The diary 1985
Tales of the North Sea and roundabout,
We start the year with Caroline broadcasting 24 hours
on 576kHz and Radio Monique in Dutch on 963kHz during the day, both from the
Ross Revenge (Imagine). Laser 558 from the Communicator is very popular but
seems to be suffering some problems... Radio Nova from Dublin and Sunshine
Radio from Shropshire also get a mention, now read on!
- January 1st Simon Barret is back, John
Lewis has gone, he's been on the ship since August!
- January 6th Laser off around 6pm after
generator problems. Financial problems confirmed, it's for sale for 1.5 million
pounds! Bruce Perdy welcomed "new listeners to the other ship" unusual....
Caroline then went off at about 8pm in heavy seas, snow and ice after some
numbers had been given out over the air (coded messages). TV "News at 10"
reported rescue services standing by to go to Caroline's aid if needed! They
were also rescuing a ferry at the time.
- January 7th Nobody on, great for RTE
listeners! TVAM news reported Caroline back at anchor this morning. I listened
to Sunshine Radio from Shropshire on 1017, very good signal.
- January 8th Caroline back on-air on both
channels just after 11am until 1230. Roland Butter (no, I'm not kidding!) gave
out some numbers between the music, signals normal. The rumour is that C is
awaiting fuel supplies in case they need to run the ship's engines again as
they are on a temporary anchor. It is also rumoured that Laser's mast has
- January 10th Laser back on! About normal
strength. The carrier appeared at about 2pm with mod at about 2-15. Stones LP
then Sergeant Pepper, Rick Harris started his prog at 3-15 ish with normal
format. Charlie Wolf explained that the aerial had fallen down.
- January 11th Caroline back on! Appeared at
about 8-30am, programmes from 9.... Jay Jackson, also Monique on 963. Mod on
576 much louder (and distorted). The mod is as loud as Lasers' but the carrier
is still weaker. There's a new bloke on 12 'til 3, Mark Summers. John Lewis is
- January 14th No Laser all day. Mod on 576
is less distorted. Caroline gave out a load of numbers at 8-10pm, one
"urgent".... Storms again later with 10 inches of snow in Kent.
- January 15th John Lewis and Jay Jackson on
breakfast show mentioned Laser "or what's left of it" I assume that their
aerial has fallen down again. J L played a record for them. Still stormy
weather 'til midday. TX trips on 963 during the evening, 576 OK.
- January 16th John Lewis, Jay Jackson, Mark
Summers, Tony James, Dave Richards, Bruce Perdy, Nick Richards. Still no Laser,
calm weather today.
- January 17th Still no Laser. Where is
everybody? both Dave Richards and Bruce Perdy missing from their slots this
evening, replaced by Mark Summers, for 8 hours! Perhaps they've gone to get the
558 crystal from Laser!
- January 18th Dave Richards, Bruce Perdy and
Tony James have all gone off. What's this on 558 at lunchtime?... punk weak, no
time to investigate. 576 pretty useless most of the day due to continental
crap. According to "Broadcast" magazine there are several interested buyers for
Laser including Chris Carey (boss of Nova, A K A Spangles Muldoon of RNI fame!)
but with no aerial....?
- January 19th ITS LASER! dead weak, about
15dB down on 576, ie about 25dB down on what it was! Even so it's better than
576, ace channel! Caroline has adverts for the Canadian state
- January 20th Laser off for about half an
hour at about 4-15pm. Still very weak but audible all day and most of the
- January 21st Only four jocks on Caroline,
John Lewis is on a diet!
- January 22nd Laser off this afternoon. C
line-up: John Lewis, Jay Jackson, Mark Summers, Nick Richards, John Lewis, Mark
Summers, Nick Richards.... double shifts!
- January 23rd Laser reappeared late evening.
- January 25th Laser off "for maintenance"
about 10am. Back after dark, still pathetic. Well who'd have thought it....
Mark Summers is Alton Andrews (John Lewis had a slip of the tongue and said
"Alton will be doing the breakfast show tomorrow" and it was Mark.)
- January 27th Laser is a little better now,
about 10dB down on Caroline.
