International Waters

Radio Antwerpen/Radio Uilenspiegel

Radio Antwerpen starts broadcasting on 1492 kHz with 10 kW from the Uilenspiegel ship on 3 October 1961. All the programmes are recorded on land and are in Flemish except for a daily half hour French programme. Programmes are briefly transmitted on 7600 kHz shortwave and reception reports are even received from Canada. Radio Antwerpen is so successful that the BRT official Belgian station extends its hours to midnight.
In December 1962, the Belgian Parliament passes a Marine Offences Act outlawing the station. On 16 December, a storm floods the ship damaging the transmitter and also casting her adrift. An SOS is broadcast and a lifeboat and a tug are sent out. The Uilenspiegel is taken under tow towards Flushing, but the tow rope parts and the radio ship runs aground and gradually sinks in to the sand. The wreck is blown up in 1971 as it is considered a safety hazard.
Geluidsfragment Announcement of Radio Antwerpen from 1962 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:21, 16 kbps, 43 kB (MP3)

Arutz Sheva

On 21 October 1988 Arutz Sheva starts test broadcasts on 918 kHz (327m) from the MV Hatzivi.

Radio Atlanta/Radio Caroline-South

Britain's second offshore station, Radio Atlanta, begins broadcasting from the MV Mi Amigo on 1520 kHz on 9 May 1964. Its official broadcasts start on 12 May on 201 mtr. On 3 July Radio Atlanta changes its name to Radio Caroline South.
On 19 January 1966, the Mi Amigo begins to drag its anchor in a gale. As the crew is down below watching TV, it is not noticed until it is too late to do anything about it. The ship ends up beached on the shore at Frinton. A couple of days later, tugs manage to pull the ship free, but as a result of the beaching, the ship is damaged and needs to be repaired. It looks as if Caroline South will be off air for quite a considerable time, but the Caroline organisation receives the offer of a ship, the Cheetah II, which has been the former home of Swedish Radio Syd. So on 13 February, Caroline South is back on the air again from the Cheetah II, although with a slightly weaker signal than its normal 10 kW output.
In April, the newly repaired Mi Amigo arrives back off the Essex coast with a new 50 kW transmitter on board and begins test transmissions on 259 metres. For a few days, there are effectively two Radio Caroline South stations, the Cheetah II on 199 metres and the Mi Amigo on 259 metres. This ended on 1 May when Cheetah II ceased to relay Caroline South.
On 2 March 1968 Radio Caroline South closes down and is towed back to Holland because of unpaid bills to the tender company.
Geluidsfragment Extract from Radio Atlanta (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:20, 16 kbps, 42 kB (MP3)

Radio Atlantis

On 15 July 1973 Flemish Radio Atlantis starts broadcasting via the transmitters of Radio Caroline. On 30 December Radio Atlantis starts broadcasting from the ship M.S. Jeanine. On 3 February 1974 Radio Atlantis starts broadcasting on 1493 kHz. One day later the station moves to 1115 kHz. On 1 March Radio Atlantis raises power of the transmitter on the 'Jeanine' from 2 to 10 kW. On 3 March the station moves from 270 to 227 meter (1131 kHz).
    Radio Atlantis 1974 QSL (courtesy of André De Block)  71 kB (jpg)

Britain Radio/Radio 355

Britain Radio starts test transmissions on 3 May 1966 from the MV Laissez Faire on 227 meters with a power of 55 kW. On 22 February 1967 Britain Radio is replaced by Radio 355. The station closes down on 6 August.
Geluidsfragment First day of Britain Radio on air (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:50, 16 kbps, 99 kB (MP3)
Geluidsfragment Announcement of closure of Radio 355 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:37, 16 kbps, 73 kB (MP3)

Radio Brod

On 9 April 1993 in the Adriatic See, Radio Brod starts broadcasting with transmissions to Yugoslavia with a 50 kW transmitter from the MV Droit de Parole. On 28 June Radio Brod is required to stop broadcasting on 792 kHz after a complaint by Serbia with the ITU for illegal use of the frequency. Due to financial problems, Radio Brod ceases broadcasting on 28 February 1994 from the MV Droit de Parole. The station served the Balkan countries with uncensored news during the Yugoslav civil war. On 7 March the broadcasts are resumed.
Geluidsfragment Extract from Radio Brod (1993) on 720 kHz (courtesy of Herbert Meixner)   01:31, 32 kbps, 354 kB (MP3)

Radio Capital

Radio Capital makes its first test on 1 May 1970 aboard the mv King David. The station broadcasts its first official test transmission on 270 meters on 14 June. The broadcast starts with Händel's Water Music Suite.

