Big and beautiful rows of glowing tubes, complicated self-built equipment with real high voltages....

The biggest MW-pirate radio stations in the world are definitely in Greece! I have tuned these stations here in Finland at my home with huge signals between 1620 - 1700 kHz - and I have always wondered, like many others in Europe, what kind of equipment these powerhouses use.

I had several pirate-contacts to Greece via my internet-pages during the winter 2005-06, and finally after summer, I decided to go to Greece to see some pirate stations!! My goal was also to visit several legal FM-stations during this same trip, like I have done before in some other countries in Europe. I made this trip with my wife (like before) who luckily understands my radio-freakness.

I had great help and arrangements in Greece from Kostas and espcially from Dimitris (who was aboard all the time but helped all the time). The problem is that almost all of the pirates does not talk English, so it is impossible to go further alone. Luckily I had kind help.

Radioculture in Greece is very independent. There are no international radiogroups or networks in business, and FM-stations play mostly local music, not so much mainstream pop music.
Pirates in Greece are very closed community, there are no international stations, and they play almost only local folk music. Mostly they have QSO-talks with each other - and every now and then they play music with phone-in programmes.

Many stations have history from 1980's. During the years the transmitters have grown from watts up to many,many kilowatts. In Greece your pirate station in nothing under 1 kW. The stations want to cover the whole nation and the highest power I have heard mentioned is 60 kW (planned).

There are about 500 pirate stations on MW in Greece and the authorities leave Medium Wave totally free of broadcasting without a licence. Of course stations have to be carefully not to interefere TV-sets or other communication. There seems not to be problems with this because there are no raids.

Some MW-stations are on the air 24h a day or daily. In Athens I received all the time 10-20 stations betweeen 800 - 1620 kHz, only with a little Sony-receiver in a hotel room (with small whip-antenna)! A station on 801 kHz has been on the air 24h nonstop music for many years
and it was very strong in the hotel!
   LARISSA 11-12.OCTOBER 2006

 Larissa   -   5 kW

We (Me and my wife) rent a car in Athens and drove to Larissa (350 km).
Good highway-road all the way, but it took 9 hours because two roads were closed due to heavy rains. So, we had to drive via Delfi through very beautiful mountain roads. About at 18.00 in Larissa.

We took a hotel and waited phone-calling (prepaid Vodafone). People in Greece work often till late evening so it was about 21.00 hours after I had message from Dimitris (aboard) that I will be picked up from hotel to see a pirate in operation! Very exciting!

So, after half hour Radio Parizionos appeared to hotel with his wife, who was great interpreter all the time. None of the pirates talked English.

It was very exciting to be in the backseat of a car heading to an industrial area in Larissa at late evening! Pirates seems to be located in the industrial areas in Greece, maybe because of high powers (less risk to interfere others - and also you can have power-electricity easier, 220 V from the wall-socket is not enough).

We arrived to one clean and modern factory near the highway. Radio Parizionos was the owner of this company (better not to mention more).The pirate equipment was in the middle
 of the big office, in a little room 5x5m, beside the corridor.

The transmitter-parts were in a cupboard's bookcases on 3-4 levels! Surprisingly clean constructions and very beautiful looking rows of tubes and other equipment! Everything looked to be finished very well.

I was shocked to see this, which none western radiohobbyist might have never seen before:
Big pirate transmitter, such as we can hear daily on 186 meters in Europe!

Radio Parizionos started to tune transmitter on immedeately, and tubes were qlowing nicely. Very soon, after a few minutes tube-warming, Parizions tuned 1694 kHz and showed meter-power to be 3,5 kW - a bit later 5 kW!!! You can easily feel the power of the transmitter when
 it gives "Bbhhhmmmmm"-sound when signing on!

Studio-equipment was a simple mixer with CD in a conference room of the company. Tuner was old US Army receiver from II World War.
After signing on two other pirates joined us, Kristos and Radio Alfa-Ena (A1). They have similar kind of transmitters themselves.

Radio Parizionos was very soon on the air with folk music and deep mic-echo. I was also on the air talking Finnish and English. My voice was also received in Finland as I sent sms to friends in Finland to try!! It was received by Tero Toivonen in Lieto who recognized me playing Annika Eklund-CD!
Other Greek stations wondered the Finnish language spoken... After half an hour broadcasting the test was over and we went out to have drinks. Fantastic experience!!! This was more than I expected. Great! But there was more to come next day.

Here on the right you can see Parizionos' new
15 kW transmitter which is not installed yet!

More technical data coming later!


 Radio Ouranio Toxo
 Larissa    -  15 kW

Next day Radio Parizionos and his wife promised me to show one even bigger transmitter, Radio Ouranio Toxo, in this same city!!
This was very interesting because I heard this station in Finland in December 2005. I managed to take their telephone number from the programme and I phoned them. Noby talked English.... So this was very special visit because now I can also have confirmation of my listening (QSL). That would be the first QSL from Greek pirate, so far I know (outside Greece).
(In the morning I visited Dimotiki Radiofonia Larissas 93.6 MHz. I heard this station on FM at my home in 1994, but they did not reply to my letter. Now I had this old recording on CD and went to the station. There was very kind reception, engineering guy tuned my CD and wrote me confirmation! Also I was photographed with mayor of Larissa who kindly had short talk with us, after interviewed at the station).
After this we were picked up from the hotel to see Ouranio Toxo (=Rainbow in English).

This station was also located in the industrial area beside the highway, behind a big garage.
After some waiting very lively and funny guy drove present and opened the door of little 10x5m outdoor cabin. There were transmitter and little studio. Also clean construction here.
The guy put the transmitter on quite quickly and showed what was happening around with tubes, modulation etc. Very interesting!
He showed me the power concretely - to see it!! He put the screwdriver with voltage detector near the antenna cable - and it started to glow even 20cm away. I spoke also a few words on the air, but of course there were no hope to reach Europe because it was 13.00 midday.

Ouranio Toxo showed me more big tubes and the plans to have 30 kW power! The antenna was 180m longwire about 10m high.

At the end of the visit he showed me his logbook. My telephone calling from last December was marked there! Also he wrote me confirmation (QSL) of my listening with the help of our good interpreter, Katerina.

These two pirate-visits made the trip to Greece complete and perfect!!! As memory of this visit I had a "statue of Larissa-pirates" (You can see it on the header of this page) This was the main goal to see, among FM-stations and Greek ancient culture.

Thanks to Radio Parizionos and his kind wife and Kristos, A1
 and Ouranio Toxo!!

 I hope to meet you some day again.