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Radio Atlantis - Part 1

Issue : 2 Dated: 26th March 2016

Enormous thanks to Steve England for sharing his personal pictures of Music Radio '74

Initially on 385 & 253 from the M-Amigo then 458, 269, 261, 312, 229, 228, 227 & 201 MMW frequencies we missed it really was "Cue Jingle" : Atlantis here, Atlantis there, Atlantis in the air ... Atlantis everywhere ...

The original unissued Atlantis car sticker

The sticker above coutesey of Michael Wincott was produced in advance of the station going on-air, this was when the deal with Caroline for use of the Mi-Amigo was being negotiated

High quality two colour vinyl they were big brutes measuring 14" (36cm) x 5 1/2" (14cm)

Caroline told Atlantis the frequency, they went ahead & had stickers printed but the wavelength was never used so the stickers were useless

The Radio Ship Jeanine

The Radio Ship "Jeanine"

Jeanine Lifebuoy

Owned by young Belgian businessman Adriaan Van Lanschoot Radio Atlantis began from 15th July 1973 with 3 months contracted airtime from Caroline on the Mi-Amigo

Jeanine off Knocke Belgium

Off Knocke Belgium "The Emma" re christened & registered "Jeanine"after Adriaan's wife Janiene

With the collapse of the mast on the Mi-Amigo on 1st October 1973 & the contract with Caroline all but ended

Adriaan Van Lanschoot bought the short lived Dutch Station Radio Condor's ship the Emma, a 1957 vintage Icelandic Trawler

Anchor comes aboard

Anchor chain coming aboard from the Vandernaker tender

In addition to the home built 500 watt Radio Condor rig the former transmitters from Radio Noordzee REM Island 1Kw RCA BTA-1R1 & the Radio 270 10Kw RCA BTA-10J last used by Capital Radio on 270 metres/1115kHz were purchased

Broken generator being craned off

Faulty generator set being taken off & in the foreground aerial base being prepared

But disaster struck in November when the anchor broke & the crew abandoned ship

Towed to Cuxhaven Germany by Wijsmuller tug a heavy anchor & costly improvements were made

Andy Lynda Debbie

Toasting the launch of Radio Atlantis - Andy Anderson, Debbie England, Lynda Anderson & back to camera Dave Rogers

Police boarding the ship to check paperwork in the tax-free port found her deserted

After an exhaustive search the radio engineer was found floating dead in the harbour enter Andy as Radio Engineer

Jeanine Deck towards Bridge

A hulk the ships engine had burnt out in a fire whilst fishing

Fitted with a pair of huge Deutz generators & little else the ship left Cuxhaven for the Belgian coast where Radio Atlantis hurriedly got the ship ready

Newsroom spare studio

Spare studio & newsroom despite much expenditure the ship lacked an adequate transmitter & aerial to gain sufficient coverage

Constructing a aerial & making studios at sea tests were heard in November & December on a number of medium wave frequencies

But various transmitter problems resulted & it wasn't until February of 1974 that things settled down

Steve the "Jingle King" got busy topping up the already extensive selection of PAM's cut & spliced jingles, & silly but fun station promotions


Audio Break

Derek Jones normally heard on the engineers show, Andy Anderson popping laxatives & the Starshine Show with Debbie England 5/3/74

John Harding

John Harding takes a promenade round deck

On 20th March Italy took exception to the Atlantis broadcasts on 225 metres announced as 227 which interfered with their 1329.5kHz programmes so they began jamming

Washroom

Washroom on the "Jeanine"

Moving to 1332kHz 227 metres they caused problems to an East European station so moved again to 1331kHz & again the following day to 962kHz 312 metres but reception was impeded by a North African station working off frequency

On 6th June, the ship lost her anchor the vessel drifted & went aground on a sand bar & the same time the transmitter gave up so the station was off air awaiting parts

Andy adjusts TX mod

A pensive engineer Andy Gemmel-Smith & Atlantis DJ Andy Anderson gingerly adjusts the mod on his small 25 watt low powered short wave transmitter built from bits

