Reunion DJ’s KR1, Monique and Radio Caroline on the Ross Revenge

On October 30 2016 a unique reunion took place of Disc Jockeys from KR1 who served on the famous offshore radio ship The Ross Revenge! Disc jockeys and  employees from Belgium, Netherlands , the United Kingdom and Ireland where among the famous dj’s Nick Richards, John Lewis , Bart Steenman , Dave Foster ,Vince Holland and Chris Pearson. Some dj ’s like Nick Richards ( Radio Caroline ) and Bart Steenman (KR1 and Radio Monique ) has not been a board fort he last 30 years! They had a lot to talk about, shared old photographs, were live on the air on radio Caroline North (medium wave, fm and internet) talking about the old days and  friendship. Dj Ruud van Heemskerck (KR1) as reporter and DJ Bart Steenman (KR1) were live on air in several interviews and contrubutions with Nick Richards and Chris Pearson talking about the friendship between them and the Dutch and UK crew. Most of them also served in the same periods.They stayed aboard from the morning until the evening. In this report from Ruud van Heemskerck,  a board we show you many pictures, radio recordings, jingles and even movies about the  mentioned interviews and ship!

  Listen here the official story of Radio Caroline

  Listen Radio Caroline the past

admin-ajaxThe KR1 trip was also organised by their old colleague the famous Albert Hood who organised the tendering and supplies for more than 40 years. He was there just after the Mi Amigo sunk. He was the person who warned about the state of the Mi Amigo anchor chain back than and refused tob ring people aboard at one point. He was in contact with Ronan ‘o Rahilly . He has seen it all. And now he is there,   still organising the tendering,  now as volunteer, and from now on you can go there too just by calling him at 07984572353  or from abroad 00447984572353 or email him at [email protected] or look here: http://www.radiocaroline.co.uk/#boat_trips_background_info.html

 

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Some of the KR1 crew stayed in the famous “Stonar Quest House” in Clacton on Sea. Were people are used to Offshore pirate radio for 40 years and you will find there  the pirate radio museum.

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The KR1 crew waiting and went aboard on the official Ross Revenge tender Razorbill 3 stationed on the wonderfull Mersey Island to go tot the anchor place in the middle of the River Blackwater which is a 5 miles wide water near open sea, so the ship is really anchored in the middle of open water like in the old days!
 
Dj Ruud van Heemskerck (KR1) in conversation with Albert Hood about the history voor writing the report about te reunion on the Ross Revenge. On the old map you can see Mersey Island near the little red boat in the middle, on that place is now the Ross Revenge.


 Listen here the Radio Caroline tune by The Fortunes 1964

The Ross Revenge is comming nearby 🙂

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Safety instructions were given because to everybody, unlike in the old days,  everything is done now by insurance rules.
Old memory’s about nasty weather etcetera were shared, the Ross looked ok,  is still getting its paint it seems, and looked majestic knowing the history and the impact it made on the world. Its good she is still there. The 90 meter high mast was broken but a lower mast is on her now giving her that special look again. People felt the old magic approaching the old Ross.

  Listen Radio Caroline jingel compilation

And nearby they noticed a difference. In old times they had to climb up but nowadays a door has been made in the metal fence, so entering is quite easy now. No Raffles the dog with its head out of a hole now. He spend his last 5 years on land we heared.
People were waiting fort he tender just like in old days and welcomed us, and specialy this day because they heard that the Dutch jocks from radio KR1 world service are coming after 30 years.

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A board some slight differences were noticed but it looked about the same, some things are taken away other things was refurbed or new.
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The famous DJ’s of radio Caroline decided to make a live broadcast video for their listeners because it was a special day because DJ Bart Steenman was on board after 30 years, here you can see here their movie:

 Listen the pirate radio ships 1965

It was a great feeling to be on board again, memories of the old times returned and we were impressed about the way DJ’s kept and are stil keeping the dream alive to give loving awareness to many listeners by playing all kind of music on the radio.
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Ofcourse quests walked around the music room, one of the most wonderfull magic places aboard were the DJ’s used to meet eachother searching for music enjoyed by millions of people a moment later. Lots of musical inspiration was found here and lots of wordsabout musicwas said here.
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Here we show you a short film shot and comment  by famous Caroline DJ Dave Foster
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The Dutch DJ Ruud van Heemskerck who is filming, registered al lot of cheerfull moments  in the diner and lounge for making the reunion report complete with all the stories. John Lewis still seems to have the same mood it seems because DJ Bart Steenman, the Dutch DJ mentioned that John used to say in a verry cheerfull way ‘moooorning leds!’ to the dull faces there which was actually good for the moodback than.

