Laser Radio broadcast from the MV Communicator from December 1983 until April 1987 with many breaks in between. They first broadcast on 729kHz using a 300ft wire aerial suspended by a baloon! They must have had some poor advice about conditions in the North Sea..... needless to say, it blew away! After several abortive tests with the baloon they decided to put some 200ft masts up and sling a long wire in the form of a figure 7 between them. This simple aerial worked extremely well and gave good signals over the South and East of England, better than Caroline with its 300ft mast in fact! Tests on 558 commenced in early May and full transmissions began without fanfare on Thursday 24th of May at 0530. The first extracts are from that show.
Sounding pretty good from the start, mind you, they'd had long enough to practice!
Rick Harris again
You remember the catch-phrases now! "All hits all the time, You're never more than a minute away, Europe's newest Radio Station, All Europe Radio" etc. Next we hear David Lee Stone read the news at 8am.
We move on now to the summer of 1984 and hear Holly Michaels (Laser's pinup!) after a hot afternoon's sunbathing on the deck of the Communicator. I've got recordings of Tommy Rivers' show preceding Hollys' but he only ever says "This is Laser558" or something equally exciting between the tracks, they certainly kept the music coming at Laser!
Here he is, this file won't take long to load!
On to January 1985 and both Laser and Caroline had suffered in the storms. Laser's aerial came down and they had been off the air for 4 days. They returned on 10th of January and here we hear Charlie Wolf on his evening show giving us the real reason for the break! (The caption on the RealAudio file is wrong... sorry!)
The "Sea Wolf"
They made it to their first birthday and had a right old party! Here is a greetings message from Linda McCartney which they played on the show.
Things weren't so good for Laser from then on. The ship was towed away in November 1985 after storms. Caroline adopted 558kHz and when Laser eventually returned in December 1986, as Laser Hot Hits, they had to use 576kHz. Various problems dogged them and they left the air in April 1987 and were not heard for the rest of the year... except if you lived near the East coast! This recording was made at the end of October and features a very chatty Johnny Lewis running a test transmission into a dummy load. It became christened "Radio Sunk".
After that test nothing atall was heard from the Communicator. They suffered anchor chain problems in February 1988 and the ship left the North Sea and ended up in a Dutch lake as a relay transmitter for a (legal) Dutch station.
That's it for Laser for the moment. they certainly made an impression in their short life! If only their aerial sysytem had been engineered properly from the start it might have lasted longer....... Click on the last link below and you can wallow in nostalgia as you surf the net listening to almost half an hour of Laser558 on a summer Sunday afternoon in 1984.
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