Radio Caroline/Radio Caroline-North

On 27 March 1964 Radio Caroline starts broadcasting with 'Can't Buy My Love' of The Beatles and the opening announcement: "This is Radio Caroline on 199m, your all day music station". Regular broadcasting starts on Easter Sunday from 0600 to 1800 hours daily on 197 metres.Within three weeks of Caroline starting broadcasting, it has nearly 7 million listeners from a potential audience of only 19 million! On 1 May Caroline airs its first adverts, the very first one being for Woburn Abbey.
On 3 July of that same year, Radio Caroline sails round to the Isle of Man and becomes Radio Caroline North.

On 18 December 1966 Radio Caroline-North starts broadcasting on 259m. On 2 March 1968 the station closes down and is towed back to Holland because of unpaid bills to the tender company.

On 13 May 1973 the station installs a 50 kW transmitter on 259 meters. On 3 March 1976 Radio Caroline leaves 259 meter (1187 kHz) and moves to 953 kHz (around 319 m). On 11 March 1977 Radio Caroline moves to 319 mtrs (963 kHz). The station closes down in 1980.

On 20 August 1983 Radio Caroline officially opens at 12 midday on 963 kHz from the Ross Revenge after an absence of 3 years. On 25 March 1985 Radio Caroline moves from 585 to 576 kHz due to interference problems at night.

On 1 October 1989 Radio Caroline returns to the air on 558 kHz.

On 5 November 1990 Radio Caroline ceases broadcasting from the Ross Revenge in International Waters.
    Radio Caroline's ship (courtesy of André De Block)  49 kB (jpg)

Radio City

On 30 September 1964 Radio City begins transmissions from the Shivering Sands Fort which had formerly been the home of Radio Sutch. They broadcast on 238 metres with a more powerful transmitter than had been used by Radio Sutch.
On 8 February 1967 the station closes down after being summonsed for broadcasting illegaly.
Geluidsfragment Extract from Radio City from 1966 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:34, 8 kbps, 68 kB (MP3)


On 16 February 1961 CNBC, an English service began from Radio Veronica.
Geluidsfragment Test transmission from CNBC in 1960 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:40, 16 kbps, 80 kB (MP3)

Radio Delmare

Radio Delmare began broadcasting on 21 August 1978 via 1570 kHz from the 250 ton Aegir. One day later the station moves to 192m. On 11 September the Radio Delmare ship broke its anchor and was towed back to port where it was impounded by the authorities. On 2 June 1979 Radio Delmare re-opened from the mv Martina on 1566 kHz. On 12 September Radio Delmare moves from 1566 to 1610 kHz. The final transmission was on 28th September.

Radio Essex

Radio Essex starts broadcasting from the fort 'Knock John' on 27 October 1965.
Geluidsfragment Station announcement and sign-off of Radio Essex in 1966 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  01:06, 16 kbps, 130 kB (MP3)
Geluidsfragment Extract of Radio Essex from 1966 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:10, 16 kbps, 21 kB (MP3)

Radio Free Greece

On 21 March 1970 Radio Free Greece starts from the MV Hebe off the coast of Malta. Janet Rosenstock, a Canadian member of the Free Freece Organisation, hopes to support the Paniaic Freedom Movement this way. Three days later Radio Free Greece needs to leave the air due to heavy interference from the Greek authorities.

