The story of the Free Radio Service Holland begins in the second half of the 1970s. Peter Verbruggen takes up the story:
This category features the story of FRS-Holland's first 10 years.
The story of the Free Radio Service Holland begins in the second half of the 1970s. Peter Verbruggen takes up the story:
1981 began with the same programme line up and presenters as in previous months.
1981 had been a very good year and 1982 already spread its wings.
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 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.
Early February Peter V. contacted the people of Radio Milano Int. in Italy to look into the possibilities of having regular 3rd Sunday relays via their powerful 7295 kHz outlet. Peter received a positive answer but had to reconcile himself to the facts: leasing airtime on Radio Milano turned out to be too expensive and thus other possibilities had to be looked after. It was Barry Stephens helping FRS-Holland out, at least as far as the February 1983 transmission was concerned. An UK relay put out a reduced two hour programme schedule on February 27th. The broadcast was planned for the 20th but the programme tapes didn't arrive in time, so it went out on the 4th Sunday. Contrary to the January 30th relay, the signal on 7325, which was altered to 7317 during the last part of the broadcast, was weak and undermodulated.By the way: this was not the same relay station as the one on Januray 30th: a new and very reliable relay station was found for the next few months. And so it happened that on March 20th, only two months after the raid, FRS-Holland could recommence full programming.
On 6240 an old-fashioned solid signal was radiated across Europe. From England the news was received FRS-Holland scored a 3rd position in the Airspec News pop poll. Winner was Radio Apollo and on the number 2 position Britain Radio Int. was to be found. The German KDKC magazine published an FRS feature in their March edition. An unexpected offer for a 4 hour relay for Easter Sun April 3rd came as a gift from the Gods. Between 10.00- 14.00 CET nothing but oldies were played on 7315 kHz. Unfortunately, due to the very long skip many listeners didn't hear us at all….
Due to the special oldies broadcast, it was decided to have no 3rd Sunday broadcast in April. A new QSL was available in May and something very special was organised: an FRS Jingle contest. Listeners got the chance to record their very own FRS-Holland jingle. Talking of jingles: Bert van Leer and Joop ter Zee produced a brand new jingle package which was introduced on May 15th. Programmes went out on 7315 and between 10 and 11 CET there was a total fade out on short wave even involving the legal powerhouses disappearing as if they weren't broadcasting at all! Apart from this, there was very long skip. Although reception outside the dead zones was excellent, it was decided to have a repeat of the May transmission on June 5th. On that date a rather unique incident took place which was, according to Peter V. one of the most peculiar moments in the history of the FRS-Holland.
Within a few minutes the problem was solved via a telephone call and only FRS' transmission carried on that morning,with a good signal. The following week it was EMR's turn and apart from the relatively long skip a fine signal was heard by thousands of EMR listeners. It was the worthy end of one of the best Free Radio stations ever been on the SW bands. The end of a legend. At the moment E.M.R. disappeared from the scene, there was something good in store for the FRSH people: for the second year in succession FRS was voted as the number 1 short wave Hobby pirate by the readers of the German KDKC all the more proving FRSH's popularity in the West-Germany. E.M.R.'s June 12th transmission reduced the chances of a 3rd Sunday transmission on the 19th because of security reasons. But after long talks the OP agreed to put out FRSH on Sunday June 26th. It was one of those times everything went in a big hurry and on Saturday evening, one day before the transmission, the programme tapes arrived on the location by special messenger....
