHz with 20 watts, partly in stereo in the Dortmund area from 1988 to 1994, entertainment and music every first Saturday of the month. Special feature: a green VW bus (hidden at the edge of the forest) served as a mobile broadcasting studio. From 1995, part of the Welle 106 crew continued with the radio fantasy project.
  • Radio Fantasy on FM 106.4 MHz with 100 watts in stereo in the Dortmund / Unna area from 1991 to 1997, techno every Saturday. Legally heard on the Internet today under the name Jenny FM . Both Welle 106 and Radio Fantasy broadcast with equipment they had built themselves.
  • Radio Otopia and Station FAT is a German-Dutch pirate station from the county of Bentheim. In the meantime, Radio Otopia no longer broadcasts, only the FAT station. It broadcasts close to the Dutch border to Ootmarsum with a transmission power of one kilowatt on different frequencies.
  • Studio Heimatsignaal (2004 to today) (formerly the Bosrand company)
  • Knoepert FM (2008 until today), formerly the Bosrand company from the county of Bentheim, still broadcasts regularly.
  • Radio Alteisen (2008 to today) from the county of Bentheim, close to the border with the Netherlands, broadcasts relatively irregularly.
  • Bengelz station, formerly Radio Knallhart and Studio Alte B70
  • Radio LaMa from 2019 on 107.70Mhz
 Ostfriesland mit 2 Studios


  • Voice of Peace - Ship Peace off Tel Aviv (1973–1993)
  • Arutz 2000 - ship King David
  • Arutz Scheva ("Canal Seven") - from the ship MV Hatzvi in the Mediterranean (since 1988); one of the first internet radios (beta tester for RealPlayer )

New Zealand

  • Radio Hauraki - Ship "Tiri"




A tape recorder (or comparable player), a transmitter of 5 to 25 watts, an antenna and a battery are sufficient to operate an illegal radio station. In the heyday of illegal radio stations in the 1970s (before private radio stations were licensed and Internet radio emerged), the necessary technical equipment cost around 600 euros, finished systems from Italy were available for 1500 euros. Nowadays a transmitter can be set up for around 60 euros. The prices for a usable finished system start at around 180 euros.

Since the legalization of FM transmitters , the technical effort is even lower: you only need a power amplifier to increase the output and modifications to the FM transmitter to tap the output signal.

The Internet radio with the transmission via streaming audio has become for many prospective customers a simple alternative for operating a high-frequency radio station.

See also


  • Wolf-Dieter Roth: pirate station. History and practice. Siebel-Verlag / Verlag für Technik und Handwerk, Baden-Baden 2004, ISBN 3-88180-637-7
  • Keith Skues: Pop Went The Pirates. An Illustrated History of Pirate Radio . Lambs' Meadow Publications, Sheffield 1994, ISBN 0-907398-03-0
  • Björn Quäck: Hobby pirate transmitter on shortwave in: Michael Schmitz, Wolf Siebel: Sender & Frequenzen 2015 - Yearbook for worldwide radio reception , Siebel Verlag, Verlag für Technik und Handwerk, Baden-Baden 2014, ISBN 978-3-88180-893-4

Web links

Wiktionary: Pirate station  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The sea transmitters in Western Europe
  2. Sea transmitters are settled in deutschlandfunk.de
  3. International Call Sign Prefixes at Your Remote SMeter (link occasionally not available for a short time), accessed June 16, 2017
  4. Old tape cassette found - Radio P, October 2nd / 3rd, 1990 ( Memento of February 12, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Recording of a broadcast and poster
  5. Broadcast from Radio P on SoundCloud
  6. Creating counter-publicity with pirate stations (Piratenradios II) , Stefan Länzlinger, Swiss Social Archives, July 17, 2014
  7. 90 years of radio in Austria. In: ooe. ORF, December 12, 2014, accessed on April 14, 2016 .
  8. FREE WAVES - 15 years of free radios in Austria: past, present and future: 17 b - AGORA SPECIAL: Radio Rübezahl. In: freiewellen.blogspot.de. Retrieved September 23, 2017 .
  9. Kick! FM
  10. ^ Radio Benelux ( Memento from June 23, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  11. Radio 101
  12. a b Radiofabrik Salzburg: Free waves: Radio PROTON: the free radio in Vorarlberg: Radiofabrik Salzburg - fine community radio since 1998. In: Radiofabrik Salzburg. Archived from the original on November 19, 2016 ; Retrieved November 18, 2016 .
  13. a b Entry by Stefan Länzlinger from July 17, 2014 on the documentation by Mischa Brutschin from 2010, deposited in the social archive under the name F_1006
  14. Radio Züriwälle