Akai DB4000 tape recorder

Akai DB4000 tape recorder

This one was used for producing our first jingle sets

FRS 40th Anniversary CD

FRS 40th Anniversary CD

Front of 2020 FRS Souvenir CD 

Joop ter Zee

Joop ter Zee

Joop ter Zee in first FRS studio August 1980

Dateq mixing desk

Dateq mixing desk

The 8-channel mixing desk  in PV's studio

7700 tx

7700 tx

Part of the 7700 tx

Cassette Player

Cassette Player

Hanging in tree to avoid RF feedback (in Magic Forest 1981)

Peace

Peace

Cover 'Peace' CD (original station tune since 1980)

FRS Logo

FRS Logo

The FRS logo (with headphone)

Patch & DBX

Patch & DBX

Part of the Patchbay & DBX mic processor

FRS Booklet

FRS Booklet

Cover 40th Anniversary booklet

FRS 10W txs

FRS 10W txs

The original trunk on location with two 10W txs

40W rig

40W rig

40W tx never used (confiscated in Jan. 1983)

8-track Jingle machine

8-track Jingle machine

Used in the early years

Rode mic

Rode mic

Rode broadcaster (studio mic)

SRS Award

SRS Award

SRS  (Sweden) Award 1997

QSL 40th Anniversary

QSL 40th Anniversary

This special QSL was issued in Nov. 2020

FRS goes DX scripts

FRS goes DX scripts

Handwritten scripts were commom inthe 1980s

Pams Jingle Master

Pams Jingle Master

Original tape master from Pams (1987)

Magic Forest

Magic Forest

Between Aug.1980- Jan.1983 all broadcasts emanated from the Magic Forest

Optimod

Optimod

The Optimod is used for the audio processing

QSL Febr. 2007

QSL Febr. 2007

Special QSL issued for broadcast #153

Antennas

Antennas

Antennas for different freqs

QSL July 1980

QSL July 1980

First QSL issued for first successful test 

Valves in 10W tx

Valves in 10W tx

807, L6L & ECC82

Mail

Mail

Many letters from many countries

Studio Dave Scott

Studio Dave Scott

Dave Scott's studio

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FRS History 1980-1989

1980

Article Index

The story of the Free Radio Service Holland begins in the second half of the 1970s. Peter Verbruggen takes up the story:

How it all began
“I was getting more and more interested in radio, mainly in offshore & landbased pirate radio. In 1976 I became a member of a very popular Dutch/Belgian radio magazine called 'Baffle'. Strange enough I wasn't aware at all of the existence of short wave pirates until I read about it in 'RadioVisie', a new magazine which was replacing 'Baffle' and paid regurlarly attention to the European SW scene in those days. That was at the end of 1977 I believe. In August 1978 I bought myself my first SW receiver and a new world opened up for me hearing stations such as Radio Viking, Sunshine Radio, Radio Corsair, Skyport Radio, ABC Europe and European Music Radio (among others). I remember very well I was impressed by the programme standard of some of the stations but at the same time also by the opportunities the SW bands were offering covering wide areas with relatively low-powered transmitters. Especially E.M.R. attracted my attention: the station offered a very professional programme alternative to the government-controlled radio stations and succeeded in putting out a marvellous signal despite only using 10W of power.”

Baffle cover_Febr77_500 Radiovisie cover_June78_500Peter got more and more interested in the Sunday morning short wavescene and this eventually resulted in presenting the Dutch service on E.M.R. That was in August 1979, the same period in which the first idea of starting his own SW station was born. The beginning of FRS-Holland's life was at the same time the end of an era in which several well-known stations put their mark on the SW scene of the late 1970s. Stations such as ABC Europe, Viking, Corsair, ABC England, FRBC and E.M.R. had already closed down or would soon be closing down. They had dominated the 48 metre band for several years and disappeared from the scene for various reasons. The German heydays had already passed with the closure of stations such as Radio Valentine, Channel 292, Radio Partisan and Radio Gloria. It was the beginning of a new era with new stations and new ideas: Atlanta Radio, Britain Radio Int., Weekend Music Radio, ABC Radio, Radio Mercury and FRS-Holland took over here the others left. Peter V. about his first step into the world of SW radio:
Well, I thought to myself: why not give it a try yourself? You don't have to be inferior to many of the other station's output. Very important in those early days was the support given by E.M.R.'s  Barry Stephens. I guess he was some kind of master for me. He learned me a lot about SW, not only in technical respect but also programme wise. First thing I did was to find a suitable name. And so the FREE RADIO SERVICE HOLLAND was born.”