Tested on 6225 kHz the unit stayed on air for a week before parts were robbed for the main REM Island Transmitter the 270/Capital unit never being in service for more than a few minutes at a time

Towed back to her mooring the transmitter blew the aerial insulators

Debbie England on air

Debbie England above, Mike Raven had his wife Mandy with him during the early days of Radio Invicta in the 60's, both Andy Anderson & Steve were to have both their wive's with them working behind the scenes & presenting programmes

Radio Atlantis QSL Card

Radio Atlantis QSL Card

With a replacement 11 ton anchor en route & transmitter & aerial modifications complete Radio Atlantis began to pick up listeners but the station was still dogged by technical problems

Crewman Dean paints ship side

Maintenance man crew member Dean who did a few late night shows as "Rick Rock" paints the ships side, also made it on air a couple of times doing night time shows

By late July the Flemish service was commercial free due to advertisers fear of prosecution by Belgian authorities

Atlantis main studio

The studio completed functional & a treat to drive comprised a basic desk & turntables but had an RCA Cart machine from Radio London a pair of Revox tape machines AKG 202 microphone & Beyer headphones

With an estimated running cost of £1,500 a week this was easily absorbed by the stations wealthy owner

John Harding

John Harding basking in the soft studio light

In August a transmitter fault destroyed the main 962 kHz crystal Atlantis returned using 1317.5 kHz with no Flemish tapes & rough seas programmes were in English

Steve England & Dave Rogers

Easy life as taped Flemish programmes were broadcast Steve EnglanSteve England & Dave Rogersd in the foreground & Dave Rogers

Reception particularly at night was diabolical so a move was made to 1331 kHz but again the Italians took exception & recommenced jamming forcing Atlantis' move to 1313 kHz although throughout these changes the station always identified the frequency as 229

Transmitter Hall

Transmitter Hall

Throughout August the pre-recorded Flemish programmes resumed along with some English taped programmes

Stars & Steve England

Steve England mimics the ships bridge stars, wonder which came first?

Remember Big Steve Showtime jingles?

With the Dutch Marine Offences Act looming in mid-August Radio Atlantis announced it was to close at the end of the month

Diplomatic Bag!

Onboard En Rust the tender "diplomatic bag" held by American Pirate Radio fan & rocket fanatic who wanted to launch a device from the ship!

Behind him Rob Rondor & Radio Engineer Andy

The American Pirate Radio fan was the same person that I met at the Radio Veronica studios in July 1974, I believe his name was Herb. I was about to get a tour of Veronica house when I met the guy who had just been in one of the control rooms. He took a photo of me behind the jingle cartridges, he then mentioned that he would visit Radio Atlantis. I kept in contact with him for a couple of years. When I visited the USA in 1976, I made a trip to Washington DC, where he lived. Anyway he gave me a tour of his town he also launched a rocket, with a small camera inside, at a parking lot at the JFK stadium. We then went to the White House, where he asked a security guard if he could launch a rocket on the oval, in front of the White House! The answer was – NO!

The Hot Bit

I also enclose a picture that I got from him, after his visit to Atlantis in 1974

All the best from Per in Stockholm/Sweden

The final Flemish programmes were aired on 25th August, the last English & station closedown came on 31st August 1974

Jeanine

"Jeanine"

Evening crew on the Jeanine

Farewell "Jeanine"

On the 1st September the "Jeanine" was to be towed to Vlissingen

The second part of this feature continues in Atlantis - Part 2

Grateful thanks again to Steve England & Simon for his help in correlating the pictures for this item

Line & Tone The Jeanine

Radio Atlantis the "Jeanine" (Martin Turner Archive)

Can't believe it so long ago we loved our Atlantis here in Belgium - Mario

Lovely pics in the Scrapbook this time I've never seen so much of the Jeanine & the Atlantis set-up before. God I remember all those frequency changes. The thing was it was such good radio you always went looking for them time & time again. P - Italy

Interesting stuff, as always never realised that Andy Gemmell-Smith had been Andy Anderson. Met him at (ILR) Essex Radio when Eddie Blackwell started it up. Regards Gerry

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