- January 28th John Lewis, Jay Jackson, Mark
Summers, Tony James, Alec Niven, Nick Richards, Fiona Jeffries. Laser off about
- January 29th Excellent prog from Nick
Richards, load of crap from Mark Summers, the music's not bad but he prattles
on like a Radio 1 DJ!
- January 30th No Laser. Dave Richards back
on Caroline 6 to 10pm, Jay Jackson off. Laser testing at good strength at
10-15pm. Michael Dean at 10-35pm approx 576 strength, he's american but not a
DJ (awful!) he's the cook! Off at 11pm.
- February 1st According to Broadcast, Laser
are to soldier on, Eurad SA has a new boss and Bose, Kon-Tiki and USA Today
have renewed contracts. Laser is back to normal, 10dB up on 576. Charlie Wolf
explaine that the front mast had broken and had been repaired with new stuff.
He disappeared off the air later when the generator stopped.
- February 2nd According to Broadcast a new
Dublin super-pirate "Q102" is on 102MHz and 828kHz but I can't hear it here due
to Radio WM.
- February 4th John Lewis, Dave Richards,
Mark Summers, Tony James, Dave Richards, Nick Richards and Fergie... who?
There's a new woman on Laser in Charlie Wolf's spot, 8pm to 1am.
- February 8th Laser closed down at 1am as
usual and left the TX on until at least 2am. Not back on until 11-30am (rough
seas), not full strength but louder than 576.
- February 9th Rough seas. 6 inches of snow
here! 576 OK 'til 5pm. Laser, no mod at midnight but good carrier.
- February 10th Rough seas. No Laser today
(not the aerial again!?). A Sunday Times article on the Knock Deep rumours that
two more ships, WRLI and another carrying dual services one of which is backed
by three quarters of a million dollars worth of US cigarette advertising! Oh
no! What frequencies could they use?
- February 11th Still rough. Caroline didn't
go off for maintenance as usual on a Sunday, too rough? Still no Laser. At 1830
Caroline was putting out calls for anyone on the Communicator to call them on
- February 12th Moderate seas. Still no
Laser. A search of medium wave revealed the following possible frequencies,
531, 981, 1404, 1413 and 1566 without knowing who's on them! Caroline off at
midnight to do the maintenance they couldn't do on Sunday.
- February 14th Calm seas. Laser back on
(weak) in the late evening.
- February 15th Laser is 6 to 8dB down on
576. 576 off for modifications late in the evening.
- February 16th Caroline break in TX from
1450 to 1502, no break in Monique.
- February 17th Mark Summers, Peter Phillips,
Bob Matthews, Tony James, Dave Richards, Bob Matthews then off for maint. Nick
- February 18th John Lewis, Dave Richards,
Mark Summers, Tony James, Mark Summers, Bob Matthews, Fergie (the cook).. Peter
Phillips doing news.
- February 21st Local news item that Sunshine
Radio has closed..
- February 22nd Laser still weak as water and
50Hz off channel.
- February 23rd Nick Richards, Peter
Phillips, Nick Richards, Dave Richards, Bob Matthews, John Lewis, close down at
midnight. Fog. Laser off at 11am "to make things better for you". Back about
3pm , still crap.. " a few days of good weather and we'll be back to
- February 25th Fergie, John Lewis, Dave
Richards, Nick Richards, Bob Matthews, Dave Richards, Fergie, Fiona Jeffries.
- February 26th John Lewis, Jay Jackson, Nick
Richards, Bob Matthews, Dave Richards, Fergie, Fiona. No Laser for half the
- February 28th Laser back on at good
strength, 5dB up on 576.
- March 1st Charlie Wolf on "The Tube" TV
show on channel 4.
- March 5th Caroline had a visit from the
- March 8th Laser claiming to be on full
power, not so. Charlie Wolf is back.
- March 11th John Lewis, Jay Jackson, Nick
Richards, John Lewis, Peter Phillips, Fergie, Fiona.
- March 13th No Laser at
- March 17th Laser is as loud as ever, 4 or
5dB up on yesterday and a good 10dB up on 576.