Radio Invicta

Radio Invicta starts broadcasting with 750 watts via a number of AM frequencies on 3 June 1964. The studios are on the former navy fort 'Red Sands Tower'. It is not a very professional set-up with DJs asking their audience to send in records that they could play.
On 17 July Radio Invicta starts broadcasting from Red Sands. The station leaves the air on 20 December due to lack of food and oil.
    Radio Invicta letterhead (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  24 kB (jpg)
Geluidsfragment Start of Radio Invicta broadcast from November 1964 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:24, 16 kbps, 47 kB (MP3)
Geluidsfragment Extract of Radio Invicta from 1964 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:13, 16 kbps, 27 kB (MP3)

King Radio

On 25 February 1965 King Radio starts from Red Sands Tower (former navy basis) with test transmissions on 985 kHz. They broadcast with 3 kW with a sweet music format, targeting the coastal areas of Kent and Essex. On 24 March King Radio moves to 236m or 1267 kHz with a middle of the road format. In June, Radio City increases its power to 10 kW, and also extends its hours to 0600 to midnight. On 22 September King Radio closes down.
Geluidsfragment Extract of King Radio from 1964 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  01:02, 16 kbps, 132 kB (MP3)

Laser 558 / Laser Hot Hits

On 19 January 1984 at 9h35 a 25 kW transmitter is lifted from the MV Communicator with a balloon, broadcasting on 729 kHz. As a precaution the power is greatly reduced in order not to cause any interference with BBC Radio 4. Five minutes later the cables (and 6000 dollar) break and drop into sea. The balloon eventually lands somewhere in Belgium.
Laser 558 starts test transmissions on 558 kHz on 6 May 1984. 24 May is the first official day of broadcasting from Laser 558 onboard the mv Communicator. Laser 558 ends its broadcasts on 5 November 1985.
On 1 December 1986 Laser Hot Hits starts testing on 576 kHz from the Communicator. As of 22 January 1987 Laser Hot Hits tests on 576 kHz. On 20 April the station needs to close down due to financial problems.

Radio London

On 19 December 1964 Radio London (the Big L) from the mv Galaxy begins testing and starts regular programmes on 23rd December. The station has a 50 kW transmitter, by far the most powerful of the pirates, but initially it only uses 17 kW.
They soon build up a large audience with their catchy, professionally made jingles, experienced DJs and Top 40 format.
On 12 January 1966 Radio London is forced to interrupt transmission because the MV Galaxy is within English territory. On 14 August 1967 Radio London is forced to close down due to the introduction of the Marine Offences Act.

Radio Merkur / Danmarks Commercielle Radio

Radio Merkur was the very first European pop pirate station. Test transmissions began in July 1958 from the 157 ton fishing vessel named Cheeta. On 31 January 1961 a second ship, the Cheeta 2, also began broadcasting.
On 19 January 1962 offshore stations Radio Mercur and Danmarks Commercielle Radio merge. On 10 July Radio Mercur ceases broadcasting from the Cheeta II.
Geluidsfragment Start of Radio Merkur programme in 1962 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:21, 16 kbps, 42 kB (MP3)

Radio Mi Amigo

On 2 January 1973 The MW Mi Amigo succeeds in leaving the Amsterdam harbour to start transmissions on 1187 kHz. On 1 January 1974 at 12h Radio Mi Amigo starts with spoken programmes. One hour later the station leaves the air due to generator problems. On 6 February the power is raised from 35 to 50 kW, thanks to a new transmitting mast. On 25 July 1977 Radio Mi Amigo starts broadcasting on 212m. Radio Mi Amigo ceases broadcasting on 20 October 1978.
    Radio Mi Amigo's ship (courtesy of André De Block)  49 kB (jpg

Radio Monique

On 16 December 1984 Radio Monique on 963 kHz opens in Dutch from the Ross Revenge.

Radio Noordzee

Radio Noordzee starts test broadcasts on 1071 kHz (280m) on 19 July 1964. Ten days later the station starts broadcasting on 1399 kHz (214m) with 1.5 kW from the REM Island.
Geluidsfragment Start of Radio Noordzee in 1964 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:44, 16 kbps, 88 kB (MP3)

Radio Noordzee Internationaal

Radio Noordzee Internationaal starts with test transmissions on 773 kHz on 24 May 1972. On 2 October the station ceases broadcasting on 192m.
    QSL of Radio Noordzee International from 1973 (courtesy André De Block)   110 kB (jpg)

