Swan  Island  DX  Association
The Swan Island Story

Swan Island, in the 1960's, was an outpost for the US Central Intelligence Agency for transmitting clandestine radio broadcasts into Cuba. Radio Amateurs at the outpost used the prefix KS4. The official ARRL DXCC deleted entities wording for Swan Island is as follows:

"(KS4) Only contacts made August 31, 1972, and before, count for this entity. 
Contacts made September 1, 1972, and after, count as Honduras (HR)."

After the outpost was abandoned in the early 1970s, the island reverted back to Honduras. Below is the story and links about Radio Americas/Radio Swan.

"The busiest era for clandestine broadcasting was the 1960s. In addition to the stations active during the Vietnam War, China and the USSR operated clandestine broadcasters against each other as their ideological conflict worsened. For most SWLs in North America, however, the real excitement involved clandestine broadcasters directed against Cuba. The most famous of these was Radio Swan/Radio Americas.

Radio Swan first appeared on 1160 and 6000 kHz in May, 1960. The station claimed to be a commercial station broadcasting from Swan Island, an island in the Gulf of Mexico that was claimed both by the United States and Honduras. It broadcast entirely in Spanish, and its programs had a strong anti-Castro slant. Despite being on what the United States claimed as its territory, the FCC claimed it had no knowledge of Radio Swan.

Radio Americas solicited reception reports to a post office box in Miami, and replied with this colorful QSL card. The location of Swan Island is indicated by the station's name in the middle of the card. This card was received by Harry Helms for reception on 1160 kHz on May 18, 1966. In 1966, the only station on 1160 at night was KSL in Salt Lake City, and Radio Americas could be well heard east of the Rockies.


During the ill-fated May, 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, Radio Swan transmitted coded messages to the invading forces. This resulted in widespread speculation that the station was actually a CIA operation. Later in 1961, Radio Swan changed its name to Radio Americas and remained on the air until it abruptly left the air in May, 1968. "


Below are links that tell more of the story about the CIA Clandestine broadcasting activities on Swan Island.

QSL card from Radio Americas Swan Island Radio

Bay of Pigs Wikipedia

Radio Swan Wikipedia

More of the Swan Island Story

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