FRS History 1980-1989
On January 17th 1988 FRSH started a fresh, new year with a 4 hour transmission on 6324 kHz .
The signal was totally nulled out by utulity on the upper side band and the very poor conditions made things even worse. The FRS people were not able to contact the person who was operating the transmitter. It was Peter Verbruggen's habit to have the telephone number of the relay-station just to make sure that whenever it was needed, the OP could be informed about interference or other incidents. All in all it perhaps was the worst broadcast, (an all time low) as far as FRS-Holland's history is concerned. As a result it was decided to wait with further broadcasts until better relay facilities would turn up. Early 1988 FRS received the results of the 1987 PIN Magazine pop poll. Similar to 1986 FRS-Holland scored three number 1 positions. Good news making up a bit for the disappointing Januray broadcast.
February and March were 'FRS less' but in April things were looking up. It was by coincident that Peter Verbruggen got into touch with a powerful Dutch station and to his own surprise the OP said 'yes' when Peter asked him about the possibility of relays. Friday April 15th, two days before the 3rd Sunday, three hours of tapes were sent by special messenger to a place somewhere in The Netherlands. It was intended to use 6205 but thursday April 14th Caroline engineers got the idea to move frequency from 6215 to 6205 and thus FRS was forced to look for another suitable frequency. 6260 was one of the few possibilities as there weren't that many x-tals available. In the UK much of FRS's signal suffered heavy interference from E.M.R., nót being the same station as the legendary E.M.R. led by Barry Stephens....Hear two comprehensive audio files from April 1988 (almost 15 minutes) giving a good indication how FRS sounded at that time...
Some 40 letters were received in the month of April for a transmission which was signal-wise far superior to and in no way comparable with the January and December transmissions. Part of the agreement with the Dutch station was that regular relays should take place and so the next broadcast was planned for May 15th 1988. Programmes had to be recorded just before the actual transmission turning the FRS studios in an old-fashioned madhouse rather than a normal recording studio. In one or another way some of the madness got a grip on the broadcast itself. Wednesday May 11th, four days before the transmission a 6205 x-tal was sent by post from Amsterdam. The little parcel with FRS programme tapes contained a further two x-tals: 6258 & 6260 kHz. One of these frequencies would only be used in case of emergency, 6205 would be the main frequency. But all too often the dice were loaded against FRS-Holland! The 6205 x-tal didn't arrive until Monday May 16th, too late to be used during the transmission. It appeared the relay station did have a 6201 x-tal which was in the eyes of Peter better than 6258 & 6260. Peter was in a cold sweat when at 09.45 CET, some 9 minutes before sign-on, Radio Tonair was on 6205 with a massive signal.
“I already had the phone in my hands to call our relay to tell him to move to 6258. But at 09.50 CET, 4 tiny minutes before our commencement Tonair's signal disappeared. I still don't know whether it was a matter of luck or because of the fact Tonair knew FRS was taking to the air. I guess the first reason comes closes to the truth.”
New lay out for 'FRS goes DX'
Not only the work on the station continued. 'FRS Goes DX' magazine was some kind of continuation of FRS-Holland and in the month of July the magazine got a fresh and new lay-out, new columns were introduced and the number of pages was increased from 16 to 20. Better print facilities enabled the makers to put photos in the magazine as well. In July FRS was off air. One of the highlights of 1988 was August 28th when the 8th birthday was celebrated. At the same moment it was the 80th regular FRS 3rd Sun broadcast. One must get confused of all those 'eights' ... Once in a few years FRS Birthday parties had been celebrated on air and 1988 was one of those occasions a great deal of time was spent to do something 'extra'. The FRS celebrations- including a 55 minute documentary- could be heard on no less than 3 frequencies - 7290 (18W), 6225 (200W) & 6286 (15W)- from three different broadcasting sites. The broadcast was a huge success with a good signal on 7290 and even better signals on the two 48 mb frequencies. Just over 65 letters was the finest birthday present the FRS team could think of.... (hear two audio files;click on the icon-arrow-down to make a choice)
From this month onwards FRS goes DX magazine was sent from Belgium, a dramatic cut in the P&P costs. For October it was decided to move to 6225 in order to avoid interference with Radio Fax. The latter's signal came from the Radio Rainbow transmitting location on the east coast of the Irish Republic. October 16th a superb signal was radiated during the first part of the broadcast, till 11.10 CET (once again during the Danny Kay Show...). Then suddenly the modulation disappeared and less than a minute later also the carrier. What were Peter V.'s thoughts at that moment?
“In one or another way I had an anxious foreboding. But of course I was hoping it would be a minor technical problem with the modulation or so. When the carrier disappeared I broke into a cold sweat. I called somebody who on his turn had already called our relay-station. So he was aware of the situation and reassured me that it was only a technical problem. A relief .... When I was walking back to my receiver, the phone rang again. It was the person himself relaying us and when asking him what went on his answer was quite explicit: he had been raided.”
For the fourth time FRS was more or less directly involved in a raid. Victim was Radio New Wave using a powerful 200W transmitter. It was extra sad to hear that it was purely by coincident that the station was raided. That same morning a number of FM stations, all operating in the same area, were raided and by sheer accident they stumbled across Radio New Wave. Via Mark Stafford a relay was arranged for November, by the way not the Atlanta Radio transmitter. This two 2 hour broadcast was planned for the usual 3rd Sunday but it took more than a week before the cassettes, sent by special messenger, arrived. We were 'lucky' that at least 45 minutes of Mark Stafford went out on the 20th November. Unfortunately it's the hard truth when saying FRS-Holland has gained bad experiences with the British post. So it was November 27th when FRS could be heard with a reasonable signal on 6235. The X-Mas transmission was the very last one for 1988 and no less than 6 hours of news, greetings, music and dedications were put out on 6225. Listeners on the continent heard a nice signal, UK listeners were less lucky with almost no reception at all despite a relatively powerful transmitter of 80W. In the mean time Danny Kay was exactly 5 years on FRS-Holland in December 1988. A good reason to allow him to reminisce the good old days. Did he know FRS-Holland long before het got personally involved?