Friday, 22 December 2017

Radio Caroline back on Medium Wave

The Orford Ness masts
If you fancy a bit of nostalgia you can now listen to Radio Caroline again on 648kHz AM on the medium wave.

The famous pirate radio station needs little introduction, but is now broadcasting legally using (ironically) the famous Orford Ness antenna system on the Suffolk cost, formerly used to transmit the BBC World Service in English around the clock on 648 kHz from September 1982 until March 2011.

The station was founded in 1964 to play pop music all day at a time where broadcasting was dominated by the BBC and pop was played for an hour a week.

Caroline was one of five stations granted a community radio licence by Ofcom and is now running 1kW, but with a really good antenna mounted right next to the sea.

The station is 59+20dB at my home QTH 10 miles south of Norwich (JO02NN) using a Perseus SDR and a homemade 1m active loop mounted in the loft. It is also easily heard with a portable radio.

Radio enthusiasts around Europe might like to listen for it.

More information:

Orford Ness transmitter:

Radio Caroline:


Friday, 15 December 2017

Propagation prediction maps updated until June 2018

I have now updated my propagation maps with the latest predicted smoothed sunspot numbers for the period up until the end of June 2018.

You can access them using this link.

The sunspot numbers continue to fall as we head towards sunspot minimum sometime around 2019.

If you use the charts look for about 60-70% reliability for SSB (yellow or hotter) and perhaps 40-50% for CW or PSK (green). For FT8 you may be able to work stations where the reliability is down to 20-30% (blue).

Of course, these are a guide and if you want to try making charts for your own station I recommend the online software at either or