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FRS History 1980-1989

1985

The first 6 months of 1985 was a period dominated by appalling propagation conditions.

Poor propagation rules the airwaves
The fact Delmare increased power to 1.3 kW couldn't put this right. On one hand it was positive that the full 6 hour programme service had returned on 6205 but what's the point of putting out something when the majority of listeners within your target area are simply not able to have solid reception or even worse: not receiving you at all? Conditions are elusive and the FRS people had to accept the things as they were. The longs skip conditions killed most of the efforts and preparations. In February 1985 a new presenter joined the FRS ranks. Since Chris' left the ILLS in March 1984, no one had replaced him. It was Gerd taking over this job. But: how did Gerd involved in the station?

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In those early years Gerd received the FRS transmissions always in excellent quality. If only he knew. The transmitting location was less than a mile from his appartment as Gerd recalls.... (listen to two audio cuts > Gerd talking and an extract of Gerd's debut in the ILLS; use the little red arrows to switch between the two cuts)

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FRS also attempted to start up a 2nd frequency on 41 metres. March was again dominated by large dead zones…at our QTH no sign of any signal. We decided to have a (partly) repeat in the afternoon of April 7th. On Saturday March 16th Johan Rood visited ‘FRS City’ to collect a huge custom built 10V/25A power supply. That would be the vital part to realize a dramatic increase of power. Eventually on April 21st the power was upped to 300W but conditions didn’t improve. A little anecdote reflects the situation: Peter V. called Delmare OP Johan Rood asking him if FRS was on that morning. His answer was 'yes' but the apalling conditions prevented FRS people from hearing anything. A week later saw a repeat. And: after nearly three years it was the April 1985 FRS Goes DX edition being the first one in the new A5 format. FRS Goes DX had now turned into a true magazine. In April the FRS video was first advertised. Spring 1985 Trans World Radio Monaco moved 5 kHz up the band to 6215. At first this was a relief but that was only short-lived as another religious broadcaster, Adventist World Radio from Portugal, occupied 6210 with Sunday afternoon transmissions commencing at already 14:00 CET. As FRS usually signed off at 16:00 CET, that would cause heavy inteference for almost 2 hours! AWR used 10 kW output.May and June were also poor. June 1985 the FRS transmissions commenced some 4 hours too late because of a cassette machine not working properly. Part of the June shows were aired on Sunday June 30th & July 7th. More important was the change as far as conditions were concerned in July...

“Up till June, 1985 was a very annoying period. And the worst part of all was you were powerless. I'm pretty sure that those months reception conditions were the worst of the 1980's. It contrasted so enormously with 1980, 1981 & 1982 when only 10 little watts were enough to provide splendid reception in large areas.”


Increased power
Sunday July 21st it was for the first(!) time since December 1984, that a solid signal was to be received in also the areas nearby the transmitter location. By now power had increased to 1.3 kW. It was also the month in which Barry Stephens did his final programme on FRS-Holland after being exactly 5 years on the station. Without Barry’s help, FRS would have never made it on the short wave airwaves for he was the one building our first 10W tx (and later also the second one).

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On July 30th a few FRS people visited the Delmare 'headquarters' where they were warmly welcomed by Johan Rood. A fantastic day! The month of August saw a further improvement in conditions and that could be clearly noticed when looking at the number of letters being received. The FRS 5th Birthday Show took to the air with a strong signal but a modulation quality which could be better on Sunday August 18th. The first hour was also broadcasted on 7315.

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In the Summer of 1985 FRS introduced the first-ever T-Shirt with the FRS logo at that time.The promo for that T-Shirt perhaps became in some way famous among listeners ... Peter Verbruggen produced the text while the production was in the hands of Bert van Leer. 

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Programme changes
Because the FRS people had the intention to achieve a few alterations with regard to the programme schedule, it was decided to cancel the regular September broadcast. Instead the August birthday programmes were repeated and not without success! Autumn approached and atmospheric conditions were improving and becoming much more favourable. Not to wonder that on October 20th a very strong and stable signal was put out by the Delmare transmitter. No dead zones .... it was hardly to believe! Joop ter Zee took over the FRS Golden Show from Barry and the ILLS part 2 was dropped. The German Danny Kay Show was moved to an earlier slot while the Musical Express moved from the morning to the afternoon. No new programmes were added simply because as the saying goes: 'Never change a winning team'. Results kept showing an upward trend proved by the more than 65 letters pouring into the P.O.Box 41 mailbox in Dedemsvaart.
Festive broadcast
A very early X-Mas broadcast on Sun December 15th 1985 was the last one for that year. Perhaps a suitable moment to tell a bit more about that special FRS X-Mas tradition. Peter Verbruggen explains...

"I guess we were one of the first stations anyway involving the listener in the X-Mas programmes. That tradition already started in a few years earlier in 1980 and the intention was to have the listener's participation. The festive season at the end of December is an outstanding moment to pass on some X-Mas and New Year's Greetings to friends & relatives. We offered our listenership the chance to pass on greetings via a taped message. This kind of communication makes a nice change with the usual written cards. Obviously the listeners liked our idea ... But also for the FRS team the December programmes were something special. Programmes during such occasions were recorded together and the atmosphere in the FRS studio always was nice and cosy. Very relaxing indeed."

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By the end of 1985 the German Radio & TV weekly 'Hör Zu' paid attention to FRS-Holland in their weekly SW column 'SW Up-to-date. Several other publications paid attention to the station as well. For instance 'ADDX', Sweden calling DX-ers in it's written version and the 'Danish  SW Club Internationals magazine. Preparations for the New Year started and one FRS' goals was to have a relay via an US station. A few years earlier FRS ADDX late1985_500HorZu late1985was unlucky to be relayed in Australia via the Clandestine Broadcasting Company, a station which had been introduced to the European audience via FRS-Holland's transmitters. The promise that FRSH would be relayed in Australia was never fulfilled by CBN. Certainly a pity!

 

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  • Last Modified: Wednesday 02 August 2017, 14:13:58.

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FRS-Holland on Sunday June 19th 2011 (evening broadcast) on 7685 kHz {youtube}9n-UI8ERJZM{/youtube}.
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