HARTFORD RADIO HISTORY
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Pirates
Connecticut Unlicensed Stations


    These stations are listed below in the interest of historical accuracy.  Stations with separate pages are listed on the left.    
    The stations below allegedly operated at some point without a license from the FCC. Some of them may indeed have been operating under the Commission's Part-15, license free regulations.  Hartfordradiohistory.com makes no claim as to whether or not these stations were operating within the law or not.
     Hartfordradiohistory.com does not condone illegal broadcasting of any kind. Operating a broadcast station without an FCC license is a federal crime.  Persons caught operating without a license face equipment confiscation, large fines and/or imprisonment. 
    The call letters used by these stations were picked by the stations in question and have no relation to licensed stations.  The stations below, in alpha order, in bold have pages dedicated to them (see menu on left).

   

Station            Freq.               Location          Years              Notes

 

Busy FM    103.3            Hartford        2009       Carib.

CFR            88.9             Various        73            Rock

CNX Radio 103.3         Middletown      07             A/C

Energy Radio 101.5       Hartford        09/10     Carib.

Nite Radio    88.3      Hartford        2009        Spanish

One Love Radio   106.1           Bridgeport              2010
 

Praise FM   105.3        Bloomfield   00-05            Gospel/Relig.

Radio 1040 1040 Kensington   74-76       Top 40

Radio Avivamiento                      
                        1640   W. Hartford      08       Spanish

Radio Collinsville 
                1620           Collinsville      2009        Various

WBPR            88.3                  Hartford           1970              Various

WBVR            90.1 Mhz         W. Htfd            70-73             Rock 

WFCC             1150 Khz         Hartford           1975?             Rock 

WHCR            98.3 Mhz         W. Htfd            1969 - 1992    Top 40

WHCR        1640/107.9   W. Htfd       70-73        Rock

WHVY        94.3 Mhz?     Manchester  1973          Rock

WKDH        99.7            New Britain   1982 
 

WKOB            1200 Khz         New Brit.         72-77?           Top 40

WNFR        99.5          Bristol        2005

WNR               1570 KHz        Simsbury          1974               Top 40

WQRM            1500 Khz          E. Haven                                   

WPRT               87.9 Mhz        Manchester       1978 - 1988    Rock

WRKV                                     Rockville,                            Rock

WSHR               87.9            Manchester         78-88           Rock

WSTR               90.1           W. Hartford      73                    Top 40

WYBS             88.9/92.1         Hartford           1973 - 1977    Jazz/Rock

WWIL             87.9             W. Hartford         80's

?                       90.1           New Britain     2008                Spanish
 

?                      90.9            New Britain      2009                Sp Relig

 

?                      87.9            New Britain      2008                Spanish

 ?                     90.1         New Britain   2008        Spanish

?              87.9         New Britain    2009        Sp Relig 

?                102.5     Bloomfield      2010      Spanish
 

?               105.3        Hartford    2009         West Indian

?               90.1             Meriden             09

 

 

 ?                    90.9             Bristol              09

?                    89.3             Norwalk             08


?                    90.9             Torrington         08

?                    103.3            Middletown       07

?                    107.1             Bridgeport        07

 ?                  107.5             Hartford           2010

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

CFR was a spin-off of WYBS.  CFR, or Concert Free Radio, was created as a portable pirate station to be operated from the July, 1973 Allman Brothers/The Band/Greatful Dead concert from Watkins Glen, NY.  See link at left.

Upper:  CFR mobile studio set up in Summer Jam press area at Watkins Glen, NY.
Lower:  CFR studio, inside the trailer.
 

Busy Radio:  This station has its own website:  http://www.busyradio.com/ 

Energy Radio:  101.5 Mhz, Hartford.  Website:
http://www.energyradio1015.com/

Prayse FM
(see dedicated page on left).

Radio 1040 was operated out of a home in Kensington on 1040 Khz.  It ran about 25 watts into a 70' vertical antenna with a tight, top 40 format.  It took less than a year for the FCC to shut down this station.

Radio Collinsville:  1620 kHz.  See page at left. This station appears to be a legal Part-15 operation.  Launched in 2006 the station was operates out of a parked pick-up truck in Collinsville.  With a weekend-only broadcast schedule this station has commentary, music, commercials and even a program guide (below)!




Radio New York:  Although this station did not broadcast from the state of CT (or any other state for that matter) no mention of pirate radio is complete without at least a mention of this pirate.  Operating from beyond the 12 mile territorial limit Radio New York was designed to beam AM, FM and even Long wave signals to CT, NY and NJ from the RNV Sarah.



Radio Restauracion,
90.9 MHz, New Britain.  This station has its own myspace page:
http://www.myspace.com/radiorestauracionfm

WBVR:  Buena Vista Radio operated in the last sixties and early seventies from West Hartford on various AM and FM frequencies.

