When anyone talks of offshore radio they always think of Radio Caroline. However there have been many other radio ships off the coast of Europe. Here are a few of the more famous ones.
Radio London started regular broadcasts on 23rd December 1964 using a frequency of 1133 kHz (265meters). Her ship was an ex American minesweeper built in 1945 and renamed Galaxy. The ship was registered in Honduras. Radio London broadcast an American Format unheard of in the UK at this time of Top Twenty Records and jingles. The station probably had the biggest audience of any offshore broadcaster of the time. Deejays included Mark Roman, Keith Skues, Tony Windsor, Kenny Everett, Paul Kaye, and Tony Blackburn
Just when the English offshore radio scene seemed to have gone for good, up marched this little ship. Originally the owners planned to use the Galaxy above, but then after that project broke down they purchased this vessel the Mebo 2. At 102 Kilowatt Radio Northsea International boasted the largest transmitter used by an offshore broadcaster. She also had 2 no short wave transmitters and an FM transmitter plus a spare 10KW Medium wave rig on board. She began life off the Dutch coast and started regular broadcasts on 28th February 1970.She left the Dutch coast on 23rd March 1970 and dropped anchor off the Essex Coast. The British Government did not take too kindly to this and jammed her broadcasts. She changes her name to Radio Caroline International during the 1973 election campaign, but even after the election the jamming continued so she returned to the Dutch Coast . Despite several ups and downs including being bombed Radio Northsea International continued until the Dutch Marine Offences Act became law on 30th August 1974.Deejays included Tony Allen, Andy Archer, Roger Day ,Alan West and Mark Wesley
The Communicator built in 1953 housed the American Style Radio Station Laser 558. She arrived off the Essex coast in December 1983 and anchored near the Ross Revenge. Unfortunately she did not have an aerial on board as it was planned to use a wire attached to a balloon. After two attempts to get this working the plan was abandon and work was carried out to build two towers on the ship. After several tests the station commenced regular broadcasts on 558 kHz using a power of 5 kilowatts on 24th May 1984. Its catch phrase Never More Than a Minute Away From Music caught the listeners imagination and the station was gaining a large audience from the ILR Stations. They did not like this and after much complaining to the Radio Authority, action was to be taken. On 8th August 1985 Euro-Siege 1985 started. The British Government had chartered vessel to anchor near Caroline and Laser to keep an eye on their supply boats. Laser Deejay Charlie Wolfe would give updates everyday on the situation with the men from the Ministry. Being American the Deejays thought they would be ok as the Marine Offences Act covered only British Citizens. However Laser had to sail into port escorted by the Survey Ship Gardline Tracker, due to generator trouble on 5th November 1985. The Communicator was sold on 21st April 1986 . The ship returned to sea on 1st December 1986 as Laser Hot Hits on 576khz. Unfortunately these broadcasts were short lived and the last broadcast was heard on 20th April 1987.
Radio Veronica started regular transmissions from a ship called Vorkum Riff, an ex German Lightship on 6th May 1960, anchored off the coast of Holland. After several complaints about interference she changed frequency from 1620khz to 1640khz and then to 1562khz . Power at the time was 1 KW. In 1966 Radio Veronica charged her ship to the Norderney, an Ex Trawler. On board this new ship was a 10k transmitter although after dark was only used on 2kw. The station continued on this frequency until 30th September 1972 when the frequency was changes to 557KHZ. All seemed to go well until 3rd April 1973 ,when in hurricane force winds the Norderney broke loose from her moorings and went aground 50 yards from Scheveningen Harbour. I t soon became apparent that the Norderney would be off the air for several days, so Radio Caroline offered Veronica the use of the Mi Amigo. On 11th April 1973 tests were heard from the Mi Amigo on 1187khz.and regular programs commenced at noon. On 18th April 1973 the Norderney was refloated and then taken back to her anchorage. Tests began and regular programming restarted. The Mi Amigo continued to relay her programs until 20th April 1973. Unfortunately the station decided not to defy the Dutch Marine Broadcasting Act and closed down on 31st August 1974.
The Olga Patricia was built in 1944 as a landing craft. She was fitted out as a radio ship in Miami in 1966.The ship broadcast two radio stations. A pop station Radio England on 227 meters which commenced regular broadcasts on 18th June 1966 and a middle of the road station Britain Radio on 355 meters, which started on 19th June 1966. Both stations used 55kw transmitters. However neither station was as successful as intended and Radio England closed on 4th November 1966 to be replaced by Radio Dolfijn / Radio 227. Britain Radio although popular did not lure the listeners away from the Fort based Radio 390 as intended and closed on 22nd February 1967. She was replaced by Radio 355. Neither station made MOA day Radio 227 closed on 21st July 1967 and Radio 355 on 5th August 1967.
The Dutch fishing vessel Oceaan vii became the base for Radio 270. Transmissions commenced off the coast of Scarborough on 4th June 1996 on 1115khz, with a power of 10KW. The station suffered several technical problems and had to go to Scarborough for repairs. Radio 270 closed on Marine Offences Day 14th August 1967. The Oceaan vii was put up for sale and very nearly became Radio Caroline in 1968 after the Frederica and Mi Amigo were towed to Holland. According to several sources pressure was put on the Oceaan vii owners by the British Authorities saying if she was sold and then went back to sea broadcasting they could be held responsible and fined under the MOA 1967.