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This day ... Forty years ago... Ding Ding!

  • 20-08-2023 9:10am
    Registered Users Posts: 2,122 ✭✭✭

    August 20th 1983, was a Saturday.

    The recent reports about Radio Caroline returning, had been confirmed in the previous few days by news reports on UK radio and TV channels. Many were reporting that the station was to re-launch this weekend, from a new ship, the 'MV Imagine' (although the name change never happened).

    Test tones were heard first during the previous week, followed by music on Friday and now (Saturday) there was apparently a loop test going out on 963Khz across the UK announcing that programmes would commence 'today, at mid-day.' When that time duly arrived, Tom Anderson (last heard in March 1980 before jumping off the sinking Mi Amigo into an RNLI lifeboat), switched on the mic and welcomed listeners back to Radio Caroline. The seemingly impossible task had been achieved. UK Radio and TV stations were full of reports, including ITV and BBC video footage of the new ship... what a beauty, painted in pristine red and with a 300ft lattice tower reaching skyward, The Ross Revenge looked like a superstar pirate ship. Caroline was back with a far better base and more transmission firepower than she ever had.

    Here in Ireland, we had to wait until darkness fell before hearing Tony Gareth (O'Callaghan) welcoming listeners from 'all over Europe and especially anyone listening in Dublin.' Picking up a signal from a ship in the North Sea was a highlight of my anorak activity that still gives me goosebumps when I think of the initial excitement. As the autumn turned to winter, the listening time for Radio Caroline in these parts increased with less daylight and the station was easily received on a car radio when Peter Chicago wound the power up on the RCA main transmitter to the 50Kw max. It is incredible to think that forty years later, despite several book loads of 'trials and tribulations', The Ross Revenge still survives and can still be heard as a broadcasting radio ship. The recent fantastic public reaction to Radio Caroline's fundraising efforts, would give hope that the ship and station can keep going for at least another forty years.

    Happy 40th to The Ross and all who sailed (and still sail) on her.

    "From a point at sea, to the circles of your mind." (Tony Allan) ... "Caroline can be anywhere.... right?" (Ronan O'Rahilly)


  • Registered Users Posts: 635 ✭✭✭TheBMG

    As a kid I was always fascinated with my folks telling me about this crazy radio station that they listened to in the 60s that had sunk but made a comeback.

    Even though I’m just (slightly) too young to remember the comeback myself much thanks and respect to @Ger Roe for a flavour of the magic with his post above.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,580 ✭✭✭RINO87

    Fantastic post @Ger Roe Thanks for writing!