WFCC
was a short lived pirate which would occupy the 1150 frequency assigned to daytime-only WCNX in Middletown and come on the air immediately after WCNX went off.  Their studios were in the vicinity of Trinity College.  They announced that they were a legit station in Allentown, Pennsylvania but their drunken tirades they fooled no one.
It is believed that this station operated from the Trinity College neighborhood in Hartford.

WHCR:  West Hartford, CT Radio.  Operated on 1640 Khz AM and 98.3 FM from 1969 - 1971 when it morphed into WYBS.  See dedicated page on left.

WHVY operated out of Manchester on 94.1 Mhz FM with a rock format.  Interestingly they used a call sign that was used by a licensed station in nearby Springfield, MA.  Initially they ran about 10 watts but they ultimately increased the power to 250 watts shortly before being busted by the FCC.

WKOB, "The Mighty Twelve Hundred" was on for a number of years in the early seventies from various locations in New Britain. They had a very professional sounding top-40 format with professional jingles. WKOB used an nice old RCA console and a home-built transmitter.  Their last location was The Station Youth Counseling Center on Main St. which is where the FCC found them two days after a large article appeared about them in The New Britain Herald.

October, 1973

Contributor : if anyone knows of whatever happened to any of the items from the original WKOB . . . I'm very curious . . .it is my understanding that there are still photos and equipment out there somewhere,,,,and by the way WKOB stood for,,,W>will K> keep O>on B>broadcasting,,thus WKOB,,,not really cleaver,,,but I guess not bad for high school students,,,,and as far as who put the station together,lets just say that it was a well known disc jockey from ... WRCQ.

WNR:  Calling itself "The Rock of Detroit" but operating out of Simsbury, CT, this short lived pirate operated with a professional studio set up which included a Cetic stereo board and cart machines.  They ran about 50 watts out of a Meissner surplus transmitter on 1570 Khz into a 60' vertical antenna.

WNFR:  Operated out of Bristol, CT, originally on 95.5 ("Ninty Five Radio", later moving to 99.5), this station drew lots of negative publicity in town with allocations that the "N Word" was allegedly heard on the air as in:
W N (word) Free Radio.
  An anon contriubutor submitted the following: 
Your account of WNFR in the pirate section is not historically accurate. Can't blame you for that at all. There was much misinformation and media frenzy surrounding the initial reporting. I was directly involved and will provide a brief background:
    Multiple agencies including the FCC, DOJ, FBI, and an outside agency looked into a complaint and concluded the racial allegations as false. Of course that took months to come out so by then it's page 6 instead of Denise D’Ascenzo headlines at 6. The outside agency did a lengthy investigation as did the states attorney's office. The reason for all the fuss was due to NAACP pressure on city officials following an erroneous comment to the press.  

    The station originated on 95.5 (Ninety Five Radio), or NFR and named accordingly.  Migrated later to 99.5 for a time due to interference from 95.7.   Someone during a party outside the radio room "joked" during a semi-rap song that the song should cease immediately because "..this is %%-!"(using a made-up acronym involving N word).  The instant witted remark bad as it was drew a little chuckle from the crowd and it remained in gossip circles but was far from the intent and people knew it.  Not one example of any broadcast involving any form of racist comment or remark were ever documented in the investigations. Over 120 witnesses interviewed including minorities refuted the claims absolutely.  The single person responsible for the false allegation was found to have had a personal vendetta as motivation but was never prosecuted due to the political influences at the time -- that things should just "go away". 
    
As for the so called "station".. The sound was punchy and received compliments on the variety including Sinatra, Bennett, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, along with 60's and 70's top 40, with jingles and some stuff not usually heard locally. All this with a ramsey kit cheapo bottom of the line low power transmitter, also piped through the house intercom. The audio chain on the other hand was pretty decent, alot of hard compression but good fidelity with a hint of plate reverb and the format was kept tight most the time. The fact anyone heard it at all is due to the literal unobstructed line-of-sight hillside location 850 feet elevation above a 400 foot town below. That's the history. I hate to see the inaccuracies still out there. It's the initial sensational headlines that always seem to stick unfortunately. Myself and the others are far from biased in any way. -- we just had a thing for radio!
    WNFR links:
http://www.ethicsinpolicing.com/article.asp?id=998

http://articles.courant.com/2006-08-16/news/0608160592_1_police-commission-racial-epithet-officers


WPRT ("The Party Perspective") operated (usually) on 87.9FM, and for years they were on Tuesday nights at 7:30 or so. They initially operated from a bedroom in Manchester, 10 watts horizontally polarized with a dipole. Format was album rock interspersed with Firesign Theatre or National Lampoon albums. From about 1978 until around the early 80's it is believed their final location was from a private home on Tunxis Rd in West Hartford. Their antenna was stacked turnstyles.

WQRM:  "A few of us kids had a pirate station for a  short time
(till the FCC from Boston closed it down). We called it
WQRM,  which QRM is taken from the ham radio Q signal for
'man made  interference' We had our own amusement about that but
probably nobody else knew. We were on the dial at 1500, from the back yard of Tom D's house on East Ave in West Haven. We even recorded some jingles  done for us by a local band". -Dwight F.