July1983 was an important month in the life of FRS-Holland getting an offer which couldn't be rejected at the same time securing the station's future as a regular 3rd Sunday broadcaster. The offer came from Belgium where a very powerful station called Radio Delmare was operating on top of the 48 mb/6205 kHz on most Sundays & Saturdays. FRSH got the opportunity to lease airtime for a very acceptable fee and without a moment's thought a deal was made with Johan Rood who was responsible for running Delmare. Through the years many stations would follow FRS' example and took their chance with Radio Delmare. The great thing about Delmare's offer was the fact FRS could continue on a regular basis. The station felt very strongly about regularity. And we could lease as many hours as we wanted and even extend our programme schedule. Above all Radio Delmare had a 1.5 kW transmitter securing a solid FRS signal covering large areas of Western & Central Europe. This offer was just like a dream .... Sunday July 17th-while Peter Verbruggen stayed for a week’s holidays at the Dutch westcoast- Delmare only put out irregular tests instead of (the start of) relaying FRS shows. It could be the parcel with cassettes didn’t arrive in time. We have never been informed by the Delmare OP, a mystery. On Sunday July 24th at 09.30 GMT, one week plus 1.5 hour later (thunder!) than intended, an impressive FRS signal emanated from a lonely hillside, somewhere in Belgium. It was the start of FRS-Holland’s second life. Twelve days later, Sunday August 5th at 10:30 local time, Peter V. had to appear in court as a result of the January raid. He was not alone: quite a number of FRS people took the opportunity to support Peter during his confrontation with the judge. Although the judge was offered a complete FRS info-package including a large sticker for his expensive car, he was unrelenting! Peter got a fine of 500 Dutch guilders which was shared among several people. Bert van Leer who was also involved in the station although producing no shows in those days recalls the day the court-case took place .....[Bert van Leer about court case and FRS' 8th anniversary August 21st 1988]
Poor Bert, his memory was not what it used to be. He mentioned 1984, of course it was August 1983 but for the rest his story is correct.
On Sunday August 21st the 3rd Birthday was celebrated with a 4 hour transmission on 2 frequencies: 6205 and in addition also good old 7315 was being used . More than 60 letters were received proving FRS still attracted a large audience.
One of the disadvantages of being relayed by another station is the fact you are depending on a number of things which- in many cases- you can't control. Think of programme tapes not arriving in time. Another annoying circumstance can be a postal strike and this was exactly what prevented Radio Delmare from putting out the FRS programme tapes on Sunday September 18th. The tapes arrived at last on Thursday October 6th (!) and as a result it was not until October 9th these tapes could be aired. Already a week later the regular October transmission took place! The stormy weather from Saturday night caused damage to the aerial and early Sunday morning the damage had to be fixed. More than 100 letters were received in October although both transmissions took place within 8 days. The proposed October 30th 3rd Sunday broadcast was cancelled for serious reasons.
In the ranks of the FRS deejay crew there was already for some time the idea of introducing a new programme schedule. For already 18 months FRSH had been putting out the same formula and the time had come to make a few changes programme wise. All ideas were carefully discussed and finally a brand new schedule was compiled based on the slogan 'a Balance Between Music and Information'. Already on November 20th the new formula was introduced semi officially but the real thing had yet to come. A press bulletin was sent to various Free Radio Magazines introducing our new schedule along with the changes. The complete text of that press bulletin was printed in FRS' clubmagazine FRS goes DX edition 17-18 Nov./Dec. 1983.
Welcome Danny, goodbye Michael
In December the traditional X-Mas broadcast went out. It would become the final German Show presented by Michael and at the same time the very first Danny Kay Show. For one time there were two German Shows on one FRS Sunday. The marathon transmission lasted for 6 hours, the longest transmission in FRS-Holland's history so far. Despite Delmare's powerful signal, listening was rather difficult during the first 30 minutes of the broadcast because of heavy interference from Trans World Radio Monaco, broadcasting on 6210 kHz. This situation was beyond Delmare's control and apart from this, FRS-Holland was very happy with the facilities offered by Delmare.
On Sunday January 15th 1984 FRS-Holland opened with fresh courage: the new programme schedule was officially introduced.
The first 6 months of 1985 was a period dominated by appalling propagation conditions.
On Sunday January 5th & 12th 1986 no Delmare signal was observed on 6205 making the FRS people rather suspicious.
January 1987 started much better than 1986....