FRS History 1980-1989


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January 15th marked the start of 1989, the 10th year in FRS' broadcasting life, with a 3 hour broadcast taking place on 6240 kHz.

Reception was, despite the 40W of power, only fair and particularly in Great Britain FRS-Holland's signal was poor. The main problem was that FRSH didn't have a regular relay station. That gave a lot of difficulties because Peter Verbruggen had to try to arrange something, again and again every single month. Moreover: it took a lot of time to find a suitable relay-station. Time which could have better been spent for preparations on the programming side of the station. Another disadvantage was that sometimes a relay was arranged just before a 3rd Sunday resulting in an enormous time pressure because programmes had to be recorded in a great hurry, a demanding job taking into account all the work had to be done in spare time. The situation as described just happened in February when there seemed to be no-one willing to put the FRS programmes on the air. As a result the 3rd Sunday transmission had to be cancelled but at the very last moment a 4th Sunday transmission could take place. The 26th February transmission was, apart from a regular one, also a test because a 41 mb frequency was being used. FRS was keen on finding out the possibility of re-using 7315 as it was this frequency which used to provide excellent reception in the early days. Early 1989 conditions were improving bit by bit and we felt it was worth trying the 41 mb and in particular 7315. February would be the first month of a series of 41 mb transmissions. Reception on 7315 was splendid but some of the UK listeners suffered splatter from the powerful BBC outlet operating on 7325. Continental listeners were having no trouble at all. Hopes were to relaunch a regular 3rd Sunday service with a renewed programme schedule on a fixed frequency as from March 1989 onwards. There was not much time left to prepare the March 3rd Sunday broadcast and as a result it was decided to have once again a 4th Sunday broadcast over the  Easter weekend. FRS got the chance to put out a 5 hour schedule from a brand new, temporary location. While the morning progressed, the signal was getting stronger and stronger and Radio Tirana was totally nulled out by FRS-Holland's 60W transmitter operating on 7314.5 kHz.

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Part of the March DX-Show was a special feature on the occasion of Radio Caroline's 25th Birthday. A good moment to offer Peter Verbruggen the opportunity to reveal some facts about about one of FRS-Holland's most listened to programmes ...

“I guess the story goes back to 1980 when we were preparing our very first official programme schedule. We felt very strongly about an informative programme providing the listening audience with up-to-date news from the free radio world, mainly offshore & SW news but also special features. Of course I also depend on other sources supplying me with news items. Through the years I've built up a kind of network of reliable info sources and that's one of the pillars the show is relying on. Popularity ….I think every single show I'm out to bring the best and most up-to-date radio news and as a result considerable effort is put to offer an informative show. No matter how much time it takes. In most cases it easily exceeds 10 hours. But then you know you come up with something which appeals to the listeners. To sum up I must point out that the strongest points of FRS Goes DX are the comprehensive and up-to-date news items thanks to the info-sources.”

Two 41 mb transmissions was, in the eyes of FRSH, not enough to draw a well-considered conclusion regarding the use of the 7315 spot on the dial. More transmissions had to be carried out to justify a final conclusion. The next 41 mb broadcast was on May 21st 1989, following an occasional 48 mb transmission on 6240 on April 16th. During that broadcast indeed 7315 was announced together with a 48 mb frequency. Due to a 'jamming station' on 7315, we were forced to cancel the broadcast. 7315 was so strong that it would have become a completfailure. For that reason only 6240 was on air. Programmes went out via two different transmitters. Till mid morning a 30W rig was operational, the second half was domne with 20W from a different location. May 21st: due to the BBC splatter the original 7315 frequency had already been slightly moved down the band to 7310 kHz which proved to be a good choice. Even on transistor radio's a nice signal was audible, proving the strength of the signal. Hardly any UK listener reported about 7325 splatter from the BBC. What was disappointing in the first months of 1989 was the lack of response from listeners. For the programme makers quite discouraging because of all time and efforts spent on the shows. It was common knowledge that several SW stations had to deal with this problem, especially UK stations. To give a good example: the UK response for FRS transmissions only was some 30% of what it used to be.

