Sampling Shortwave With Ease Online

The shortwave pirate broadcast community is significantly small enough that most station operators are friends with one another, though the frequency of station broadcasts over the last year has, at times, been high enough that some have accidentally clashed signals. The FCC has not taken a documented enforcement action against a shortwave pirate since 1998, which has also led to the proliferation of stations. This long run of heavy activity has resulted in an increase in the shortwave listening community.
However, shortwave listening may not be for everyone. Audio quality on shortwave can leave a lot to be desired, and in many cases the pirates broadcasting are so weak (less than 100 watts) that hardcore listeners have to endure lots of static and noise, if only to hear a snippet of a show.
Fortunately, shortwave listening’s rising popularity has led to the proliferation of online resources devoted to the preservation of pirate broadcasts. Ragnar’s Pirates Week podcast regularly features recent catches off the shortwave bands, and many times Ragnar will simulcast pirates live on a webstream called The Gulch. Alex Draper maintains an extensive archive of pirate broadcast recordings, as well as a forum where links to audio files of recent catches can be found. Some folks upload airchecks of shortwave pirates to the Internet Archive.
It is now easier to keep up with shortwave pirate activity than ever before, without needing the excessive patience and acoustic tolerance required to successfully tune in the stations directly. Many shortwave listeners would argue that snagging the signal out of the ether in the first place is a good chunk of the fun.