Pirate TV

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Roobru
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Pirate TV

Post by Roobru » Mon May 16, 2016 8:14 am

Just been reading a couple of articles about Network 21 and a couple of other pirate tv stations.

I'm just curious as too why so few illegal tv stations have happened in the UK, when places like Spain seem too have quite a few.

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by McDonalds » Mon May 16, 2016 10:16 am

I do not know its easer to do TV because I see dvb modulators on ebay quite cheap sure these just be connected to an RF amp and will come up on peoples TV?

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by shuffy » Mon May 16, 2016 11:34 am

It's apples and oranges. Having done "proper" TV and some pirate TV in East Anglia in the 80's and early 90's, my opinion is that the only similarity between TV and radio is that they are both broadcast media. TV is an order of magnitude more difficult than radio, both technically and in production terms. To produce an hour of decent telly can take weeks. If you're going to go to that much effort and expense, these days there are far more reliable and "safe" ways of getting it appreciated - youTube, the myriad of poxy digital broadcasters etc. Your pirate on DVB-T will also take a huge amount of technical effort (way more than back in the days of analogue TV) and isn't going to get noticed.

The key is publicity. Even back in the days of Network 21, Thameside TV etc, they had a helping hand in getting publicity from the press (and in the case of Thameside, their sister pirate radio station). Lots of TVs back then had a "dial" like a radio which you could easily tune down to channel 21 and try your luck on a Sunday night if the local rag said something might be happening. It was exciting and not at all inconvenient for the viewer...

An alternative, if you wanted to generate your own publicity, would be to hijack a local TV relay - this was very easy to do and always got everybody's attention. There are measures in the DVB-T infrastructure which I'd say make this nigh on impossible for a pirate to achieve. It's just not worth the effort.

I suspect that the laws concerning this sort of thing in places like Spain aren't quite as rigorous as over here, so putting in the huge amounts of money and full time effort it takes to put up something worth watching without getting taken off, are less of a risk than doing it over here.

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by Roobru » Mon May 16, 2016 12:45 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I was just wondering as you have certain pirate radio stations showing live streams on the internet, so why not do the same along side from their FM site with a TV broadcast. But then again, I suppose most people are using digital TV now days.

I must admit, I was quite surprised how many stations have cropped up outside of the UK. It got me thinking after watching the infamous Max Headroom clip when it cuts into Dr Who in Chicago.

The one I found rather comical was Telstar. - '(c. 1984) Birmingham, United Kingdom. Broadcast for about eight weeks on the BBC2 transmitter in the Northfield and Rubery areas of Birmingham. Showed a mixture of films and pop videos after BBC2 closed at weekends and went unnoticed by the authorities for several weeks much to their embarrassment'


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_television

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by shuffy » Wed May 18, 2016 1:05 am

That certainly was one way to get noticed, and the easiest way to get decent coverage on UHF and overcome the problem of domestic TV aerials all pointing in the same direction, not necessarily at your transmitter (which was one problem Network 21 faced).

I vaguely remember reading something about the pirate in Birmingham. Other TV relays hijacked include Plymouth and Ipswich town centre whose "block" if I remember rightly, housed Suffolk Council and the local Police force! :whistle

Typically these UHF relays had a log periodic pointed at the nearest main station, which invariably used horizontal polarisation. They would rebroadcast using a set of 4 (back in the day) vertically polarised cross Yagis. The Ipswich relay, as I recall, pointed at Sudbury. BBC2 was a popular choice for the hijack as it was one of the last channels to go 24 hours and used to close down each night and power off the TX. You'd get about 10 minutes before the relay timed out after BBC2's carrier dropped on the main station. You could then hop on the frequency and "impersonate" BBC2 from the main station - and you'd have control of the relay until you switched off your TX.

Hijacking a main station was possible, there was a fallback arrangement when under certain circumstances a main station could relay the signal from another main station within range. I'm going back a long way now, but I think it happened once at Redruth. Before such items were "officially" available I saw a network plan someone outside the BBC had got hold of, showing the main TV transmitters nationally and what the fallback feed arrangements were. Relaying a broadcast signal from another TX was a last resort as each clean feed was backed up if the main feed failed.

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by Albert H » Thu May 19, 2016 12:49 am

We "borrowed" Rowridge on the Isle of Wight one night over a Christmas when BBC2 went off. What we didn't realise - until later - that Rowridge was used as an RBR (re-broadcast receiver) source for much of the UK, so not only did we get our local BBC2, but we managed to cover everywhere apart from London and its immediate surroundings!

The BBC tried various counter-measures to prevent recurrence, but since Bob and I worked there at the time, we knew what they'd done and it was easy to circumvent at the next Christmas......

Sadly, after the mid-80s, all the stations went 24-hour - even if they were just broadcasting pages from Ceefax! This was done to prevent further (mis)use of their transmitters.
Is it meant to smoke like that? :shock:

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by Albert H » Thu May 19, 2016 12:53 am

There was also M(FA) TV that came from the Multi-Format Area at TV Centre, hosted by the "Happy Hippy" with his feet up on the desk and a doobie on the go... He played pop videos and sketches nicked from various comedy shows.

It was distributed over the BBC's internal network, and the audience - all over the country - was made up of BBC staff "working" on Night Shifts.