Sunday June 25th would be the last FRS transmission for the the time being. A tremendous signal was ruling the 7310 frequency and to mark the new Summer, only flashbacks were being played: Motown, California Sounds, Mersey Beat, Bubble Gum & Glitterrock. Holidays forced to cancel the July transmission. And so the 9th Birthday would be a good opportunity to introduce a number of new programme ideas and jingles. But that was still a long way off and there was another important forthcoming change. After thorough consideration it was decided to use a new mailing address. The well-known P.O.Box 41 in Dedemsvaart had been used for just over 8 years. Main reason was that it took too long before letters were forwarded from Dedemsvaart to the FRS headquarters. People had to wait too long before getting their reply or order. Most of these 8 years Dedemsvaart had been providing a very reliable and good service. In 1989 things deteriorated resulting in a new address: P.O.Box 2727, 6049 ZG Herten, The Netherlands. During the period August- October no programmes were recorded and preparations with regard to new jingles and programme ideas progressed very slowly, mainly due to a lack of time. One of the reasons for not being on air so long was finances. Lots and lots of money had been spent for leasing airtime, it was just getting enough. And so the idea came up to once again be in charge of our own broadcasts. In other words: buying new transmitting equipment. In the course of 1989 FRS-Holland indeed purchased some new equipment for carrying out occasional transmissions. The first serious broadcast with an own transmitter was carried out on Sunday November 12th and was at the same moment FRS' return after almost 5 months of silence. The transmission was carried out with a x-tal controlled 150W transmitter having four of those lovely 807's in the PA stage. The transmitter was connected to a 150W modulator using 807s as well. Very good results were achieved with an aerial only hanging some 3 metres (!) above the ground. The results of the June transmission had removed the last doubts regarding the 7310 frequency. Even in the North West of England a strong signal was picked up with no splatter at all from the BBC on the adjacent 7325 channel. Already two weeks after the test a scheduled November broadcast went out, once again on 7310. In fact this one would go out on the 19th but the cassettes did not arrive in time… And so it was Sunday November 26th when FRS sounds ruled the airwaves...a special on air message informed the listeners about the 7 day delay.

[Extracts Sunday November 26th 1989--> will follow]

Sunday December 24th a 5½ hour special X-Mas broadcast was planned. It was the 10th FRS X-Mas Party, recurring yearly and being very popular among the FRS audience. To celebrate the magic '10’, a special QSL was available. The broadcast also included a listeners competition (looking back at the previous 9 years of Seasonal broadcasts) and FRS jocks played their favourite 1980s tracks. The response for this transmission was much better than for the previous ones,thanks also to the solid rQSL series6-Dec1989_10thXMas_fronteception. Until 13:00 CET FRS was on 7310, the remaining part was continued on 7315 because of Radio Tirana signing on on....7310 as from 13 CET onwards.

[Extracts Sunday December 24th 1989 10th annual X-Mas broadcast in a row--> will follow]

After presenting the German Service six long years, Danny Kay did his final stint in December 1989. What are his special memories after such a long period???

[Danny Kay contribution--> will follow]

Apart from the regular transmission, there was a special test broadcast to North America in the very early morning of Sunday December 24th. At 04.30 CET two transmitters were switched on: a 150W transmitter on 6240 while the second 80W tx was operating on 7467 and later that morning on 7440 kHz. The test lasted till 07.45 CET but despite the good conditions the FRS signals didn't cross the Atlantic. The idea was to start the new decade with a loud bang: new jingles, new ideas, a new FRSH sound. And so FRS-Holland survived the 1980's slipping into the 1990's.




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FRS-Holland on Sunday June 19th 2011 (evening broadcast) on 7685 kHz {youtube}9n-UI8ERJZM{/youtube}.
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