FRS History 1980-1989
On Sunday January 15th 1984 opened with fresh courage: the new programme schedule was officially introduced.
a Balance between Music & Information
Underlying idea: 'a Balance between Music & Info'. Peter V. explains….
“Our main idea was that there had to be something for everyone. The average SW Sun morning DX-er is not only interested in music, he's also keen in hearing information. So we thought it would be a good idea to have a continuous variation in the programme offer between those two and keep them in balance with each other. Of course this was more or less already the case in our old programming but we wanted to add that little extra.”
Main changes were a number of new programmes & new programme ideas and brandnew jingles, ordered from famous UK based Alfasound. FRS also introduced a slogan: 'FRS-Holland, Just a Bit Different' (click on jingle). The new schedule was as follows:
| 10.00 FRS Magazine- co-presented by Peter V. & Joop ter Zee
10.45 FRS Gold- Barry Stephens
11.15 FRS Goes DX- Peter Verbruggen
12.00 Musical Express- Bert van Leer & Fred van Es
12.45 Free Radio Spot
13.15 Sounds Alternatives- Joop ter Zee
14.00 ILLS part 1- Chris & Peter
14.30 German Service- Danny Kay
15.15 ILLS part 2 - Chris & Peter
15.45 FRS Goes Nuts (produced by Joop ter Zee)
16.00 Close Down. All times mentioned in CET.
This programme concept would become very familiar among the SW listeners. Six hours of non-stop Sunday entertainment .....
On January 29th it was the first time a scheduled 5th Sunday transmission was put on the air since October 1982. Not via Delmare's outlet but via the station relaying FRSH already a few times in the first half of 1983. Already after 25 minutes a move from 7317 to 7320 had to be made because Spectrum World Broadcasting also used 7317 kHz. Other spare X-tals were not available and the slight move to 7320 didn't improve the situation, so a repeat of the 5th Sunday was carried out a week later on the 5th of February. From all corners of Europe reports were received.
Fred van Es leaves, Delmare raided
It was February when, after nearly 3.5 years, Fred van Es was forced to leave the station because of his study. Bert van Leer, who did already a few jingle productions, took over the Musical Express. Another man from the first moment, Chris, left FRSH because of private circumstances. His involvement in the ILLS would be sadly missed. His final show was in March. February was, when looking at the listener's response, a satisfactory transmission. In March the tapes didn't arrive in time resulting in a 4th Sunday transmission rather than a 3rd one. On Monday March 26th Delmare caused commotion: the Belgian authorities raided the station because of medium wave transmissions on 227m, carried out with the same transmitter being used for the SW broadcasts. That was one day after the FRS relay. A very bad moment for FRS-Holland as the new schedule was gaining more and more recognition with the new programme formula. It was the second setback within a 14 months period. The end of regular third Sunday transmissions, at least for the time being .... The Belgian authorities didn’t confiscate the complete former military transmitter: with its 700 kilos the rig was far too heavy to be moved from the location. A number of vital parts wereconfiscated, the remaining part was put under seal. The March programme cassettes (three Agfa C120s) which were kept in the Delmare studio, were confiscated as well. Apart from a 30 minute relay on Sunday April 15th with a very weak signal, FRSH remained silent. Although….we arranged a third Sunday of May relay but the responsible person called off for personal reasons. He was not to blame, knowing he good reasons (and had already carried out a number of FRS relays in the past). Despite the constant doubts about resuming regular broadcasts, the FRS people decided to order a set of brand new jingles via Steve England’s famous UK based Alfasound/Tapetrix company.
Constant suspense regarding return
In the mean time Johan Rood was collecting parts for building a new short wave transmitter. A number of times comeback dates were being announced but in the end no transmissions took place. Very frustrating for both station and listeners. Early June Johan Rood called bringing good news. A new 400W transmitter was available for a 3rd Sunday transmission on June 17th. This would be the introduction of a confusing, uncertain period full of setbacks and disappointments. There wasn't much time left and preparations for the upcoming broadcast started immediately. On June 13th the programmes were sent to Belgium. But again bad luck pursued FRS-Holland: the June transmission had to be cancelled at the very last moment due to police activities in the vicinity of the Delmare location. Understandably it was Johan Rood- Delmare’s OP- who didn’t want to take any risk. Finally it was almost a month later- July 15th- when these tapes were broadcasted. In large areas of West Europe reception was impossible due to the extreme long skip conditions. The situation with Delmare asked much of the FRS crew's patience. A repeat on July 22nd had to be cancelled as a few days earlier the modulator broke down. A week later, on Sunday July 29th, a new attempt was made and indeed FRS went on the air (50W). The only ‘proof’ we had is that a few minutes (!) of Joop ter Zee’s Sounds Alternatives was picked up. Once again SW conditions appeared to be rather strange/ unreliable that day and that situation would remain till late October. Also on August 5th and 12th Delmare repeated (parts of) what were the original June 17th tapes. Tuesday August 14th was the first occasion (since July 15th) that Delmare could be more or less continuously heard not being affected by strange propagation conditions. Some of the shows originally meant for June were put out. The breakthrough came later that week. In great haste a fresh two hour test programme was recorded by Peter Verbruggen and on August 19th a two hour FRS test was conducted with a signal by no means comparable with the strength as it had been before the raid. But: at least many people were able to pick up the signal! Power was, by Delmare standards, very low: approximately 50W and this would’t change until October 28th. Despite the low power output response was very positive encouraging the FRS team to keep spirits high. The 4th anniversary went by without celebrations. September came and power was going to be increased to 500W. A broken power supply meant yet another delay…. No September 23rd test! It meant another week’s delay as on September 30th that test would be aired even though not according to the plans. The programme was originally scheduled for the morning time slot but was in actual broadcasted rather late in the afternoon.
October tests & XMas Party
On October 7th, 14th & 28th there were more tests very likely being the 90 minute September 30th tape. In the end Delmare upped power to 120W on October 28th. FRS goes DX magazine #28 from October 1984 carried an extra ‘last minute’ item informing about a successful October 28th test. For the first time since August, a decent signal was to be heard all over Western Europe. That same edition announced the start of 41 mb tests on possibly 7345 on the 3rd or 4th Sunday in October (via a different but familiar relay!). And yes…On Sunday November 18th FRS-Holland had the luxury of testing on two frequencies: 6205 (120W) and in addition 7315 kHz (with ‘only’17W). The test lasted 3 hours from 10:00- 13:00 CET. We have to go back to August 1983 for the previous transmission on two frequencies and to January 1984 for the previous one on 41 metres. In the eyes of the FRS people this was the first real successful transmission since March 25th 1984. Almost 60 letters from 8 countries were received for the 3 hour test. Encouraging!
He was about to move .....