Radio Atlantis - Part 1
Issue : 3 Dated: 26th March 2019
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 and 201 MMW frequencies we missed it really was "Cue Jingle" : Atlantis here, Atlantis there, Atlantis in the air ... Atlantis everywhere ...
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 and had stickers printed but the wavelength was never used so the stickers were useless
Radio Atlantis on the Caroline ship MV "Mi-Amigo"
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
The Radio Ship "Jeanine"
The Radio Ship "Jeanine"
"Jeanine" life ring
Off Knocke Belgium "The Emma" re christened was 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 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 and the Radio 270 10Kw RCA BTA-10J last used by Capital Radio on 270 metres/1115kHz were purchased
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 and costly improvements were made
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
A hulk the ships engine had burnt out in a fire whilst fishing
Fitted with a pair of huge Deutz generators and little else the ship left Cuxhaven for the Belgian coast where Radio Atlantis hurriedly got the ship ready
Spare studio and newsroom under test, despite much expenditure the ship lacked an adequate transmitter and aerial to gain sufficient coverage
Constructing a aerial and making studios at sea tests were heard in November and December on a number of medium wave frequencies using the call Radio Atlantis 'Zet em op' (Put it on)
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 and spliced jingles, with silly but fun station promotions
Spare studio and newsroom completed
Derek Jones rewinds a tape with open fader, then Andy & Lynda Anderson
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 on the "Jeanine"
Moving to 1332kHz 227 metres they caused problems to an East European station so moved again to 1331kHz, and 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 and went aground on a sand bar at the same time the transmitter gave up so the station was off air awaiting parts
Transmitter Hall: Left 25 Watt short wave, centre former REM Eiland RCA 1KW, right former Radio 270 Capital Radio transmitter that never worked on the ship
RCA Spec' Sheet 1 : Sheet 2
A pensive engineer Andy Gemmel-Smith AKA Atlantis DJ Andy Anderson gingerly adjusts the mod on his small 25 watt low powered short wave transmitter built from parts
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
Crispian St John
Crispian St John by the funnel
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 and Steve were to have both their wive's with them working behind the scenes and presenting programmes
Radio Atlantis QSL Card
With a replacement 11 ton anchor en' route, transmitter and aerial modifications complete Radio Atlantis began to pick up listeners but the station was still dogged by technical problems
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
The main studio completed functional was a treat to drive comprising a basic desk, turntables and an RCA Cart machine from Radio London, a pair of Revox tape machines, AKG 202 microphone with Beyer headphones
Andy Anderson on Radio Atlantis 'The boat that rocks the north sea'
With an estimated running cost of £1,500 a week this was easily absorbed by the stations wealthy owner
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 and rough seas programmes were in English
Easy life as taped Flemish programmes were broadcast Dave Rogers with Debbie England in the foreground
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 looking from main to Short Wave TX
Throughout August the pre-recorded Flemish programmes resumed along with some English taped programmes
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
Onboard 'En Rust' the tender "diplomatic bag" held by American Pirate Radio fan and 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!
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
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
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 and 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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