Special moments (2)
The Free Radio Service Holland would perhaps have never made it onto the air without the indespensable help of Barry Stephens. In the late 70s British stations ruled the SW airwaves and European Music Radio, Barry's brainchild, was the most popular station of them all. Right from the beginning FRS-Holland had close bonds with EMR and Barry. No surprise then that Peter V. stepped into SW radio via EMR: he hosted the Dutch service on EMR in 1979 & 1980. When EMR was raided October 1980, FRSH started relaying EMR on a regular basis. As a result of the raid on FRSH in January 1983, it was impossible to continue the EMR relays. Barry Stephens decided to close down E.M.R. for good and Peter arranged a Dutch relay for E.M.R.'s very final SW broadcast which took place on May 29th 1983. However: the party was spoilt because the E.M.R. tapes didn't arrive in time at the location. The result was that the broadcast was moved to June 12th. One week earlier, on June 5th, FRSH was on the air with a repeat of the May 15th (don't get confused by all those dates...) broadcast which had badly been affected by poor conditions. But what happened? When FRSH started broadcasting on 7317 kHz via a British relay on June 5th , E.M.R. commenced broadcasting on the very same frequency via the aforementioned Dutch relay. It appeared the Dutch OP was mistaken and switched on his transmitter a week too early !! For some 10 minutes sister stations E.M.R. & FRS-Holland were interfering with each other, a rather unique but also funny incident!
The first time that strange propagation conditions seriously influenced a FRSH 3rd Sunday broadcast was on May 15th 1983. A strange phenemenon‑ something what was totally unknown to the station‑ happened that day:... long skip. The signal was totally inaudible for more than an hour although Peter Verbruggen listened at a 300 km distance from the FRS transmitting site. He was rather confused, so were quite a number of listeners who thought that the broadcast had been cancelled. That day the terms "dead zone" & "long skip" were added to Peter's vocabulary.
When FRS first started, the crew were hardly aware of things like propagation & 11 year sunspot cycle. It was only years later that it was realised that during and after the period of FRS‑Holland's start, broadcasting, conditions were very favourable to say the least. No doubt that greatly contributed to the fact the 10,000 mW signal was doing so well all over the place. One of the best periods as far as listener's feedback is concerned was between October 1981 and March 1982.