Recently stumbled across thefrn.net—a bare-bones bulletin board where just a handful of the shortwave pirate enthusiasts that frequented the original Free Radio Network have re-congregated.

The story isn’t completely clear, but it appears that the FRN’s founders have given up the ghost, shutting down their server permanently. According to shortwave pirate-watcher extraordinaire Ragnar Daneskjold, "Unfortunately it looks like we lost the huge database of old logs, posts and information. That was a huge wealth of knowledge and history." Indeed it was…and simply shameful if true.

Registration of the original FRN domain expires on March 9—it’ll be interesting to see who snags it next. Without the content that made it valuable, though, it’s just six letters split in half by a period.

Long-time radio-related message boards have been dropping offline over the last year. Part of this is due to the migration of such discussions to sites like Facebook. While that be convenient, it also requires participating in a social network where your data exists at the whim (and primarily for the material enrichment) of Facebook; not necessarily a good trade. In shortwave pirate circles, the ever-important reception reports have migrated to real-time outlets like Twitter and Internet Relay Chat channels.