Next Radio Caroline Southampton Support Group Meeting

All are welcome to come along and join us for a wonderful evening at the next Radio Caroline Southampton support group meeting taking place at 7pm on Wednesday September 21st at the Hamble Social Club, Hamble Le Rice near Southampton.SO31 4JL

Mark Dezzani was very disappointed that he couldn't join us as our special guest at the last meeting due to the cancellation of his flight from Seborga in Italy but we look forward to seeing him and other guests at the next meeting at the end of September.

Admission minimum £5 donation includes the buffet, there is a bar and a raffle and all proceeds goes towards the upkeep of our Radio ship the Ross Revenge.

Roland

June 29th Meeting

Another Radio Caroline Southampton support group meeting took place on Wednesday June 29th at the Hamble Social Club, Hamble Le Rice near Southampton.

Mark Dezzani was very disappointed that he couldn't join us as our special guest due to the cancellation of his flight from Seborga in Italy but we look forward to seeing him at our next meeting. Thank you to everyone who turned up many travelling long distances, sadly some couldn't join us due to covid and the cost of fuel but we look forward to seeing all of you at the next meeting at the end of September.

One of the DJs from Flash gave us 20 books and we made £120 on them in donations. All the money raised goes towards the cost of work on board the Radio ship The Ross Revenge.

Roland

 

Brian Bailey report

 

June's RCSS meeting at the Hamble Club the attendance appeared to have a more local flavour, as some of the more distant members were absent which was understandable given the highest cost of fuel on record, nevertheless it was still well attended.  

There were several Presenters/DJs from the Flash & Swinging Radio 60s present, and Roland asked one of the DJs to give a talk, The magnificent  Jonathan C took to the stage mainly to promote a book dedicated to his late brother who worked for the BBC as sound recording engineer, the autobiography was found on his brother's computer and was originally published by Amazon as a eBook. It was then suggest that a print copy should be made and offered to the Radio Caroline Community, with all sales and proceeds going to the restoration of the Ross Revenge, as Jonathan felt very passionate about how important the Radio ship that dates from the 1960s and is one of two last pirate radio offshore ship left in the world, and how it must be preserved for history and future generations. Jonathan then gave a brief introduction on each chapter of the book which had a reasonable technical content relating to the techniques in  achieving the original sound, after working for the BBC for a number of years his brother then worked for the National Sound Archive in the restoring sound recordings dating back to the very first recording of Queen Victoria and some of the early recordings of the offshore radio stations, the book is a must for anyone who has an interest in sound recording at a technical level together with the historical context and Jonathan's generosity in donating all sales of the book for the restoration of the Ross revenge.  

Following Jonathan C talk Alan Beech then took to the stage and took lots of questions  from the audience – the first question was an update on the 648KHz AM transmitter status which basically there was nothing to report, the Harris DX25U Transmitter was working fine and the last time Alan visited the Orfordness site was in February/March to fix the diode fault. Alan gave an update on the solar cell project on fitting panels on site, which would enable the transmitter to be powered by the sun on sunny days this would make Caroline the only Radio Station in the UK to be powered by the sun thus reducing Caroline's carbon footprint over time, with any excess power being fed back into the grid. Talks are still ongoing with the solar panels company, but at a stage where a draft contract has been drawn up. Alan was asked what would happen if there was a power increase to the AM service regarding the solar panels, Alan mentioned that when they approached OFCOM for a power increase from 1KW, Caroline asked for 10KWs, and OFCOM gave Caroline 4KWs. Alan then mentioned that it’s been rumoured that in two years time Smooth, Gold & Absolute would hand back their AM licences and shut down their AM services. Caroline could then go back to OFCOM asking for another power increase on AM under the basis that they switched off their AM service because they had no listeners but Caroline’s listenership is increasing all the time as a justification to get another power increase, any increase in power would be meet by the surplus energy generated by the solar panels would go to power the transmitter rather than being fed back into the grid, or another tier of solar panels could be added at a later date.  

Alan was asked what aerial the Harris transmitter is on, and the reply was Caroline is now on the emergency Omi directional reserve aerial the same one that was used in 2017, in 2020 Caroline moved onto the centre mast of 5 tower array, but due to strange nulls in the coverage when the Harris transmitter was installed last year it was connected back to the original Omi directional aerial, the Nautel transmitter is still connected to the centre mast of the 5 mast array, which is used as a back up to the Harris, both transmitters can be remotely switched without visiting the site.  

