FRS History 1980-1989
The first 6 months of 1985 was a period dominated by appalling propagation conditions.
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?
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)
“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.”
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).
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.
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."