Radio North 846 AM Mystery

By Willie Bone
Posted 22 April 2015, 6.18pm edt

There is a ''border blaster'' station called Radio North 846 AM, sited in Ballyargus, County Donegal in the Republic Of Ireland. The primary marketing area for Radio North 846AM is next door County Derry in Northern Ireland, but the signal can be picked up in coastal towns in south west Scotland.

What got my attention about Radio North is the pleasing accoustics of its AM output which could be considered larger than life for a medium wave station!

Question 1: Is Radio North 846AM using an American transmitter, thus giving greater bandwidth? ( Ireland occasionaly permits AM stereo on low power.)

Question 2: I was informed Radio North 846AM is actually a pirate station, so why is it allowed to broadcast outside of the law?

Your correspondence will be appreciated...


5 years, 1 month ago

Radio North is 30 years old and operates from the Greencastle area of County Donegal just over the border from Derry....the station far as I know uses a former ILR transmitter manufactured by Redifon a UK company, these rigs where common in the 70's/80's in is probably a 1KW unit..
Radio North have had visits from the Radio investigators in the republic but they never silenced the is probably seen as not being a threat to other local stations in Ulster due to it being on AM and the type of programs it broadcast which includes a lot of paid for USA evangelists so not really of interest I guess to the average listener.
It is an unlicensed operation...a second pirate station from the Armagh border can be heard on 981 Khz with a similar format Radio Star Country which has been on air since 1988....

5 years, 1 month ago

The signal on 846 can still be heard even on the East Coast of Scotland because its is a clear frequency. They are easily identified by their lack of station idents but with other quirks, such as all commercial being voiced-over by the same person and the sung jingle that comes out of each commercial break, "I saw it on the radio."

They have a separate online streaming service, I have noticed. Their AM signal has a lot of religious programs at various times of the day, whereas their streaming service has far fewer such programs (except on Sundays), no presenters and a playlist of oldies and mainly country music).

5 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the feedback.
I have an old radio colleague from my days at UCA/UWS Radio, based at University West Of Scotland in Ayr & carried on the Now-Digital-Ayr DAB multiplex. He has a golden oldie programme running on Radio North 846AM from 8pm to 10pm on Saturday evenings. The last time a chatted with him about the Radio North outfit, his knowledge seemed limited; unless he was kidding me on, of course!

The attractive sound quality on Radio North's medium wave ouput is baffling.
It is either very clever sound processing or the station is using a little more bandwidth than other broadcasters...

5 years, 1 month ago

Unless you are using an American receiver it is unlikely you'd benefit much from the extra bandwidth if they are using it. EU sets would restrict it back down to 9kHz (4.5kHz audio) again.

A more likely explanation is that they know what they are doing and have maximised what is possible within the available bandwidth. After all, R4 LW sounds excellent too. Good audio processing helps, plus I understand on AM it is also possible to equalise-out bandwidth restrictions caused by the antenna (some are quite narrow Q, resulting in a tail-off of high audio frequencies, which some other stations do not realise or compensate for). They might be doing clever stuff like 125% modulation as well, so it's (even) louder.

I remember the Redifon units from my days in the IBA - they were cutting-edge at the time (using Class D amplification), but had a reputation for being a bit delicate, especially when thunderstorms are around.

I must get my loop aerial out and tune to 846. Last time I did that the frequency was occupied by the wonderful Radio Nova! Used to get them on 88FM occasionally when there was a lift as well. Those were the days!

5 years, 1 month ago

The signal for Radio Nova used to pound into Central Scotland. I was still at school when I was able to tune into them on a Waltham portable radio on medium wave.

On many occasions, after my parents bought me a Hinari hi-fi system, I was able to pick its successor, Energy 103 ........ on FM in Lanarkshire!!!!!! I used a long copper wire as an FM aerial, for which the wire went round the perimeter of the bedroom. I had a large bedroom.

5 years ago

Off Topic : Art, Courtesy of an old Glasgow Herald newspaper promotion back in the 1980s, I bought a Belarus, Russia manufactured Vega Salena radio with medium/long/short wave bands. The meter bands included 16, 19, 25, 31, 41 & 49 for shortwave.
The Vega Salena was as ugly looking as it was heavy & clunky to use. -BUT- It was the best value radio to buy at around £30 pounds at that time with fantastic sensitivity on all bands with its very long telescopic antenna & its very powerful speaker..

4 years, 10 months ago

Radio North was running a 2.5kw Nautel solid state transmitter the last time I heard.

It is configured for Euro 9KHz b/w.

The antenna is far too short to be resonant so probably limiting the bandwidth. This leaves you with optimizing the antenna tuning plus good processing from what little I know.

Used to hear them in central London on a Bode receiver with simple inductive and tuneable loop sitting on top.

Very weak signal but as has been stated above they are/were on a clear frequency.

4 years, 10 months ago

A nice anorak thread (image)

Well, you say it has an internet stream? (image)

(David, you can edit your posts while they're the latest.)

4 years, 10 months ago

Tnx Josh.

I must of been blind as I wanted to edit but could not see a pencil symbol or edit link.

4 years, 10 months ago

They have a separate online streaming service...

Hosted where? Vince doesn't have that on his site, so I hope there's another place - or is it handed only personally like some jihad stuff?:)

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