The question then changed to making tweaks to the AM 648KHz frequency to avoid the beating effect between other adjacent and co-channel stations, Alan then mentioned that Caroline is about 1Hz off from other stations using the Harris transmitter but when using the  Nautel transmitter it was 3Hz off - this was due to the the fact that the Nautel uses a crystal that is at room temperature where the Harris uses a crystal oven which is temperature controlled thereby improving the frequency stability and to some extent the drift rate of the frequency. Alan then went on to describe the effects of slight frequency offsets from other adjacent and co-channel stations and the fact that unless all the stations were GPS phase locked then the effects on how the radio receivers AGC would turn the receivers gain up and down thereby clipping all the sidebands causing distortion due to two carriers and the beat pattern being present and being out of phase. Alan then mentioned that the OFCOM & the ITU limits are 10Hz. and that Caroline is always below this upper limit.  

A question was asked about the bandwidth of the aerial, the Omi directional aerial is flat out to about 5KHz to 6KHz, and the centre mast aerial of the 5-tower array is flat out to about 9KHz to 10KHz the reason why its better is that there is no Aerial Tuning Unit (ATU) and is fed directly from the transmitter as it is designed to be 50 ohms at 648KHz, Alan then mentioned that the ITU regulations stipulated that passband requirement means that the bandwidth is limited to 7KHz. Alan then said it nice to get reports from people that have old radios and those that restore old vintage radios and that Caroline get discussed by these groups of people saying that how nice it is to hear a station that is not compressed like how Absolute or Smooth sounds and that Caroline put's out a decent audio quality and bandwidth transmission that can be heard on old transistor and valve radios.  

Another question was asked about the transmitted bandwidth in the USA, Alan then said that the bandwidth is about 10KHz on AM in the USA, mainly due to the way the channelization of the AM spectrum is different in the USA compared  to that in Europe in which the frequency planning that dates back to the 1978 and some that dates back to the 1940’s and 1950’s and with the large number of radio stations in Europe and high power levels of some stations ranging from   500KW  to 1MW sitting on adjacent channel to much lower power station of a few KWs sharing the same channel/frequency this places limits upon the upper transmitted bandwidth in Europe to reduce interference. .

It was also mentioned that Spain and some other countries have reduced the power of their high power outlets as a result of the 2022 energy crisis.  

It was also mentioned that car manufactures were no longer providing the AM band on new car radios, which it was suggest that when buying a car these features should be requested, but its something one should look out for when changing or buying a newer car.  

Alan then talked about that Caroline has been re-discovered in Europe as a result of countries like Holland etc. has switched off its AM transmissions and that reception reports from Holland, Belgian and France when people retune their AM radios the only station that can be heard is Caroline, this has dramatically increased Caroline’s listenership in Europe.  

The emphasis then change to DAB and the cost effectiveness and coverage between the small scale DABs and the regional DAB transmissions, Alan then explained that OFCOM places limits on the coverage of the small scale DABs which limits the maximum power that can be transmitted to be between 100W and 200W which causes sharp drop outs and in some areas poor reception, a question was asked would there be any benefit in Caroline going onto a regional DAB, Alan said that it would cost about twice as much to go on a regional DAB MUX as it costs to operate on 648 AM and that it would not be cost effective in terms of coverage between AM and DAB.  

It was a very interesting and informative meeting and both talks received a good applause and we look forward to the next supporters meeting in 3 months time.  

June  2022 Photos

 

 

 

 

Mandy Marton and David Esp

 

  

 

 

Jonathan C from Flash FM in Portsmouth

promoting his book dedicated to his late brother. Profits will go to Radio Caroline

 

Alan Beech

 

Mandy Marton and Roland Beaney doing the grand draw

 

April 6th Meeting

 

The April meeting of the Radio Caroline Southampton Support Group took place on Wednesday 6th April at The Hamble Club, Beaulieu Road, Hamble-Le-Rice, near Southampton. Presenters who visited included Martin Fisher,Steve Bishop, Phil Meek an Dave Foster.

Brian Bailey reports

The meeting was reasonably supported, given that since the last meeting the cost of living cost of fuel may have had an impact and put off people travelling, also Covid is still circulating.  

The two main events of the evening was a talk by Alan Beech on the Orfordnest site, and the sourcing of the Harris AM transmitter from Holland and the transportation of the transmitter from Holland to the UK and the complications Brexit caused and customs documentation and costs importing the transmitter into the UK.  

Allan also mentioned about the tuning issues of the Harris Transmitter to operate on the 648 wavelength and modifications that required some metalwork by some backroom people of Caroline, which after a lot of effort and hard work in the re-tuning of the Harris Transmitter it was found that the technical manual was incorrect, Alan then emailed Harris in America who then supplied the correct version of how to re-tune up the Transmitter for 648, also Alan talked about how they had to obtain a large number of fuses (which were of American origin) at a cost effective rate, and the replacement of some very expensive electrolytic capacitors.  

