FRS History 1980-1989
1981 began with the same programme line up and presenters as in previous months.
For the January transmission more than 60 letters were received; conditions on both 48 & 41 metres were excellent. 7325 gave slight problems and instead 7315 kHz was used. The latter proved to be the right hoice and till January 1983, 7315 would remain FRS-Holland's fixed 41 mb frequency. Unique was a letter from Jerez de la Frontera in the southern part of Spain, more than 1700 kilometres from the transmitting location. It's also interesting to know that people from the Eastern Bloc were very keen to pick up the FRS signal because the programmes offered a good alternative to the state-controlled stations which were not very popular among a lot of radio enthusiasts in those countries as there was a lack of pop music and radio related information. The majority of Eastern Bloc listeners came from the G.D.R. Very few letters reached the station from other countries in that part of Europe such as Czechoslovakia and Poland. The question is whether poor reception could be the reason for this .... According to FRS engineer Bobby Speeds the answer is definitely ‘no’! Taking a look at the sinpos from for instance the GDR in those days, people in countries like Poland and Czechoslovakia must have been able to receive FRSH without too much of a problem, even taking into consideration their receivers were not state-of-the-art and could't be compared with many ones used by Western European listeners. It seems obvious that the non response was caused by the attitude of the postal authorities in those countries behind the iron curtain. Of course also in the GDR the situation was far from ideal. To give one example: FRSH once got a letter from a GDR listener who had already written five times. None of these letters reached the FRS mailbox. On the other hand: several letters send by FRS-Holland to the GDR never reached their final destination. Rather sad and annoying but the station didn't have the power to change this unwanted situation.
E.M.R. final 3rd Sunday
Sun February 15th was a rather sad day for many dedicated SW listeners. European Music Radio, the legendary UK SW hobby pirate, made its final regular 3rd Sun transmission. Since 1977 E.M.R. ruled the airwaves. It was the brainchild of Barry Stephens, the man who also played an important role in the first years of FRS-Holland Between 08.30-11.30 GMT the programmes of E.M.R. were relayed via the facilities of FRS-Holland on 6250 & 7315 and over 100 letters poured into E.M.R.'s letter box. FRS-Holland's schedule was reduced to only 2 hours that day. Due to one of the car-batteries running flat, the last hour of the broadcast was only to be heard on 41 metres. Most important however was E.M.R.'s signal got out very well. Since Barry Stephens had always been so helpful, FRSH was more than happy to do something in return. The following extract is from Sun February 15th 1981 just after EMR closed down and FRSH commencing transmissions ......
Very useful were the reports from a number of monitor stations during a broadcast. For example when another station was on or close to FRS’ frequency, it was impossible to hear it on the location because of being very near the transmitters.Barry Stephens was a very reliable monitor station for FRSH in those early years. Peter V. recalls:
“I remember I left the location a few minutes before 10 o'clock CET and already some 15 minutes later Barry called me. He told me how the signal-strength and the mod quality were and whether the frequency was 100% clear. One thing I shall never forget is that Barry was calling from the little corridor in the house he used to live and his receiver was situated in his bedroom . Our signal was often so loud and clear I could easily follow on the phone our programme coming out of the loudspeaker of his communications receiver. That really was an amazing experience.”
For instance March 1981 FRS-Holland was forced to make a move from 7315 to 7325 because of a strong carrier making it impossible to receive a clear signal. Without the help of a monitoring station much of the 41 mb output that Sunday would have been totally spoilt. Easter SundayApril 19th 1981 FRS-Holland decided to broadcast for a change nothing but golden oldies. Because of a very poor signal on 48 metres- in contrast with 7315 which was superb- the technical staff decided to carry out an extra test to check the 48 mb outlet. This test was already carried out one week later on April 26th and some 40 letters were received for the two hour test. It certainly proved the 48 mb rig was working very well!