The first transmitter and a failed test
Work on the very first FRS transmitter started in September 1979 when Barry Stephens visited Peter Verbruggen in the Netherlands. Bobby Speed- FRS' engineer- completed the little 10W transmitter and it was on February 24th 1980 when a first test on SW was planned. The frequency was 6265 kHz within the 48 mb and the test was a complete failure... Everything which could go wrong went wrong: the transmitter couldn't be tuned up properly, the aerial wasn't hanging higher than a clothesline and to make matters even worse Peter and his mate Bobby Speed got an unwanted visit in the person of the mayor of their town who went for a walk with his dog. All transmitting gear was lying on the ground and he approached them, looked on the ground and mumbled:
'a radio-electric installation.' Then he turned his back and disappeared together with his dog. Bobby Speed shouted "pack up and go" and both Peter and Bobby Speed never left the location faster than on that memorable Sunday. What a start! In the following months work continued to set up a serious SW radio station.


Successful test, preparations
Main problem was that the home built transmitter didn't work at all. There was a close contact with Barry Stephens and this resulted in the problem being solved: it appeared there was a wrong wire-connection to the PA 807 valve thus making it impossible to put out any reasonable signal. It was quite logical Bobby Speed didn't discover what the problem was because that wrong connection was also part of the circuit diagram of the transmitter! On Sunday June 22nd 1980 a second attempt was made between 11.00- 13.30 CET on 6265 kHz. Two letters were received, not to wonder when knowing the actual SWR was 1:5 meaning only very little power was radiated by the aerial. Wrongdoer was the coax feeder. A new aerial was constructed and on Sunday July 27th the first successful FRS-Holland test was carried out between 11.00- 12.30 CET on 6250 although 6265 was announced in the show. No less than 23 letters were received from 5 European countries

The success of this test was a kind of stimulant for the people behind FRS-H. and immediately preparations started to commence regular monthly transmissions. It was indespensable to use a reliable Post Office Box. Through Barry Stephens. Peter V. got in touch QSL NickSharpe 27JUL80 with Michael Burden who run the in those days famous Kent Place address. To this day former FRS deejays still know that address like the back of their hand: Kent Place/ Norwell/ Newark/ Notts in England. QSL ThomasDrescher 22June1980 Another important   task was to find broadcasting staff. PV was already involved in a local radio station called ABC Music Radio and that made things rather easy. Fred van Es and Frankie Fanatic were asked. In a local pub PV met Joop ter Zee and within a few days Joop joined the FRS-H. team. Bobby Speed wasalready involved because of his technical skills and via the local hospital radio Chris was approached. The same applies to E.M.R.'s Barry S.: he completed the deejay line-up. Things were treated very seriously : Joop & Peter recorded the very first FRS jingle-package, qsl cards and stickers were printed and most important: a broadcasting-schedule was put together. There were a number of reasons for starting up FRS-Holland: offering people in countries like East and West-Germany, where the radio-situation wasn't particularly satisfactory, a real alternative was one reason. FRS felt it was the right moment for a Dutch station on SW among all the British ones and wanted to maintain the people's interest in free radio. The main idea however was to bring entertainment to the audience based on a wide variety of musical and informative programmes. Only music was in the opinion of the FRS people not enough to satisfy the SW audience because most of the listeners are real radio-enthusiasts interested in more than only playing top 40 records. For that reason a DX and Mailbag Show were included in the programming.


Official start
 
Sunday August 31st 1980 will always be remembered as the first official FRS-Holland broadcasting day. Already two weeks earlier- on Sunday August 17th Barry Stephens announced it in his popular DX-Spot on E.M.R.  At 09.45 CET the 10W rig was switched on and 4 hours and 15 minutes later FRS-Holland closed down. It was decided that 6250 would become the fixed 48 mb frequency, not only a good choice but also an easy one because in those days none of the colleague hobby pirates used 6250 on a regular basis. As already previously mentioned: FRSH provided an International flavour of music and information, presented in English, German and Dutch. The introduction of a German Service was an obvious choice because in the course of the years it became more than obvious that the majority of FRS listeners was to be found in East and West Germany although the UK also brought a good number of listeners. The following programme schedule was to be heard in the first months of FRS-Holland's broadcasting life. A good signal was noted in large areas resulting in more than 40 letters from a total of 7 European countries.

