I thought I'd spend this month's column giving you a ton of information about pirate radio on the net. I figured when I started research on this subject for this column I'd find half a dozen decent sites, but the great news is there are many really great pirate radio resources and websites out there, and they aren't very hard to find. Hopefully this month's column will give you much of what you need to find a pirate radio station in your area (or areas you'll be traveling too), as well as possibly giving you enough information to go out and start your own little pirate operation.
The big controversy over pirate radio is whether it is legal or not. Most radio pirates would argue (whether they actually believe it or not) that it isn't illegal because the radio transmitters they are using are very low wattage, and thus don't have much of a range, and because, by the FCC's own definition, the public owns the airwaves, and thus as members of the public they should have the right to do whatever they want with those airwaves. This is why pirate radio can be hard to find, and why many websites I point out in this column may or may not exist for long after this issue comes out. For frequently asked questions about low power broadcasting, check out http://www.sasquatch.com/~zane/lowfaq.txt .
An excellent starting point for exploration of pirate radio on the net is The Free Radio Network homepage at http://www.frn.net . Really, almost everything you ever wanted to know about pirate radio can be found at this site. There are archived audio clips of pirate radio stations, a message board where you can talk with other radio pirates and/or listeners, and several sub-sections, each with their own focus. Subsections you'll find here include the Association of Clandestine Radio Enthusiasts (http://www.frn.net/ace/) which is a club you can join, The Pirates Web (http://www.frn.net/stations/) where you can get a free web page if you have your own pirate radio station, and a Radio Free Internet sections where you can learn some of the ins and outs of pirate broadcasting. This is *the* place to start.
If you are looking for pirate radio in your area (or an area you'll be wandering through this summer), the Pirate Radio Kiosk at the mid-Atlantic Infoshop is a decent place to find many pirate stations (especially in California). The Kiosk also has a large list of links to other pirate radio resources. You'll find the Kiosk at http://burn.ucsd.edu/~mai/pirate_kiosk.html .
A site that has a decent list of stations that you can find out about, but more importantly, has a ton of other info about pirate radio, is the Mining Companies Guide to Pirate / Free Radio at http://pirateradio.miningco.com/ . In fact, the Mining Companies site rivals the Free Radio Networks for useful information. They have updates on the latest legal challenges and legislation dealing with pirate radio, DIY guides on setting up your own station, a law library where you can research past pirate radio cases, and a ton more. You'll find the same sort of stuff at Bry's Pirate Radio Station page (http://www.mnsinc.com/bry/piralynx.htm), so you'll probably want to check there as well.
Another excellent collection of links, though not as extensive as those mentioned above, are found on the Pirate Radio pages at http://www.access.digex.net/~cps/pirate.html, the Dubious Radio Link Engine (http://www.yorkie.com/ralinks2.html) where you can add a link to other pirate sites, and on Zane's Radio Page at http://www.sasquatch.com/~zane/radio.html . All have a decent selection of links and a bit of original content that you might find interesting or thought-provoking.
Okay, so you've looked over these pages and have decided you want to try this yourself. It doesn't cost a bunch of cash to put together a station. Hell, you could probably hold a benefit show and get enough money to put something together. The real information you need to know is what it takes to get started. Luckily, there are plenty of sources for that info on the web.
Free Radio Berkeley has been broadcasting for quite awhile now, and they want to spread the power of the airwaves. As such, they've put together kits that you can buy "to do radio experiments" with. Check out what they're doing, and the stuff they have available at http://www.freeradio.org/ .
Other great websites where you can find information on building your own equipment, or places to buy equipment include The Low Power Transmitter Kits Sources FAQ (http://www.paranoia.com/~filipg/HTML/LINK/F_FM10_more.html), the Homebrew Broadcasting page (http://www.peak.org/%7Ekenneke/pirbook.html), Mycal's Microradio page (http://mycal.net/projects/mpr/), and the Crystal Electronics Warpzone at http://members.tripod.com/~crystalhf/index.htm . All of them will help immensely in your quest to skirt the edge of the law.
Finally, I need to mention the Media Pirates Network. This page not only has some information on how to build your own pirate radio station, but it also has info on building your own pirate TV station, using off the shelf parts! That's right, you too can broadcast television to your neighborhood. Also at this page is a weekly column on media piracy done by the owner of the page, so there should be new stuff to read all the time.
Anyway, that's going to do it for this month. Next month it will
be back to the music websites, so send me your site via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to me at POB 8059; Santa Cruz CA 95061. And
of course, you can see my past and present columns at http://netpunk.base.org
. See ya.
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