The diary 1987
Tales of the North Sea and roundabout,
Caroline is working to improve it's signals on
558kHz, all the more important now that they have competition again from Laser
Hot Hits. Radio Monique transmits in Dutch on 963 during the day which is then
followed by religious broadcasting and then the rock service, Caroline
Overdrive. There are rumours of a new pirate ship being readied in Spain which
will probably broadcast country and western music. It's mid-winter though and
the North Sea can be pretty rough! Now read on..
- January 1st Very subdued today, everyone is
hung over! Dave James did the breakfast show followed by Mark Matthews. No
- January 2nd Mark Matthews, Dave James,
Richard Jackson, Keith Lewis, Peter Phillips, news by Stuart Clark and
Overdrive with John Tyler.
- January 8th Still no Laser. Caroline off
for aerial maint 10am to 1-30pm.
- January 9th C. off for aerial maint, 9am tp
- January 10th Rumour control:- Laser's masts
have both broken in storms and the TXs are probably damaged too! I wonder how
the generators are!? (later note: one caught fire!) They also lost their
anchorage the other night.
- January 13th Lots of snow, tobogganing on
the Ross Revenge! New bloke 9pm to 1am, Rob Charles.
- January 14th Force 9 gales all day,
- January 15th Caroline off at 8-20pm "work
required on an aerial stay... not serious... back in an hour". Back at 9-05pm.
963 off at midnight, 558 still on.
- January 16th "Slightly less hostile North
Sea" still rough though! Kevin Turner, Peter Phillips, Keith Lewis, Mark
Matthews, Peter Phillips, Rob Charles, Mark Matthews on Overdrive. Early close
- January 17th Back on at 10am "Antenna maint
complete".. seas slight.
- January 18th Rumour control:- Laser may
have a single mast fitted and return in February.... Overdrive may be scrapped
and replaced with a sponsored country music station! Aaargh!
- January 19th Seas are calm. Caroline seem
to have a good selection of new releases. No Overdrive, 963 off after God
- January 20th Lots of new people, Dave
Ellis, Jamie King, Tricky Dicky or something.
- January 21st Dick Stains indeed! More
oldies these days on 558. Modified format to fend off Laser, an
- January 22nd Puny signal, off frequency on
576 at about 7pm. Better by 11pm and netted. Hot Hits ID heard.
- January 23rd Laser a bit better today, but
clobbered by interference. New jingles but no DJs.
- January 24th Voices of John Lewis, Andrew
Turner and a yank on Laser doing "engineering tests", still down on
- January 25th Laser still on weakly, off
early in the evening... no point continuing. No Overdrive, just a blank carrier
from end of the God squad.
- January 26th No Laser, no Overdrive. Calm
- January 27th Laser weak, no
- January 28th No Laser, no Overdrive. Kevin
Turner, Rob Charles, Richard Stains, Jamie King, Dave Ellis, Steve Clark on
- January 29th Laser testing.
- January 30th Laser on. Overdrive on
midnight 'til 1am, no links, just music. Ended with a closing announcement by
Dick Stains giving the address.
- February 2nd Laser official restart. Two
DJs, Brandy Lee (female) and D.L. Bogart. It's about 4dB down on Caroline and
useless after 4pm and before 7-30am. The German station is so loud on 576 that
it must blot Laser out in London too.
- February 11th Possibly John rock-n-roll
Anthony on Laser after 6pm but you'd have to be in Ramsgate to hear it
properly! We reckon Laser's aerial is at 50 to 75ft high and they're running
- February 20th Rough seas, North Easterly
- February 25st Still no Laser. New news
bloke, Steve Conway and a new DJ, Tim Shepherd on Caroline.
- March 1st Still no Laser, still no boggin'
Overdrive! Mark Matthews is back, and another new bloke, Mark Warner, an
- March 14th Update, not much to report, 558
consistent and 24hrs over the weekends. Laser off and on but always weak, some
late night tests with John Lewis tonight..
- March 16th Dave James back on caroline,
Richard Jackson is off to the USA.
- March 23rd Mark Matthews, Dave James, Mark
Warner, Dave James, Tim Shepherd.
- March 27th Laser off. Caroline off 11pm or
so, very rough.
- March 28th Caroline on first-thing then off
at 8am, back by 10-30am. Still very rough.
- March 31st Still no Laser. Peter Phillips
back on Caroline.
- April 5th Laser back on for the first time
in weeks, still weak.D.L. Bogart is the jock.