QSL IanBiggar 31August1980

10:00

English Service

Barry Stephens

10:30

German Service

Chris

11:00

Musical Express

Fred van Es

11:45

FRS goes DX

Peter Verbruggen

12:15

Album Show

Frankie Fanatic

12:45

FRS Golden Show

Joop ter Zee

13:15

Int. Listeners’Letter Show

Joop & Peter

14:00

Close Down

All times mentioned in CET.

What a start! This gave a good indication of the transmitting range. The 4th Sunday of each month was choosen as FRS-Holland's fixed broadcasting day. More 4th Sunday broadcasts were to be heard Sept. 28th, Oct. 26th and Nov. 23rd of 1980. October 19th was a sad day because of the raid on FRS-Holland's sister-station E.M.R. [The player contains three 1980 audio clips: August 17th  E.M.R. DX announcing FRS' start, August 31st FRS debut broadcast & October 26th 'FRS goes DX' annoucing E.M.R.'s raid the week before (use the little slider on the lower right corner)].

Move to third Sunday; 41 MB test
In October 1980 FRS improved the service to its listeners with the introduction of a written info package containing no less tha KDKC Cover Nov 200 copy 1n 6 pages, supplying them with all kind of valuable info about the station. As a direct result of E.M.R. 's raid, the programme schedule was slightly adjusted as from November onwards: FRS started with E.M.R. relays between 09.30- 10.30 CET. At the same time a move was made to the 3rd Sunday. That same month FRS headed the cover of the German Köln-Dusseldorfer Kurzwelle Club (KDKC). In those days a very popular magazine among German (free radio) DXers. A good promotion! The month of December brought an important change. Peter V. was visited by Barry Stephens and together with Bobby Speed, the FRS transmitter engineer, they tested two new 10W rigs which were sent from the UK the previous month. December 14th 1980 it was the first time that two transmitters were running in parallel from the secret FRS location. Frequencies which were used were 6250 & 7325 kHz in the 41 metre band. The FRS crew felt it would be much more efficient to add a second frequency in the 41 mb. If one frequency would suffer from interference, there was always the possibility for the listeners to switch to the second one. Besides: the 41 mb provided better possibilities for medium and long distance reception, for example in Scandinavia, France and the northern part of the UK and Scotland. The decision to use a second frequency proved to be a bull’s eye: satisfactory reception reports were received for the 14th December test broadcast, much to the satisfaction of the FRS team. 

USA test, XMas
Barry Stephens informed the FRS people how to achieve the best possible modulation quality. A louder modulation was possible by using the loudspeaker output of the cassette recorder instead of using the normal DIN output. A simple adjustment which indeed was very effective. Sunday December 21st saw the last 1980 transmission being the first one on a 3rd Sunday. The original transmitter was used on 6250 while one of the new rigs was putting out the 41 mb signal. Both transmitters were built-in in a wooden trunk which was supplied by Frankie Fanatic. More about this legendary trunk later on in this story. Programmes that morning commenced at 07.30 GMT when an one hour test to the U.S.A. was carried out. Problems with one of the car-batteries meant that the test sadly had to be cancelled within 15 minutes. Hurriedly a new car-battery had to be fetched. At 08.30 GMT E.M.R. was relayed for 60 minutes followed by a 4 hour special FRS X-Mas broadcast, the start of a long time annual tradition. 

1980 had almost passed and already more than 220 letters were received from as many as 13 countries, an overwhelming response and a good basis for a fresh start in 1981. Chris' German Service was very popular due to his inimitable way of presentation. Just before the end of the year a letter from Michael Burden was received in which he announced the closure of the Kent Place address. A set-back because it was a well-known address among DXers & moreover a very reliable one. Luckily Michael was so kind to give a helping hand and FRS-Holland was allowed to use the address until a new one was found. That would be some 5 months later. All in all 1980 meant a very promising start for FRS-Holland.

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