- March 19th Fifth anniversary of the sinking
of the Mi Amigo. Nick Richards, who was there, gave an account of the events of
that day on Fergies' show around midnight.
- March 22nd Article in Broadcast about how
Lasers' aerial is so eficient at 7 to 9kW that when they go to 25kW they'll
cover the whole UK.... ha ha! They also claim to have broken even.. (I've only
heard Kon-Tiki and Virgin Airlines ads recently). They also plan to go
- March 23rd Laser down to 576 strength... is
this the "whole UK" coverage?.. New bloke on Caroline, Chris
- March 24th New Expo 86 advert (no parrot).
Simon (Wally) Barret is back 3 'til 6pm. 576 is OK until 6pm... spring is
- March 25th Laser back on full power.
Caroline on 585 today! John Lewis, Jay Jackson, Nick Richards, Chris Pearson,
Simon Barret, Fergie the cook and then off for maintenance. 585 was OK 'til
8-30pm on a tranny.
- March 26th 585 no good at 6am but OK by
0620. Off at midnight again "TX maintenance".
- March 27th 585 OK nearly all evening if
care taken to null-out the Spanish station. Off at midnight again.
- March 28th Back to 576. Carolines' 21st
birthday, John Lewis playing all sorts of old caroline bits.
- March 30th Caroline has a new Morroccan
holiday advert and contest. Laser is 576 strength again! C. Nick Richards, Jay
Jackson, Simon Barret, Chris Pearson, Peter Phillips, Susan Charles (back
- March 31st Caroline has an ad for "Dicky
Dirts" shirt shop in London. Laser used to have those... Laser has the
Morroccan holiday ad too!
- April 1st C. has new Hawaiian Tropic
- April 3rd Susan Charles has made a new
Newsweek Magazine ad (at last!).
- April 4th Rumour control says: there may be
an FM service to start from the Ross Revenge (Caroline ship), it was mentioned
on Monique but may be a misinterpretation. (Later note: It was an April Fool
joke!) The Monique contract is due for renewal, will they renew or will
Caroline start two services: pop and AOR on the two freqs. Caroline are reputed
to have another rig on board having been delivered in bits.... boost for 576?
The BBC are supposed to have complained about the 585kHz transmissions (it's
one of their frequencies).
- April 7th 21st birthday party on Caroline,
some Laser people invited but seas too rough. DJs top 200 played. John Lewis
played all sorts of stuff from Caroline through the years and even some from
Laser730 when he was on their test transmissions + some Irish
- April 9th Simon Barret, Jay Jackson, Nick
Richards, Chris Pearson, Simon Barret, Susan Charles, Fiona with Peter Phillips
doing "World Service News"! 963 off between 7 and 9pm and tripped
- April 11th Storms. Chris..... Pearson
forgot his name! Caroline fiddling with mod on 576 all afternoon, seems louder
now but not as nice as 963.
- April 12th Storms. Laser tripped 3 times
about 0735, did not return after the last one....
- April 18th Simon Barret, Jay Jackson, Nick
Richards, Susan Charles, Dave Richards, Fiona Jeffries, Chris
- April 19th Laser seems louder now, a bit
better than 576. 576 OK until 9pm these days.
- April 24th Storms. Dave Richards, Jay
Jackson, Nick R, Susan, Dave R, Fiona, Chris Pearson. No Laser... Jay Jackson
played "It's all over now".. "not dedicated to anyone in particular!" oh
- April 27th No Laser. Two new blokes on C.
Fergie McNeil and Brian Marshall.
- April 29th Dave R, J J, Nick R, Susan, Dave
R, ? Brian Marshall doing news. Still no Laser.
- May 1st OH NO it's ROY MASTERS on 963 from
7 to 8pm . New "Monday to Friday" format is crappy music from 6 to 7pm followed
by religious stuff then more music 'til 9pm when 963 rejoins 576 with Caroline.
What a waste of air time!
