1 April 1991 / 27 oC
"The Legend Lives On..."
Although the Ross Revenge has remained silent since November, last week it became possible for a few fans to tune to a station playing jingles such as "Rocking from the North Sea - Radio Caroline". This station is emanating not from international waters fifteen miles out at sea, but from international airspace nearly twenty-four thousand miles above the surface of the Earth - from the Astra television satellite.
The satellite, Astra 1A, is owned and operated by a Luxembourg-based company and rebroadcasts sixteen television channels, some of which are in English and are uplinked to the satellite from the UK. These include the original Sky Channels and Lifestyle.
Each TV channel has several sound channels; these can be used to give the viewer a choice of different language soundtracks for the TV programme, but are more often used as radio stations.
Ex-Caroline disc-jockey Spangles Maldoon - better known these days by his real name, Chris Carey - used to run one of the most successful Irish pirate stations, Radio Nova. when the Irish stations were all finally closed down he transferred his attention to satellite, and eventually Nova was reborn on Astra.
The satellite Radio Nova, however, proved not to be so successful as the original Irish station. Chris Carey decided thst the project wasn't worth continuing so he closed it down - with his air-time on Astra paid up for almost three more months, as his contract was to run for one year and he'd paid in advance without the option of a rebate.
Chris got in touch with the people who had been running Radio Caroline for the past few years and offered them the free use of the transponder for the remainder of his contract period! To take advantage of this offer, the Caroline people needed to record and supply their programmes on eight-hour video tapes, which were to be broadcast each day until Chris Carey's other and more successful station, Club Music, occupied the frequency in the evening.
On Tuesday, 26 March, the first of these tapes was heard. It comprised non-stop music interspersed with old Caroline jingles from the time of her return in 1983.
when checked again on Good Friday most of the jingles had disappeared, but between about 13.20 GMT and 18.00 the non-stop music continued with some spoken IDs, announcing that this was Radio Caroline broadcasting from the Astra satelite. At 18.00 the Club Music service took over the channel. Music tapes were again found in progress on Saturday morning, and continued until 18.00 without jingles.
On Easter Sunday music began abruptly on the channel at 09.38 BST/CET with a "The legend lives on" jingle. After a few announcements a disc jockey calling himself Keith Lewis -and sounding remarkably like Spangles Maldoon- began live programming at 10.06 from the old Radio Nova studios in Camberly, Surrey. His programme continued until 15.00, during which time he vouchsafed he'd visited the Ross Revenge on a boat-trip the previous day to collect all the jingles for today's broadcast, and observed that the ship looks unwell and decidedly shabby. He also made oblique referencss to his performance being rebroadcast on short-wave by 'the Sunday morning pirates'.
From 10.32 Keith was giving out a telephone number for requests and dedications - 0276 692040. At first he was answering the calls himself but he soon had to call in 'Rupert' to take over the switchboard; he explained that they have twenty-four lines and seventeen of them were lit up. Such an amazing response had never occurred in the whole of the time Radio Nova had been on the air, he reported with some glee. Later, with the switchboard completely jammed, he gave a second number for the 'overspill': 0836 404504. At 15.00 Keith closed down, playing (for the third time_!) part of the Fortunes' song "Caroline", which cross-faded into non-stop music which then continued without jingles or IDs until 17.28. For the final half hour of the day Colin Mueslibar took over programming, assuring us that "It's the real Radio Caroline here" At 18.00 the station closed, with the Fortunes but with no announcement.
This morning, Monday the first of April, music began at 10.32. In the chair was Chris Adams until 12.15, when Rico took over. Chris commented that he was programming from a brand new studio on board the Ross Revenge, and he referred to the Astra project as "The world's first space pirate".
If this has been an April Fool's hoax it's been an extremely elaborate and well planned one! But before dashing out to buy a satellite system, do bear in mind that the paid-up transponder time will run out in a little less than two months; after that the Caroline people may have the option to renew the contract and keep the use of the transponder, but if so they will have to draw on every last fragment of their extensive experience of pulling miracles out of the hat to find the cash to pay for it!