- April 13th Two new blokes on Caroline, Mick
Williams and David Foster. Kevin Turner is back and 558 is 24hrs. Laser is on
and off like a yoyo these days.
- April 21st Laser off today.
- April 22nd 558 off at 10am for aerial work,
back at about quarter-past then it tripped out at half-past. Just one blurt of
signal heard about an hour later. 963 was on at 6pm when I checked (God spots).
No Laser again.
- April 23rd No 558. No Laser. Monique as
usual. 558 back around lunchtime.
- May 1st Still no Laser or
- May 4th The info-line says that 558 is to
increase to 8kW when they get the parts, in a few weeks....... I've heard that
- May 24th Irish update: Energy on 103MHz is
loud (in Southern Scotland), Sunshine is on 100.5 and 101.5, Q102 is on 102.1
- May 27th Two new voices on 558, Andy
Robbins and Jackie Lee (female Aussie).
- May 31st Info-line says that Laser has
moved from its anchorage, possibly for work to be done.
- June 7th STILL rough weather, call this
summer! Evidently Laser is off the Kent coast, there may be a new deal in the
offing... stereo? It's not expected on air for a couple of months. Lots of
double shifts to cover 24hrs on Caroline.
- June 10th Caroline and Monique off at 8am
for "essential maintenance to take about six hours". Back at 5-55pm (nearly ten
hours!) no difference in signals.
- June 11th They've moved position from the
Knock Deep to 14 miles NNE of Ramsgate! That must've been why they were off
- June 12th Tests on 963 all night
"Overdrive" type music.
- June 13th And again, to test night-time
reception from new position?
- June 14th No Overdrive. New people, Geoff
Morris, Paul Graham. A Sunday newspaper said that Laser had been towed away....
byeee Laser! (later note, see 21st!)
- June 21st Not true says a SW station. Laser
is still there, nearer Dunkerque for tendering purposes, and being sorted out
with new masts etc.
- July 5th New crew on Caroline. Kevin Turner
and John Tyler are back, a new bloke, David Baker has joined. Peter Phillips,
Steve Conway, Geoff Morris and Paul Graham have all gone off.
- July 27th 558 and 963 both on pathetic low
power today, they were OK last night.
- July 28th 558 back to normal, 963 still
- August 23rd Slight improvement in strength
on 558 these days.
- September 12th Caroline reported testing on
9950kHz and 6210 or 6205kHz short wave.
- September 14th Radio Finland on 963 is
completely flattening Caroline at 10pm, they must have that 600kW TX
- September 12th And at 8pm
- October 15th HURRICANE! Roofs blown off,
trees down all over the South of England! 558 was on first-thing then off to
tie some loose wires up, back at 0820. Quite a few TX trips during the morning,
by lunchtime it was very bad. By 3pm they were more off than on! Closed down at
3pm for maint, back with a carrier at 8pm
- October 16th Normal service! Well done
- October 26th Report from North of Scotland;
558 audible from time to time during the evening, 963 very good early then
clobbered by Finland.
- November 2nd The religious stuff is now
completely clobbered by Finland and Monique suffers from about
- November 8th Rumour control; Caroline are
considering moving from 963 to 954 or 864 due to the Finnish
- November 12th Good music on 558 these days,
it's a good crew.
- November 14th No 558 or 963
- November 15th MONIQUE ON 819! Quite good
ground wave (similar to 963) poorer at sundown then improves later.
- November 16th 819 is much better than 963
over-all but they are 50Hz or so LF.
- November 22nd 819 very good after 10pm when
Andorra goes off..
- November 24th Stormy seas, "The ship's
making some peculiar noises" said somebody in the evening.
- November 25th No 558 or 963 all day. THE
MAST HAS COLLAPSED!!! (according to the info-line).
- November 28th It's very quiet these
- November 30th 738 is back up to an audible
strength and is calling itself Radio Nova again.
- December 5th Caroline back on dead-weak on
558 only, about 20dB down. Evidently they started yesterday afternoon but it's
useless after 3-30pm.
- December 8th They are using a wire from the
funnel to the front mast, can't be much more than 100ft or so!.
- December 10th Caroline say they're
24hr..... what's the point?.
- December 13th 1987Rumour city:- Possibly a
power increase in a couple of days and maybe short wave by Christmas. Mast at
each end of the ship will be used to re-instate the dual service. Laser may be
ready to erect its' new masts by Christmas. The Nannelle organisation has
offered help and poss the MV Sarah from the USA will come to replace the Ross
for a while.
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