Alan then took questions from various people, over the power increase and the cost of running the 648 transmitter, based upon OFCOMs requirement that they measure the field strength at a distance of 1Km from the transmitter the Harris transmitter is actually running at 6KW (given cable and aerial losses) this actually represent a transmitted power of 4KW. There was talk about the possible further increase in power and asking OFCOM if they would consider that with the increase in audience and more listeners re-discovering Caroline on the Medium Waves , and that both the BBC and Independent  commercial radio are now vacating the MW bands due to costs of running services on FM and DAB, this could be in Caroline's favour in terms of higher power.  

Alan then gave a brief history of the Orfordnest site formally known as Cobra Mist - when it was used in the 1970's as the UK's early warning over the horizon radar site (OHR), which closed down and the site reverted to the BBC world service transmissions site having two aerial arrays one for 648 and the other for 1296 which were beamed into Europe.  

Alan's talk was followed by Albert Hood who showed a very interesting video taken back in the late 1990's showing the Ross Revenge in Chatham dockyard (dry dock) and showing the underside of the Ross bottom and some damage sustained to the stabilizers when the Ross was stranded on the Goodwin sands in the early 1990's. The Ross was undergoing maintenance to the bottom which was last done in the early 1980's - with the removal of sea barnacles, and the repainting the underside of special marine anti fouling paint.

April 2022 Photos

 

 

A few well known faces including Phil Meek at the back centre, Albert Hood front right

 

Dave Foster centre and Phil Meek right

 

Mandy Marton, Roland Beaney and Christine Hatt

 

 

Martin Fisher

 

Alan Beech with the 648 transmitter

 

Alan Beech

 

 

Albert Hood showing video of the Ross Revenge when in dry dock

 

Albert Hood showing video of the Ross Revenge when in dry dock

 

Albert Hood showing video of the Ross Revenge when in dry dock

 

Albert Hood showing video of the Ross Revenge when in dry dock

 

Alan Beech, Dave Foster, Mandy Marton, and Steve Bishop

 

 

 

 

November 24th Meeting

Report from David Webb

Thank you Roland Beaney for putting on the very interesting and enjoyable radio meeting in Hamble this evening. It was good to catch up with a few old friends once again, and alsp purchase a Radio Caroline Calendar for 2022, they seemed to be selling like hot cakes.

It was good to see several of the 'original crew' from the early days of these meetings some 37 years ago, William Smith, Tony Chenery, David Williams and Alan Watts albeit too briefly, and good also to talk to several others who I either don't know the names of or have simply forgotten. It was especially good to be in the company of Phil Meek for the evening who very kindly gave me a lift home enabling me to stay to the end but getting me home earlier than the train would have.

We had a very interesting talk and question and answer session with Albert Hood about the Mi Amigo and Ross, tendering etc. We also had a phone call to Alan Beech in a hotel near Orford Ness about work going on at the 648 transmitter site, its resilience and upgrading

November 2021 Photos

Albert Hood addressing the guests

 

Rob Ashard talking to Roger Bowan

 

Georgena Hood, Roland Beaney and Albert Hood

 

Rob Ashard, Dave (Smudger) Ray Copeland and Roger

 

DJs from The Flash in Portsmouth

 

 

 

 

Rob Ashard organising a link up with Alan Beech in Suffolk

 

DJs from The Flash in Portsmouth

 

Another decade has started and the Radio Caroline Southampton support group meetings have continued to grow. The group was formed when Radio Caroline and Laser 558 were broadcasting from sea but when the broadcasts from the ships closed the group numbers began to drop although a few kept it going by having meetings in their houses. When I took over we found a club in Netley called the Netley Victoria club where many of the original members lived nearby and we were given a small room. We outgrew that room and moved to the main part of the club when numbers grew to over 60.

We have now moved to the Hamble Social club for the year 2020. This has proved to be a big success with numbers increasing even more. We now have a much bigger room with a stage and alcove for our buffets and more room to park. We've hope to have some very special guests this year including DJs and engineers that kept the generators going back in the days the station broadcast from the high seas.

Thank you to everyone that have joined us over the years some travelling many miles from Wales, Yorkshire, Cornwall in fact from all over the country and some from abroad.

The group that now meets in The Hamble Club Beaulieu Road, Hamble-Le-Rice, near Southampton SO31 4JL is thought to be the only appreciation group in the south and its four meetings a year attract people from far and wide. Two regularly travel from Wales, some from Manchester and Leeds a couple of ladies from Ireland, a lady from Belgium arrived at the March 2017 meeting having heard it mentioned on the air and occasionally a man from California has been known to make it over.