However if you do have a dish, you can find the radio station by tuning in your satellite receiver to the transponder, on 11.273 GigaHertz, which carries The Children's Channel in the morning, Lifestyle in the afternoon, Sell-A-Vision and the Japanese TV service in the evening and the Lifestyle Satellite Jukebox overnight. Then retune the audio frequency away from the TV soundtrack and you should find the music on 7.56 MHz; this will probably be 'audio channel 3' on a standard Amstrad Sky system.
As none of our regular loggers are able to tune into this satellite station we will not be able to bring our readers a comprehensive run-down of the programming; so if you are in the fortunate position of being able to enjoy the music don't forget to let us know about anything interesting you hear!
The New R.N.I.
Also available on satellite is a reincarnation of Radio Noordsea International. It broadcasts mainly in the Dutch language, the theme-tune is "Man of Action" and all the old RNI jingles feature in the programming.
This station, however, is not very accessible as it's not downlinked from the high-power Astra 'bird' but from Intelsat VA F12 at 1° west. This means it cannot be received on a standard Sky receiving system, but a much larger, movable dish is needed. In Holland or Norway you may find RNI is available on your local cable network, but to receive it in Britain you'd need at least a 1.5 metre dish. If you do have access to one, you'd need to tune into the Norwegian TV station TV4 on 11.681 GigaHertz (Horizontally polarised), then retune the sound frecency to 7.74 Mhz.
Spectrum loses 990
From today, Monday 1 April 1991, Spectrum Radio no longer broadcasts on 990kHz. This extra frequency was allocated in order to enable reception of Spectum throughout their intended coverage area of Greater London whilst the first frequency allocated to them, 558kHz, was occupied by Caroline. After enjoying broadcasting on two frequencies for almost the whole of theer ten-month existance, Spectrum has now been cut back to 558kHz only.
What cost Revenge?
"The conditions on board the Ross are currently horrid. During the day the ship is dead, with no electrical power... Most of the ship is dark and cold... Straight away we need £5000 to buy a robust generator which will power the whole ship..." Here we quote from a report from the newly formed 'Ross Revenge Support Group'. This new association has been formed to give the opportunity to dedicated Caroline fans to at last be able to totally legally make regular donations to repair, maintain and supply the ship. The group explains: "Caroline's voluntary cessation of broadcasts totally alters the legal situation. Now, for the first time ever, you can directly and openly support Caroline without fear of retribution."
If you desire to be involved, the way to do so is to make an donation to the RRSG and ask for a banker's order mandate to plege a amount every month. Your cheque and SAE should go to:
RRSG, 25 The Meadow, Chiselhurst, Kent BR7 6AA.
Everyone who thus joins the struggle to keep Caroline alive will receive, say the RRSG, a "free newsletter 'REVENGE' explaining what is happenening on the ship and how your money is being allocated, together with news on the progress of our campaigns and other radio news generally."
Peace Lives On, Too!
Some of our readers have expressed concern about responded to the dangers promoted by the recent hostilities in the Middle East. Of course this was just the sort of event for which Abe Nathan first established and continues to maintain his radio station in the Mediteranean and he had no intention of being silenced when his words of peace and hope were needed most by the Israeli people. However, every one of the British staff of the ship decided to leave on 15 January, the day the war actually started, and fly home. This left Abe and only one other presenter on the ship to take care of all the broadcasts. We understand that Abe was regularly speaking live on the air for eight hours or more at a stretch. We also understand that missiles falling on Israel would have been visible from the deck of the Voice of Peace.
If any of our readers were able to tune into any of Abe's broadcasts on 1539kHz during this exciting time we would be most interested to know about what you heard.
31 AVONDALE ROAD
ESSEX SS7 1EH
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