- May 3rd Dave R, J J, James Day, Susan
Charles, Dave R, Fergie, ??(2am to 6am)
- May 4th John Lewis is back 12 to 3pm. New
bloke "Neil" 3 til 6pm, Susan off. 576 was OK 'til 9pm when 963 returned. No
Roy Masters, just crappy music for 3hrs, some of it religious. Rumour control:
Laser's front mast has gone again and they're supposed to be getting it fixed
properly this time! Caroline only run 3kW on 576 as the insulator on deck won't
take more! New TX is being assembled on board, new insulator coming we hope!
They have all the bits for a wire aerial instead of the tap on the tower used
now so there's quite some scope for improvement. The religious stuff is only
needed to finance improvements as they have enough income from Monique.
Possible pop service on 963 at night. End of Rumours for now! (later note:
They're still using the diplexer we saw last year.)
- May 7th Laser back on with a good
- May 12th Charlie Wolf back on Laser at
- May 15th John Lewis, J J, James Day, Neil
Francis, Dave R, Fergie McNeil, Fiona Jeffries. People keep saying "Tom
Anderson will be back soon" I hope so!
- May 17th Still only Roy Masters on 963 from
7 'til 8pm Monday to Friday, no religious stuff at the weekend, just 3 hours of
- May 19th C. off at 1am "to improve the
- May 20th Sounds much better, Optimod? Still
a bit lacking in bass but almost as "loud" as Laser. No Jay Jackson, Peter
Phillips on 9 to 12am. Laser is a bit weak at the moment.
- May 24th Laser's birthday! Party on board.
No John Lewis on the breakfast show, is he on the Communicator? Spoof advert on
Caroline for "Communicator Aerials, It could be a day, it could be a week... we
have lots of experience!" Raffles' birthday (the dog) celebration on
Caroline... oh yeah!!
- May 25th Dave Richards said " some of us
went to see our neighbours last night and came back polaxed. Not me, but some
of us did!" Nick Richards is back, good.
- May 27th John Lewis back on breakfast, so
that's who was polaxed!
- May 31st "Broadcast" reports that Tenessee
Sound should be on-air end of August playing country music.... Oh no! Also
Laser to go 24hrs and will break-even soon....
- June 1st Visit to Glasgow, 558 audible OK,
576 undetectable. Q102 audible on 102.1 and Nova on 102.7 and Magic103 on 103.3
near the coast. Q102 is also on 828kHz but nothing like-as-loud as Nova on 738
which was OK all the way to Glasgow. C. has a new religious programme 8 to
- June 3rd John Lewis, Peter Phillips, Nick
Richards, James Day, Dave Richards, Fergie, Fiona. That useless prat Neil
Francis has gone off.
- June 14th Laser is only 576 strength. In
"Broadcast" Magic 103 is for sale for £100,000. I'll have
- June 15th Laser is absolutely blasting in!
Back to the old strength for the first time in ages. 8 to 9pm on 963 Dale
Rogers with "Jammin 963" (dance music).
- June 17th John Lewis, Jay Jackson, Nick
Richards, Neil Francis, James Day, Fergie, Dale Rogers. On 963 from 6pm:
Fergie, Roy Masters, Dale with Jammin963.
- June 20th Regular ads on Caroline: Expo
'86, Hawaiian Tropic, Lotto 6-49, Nikon, Arabian Sands, Superior Leisurewear,
Seagull Sales, Windjammer Holidays, Keel (heavy metal LP), a few plugs for a
health food warehouse in London and Priority Airfreight.
- June 24th James Day off, he's been on for
two months! Fergie off .... pity. They're short of blokes: John Lewis, Jay
Jackson, Nick R, Neil F, John Lewis, Nick R, Dale Rogers who also did
Jammin963. Peter Phillips on news.
- June 29th Jay Jackson may be leaving! Hints
on his prog this morning... after all he said! Dale Rogers playing rubbish from
- June 30th Susan Charles back, Jay Jackson
- July 2nd John Lewis, Peter Phillips, Nick
Richards, Neil Francis, Susan Charles, Dale Rogers, Dave Andrews. No seperate
- July 6th Fiona Jeffries is back, also James
Day. No stupid Saturday night soul show on 576, Neil Francis was doing
- July 8th John Lewis, Peter Phillips, Nick
Richards, Neil francis, Susan Charles, Dave Andrews, Dale Rogers and news by
whoever's not on. Where have Fiona and James gone? It's Fiona's birthday, John
Lewis says happy birthday on his show.