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Nowadays the ship complies to todays safety standards, with an emergency light system and drawings of safeways as you can see here.

 

 

 Listen the Johnnie Walker Show Caroline 1968

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Lots of things and memory’s were brought up I heard Nick Richards and Bart Steenman, old friends, telling many story’s to eachother also this amazing story; people were arrested once. Among those Peter Chicago and Nick Richards. In the police station were they should be searched and questioned, Peter discovered he had the secret code lists in his pocket were the codes were on used to order materials via the radio. Peter Ripped the paper in his pocket and gave bits of it to the other crew members under the eyes of the policemen,  with the words; want a chewing gum ? And they all swallowed the code paper !

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We asked radio Monique DJ Bart Steenman to sit on the same places as his old published pictures which offers everyone a great opportunity to compare the situation in 1985 and 2016. As you can see the frontdeck has got more paint on it, a vence is constructed, and instead of the old hughe anchor chain the size of an elbow, nowadays several smaller anchor chains are in place. The buoy ‘s has changed, there is no Panama on it, and we noticed less thick and less mast wires.

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Bart on deck, we noticed one chimney is gone, metal things on deck are covered now and dangerous things painted in bright colours for safety i quess. Also a less thicker mast and wires, and it looks cleaner nowadays. Take a look around the almost hole ship on this film:

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The kitchen is new, more luxury than the old situation. One of the few interior things that has really changed, still you have to make your own meals like the old days 🙂

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And the room were the wash use to hang at rainy days is now a souvenir shop, and off cause the DJ’s from KR1 team  support the Ross Revenge by taking some items from the shop. With great items by the way.
  
These 3 people were on board at the same time.  Caroline and a Monique DJ’s Nick Richards, Bart Steenman and John Lewis. who shared a lot of information in a great mood, it was good to be back again, there was so much to tell and there wasn’t enough time.

 

 

 Listen A day in the life of Radio Caroline

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And here are those three same persons in the eighties, in de beginning when we came on board we did’nt regonized eachother because the time has changed our figur en faces 🙂 those pictures are taken by DJ Bart Steenman, the DJ’s were very suprised when they saw this old pictures after 30 years. You can imagine that broke the ice en that we became the VIP’s of the day.
Another trio from that time on the Ross Revenge You see here Ron West, Bart Steenman and Walter Simons in 1985. In that time radio KR1 world service was rising up as well with de DJ’s Bart Steenman and Ruud van Heemskerck

 

 

 

Now we go inside the ship and have a look at the modern studio of Radio Caroline

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Here you see a modern studio with computer. Amazing that a complete studio and all of the record collection fits in there !  In the eighties we could not explain that more than 20 thousand songs fit in a key ring. And  radio Caroline can be heard allover the planet now.
Famous Caroline DJ explained on film were the old radio Monique studio was situated because its rebuild now for Caroline North with the old Monique mixing table though.
Underneath you see the captain’s cockpit with all the equipment necessary for moving the ship on sea when it was an ice breaker trawler and fisher boat at that time before the radiostations were installed.

