FRS History 1980-1989
January 1983 would become the most memorable month in the FRS-Holland history.
The Saturday before, the transmission Peter V. worked on the two 40W transmitters ensuring reliable operation: both rigs worked perfectly well. Peter recalls that weekend ....
“I was as pleased as punch since I finally succeeded in getting those two big brothers on the air. Although I was only making use oif a dummy load, I was convinced having solved the problem which kept me busy since a few months. You know, the transmitters were ok, it were the inverters causing a major problem. I couldn't rely on Bobby Speed because he had temporarily moved to a new address. Anyway, I decided not using the 40W rigs next day but two weeks later on the 5th Sunday. Everything went well that 3rd Sunday, January 16th. At 14.05 CET I arrived at the location willing to load the transmitting equipment into the car. I switched off the 41 mb rig and at the same moment- out of the blue- an unknown person came out the bushes showing some sort of identification. Via a little walky talky he called a colleague and a police officer sitting in a car just outside the private piece of wood. I opened the gate and saw that car was loaded with sophisticated equipment obviously to track down radio pirates."
The unbelievable had happened, FRS-Holland was raided. All the equipment on the location was confiscated including two 10W transmitters, three aerials, a dummy load, SWR metre, HT inverters, cassette machine, the programme tapes, spare x-tals and three car batteries including a new one having a capacity of no less than 350 Amps. But yet another surprise was waiting for Peter Verbruggen.... He thought the three officers would take him to the local police station. He got the shock of his life when one of the men asked him where he was living. It was quite obvious they were willing to have a look in Peter’s house and some 10 minutes later four men stood in the FRS recording studio on the attic of good old Peter Verbruggen.
“I had been very cooperative and I guess that's one of the reasons they didn't touch the studio equipment. The bad luck was those two 40W rigs plus 4 inverters were lying on the attic's floor. And that was that.”
Two transmitters which so far had never been used in the fields (apart from one occasion in December 1982) were confiscated leaving the FRS people behind with moral qualms. It was a cold comfort knowing it took the Dutch authorities no less than 3 months until FRS could finally be tracked down. On the raid's day the action was carried out by two permanent monitor posts in the Netherlands and West Germany who were in contact with the officials driving around in the car. It was a surprise to know the German Bundespost was also involved. Fact is the monitoring post in Aachen played an active part in the raid. It could even be likely the idea to track down FRS-Holland was an initiative of the German post and thus the Dutch PTT felt is as a duty to comply to the so called complaints. Stories about causing interference to an aircraft channel on 7315 had to be taken with a pinch of salt. Apart from FRSH power stations such as Radio Moscow and Radio Tirana were also using 7315 making the Dutch RCD story rather childish. One thing was already for sure the evening of the raid: FRS-Holland would do everything which was in its power to continue broadcasting on the short wave bands. A total of 49 letters came in via P.O.Box 41 for the January transmission and none of the writers could suspect that these letters were the last ones FRSH would receive for a regular 3rd Sunday carried out by the station itself from that magic piece of forest. That same month the major Dutch magazine FRM- which stood for Free Radio Magazine- ran a comprehensive feature on FRS-Holland. Part one had already been published in December. Perhaps this article played a role in attracting the authorities’ attention, something we will never know. The day after the raid, Monday January 17th, the raid on FRS-Holland was front page news in the regional newspaper. One of the Free Radio publications featuring the news of the raid was the German Free Radio News in its February edition. Following the raid, the members of the listenersclub were informed
in detail and for non members Special info sheet about raid was compiled (for part 2/3 see download section). January 30th, exactly two weeks after the raid, FRS-Holland was back on short wave with a special transmission informing the listeners about what happened on January 16th. Via Barry Stephens a 90 minute relay could be arranged via an UK based station. Despite the low output power- only 10W- a solid signal was radiated across Europe.