- July 9th No sign of Tenessee Sound! Laser
is still fairly weak at 576+ a little bit.
- July 10th There's some ex-Laser bloke on
Nova 'til 7pm, can't remember his name.... The Irish pirates will be outlawed
on December 1st.
- July 21st Report from the North-West of
Scotland. 738 noisy on car radio, useless on a tranny but very good on a large
aerial. 963 good after 9pm. Andy Johnson is back 6 to 10pm. On the big aerial
Monique is OK all day until Irish TX comes on at 5pm.
- July 29th Fergie is back 10pm to
- August 3rd Laser off late pm, windy
- August 4th Stewart Vincent on Nova 7 to
10am, Rick Harris 10am onward. Still no Laser.
- August 5th There seems to be a bit more
bass on 576. C. line-up: John Lewis, Peter Phillips, Andy Johnson, Dave
Andrews, Andy Johnson, Fergie. Laser back on this evening.
- August 7th New bloke on Caroline 12 to 3pm,
a yank, John Ford. He plays good music. New ads for Music Maker magazine and
People's Express airlines both read live, no carts.
- August 10th Peter Phillips and John Lewis
were talking about the new studio at the back of the ship, soon to be in
service so they can re-furb the old one.
- August 14th According to the Gruaniad there
is a DTI ship posted in the Knock Deep for "the foreseeable future" to harass
supply ships to Caroline and Laser. Charlie Wolf did a bit about it at the
start of his show at 9pm. Terrible mod on 963 in the evening, quick echo effect
modulation-dependant. Is it RF pickup in the new studio?
- August 15th There was an item in the Daily
Star about going out to the ships in a boat to deliver champagne, T shirts etc.
unobserved by the "Dioptric Surveyor" ship which didn't turn up 'til
- August 18th Item in the Sunday Times about
the blockade, reckoning that the publicity is doing the pirates good! The Daily
Star reporter is going to be prosecuted. "Jewish Voice" prog on 963 at 8pm.
There was an item about Caroline and Laser on the BBC 6 o-clock news tonight,
not too bad.
- August 26th C. has the same line-up as the
last three weeks: John Lewis, Peter Phillips, Dave Collins, David Andrews,
"Cosmic" Andy Johnson, Fergie, John Ford.
- August 29th Charlie Wolf is to leave Laser!
There's a new bloke on Caroline breakfast show, Terry James...... prat (sound
like a Beacon Radio DJ). John Lewis seems to be still on board but only doing
occasional news bulletins.
- September 1st John Ford on "Knock Deep tea
party" 6 to 10pm, good.
- September 2nd Terry James, Peter Phillips,
Dave Collins, David Andrews, Andy Johnson, Fergie, John Ford. 576 is only good
until 8pm these days as it gets dark. 963 can be pretty clobbered by Radio
Finland have they got their new 600kW TX? It's OK on a tranny 'cos it's at 90
- September 8th Laser carrier-only until
0850. Caroline early close at about 5pm on 963 and 576 at 5-30.
- September 9th No 963. Roy Masters radiated
on 576 at 7 to 8pm, 963 must be broken. Charlie Wolf on Laser says he won't do
all his usual stuff because he quit two days ago!
- September 10th Normal service on
- September 12th Caroline off at 3pm, back at
8-30pm after aerial maint, very good on 963.
- September 13th C. off at 5pm back before
9pm. Andy Johnson said "the engineers have got the signal really strong now..."
963 seems good but is 576 any better? I can't tell, too much
- September 20th John Lewis has gone off,
Neil Francis is back... oh-no! There's a new bloke, Nigel Rogers?
- September 21st Rumour Control:- Caroline
have an ex South Coast Radio 5kW rig which they are rebuilding. Then they will
modify the old 576 rig to 10kW whilst using the new one.
- September 23rd Terry James, Sue Charles,
Dave Collins, Neil Francis, Andy Johnson, Fergie, Nigel Roberts. There's a new
bloke on Laser, J Mack.
- September 26th No Laser all
- September 27th Laser back. Tommy Rivers and
Charlie Wolf have both left the station according to Broadcast.