WRKV:  The owner of WRKV, Rockville, wrote:  "My first “pirate” radio station was back in 1970. That one didn’t transmit, we’d just record every show on a Panasonic 5” reel to reel recorder. I somewhat accidentally figured out how to wire a potentiometer to fade between 2 turntables. Back then the turntable were really phonographs, I wired the crystal cartridges to the pot on the board. The station had 3 records, borrowed from my sister. American Woman/No  Sugar Tonight by the Guess Who, All Right Now by Free, and Band of Gold by Freda Payne. My friend would add variety to the mix by bringing over his BS&T album with  God Bless the Child, You’ve Made Me So Very Happy, Smiling Faces, etc. Cueing was not a feature of the first board. The next summer I got a Lafayette AM tube transmitter.  It was tuned to 800 AM with another weaker signal on 1600. It maybe covered a couple
houses away. That thing could not have been UL listed, The AC plug wasn’t keyed so if you plugged it in one way the metal chassis would be hot!
    
Over the years I used various FM transmitter kits, another form of “broadcasting” was  through 2 stereo speakers mounted in trees in front of the house. I lived on kind of a busy intersection some kids on a cement wall in front of the house and listen. We’d then thank our listeners before signing off, both of them. In the early 70s my friend and I would take the bus into Hartford, hang out in the lobby of WDRC and watch the jocks on the air until we got kicked out. I remember AM the lineup around the ’71 era, Bob DeCarlo mornings, Bob Craig mid day, Dick McDonough afternoon drive, Joe Hi-Gear Hager nights. Gary DeGraide I think was on overnights at that time. Pat Sheehan and Walt Dibble did news. FM had Jim Harrington,  Jim Scott, Rod Allen. We acquired quite a few radio station copies of records from WDRC and WHCN. We’d then go down the street  to Asylum St. and visit WCCC. Sy Dresner owned the station at the time. In the early 70s AM was easy listening, FM was all request. Rusty Potz did mornings, Bill Nosal was either mid days or afternoon, and there was Big John Little. I think  Bill originally went by Bill James.    
     Over time the station evolved to include a recordable cart machine, cassette decks, a 7” Pioneer reel to reel deck and FM stereo, A friend of mine gave me his transmitter, which  was originally a military unit with an 829B tube final which transmitted around 25 watts on 70mhz mono. It was then modified to transmit on 97.3 in stereo, we used one of those car FM stereo transmitters to drive the input. The result was audio probably about 70% of a typical station with a frequency response more like TV audio. We did have listeners though. Some messaging company had a demo where one could,  for example, leave a message on 278-9998 and retrieve it on 278-9999. We’s take requests with that method. I had that station until the late 80s.     
     To this day I still have the radio bug I guess, I have a legal FM stereo transmitter, which is advertised to transmit 150’ – it’s really more like triple that. I have different genres of playlists on a pc that are 5+ hours long and play them on the weekends."


WRKV Rockville

WSHR:  Manchester.  See link on left.

WSTR: 
This was a short lived pirate that operated from the vicinity of Kennedy Park in West Hartford in 1973.  See dedicated WSTR page on left.

WYBS:
  This FM station operated from 1973 - 1977, starting out on 88.9 before WJMJ came on the air and ending up on 92.1 Mhz.  The 40 watts of power was provided by a Korean war surplus transmitter.  The station was on the air from 3pm and midnight all summer and on school holidays with a format of jazz, classical and alternative rock.
 See menu at left for WYBS page.

Night Radio:  In April, 2009 this station made an appearance on 88.3 with a Spanish language format and English top of the hour IDs "Night Radio, Part 15, Manchester/Hartford."  There is speculation that this station is affiliated with WEPA-TV, a Spanish language cable station. The antenna was in the vicinity of Arbor St. in Hartford. By 2010 the station had changed frequency to 107.5 and the antenna moved to an adjacent house.

Above:  Rare QSL card from WBVR dating back to 1969.


Above:  WHCR, West Hartford, 98.3 studio, 1969.


Above:  Early WYBS studio.  1973 photo.

Above:  Remodeled WYBS studio featuring stereo board.  1975 photo.

One anon. contributor has suggested that the 88.3 signal which came on the air in Hartford in April, 2009 is connected with this station.

101.5 Hartford, "Energy Radio"

OTHER UNLICENSED BROADACSTS:

    While not exactly pirate stations, strange FM signals originate from a number of CT Nursing Homes and similar facilities.  Apparently these facilities use their cable TV wiring to distribute FM signals which provide special programming to their residents.  "Tomorrow Radio" is one such national network.  These signals tend to leak out of the cable and can sometimes be heard for miles!

    Avery Heights in Hartford is one nursing home which, perhaps due to its hill top location, emits many such signals.  94.1 and 105.3 can be heard as far as the Home Depot in West Hartford.

    The Hebrew Home in Bloomfield also "leaks" signals, with their 105.3 being audible perhaps a half mile from their property.

    If you know of others please let us know.

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