FRS History 1980-1989
In September 1979 Tom stayed a few days at my mum’s home and most importantly: he then built FRS’ first 10W 807 rig and constructed a 48 mb aerial including a balun. Early 1980 during my second visit to London, Tom introduced me to Roger Tate (Bob Tomalski) who was a familiar name in the London landbased Free Radio scene. The first set of FRS IDs were recorded in Roger’s studio, it was Tom’s idea to ask Roger for that job. I was both delighed with the recording results and very much impressed: what a fantastic studio Roger had. On that occasion I went with Tom on a monthly E.M.R. broadcast. Very early on a Sunday morning I recall…a 90 minute drive to a lonely hill side somewhere in the greater London area. That day Tom showed me how a broadcast on a field site had to be carried out.
August 31st 1980 saw the start of FRSH including Tom’s involvement presenting the English Service. In fact it was him presenting the first ever official FRS show on that final August Sunday back in 1980. E.M.R. went from strength to strength every 3rd Sunday and FRS followed one week later on a 4th Sunday. We exchanged DX News on a monthly basis (on cassette) and Tom supplied me with monthly news about London’s very lively and professional landbased scene adding many AM & FM recordings on the audio letter cassettes. We also phoned often…every month when I returned from the FRS site after firing up the transmitter(s), Tom would call me at approx. 10:15 CET to give a live report. Tom let me hear FRS loud and clear from his Eddystone receiver through the phone. Absolutely amazing… Typically Tom: always supportive, showing interest in FRS’broadcasts. Tom’s technical skills- building solid transmitters & antennas including baluns- and giving good advice were of great value: one very important lesson he taught me was to put out the modulation as loud as possible. He used to say to me the audio had to be distorted at the transmitting site with ‘hissy sidebands’ meaning that it had to splash, cutting the noise. Very useful! A louder modulation was achieved by using the loudspeaker output of the cassette machine instead of using the normal DIN output. A simple yet very effective adjustment!
The fact E.M.R. received monthly thick piles of letters throughout the famous Kent Place address proves it was a leading and popular station. Leading also in a different way: (as far as I know) E.M.R.was the first ever SW Free Radio station introducing a second (41 mb) service on 7325 kHz in September 1978. And: just over a year later E.M.R, came up with tests to North America resulting in reports from the U.S.A. and Canada.
October 19th 1980 was a black day for Tom and all others at E.M.R.: E.M.R. was raided! I remember very well Tom calling me a few hours after the raid being very embittered. He realized this could be the end of how E.M.R. was operated until then and almost immediately decided not to continue with a full monthly 3rd Sunday service. Instead he and I agreed FRS would put out E.M.R. every 3rd Sunday between 09:30- 10:30 CET prior to FRS’ regular programmes. That would continue until February 1981. After that E.M.R. moved on for two hours on 5th Sundays only.