Radio Nord

The MV Bon Jour anchors off the Danish coast on 21 February 1961 and starts test transmissions on 606 kHz. Due to interference with a station in Lyon, the frequency is changed to 495 m (602 kHz). Bengt Tornkrantz is the first presenter. On 8 March the official transmissions of Radio Nord commence from the MV Bon Jour with a schedule of 0600-1800 hours. Some programmes are live and some are recorded in Stockholm. On 6 December, the Bon Jour loses its anchor in a gale and begins to drift. One of the stays on the aerial mast breaks and she has to enter port for repairs. These only take a couple of days and she soon re-commences broadcasting.
On 30 June 1962 Radio Nord closed down due to the introduction of the Scandinavian anti-pirate bill. One interesting point to note. During the time Radio Nord was broadcasting, the Bon Jour was renamed the Magda Maria. During 1963, the Magda Maria was renamed the Mi Amigo and in 1964 became the home of the second British offshore station, Radio Atlanta, which eventually became Radio Caroline South when Caroline and Atlanta merged in July 1964.
Geluidsfragment Start of Radio Nord programming from 1962 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:43, 16 kbps, 85 kB (MP3)

Radio Nordsee International

Radio Nordsee International starts broadcasting from the ship Mebo II on 3 March 1970.  On 24 March the Mebo II lies anchor before the coast of Clacton-on-Sea and resumes broadcasting on 1610 kHz or 186m, which interferes with the British navy guard in Walton-on-the-Naze. On 24 September Radio Nordsee International leaves the airwaves. In January 1971 Radio Nordsee returns on the air from the Mebo II.

Radio Northsea

On 11 February 1970 Radio Northsea International starts on 1610 kHz (186m) with test broadcasts. On 27 June Radio Northsea International moves to 1382 kHz (217m). On 24 August the station moves to 1367 kHz (220m).

Radio Pamela

Radio Pamela starts test transmissions with 25 watts on 223 meters on 13 May 1965 Six days later the station . The antenna is attached to a gas filled balloon. Six days later the station brings a special eight hour programme on 223 meters after which the station closes for good.

Radio Paradijs / Radio Nova

On 27 July 1981 Radio Paradijs does a test broadcast on 272m as of 1130utc. It is a relay of Irish pirate Radio Nova.

Radio Scotland

Radio Scotland starts with a 20 kW transmitters from the MV Comet on 1 January 1966. The excellent reception in Edinburgh makes the station very sympathetic with the local population. On 26 January 1966 the station raises the transmitting power from 8 to 20 kW. On 14 August 1967 Radio Scotland is forced to close down due to the introduction of the Marine Offences Act.
Geluidsfragment Extract of 1967 programming with Radio Scotland jingle and identification (courtesty of Clive Rooms)00:46, 16 kbps, 91 kB (MP3)

Radio Scotland and Ireland

On 8 April 1967 at 12h31 Radio Scotland and Ireland starts broadcasting on 242m off the Irish coast. Due to bad reception within Ireland and lack of understanding with the Irish government, the MV Comet returns to its anchor position near Scottish Dunbar.

Radio Seagull

Radio Seagull returns to the airwaves on 7 January 1974.  On 24 February Radio Seagull turns into Radio Caroline.

Radio Sutch

On 27 May 1964, the 60 foot fishing vessel Cornucopia sets sail, intending to anchor off Shoeburyness, with plans to broadcast from 1200-1400, 1700-2000 and 0015-0215 hours. However, the expected broadcasts from the ship do not materialise. It is learnt that the crew had climbed aboard an abandoned gun tower in the Thames Estuary which had been derelict since the war. The tower was named Shivering Sands. When they eventually do begin broadcasting from the fort, the signal is very weak and can only be heard over a small area.
Geluidsfragment Start of a 1964 Radio Sutch broadcast (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:16, 16 kbps, 32 kB (MP3)

Swinging Radio England

Swinging Radio England starts test transmissions on 3 May 1966 from the MV Laissez Faire on 355 meters with a power of 55 kW. On 18 June Swinging Radio England starts broadcasting on 1322 kHz. 'Hawaiian Eye' by Petula Clark is the first song played.
The station closes down in November and is replaced by Radio Dolfijn in Dutch.
Geluidsfragment Extract of Swinging Radio England from September 1966 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:36, 16 kbps, 72 kB (MP3)

Radio Tower

Radio Tower starts test broadcasts on 15 October 1965 via 1395 kHz with 250 watts from the British war fort 'Sunk Head Fort'. On 29 April 1966 Radio Tower starts broadcasting on 1282 kHz. On 4 May  of the same year the station leaves the airwaves.

