Radio USA was, at times, an extremely active shortwave pirate that operated from 1983 to 2000. It’s easier to define an era of the station than the station itself because Radio USA’s programming and operations varied significantly, depending on the personnel involved. The constants were punk and hard rock music and fake ads. At times, the shows were live or prerecorded, LSB or AM, or featured parodies of DX news, political editorials, etc.
Radio USA’s staff was among the largest on a shortwave pirate in North America and some of the personalities heard on the station included Joe King, Mr. Blue Sky, Moglie,Silent Sam, Bobby Buttless, Gary Indiana, Hubie, Quicksilver, Greyhawke, Ginger Aile, and others. But only about 3-4 different people were heard per any given show.
Some of the long-running features and skits were Joe Bob’s Salvage Yard and Basement Buffet, RUDX (pronounced “rude-X”) DX show, Joe’s Health Notes, and Mailbag 452.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Radio USA had several live “joint broadcasts” with other stations, most notably with Samurai Radio and later with both Samurai Radio and the Voice of Monotony. The latter broadcast lasted four hours using three different transmitters in different meter bands (43, 41, and 19 meters). The station also relayed programs from others during its long live broadcasts.
Radio USA was also one of the best-heard North American pirates, having mailed out more than 2,000 QSL cards over the decades. Its later infosheets advertised that it had received reception reports from more than 50 states and provinces in the US and Canada, plus numerous reports from across Europe, and several from Africa, South America, Australia, and the Caribbean Islands.
A rare Radio USA show is still rebroadcast, but no reports have been acknowledged since 2000. The old shows and recordings can often be dated by the maildrop: early ‘80s, Arcata, CA; mid-‘80s: Moorhead, MN; late ‘80s: Hilo, HI; ‘90s: Wellsville, NY; late ‘90s: Belfast, NY.