All was well until it was accidentally put on air in Northern England and all through Scotland via BBC1!
Is it meant to smoke like that? :shock:

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by shuffy » Thu May 19, 2016 1:28 am

Some good memories there! These off-air feeds were left-overs from the old 405 line days when that method of distribution was the norm. When they moved to UHF there were lots of problems with co-channel interference affecting the off-air feeds so eventually they had to put proper microwave or landline links in... but it took a while...

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by bristolpirates » Sat Jul 02, 2016 7:57 am

shuffy wrote:Hijacking a main station was possible, there was a fallback arrangement when under certain circumstances a main station could relay the signal from another main station within range. I'm going back a long way now, but I think it happened once at Redruth. Before such items were "officially" available I saw a network plan someone outside the BBC had got hold of, showing the main TV transmitters nationally and what the fallback feed arrangements were. Relaying a broadcast signal from another TX was a last resort as each clean feed was backed up if the main feed failed.
The best time to try this would've been during the annual re-broadcast test. These were still being done right up to analog switch off.


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Re: Pirate TV

Post by shuffy » Sun Jul 03, 2016 12:36 am

Yes, that's exactly it! That automated voice doing the time still makes me feel uneasy, it's like something out of the cold war.

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by teckniqs » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:52 am

That clown used to freak me out, not the nicest clown a three year old can set eyes upon first thing in the morning!

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by regulaterz » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:48 pm

surely now days with new laws and big brother watching are every move.even probly reading this forum aswell lol .And the doctor said i was paranoid .....?😂.you wouldint wana put your face or voice to that matter to something illgal 😃.just a thort as your go do your dhoping in town and nca come and grab ya lol

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by drumandbasshead010 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:56 pm

There have been very few pirate TV stations over here in Ireland. There was RLO TV in Limerick and Nova TV in Dublin, both set up by pirate radio station owners of the time. Don't know much about RLO (Radio Limerick One), but I think they ended up mostly just broadcasting a live video stream of their radio programmes on the TV channel. Nova TV was set up in the early 80's with the intent to run a similar format to MTV. Neither of these stations were on air for too long. There was BB See which occasionally came on in Sligo in and around 2006/7, broadcasting local events. Not sure of the status of LTV, which broadcast in Cork for over 25 years, with a weekly programme broadcast on Wednesdays and repeated on Sundays. In the early days they relayed other channels and sporting events after their own programmes had been broadcast.

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by Albert H » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:17 pm

As a final comment on the topic....

A certain Bob D...., Dave C......, and Tom W...... hacked together a TWT-based microwave TV transmitter back in '85 and managed to "borrow" one of the old Sky analogue transponders for a few late evenings when the original "Sky Channel" closed down at 1am. The uplink was done from a back garden in North Woolwich, just across the river from the official uplink site.

The picture quality wasn't perfect because the uplink was a bit noisy since it was about 12dB weaker that the proper link, but the first couple of tests just put up a testcard and the few subsequent broadcasts put out music videos and the occasional bit of softcore porn!

Over in the 'States, a group of people did something similar to a satellite feed that was used for the local Cable TV companies. They took over the uplink - during prime time - and replaced the official programme with a couple of well-known hardcore porn titles! Rumour had it at the time that the FBI was trying to locate them, but they gave up after a while. For as long as the feeds remained analogue, they were periodically compromised!
Is it meant to smoke like that? :shock:

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by Giggles » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:11 pm

Albert H wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:17 pm
As a final comment on the topic....

A certain Bob D...., Dave C......, and Tom W...... hacked together a TWT-based microwave TV transmitter back in '85 and managed to "borrow" one of the old Sky analogue transponders for a few late evenings when the original "Sky Channel" closed down at 1am. The uplink was done from a back garden in North Woolwich, just across the river from the official uplink site.

The picture quality wasn't perfect because the uplink was a bit noisy since it was about 12dB weaker that the proper link, but the first couple of tests just put up a testcard and the few subsequent broadcasts put out music videos and the occasional bit of softcore porn!

Over in the 'States, a group of people did something similar to a satellite feed that was used for the local Cable TV companies. They took over the uplink - during prime time - and replaced the official programme with a couple of well-known hardcore porn titles! Rumour had it at the time that the FBI was trying to locate them, but they gave up after a while. For as long as the feeds remained analogue, they were periodically compromised!
Rupert murdoch started sky in 1989 pal so i'm pretty sure in 1985 it wasnt on air!

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Re: Pirate TV

Post by Albert H » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:31 pm

Sky Channel launched across Europe on 26 April 1982 by founder Connor Baskey as Satellite Television and is the oldest non-terrestrial TV channel in the United Kingdom.

Sky 1 started on 26 April 1982 as Satellite Television Ltd, and was Europe's first ever cable and satellite channel, originally broadcasting from the Orbital Test Satellite aimed at cable operators all over the continent. At first the station struggled financially, due to disappointing ratings in the countries in which it was officially available, which in turn led to insufficient advertising revenue and increasing difficulty in covering the high transmission costs.

On 27 June 1983, the shareholders of Satellite Television agreed a £5 million offer to give News International 65% of the company. Murdoch extended the broadcast hours and the number of countries the station broadcast to including the United Kingdom. On 16 January 1984 the channel was renamed Sky Channel.


A 20 second visit to Wikipedia showed that "Giggles" hasn't got a clue!
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Re: Pirate TV

Post by pirateaddict » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:41 pm

Was gonna say i remember going to dixons in Sheffield town centre in 85-86 watching the mtv channel... On a sad note we got our first video recorder in 1989..

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