FRS History 1980-1989
January 1987 started much better than 1986....
“Well, I returned from a short three day trip and suddenly the bell rang. I opened the door and in front of me stood Johan Rood. Some 10 minutes later I realized Delmare was raided while relaying our tapes earlier that day. As I didn't listen myself I wasn't aware of the fact that at approx. 12.40 the 6205 was switched off. It was a shock for me because I had some kind of feeling it would be the definitive end of relays via Delmare."
At that moment Peter didn't know he would be right: Delmare's second raid within a period of 3 years was the final blow. Radio Delmare was raided at 12.30 CEST during the Danny Kay show. THe big transmitter was confiscated, the anrenna was put under seal and (postive): all studio equipmet was left untouched. And so the whole story from February 1983 and May 1986 repeated itself all over again .... Peter Verbruggen started looking for new relay possibilities. Of course it was an advantage he knew quite a number of station OP's but on the other hand: it had to be a station with a strong transmitter and willing to put FRS on air on a regular basis for at least 3 or 4 hours. And the combination of these two requirements wasn't obvious as most stations didn't want to take that risk. Advertisements were published in a number of free radio magazines including 'Weekly Report' and Radio Telex. Sunday June 21st FRS was relayed for two hours via a Dutch station using high power. The 6220 signal was superb and almost 50 letters reached FRS' mailbox. Bert van Leer left the station after having presented the Musical Express for just over 3 years. He remained involved in the station on the productional side (jingles). July 19th another 2 hour relay was planned on 6205 but after 55 minutes the modulator broke down, the end of a very brief transmission. ... The week before, Sunday July 12th, FRS put out a 90 minute test with an own 10W spare rig: that rig was in Peter's studio during the January 16th 1983 visit of the authorities but it was hidden at a part of the attic they didn’t seek. 6260 provided fair reception that July Sunday. Another interesting: Frankie Fanatic made a video recording of the actual broadcast but sadly wiped out the tape a few weeks later… Too bad!
Considerable efforts went into the August 1987 transmission. No less than 3 different relay-stations were prepared to give FRSH a helping hand. The complete transmission went out on 6205 & 7310 while the last 2 hours were also on 6310 kHz All signals were pretty well received. A special qsl card was issued only available for August reception reports. The broadcast of the Birthday programmes in September had to be cancelled one day before the actual transmission because of antenna problems. Good news was the fact that a station was found which was able to relay FRS most third Sundays. Because of Peter's removal a brandnew FRS studio had to be built. For the technically interested among you: the heart of the studio was a 12 channel mixing console capable of carrying 2 microphones, 2 quick start turntables, a CD player and 3 cassette machines. The output of the mixer was linked to an equalizer and a compressor/limiter. Other studio equipment consisted of a tape recorder and a monitor amplifier. Sunday October 18th saw the first long transmission since Delmare's raid earlier that year. Between 10:00-15:00 CET a strong signal via a 60W transmitter was radiated across Europe. A last minute decision was taken to change from 6204 to 6218. It turned out to be a good decision. How good the signal was that Sunday was showed by a report from as far as Leningrad in Russia. October also saw the introduction of a brand new jingle package ordered via PAMS International in the UK, a well-known and professional name in the jingle world.
Bad luck pursued FRS for the hundredth time in November. On the 8th Superclan Radio was raided by the Dutch authorities. Since August Superclan had been relaying FRS-Holland with very good signals. As a direct result of this raid no November broadcast and in addition the planned December 20th X-Mas transmission had to be cancelled. Although...that's what we thought. The Scottish Free Radio Network made an offer, willing to put out the December programmes but their positive reply reached Peter Verbruggen too late. Just before the 20th Peter finally succeeded in getting two relays. There was no time to finish the programmes off before the 20th, so FRS was forced to plan the programmes for the final December Sunday, the 27th. Looking at all the efforts and the amount of money paid to have the programmes relayed, it was a big disappointment to find out that the 7315 signal was poor while the 6325 one was fair but completely overmodulated. A very dissatisfactory end of 1987. During the December broadcast a new but for many short wave DX-ers familiar voice could be heard on FRS-Holland The man behind this voice was already well-known in SW land as he was the key-figure behind the famous British station Atlanta Radio. How did Mark Stafford get involved with FRS-Holland?
Broadcast wise the end of 1987 was disappointing. But the results of the annual PIN magazine pop poll over 1987 brought some sunshine. For more details go to 1988. And: at the end of 1987 FRS's listenersclub was still alive 'n' kicking. The club celebrated its 5th Birthday nd so far already 66 issues of the club magazine 'FRS goes DX’ had been published. The magazine had developed into a good-looking and very up-to-date source of info read by more and more free radio enthousiasts. What are the differences between the early and the late 1980s as far as the magazine is concerned. Hear Peter Verbruggen's opinion......
“First of all I'd like to put forward that work for the magazine was produced with great pleasure although it was often a very hard job to finish it off before the deadline. I think you have to take your time when running a magazine. 'FRS Goes DX’ started as a very ordinary printed sheet in a moderate print quality. It was mainly aimed at the FRS-Holland listening audience and the offshore and short wave news was of minor importance. Through the 80s it started to focus more and more at the general free radio listener although I must admit we always made sure that the flavour of FRS-Holland was part of the magazine. It is really remarkable how many people read the FRS Newscorner column containing the station's background news. That proved that a lot of the readers were sicerely interested in the station. The mag moved with the times: the layout undergone a metamorphosis and the offer of information became more comprehensive and varied, also thanks to the fact more people got involved. I guess one of the strongest points of 'FRS Goes DX’ was that it survived the 80's. Where many other publications ceased, FRS was still alive with a very faithful readership.”
On Wednesday December 30th 1987 the Delmare court case took place. In FRS goes DX mag #67 from January 1988 the following report was published: "Johan Rood had to appear in the Antwerp court as a result of the May 17th raid. March 1984 he was already raided because of AM 227 metre transmissions and that first time he was fined for a total of 5500 Dutch guilders (DM 5000). An even higher fine was expected in this second court case. Therefore it was a big surprise (and relief) the judge only demanded a fine of BF 12000, the equivalent of 600 guilders/ DM 550/ 180 UK pounds. Delmare was raided because a complaint via the London RAD control. The complaint was taken very seriously by the judge but Johan Rood succeeded in disproving the complaint. To prove he was right he had bought a World Radio & TV Handbook. He could convince the judge that several International broadcasters were using the frequency range 6200-6210 kHz (often with much higher powers than Delmare). The facts proved him to be right! Johan also put foward that the Belgian RTT had been using 6225 less than 2 years ago, illegally! In the end only one complaint was left over: illegal broadcasting." Johan started working on a return, which unfortunately never became reality.