Voice of Peace

The Voice of Peace starts broadcasting on 18 May 1973. On 1 October 1993 The Voice of Peace stops broadcasting after 20 years. On 12 July 1994 Abie Nathan donates his 25 kW Voice of Peace transmitter to the Voice of Palestine in Jericho.

Radio Veronica

On 19 April 1960 Radio Veronica starts broadcasting on 1620 kHz from the ship Borkum Rif. Official broadcasts start on 17 May on 192m. On 16 February 1961, an English service is introduced which is called CNBC (Commercial Neutral Broadcasting Company). Initially, transmissions is from 0500-0700 and then from 0800-1300. These programmes in English were already ceased on 23 March for two reasons. Firstly, the signal was weak and was only heard on the English south-east coast, and secondly, Radio Veronica was becoming increasingly popular with its Dutch audience, who were not interested in hearing English programmes. Live programmes from aboard the Borkum Riff begin at the end of 1964. On 16 November 1966, a new ship succeeds the Borkum Riff. Called the Norderney, she has a 10 kw transmitter on board which usually runs 5 kW. On 30 September 1972, Radio Veronica moves from 1562 kHz where she had been broadcasting for 12 years, to 557 khz. Early in April 1973, the Norderney loses its anchor in a gale, and begins to drift. Eventually, she runs aground at Scheveningen. It takes a couple of weeks before the Norderney can be refloated. On 31 August 1974 at 1800 hours, Radio Veronica closes down due to the Dutch Marine Broadcasting Act.
    QSL from Radio Veronica from 1966 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  15 kB (jpg)
Geluidsfragment Some Veronica jingles from 1969 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:32, 16 kbps, 634 kB (MP3
    QSL from Radio Veronica from 1973 (courtesy of André De Block)  96 kB (jpg)

Radio 227

Radio 227 ceases broadcasting from the MV Laissez Faire on 21 July 1967.

Radio 270

On 4 June 1966 Radio 270 begins test transmissions fril the 160 ton Oceaan 7, the smalles radio ship. The station, using a 10 kW RCA transmitter, is anchored 3.5 miles off the Scarborough coast, broadcasting to the north east, Yorkshire and the midlands from 0700 to midnight.
On 14 August 1967 Radio 270 is forced to close down due to the introduction of the Marine Offences Act.
Geluidsfragment Extract of a 1967 Radio 270 broadcast (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:46, 16 kbps, 91 kB (MP3)

Radio 390

On 25 September 1965 Radio 390 starts as successor to King Radio with 35 kW. On 25 November 1966, as a result of being found guilty of broadcasting inside territorial waters, Radio 390 closes down. On 31 December, the station surprisingly returns to the air as they say that they have new evidence to show that they are in fact broadcasting from outside territotial waters. On 28 July the end for Radio 390, the last station broadcasting from a fort, comes after several unsuccessful court appearances.
    Radio 390 QSL (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  11 kB (jpg)
Geluidsfragment Extract from Radio 390 programming in 1965 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:24, 16 kbps, 48 kB (MP3)

Geluidsfragment Extract from BBMS from 1967 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)   00:52, 16 kbps, 103 kB (MP3)
Geluidsfragment Extract from Swedish Radio Syd from 1962 (courtesy of Clive Rooms)   00:55, 16 kbps, 110 kB (MP3)
Geluidsfragment Extract of the Voice of Peace in English and French (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  00:40, 16 kbps, 79 kB (MP3)


Europe was not the only continent to have offshore pirate stations. In 1966 Radio Harauki started broadcasting off New Zealand. In 1968 the ship Tiri ran aground on rocks. For more information on this station, see Wikipedia.
Geluidsfragment The last two minutes of broadcasting from Radio Harauki as an offshore station. You hear the last sentences from the disk jockey and the ship's hull striking the rocks. (courtesy of Clive Rooms)  01:47, 16 kbps, 210 kB (MP3)