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Especially that revolution like feeling was great and it still is. Free media are still available to spread free independant opinions allover the planet, brought by free radio, tv and internet media without propaganda or capitalistic messages. A secret organisation called Pirates for Peace ( [email protected] ) is coordinating dozens of such media which often result in important worldwide positive developments we see on the news. Also some people working on the Ross Revenge are involved in that. So the spirit is still alive.
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Here we witness famous DJ Bart Steenman ( offshore radiostation Radio Monique with 4 million listeners) entering the old Monique studio. Immediately Dj Ruud van Heemskerck and Nick Richards organised a long special interview live on Radio Caroline North with the witty Bart Steenman known for his many voices including the famous dark voice heard back than and now also on many stations like the offshore station radio Batavia, KR1 the new Dutch Worldservice after Radio Nederland Wereldomroep stopped) , and  international peace stations, members of the brave Pirates for Peace organisation which gets free media allover the planet also in troubled area’s. More Ross DJ’s and engineers are involved in that.
And wow quess what,  this interview by Nick Richards with Bart Steenman recorded by DJ Ruud van Heemskerck, you can WATCH IT here:
Here we have Dave Foster, Nick Richards and Bart Steenman in the old Caroline studio. Bart tried the old wired potentiometers and memorized lots of joy was brought through them. Everyone takes a look at the old radio Caroline studio. The old switchboard used in the movie “The boat that rocked”  take a look at that on this link;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdxmrKNac9I   it’s  still there !
Later on the famous Chris Pearson asked Bart Steenman to do a commercial whith his dark type voice which is also catched on film here;
Chris complimented Bart for his work on which Bart Steenman responded with; ‘alllllright! “ which became the word of the day.
In de middle of the eighties Radio Monique was on the Ross Revenge as well, all the old stuff was still there

  Listen the Radio Monique jingle 1

  Listen the Radio Monique jingle 2

  Listen the Radio Monique jingle 3

 

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The Turntables in the Caroline studio are antique. They were already old fashioned in the eighties. Were Radio Monique used modern technics professional turntables the Caroline jocks liked the decent metal machines. They did the job, and have seen more albums than singles. Dj’s spend many hours here to bring Europe ‘loving awareness’! The old 8 tracks !

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They are still there! Hundreds of them! It needed firm handwork to use them. And made the show. Look at it closely and see the familiar sounds. From the ‘deep Caroline voice’ to Johan Maasbach.Famous jingles!
The Ross Revenge was kept alive for a big part by.. the people puting their money in a offertory bag in the church ! Radio Monique transmitted vicar Toornvliet for years, and Johan Maasbach shouted his special voice from the mast of the Ross. On medium wave and shortwave. For the shortwave transmitter much less power was needed for a European audience. The frequencies chosen for that were sometimes on ship communication frequencies which was not a clever thing to do. Internet was not available and i quess the engineer just did not know.
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The dutch stations on radio Caroline provided far most of the money and materials. Without the Dutch radio Caroline would have never survived. The Dutch know how to bring in money, and how to do business and organisation in a verry effective way. Tapes were sometimes played although far most of the Caroline transmissions were live. This is the original tape deck.
About the Dutch service, Radio Monique played more tapes, they used one hour per side compact cassettes. Live programs on Monique were morning, afternoon and late afternoon / evening, and the news. In between that those cassettes.  For just three Monique people on board that was a lot of work. Get up at 4 o clock, check if the transmitter is on, bringing a ‘happy ’morning show, wit hall the jingles and commercials on time, making food, make news, from this small news room theyexplain to us how they did it.

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DJ Bart Steenman in the newsroom.

 

The Caroline jocks had their news room behind the Captains quarter in the card room near their studio which was big en comfortable. The dutch however had a ‘room’ ‘the size of a toilet’ on the other side of the ship 40 yards away from their studio. Several radios were used to tape the BBC, Belgium and Dutch news. Antenna’s were outside the newsroom just above the water line. The verry strong transmitter otherwise radiates a deadly beam tot their equipment. A radio on deck receives… nothing!  Even the own signal could not be heard. Direct radiation in the radio prevends that. Within the hour their own news had to be written down, recorded and time was recorded, before the hour they contacted the studio by a intercom which had to pass the news signal from the news room on air. Listeners heard the fresh news, and after that the time signal on the hour. Amazing but they managed to do so. Never heard that again, i quess lots of stations are too lazy for that. Sometimes they had a news item which was on air hours before the dutch state radio,  which needed 20 people to do what those three people did in those strange circumstances but they managed to do so in a way which sounded great , on that frequency of 963 Khz, with the best sound of the band because of the optimod am machine, in the ‘belly’ of the ship which is still in use by  radio Caroline North nowadays! Let’s go there!