Although the group is a meeting of minds, a chance to share memories and talk about the station and radio in general, fundraising plays an important part. The station still has its own ship, the Ross Revenge, now moored in the River Blackwater in Essex and all money raised at the meetings goes towards the restoration of Caroline's ship. The group has purchased a lot of equipment and money is raised through selling memorabilia and merchandise as well as raffle tickets and donations. Albert and Georgena Hood now bring along a large collection of Caroline merchandise for sale during the evenings.

The group has its roots going right back to the days of the Free Radio movement as the Southampton branch. They then had what you might call a resurgence during the Laser 558 era but membership fell away when Laser closed down. The group continued to meet for a long time in members homes and then they contacted the station during a request show. We started promoting he meetings on Caroline and eventually we had to find a bigger venue and we found the Netley Victoria club. With the help of promotions on Caroline we've now got 8 times more people coming along and we grew too big for our side room so the club offered us the main room where we can now expand even further.

All supporters are very welcome to join us and meet Caroline DJs and restoration staff and hear all the latest news about the station and its ship the Ross Revenge. A £5 donation includes a buffet and all proceeds go towards the cost of work on board our ship Ross Revenge.


In 1986 members of the Southampton Support Group went to visit the Ross Revenge in the North Sea. Armed with a couple of VHS video cameras they recorded the journey and videoed quite a few DJ's in action. DJ's on board included Tony Christian and Peter Philips. Members who went included Bill Smith, David Webb and David Williams. The VHS tapes have now been digitised and available on YouTube. Many thanks to David Webb for the recordings. Warning, its nearly one hour long.

You can view the video by clicking thumbnail above. Then find No. 50 on the playlist

 

Presenters past & present who have visited

Tim Allen

Andrew Austin

Steve Anthony

Peter Antony

Alan Beech

Steve Bishop

Nick (Carter) Bolland

 

Mike Brill

 

Rob Ashard

 

Paul Brown

Tony Christian

Ray Clark

Chris Cooper

John Cronnolley

Ray Copeland


John Ellery

Steve Essex

Richard Evans

Martin Fisher

Dave Foster

Clive Garrard

Marc Griffiths

Barry James

Dennis Jason

James Kay (R.I.P)


Alec Lamb

Phil Meek

Phil Meek

Ian Miles

André van Os


Chris Pearson

Jim Richman


Steve Scott (R.I.P)

Lee Shuttlewood

Keith Skues

Todd Slaughter

Derek Taylor

Alan Turner 

Kevin Turner

Alan Watts

 

Mike Watts

Suzi Wilde

Suzy Wilde

Jerry Wright

Gary Ziepe

 

 

       

Visitors & members past and present

Roland Beaney

Tony Chennery

Bill Smith

Andrew Webb

David Webb

David Williams

 
Trevor Adams

Keith Aggas

Alan from Derby

Alwyn Anthony

John Armstrong

John Armstrong

Jeanette Atkins

Ashley Atkins

Mike Barrington 

Chris Beeching

Elaine Beeching

Roger Bowen

Morgan Bowler

Linda Britain

Steve Britain

John Burch

Rosemary Byatt

An De Cooman

Keith Curtis

Steve Cooke

Peter Chicago

Louise Davis

 

 

 

 

Graham Diggens

Valerie Diggens

David Esp

Dave from K.O.T

Reg Eden

Sally Eden

 

Cathy Gallagher

Rita Gerrard

Tommy Gerrard

Richard Graham

Driver Man

Phil Heap

Roger Hewitt

Morris Hillier

Albert Hood

Georgena Hood

Dave Hutchings

Graham Hodgekiss

Stuart Hobbs

John Ingram

Jenny from Derby

Julian

Robert James

 

Martin Kirby

David Legge

Christopher Levy

Dave Lockyer

Mike Mack


Derek May

Mandy Marton

Chris Manion

Chris Martin

Tim McClellan

Chris Mould

Paul Newman

Norma

Kim Peters

Derek Pipe


Tommy Rivers

Ray Robinson

Robin

Dave Romberg

 

Roseleen

 

Steven Rowlandson

 

Steve Royffe

Lawrence Scordellis

Lawrence Scordellis

Peter Smith

Terry Spittle

Keith Stimpson

Ann Swallow

 Steve Swallow

Sylvan

Roger Taylor

Mike Terry

 

John Whetton

Steve Whitehead

 

Ritchie West

 

 

Steve Wilson

Lynda Worrell

Stephen Worrell

 

 

 

 

 

 



The Venue is at the  Hamble Club, Beaulieu Rd, Hamble-le-Rice Southampton SO31 4JL Phone: 02380 452213 

Driving Directions From M27 Exit 8


 

 

 

 

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