FRS History 1980-1989
This week I was shocked by the news of Johan van Hee’s death. Offshore fans & SW fans may know him better under the name Johan Rood. Once that name was given him because of his red coloured hair. In the late 70s/ early 80s Johan got involved with Dutch offshore station Radio Delmare: Johan served as a TX engineer on the vessels Aegir, Martina and Morgenster. His adventures on Radio Delmare were heroic. At some moment he was on the MV Morgenster when the ship was drifting away on a wild North Sea. Another time Johan was on the broadcasting vessel without hardly any food! Also legendary were those times Johan was qso-ing on 186m medium wave with Dutch pirates following the close down of Delmare.When Delmare came to a definitive end, Johan went back to his home near Antwerp. His idealism was admirable. Back in 1983 he rebuilt an ex army TX converting it to SW & he started trms under the name Radio Delmare from his parental house. Trms on 6206 kHz covered most of Europe using just over 1 kW. That same year in January, FRS was raided and a few months later FRSH got the opportunity to lease airtime for a very acceptable price and a deal was made with Johan Rood. Through the years many SW stations followed FRS' example and took their chance with Radio Delmare. Sunday July 24th at 09.30 GMT, an impressive FRS signal emanated for the very 1st time from somewhere in Belgium. It was the start of FRS-Holland’s second life, txs to Johan’s relays.
On Monday March 26th 1984 Belgian authorities raided Delmare because of medium wave trms on 227m, carried out with the same transmitter being used for the SW broadcasts. That was one day after the FRS relay. It would take until August until SW trms resumed. Johan Rood carried on relaying FRS until 1987.
I remember very well one moment on Sunday May 17th early in the evening. I had just returned from a short 3 day trip and suddenly the bell rang. I opened the door and in front of me stood Johan Rood. A few minutes later I realized Delmare was raided while relaying our tapes earlier that day. As I wasn’t able to listen myself that day, I wasn't aware of the fact that at approx. 12.40 CET the 6205 tx was switched off. It was a shock for me because at that moment I had some kind of feeling it would be the definitive end of relays via Delmare. I wouldn’t be wrong….
Together with FRS TX engineer Bobby Speed, I visited the Delmare QTH near antwerp in the mid 80s. We were warmly welcomed by Johan and spent a few hours with him in his little studio TX which doubled as TX room , in a little building behind his parental house. Johan Rood was a very friendly, humble & kind-hearted person. The kind of person that you would never have a fight with. Very helpful to other people. He made things much easier for us at a moment FRS had no broadcasting opportunities.
Monday morning March 18th 2019 at 8 o’clock he passed away at the age of 62 in a Czech hospital in Konice, 200 km east of Prague. One source speaks of a virus which cost him his life. We will nót forget him…. Dear Johan, thanks for all you did, may you rest in peace!