- September 29th There are at least three
religious progs on 963, Baptist, Miss Velda and the Tree of Life, Jewish Voice
- October 4th Rough, no Laser, it was there
late last night.
- October 6th Still no Laser. 963 off in the
- October 7th Still no Laser. C.
- October 8th Laser back at usual strength,
but only three jocks!
- October 11th Laser was there first-thing
but went off about 9am.
- October 12th No Laser. Nick Richards back
on C. and Dave Andrews.
- October 13th Laser back on at 8pm "It's all
fixed and we're back to stay!"...... again.
- October 19th No Laser this
- October 28th Laser back on! About normal
- November 2nd New surveillance ship on duty,
"not as friendly" says Nick Richards!
- November 5th Rough seas. Laser went off
during the day, it was there this morning.
- November 6th LASER HAS BEEN TOWED TO
HARWICH by the DTI ship after requesting assistance! It was reported on the 12
o-clock news on Caroline and on the 6 o-clock TV news. Caroline closed down at
10pm for TX maint.
- November 7th Guess what...... Caroline558!
Much better reception than 576.
- November 9th Nova off during the day back
later. Sunshine (Dublin) is louder these days and Q102 is audible on the main
receiver on 819 during the day. Sea still rough.
- November 11th 558 still slightly off
frequency. Johan Maasbach is on at 6pm (Dutch evangelist) on 963. 558 is better
at 6pm than 963! Neil Francis did the whole of his programme in a silly voice
as "Duncan Thomas Ingram" (DTI)...... why?
- November 13th C. have obviously had a boat
out, they have some very new records. No Sue Charles at 9am Nick Richards
carried on. No Jammin' 963 at 8pm either, straight back to
- November 14th BBC Radio Essex is said to be
"dissappointed" that Caroline have moved to "their" frequency when Laser went
off. Ha Ha!
- November 15th New bloke, Graham Bager (from
NZ?) on news all day. 558 is netted better.
- November 16th John Ford and Peter Phillips
are back as well.
- November 18th Now 4hr shows starting at
5am: Nick Richards, Peter Phillips, David Andrews, John Ford, Andy Johnson,
Graham Bager on news. Rough seas, both channels off at 6pm and back by
- November 19th No Jammin963 any more but
country music from 6-15pm until 7 when Roy Masters is on. Then back to Caroline
at 8pm. 558 gets messy about 4pm or so but can be good all evening sometimes,
it's still about 10Hz off frequency.
- November 22nd Broadcast magazine reports
that the DTI are chasing up Caroline's advertisers. Evidently the Expo 86 ads
were transmitted free as one of Caroline's backers is Canadian, Caroline have
been asked to stop transmitting them but haven't done so.
- November 26th Caroline were running the
ship's engines at 6-15pm, they were off altogether when I listened at
- November 27th There's more top on 558, very
good audio but still lacks bass.
- November 30th Tests from Caroline on
6273kHz from 9pm!
- December 6th Nick Richards, Peter Phillips,
David Andrews, John Ford, Andy Johnson, Graham Bager.
- December 9th Proper Arabian Sands advert
with a custom jingle done by a Laser jock. Christmas "win a holiday"
- December 13th 963 went off around 7pm and
stayed off all evening. 558 still on.
- December 14th Caroline and Monique off at
1735 when the generator stopped. Back at 2125.
- December 16th Monique's birthday
- December 19th C. off at 9pm for
"improvements"... generator mods?
- December 20th Nick Richards, Peter
Phillips, John Ford, Fergie (back on), TOM ANDERSON!! (at last).
- December 25th Merry Christmas, lots of
cards being read out.
- December 26th Force 8 gales. Went off aroud
4pm "adverse weather".
- December 27th 558 only today. No 963 due to
"a feeder coming down". Went off at 3pm for aerial maint, back at 7pm on 558
and then 963.. half way through Roy Masters prog.
- December 29th 558 and 963 both very good
and 558 is on frequency!
- December 30th No it isn't!
- December 31st 1985Yes it is!
Progress to 1986
Read the full story of
Back to the Captain's place