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Laser Hot Hits - Part 1

Issue: 3 Dated: 22nd December 2020

Laser Hot Hits Logo

The story of the resurrection of Laser 558 and its transformation into Laser Hot Hits 576 inferior to the original Laser the short lived station operated from 1st December 1986 to 2nd April 1987

I Spy 12" Record Sleeve

"Flashback" - 12" record cover of the Laser 558 record release featured the Laser DJ's taunting the Government Department of Trade & Industry (DTI)

The record was played heavily as the Eurosiege blockade bit

Communicator in some rough stuff

"Flashback" - Final days at sea as Laser 558 the 'Communicator' battling the weather and UK Government

MV Communicator on the River Stour, Essex

The MV 'Communicator' (Wednesday 24th March 1986)

Secured within British waters ultimately with several writs nailed up on the bridge the vessel's advertised for sale


Media Report on Laser 558 from the banks of the River Stour by the MV 'Communicator' Monday 24th March 1986

Kellock & Co Ltd Letter Head

18th January 1985 Broadcast Magazine reports a price tag of £120,000 appointed by the Admiralty Marshal Ship Brokers C W Kellock are to make the sale, who confirmed they were looking for offers in excess of £100,000

Buyer covenants with the Admiralty Marshal dictated that neither vessel or her equipment be used for the purpose of illegal broadcasting

The Marshal Mr Vincent Ricks saying "There are plenty of places in the world where it's possible to run a perfectly legal radio station from a ship"

Advertisement for the MV Communicator Bill Board proclaims sale of MV Communicator

Broadcast Magazine Advertisement 7th March 1986 for the Radio Ship 'Communicator'

Evening Gazette Billboard proclaiming the sale of the floating radio station

Broadcast Magazine 10th March 1986 - Full Image

Kellock & Co Ltd Letter

With all 13 bids in by the imposed deadline of noon 8th April 1986 East Anglia Productions (EAP) had made the highest offer

MV Communicator on the River Stour, Essex

The MV 'Communicator' The MV 'Communicator' (Wednesday 24th March 1986)

The former 'Gardline Seeker' is moored on the River Stour ...

MV Communicator on the River Stour, Essex

The MV 'Communicator' (Wednesday 24th March 1986)

... off Ness Farm Erwarton Village Essex

MV Communicator on the River Stour, Essex

The MV 'Communicator' (Wednesday 24th March 1986)

The amicable Farmer saw a way of making a dime by letting anoraks tramp over his field to see the ship for a small fee

East Anglian Press Report on sale of Communicator

East Anglian Press Report on sale of Communicator

East Anglian Daily Times report of (Tuesday 2nd December 1986)

Communicator ready for Hot Hits

Then M.D of controversial EAP (East Anglia Productions) Ray Anderson had paid £35,000 for the ship & said it wouldn't be used for illegal broadcasting

Kevin climbs aboard

Elated EAP found themselves owners of a Radio Ship they said was worth around £250,000

Above Mac, Ray Anderson on deck as Kevin Turner on a visit climbs aboard

Deck from bridge

Pulling in willing hands the vessel was cleaned ready for broadcasting again

Discussions on deck

Ray trying to talk Kevin Turner of Caroline into joining the venture will he jump ship, no wisely he decided to stay with Caroline

CSI From View

Front of CSI TX1, you can see the 'Plate tune' knob on the RHS of the RF box.
In the background is the Belar Modulation Monitor, the Audio Processing, can't remember what it was exactly, but something like CCSs

CSI Internal

Clean & ready to go back of one of the Modulators, showing the 4CX10000 tetrodes

CSI Internal

But at this stage they hadn't been fired up above the Combiner (RHS) on the left is TX2 RF Amp.

NB, it was never used in Combiner mode, it killed the generator. But it was used to switch either TX1 or TX2 to the antenna!

Main on-air studio

Main on-air studio

TV crew filming

Eager to find out more a visitation's made by Anglia Television

TV crew filming

Their programme piece centred on the prospect of the ship returning to sea

Communicator port side/stern

In August 1986 EAP said the ship was almost ready, but on 28th September Customs men removed the ships drive shaft bearing on instructions of the DTI who said that safety work hadn't been carried out and she'd been immobilised as they feared the ship might slip away

Before leaving the relative safety of the Essex Coast in the Black Deep off Bradwell engineer Stuart Vincent was paid to fire the TXs the first time since coming off the high seas

Say's Stuart "All worked fine, apart from coaxing the oscillator to start up I recall was a common problem to get going"

Communicator starboard side

Before leaving the Stour on 20th October the ship dragged anchor sliding along the side of a Sealink Ferry no serious damage resulted, finally at 03.00 hours on Sunday 16th November the ship headed out to sea and moored at the Cork Anchorage off Felixtowe close to Sealand

Communicator starboard side/bow

The DTI were aware the ship had sailed and said they'd act swiftly if she broadcast illegally

Press reports spoke of her sailing to Gibraltar to target the Mediterranean, but the on 1st December from from 16.40 the 'Communicator' was again broadcasting tests as Laser Hot Hits on 576 KhZ, Caroline having taken over the former Laser 558 frequency

Initial test programmes had Bill Mitchell's deep VO's announcing the stations pending launch

Peter Baldwin of the IBA (Independent Broadcasters Association) said he'd complained the Government who'd failed, & asked the DTI to pursue the new Laser vigorously as before on behalf of legitimate broadcasters

Communicator port side/stern

Sold to a third party the Admiralty covenant couldn't be enforced, the ship was moored in the Knock Deep North East of the 'Ross Revenge' at 51 42' 32" N, 1 35' 35" E & the British Authorities were powerless

Programmes proper commenced at 06.00 on Sunday 7th December, then in true North Sea style on 5th January 1987 a N.E Gale hit the ship taking out the forward antenna mast

Thanks to Kevin Turner, Stuart Vincent, Hans Knot and Terry Vacani for their contribution in this part of the feature

The Laser Story continues in Laser Hot Hits - Part 2

For all the Laser features navigate from ScrapBook Index

If you were in anyway or part involved in the Laser story we'd be pleased to hear from you, pictures & details added as received - ED

[HOME] (c)Bob Le-Roi 2008