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There it is ! the optimod said DJ Ruud van Heemskerck this is the hart of the famous sound. On that moment used by radio Caroline North transmitting on medium wave and internet. Radio Monique managed to use the machine on 963 Khz. Some splash complains by a university station in the uk were solved.. Dutch dj Bart Steenman explained; ‘ it really was the best sound of the medium wave according to lots of people. It sounded more hifi than any other signal and BBC and NOS were jealous of that!  The machine makes a specialised sound just within the am ‘mask’ by cutting frequencies to some allowed there,  pushing the signal on 6 audio frequencies up or down in a micro second, which results in a stable 100% modulation which boost the signal and make a loud stable flat line modulation with the best in it suitable for medium wave. A big difference. It was (still) a expensive machine.”
DJ Bart Steenman is pointing at the machine were it’s all about. Next to it the 50 kilo watt transmitter with reserve transmitter (grey). the end tubes have the size of an elbow. It’s incredible how much power it gives.(50.000 Watt’s)

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DJ Bart Steenman was glowing when he looked through the window. They were tuned for the best effect and the antenna was 90 meter, the highest thing ever build on a ship, which means a half wave which is great, the sea provided a great ground for the antenna. The signal went through a big coil to tune,

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and here a special machine which provided a system were both signals could be transmitted on 1 antenna at the same time by switching rapidly between the 2 transmitter outputs! All together an amazing and dangerous high voltage system on a ship but it did the job throughout Europe! Bart explained; when i went down there there was that amazing loud noise comming from the big generators.

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In that generator room you really needed earplugs.

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Those were 2 big generators and much diesel was needed to keep them going to reach Europe. Next tot the generator room were the optimod and transmitters. The engineer was busy most of the time and really needed the spare parts to keep things going.
 
Diesel was brought with the ship ‘Zeemeeuw’ (means ‘seagull’) from Oostende Belgium, in secret tanks hidden in the double ship skin. Also the fresh Dutch DJ’s, food, water and tapes were brought in that way, and de most of the crew were seasick. Tendering was done by that ship, and another ship from the British coast. The ship was not near the coast. It was in sea and the coast could not be seen.
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The DJ’s slept in a cabin, DJ Bart Steenman also told us things like the water from the taps was salty.

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Sometimes the hughe engines were tested because it’s important that the ship can move on his self. The whole ship was shaking than but it was important everything was ok. Captain Bob needed to be sure it was ok. In the past anchor chains broke and the motor did not start. The engine is huge. It was a ice breaker trawler in the past used to catch fish. Lots of power in there. The engine room is locked by gas tight doors for safety reasons.
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DJ Bart Steenman went to his cabin and the “Wall of Fame” were his name is still on the door. On deck in the back we discovered the jingle construction mix room of Caroline was still intact.
On a normal day people were working there. Nearby also in the Monique newsroom, and the washing machine room. Wash was hanging on deck on the shortwave antenna / washing line or in a room. Also people working in the kitchen and resting in the diner. Taking food out of the fritch in front, repairing or painting. When the whole ship was painted they could start allover again. Always rusty on sea. In the 2 studio’s and Caroline newsroom were also always people doing their thing and between that all the dog was walking around. A complete family and small effective village like household we could say.

 Listen to the program Tony Blackburn 1965

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In the evening the people could see a beautiful sunset. That day the weather was great and DJ’s Ruud van Heemskerck and Bart Steenman feel themselfs radiofree 🙂 Time was running out, the tenderboat was already waiting.

 

After an fantastic day we have to say goodbye to all our friends, we had so much in common with our radiowork that we decided that we come back again. It’s getting dark and even in the darkness the ship has got something majestic because it has so much to tell about. With emotions we are drifting away from the Ross Revenge back to Holland for a new story about an other schip wich was on the North Sea as well.
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The ship Ross Revenge is still functioning. This reunion was great for the people involved, also good fort he ships sake, because of the promotion by the quests to other people to ask them  to sponsor the ship by going there, buy merchandise and so on. Just laying there is 600 pounds a month and there is the generator and huge raepairs which always continue. The ship is always manned now. And ofcourse, it was great by making great radio on Radio Caroline that day by famous Dj’s of Radio Caroline, Radio Monique and the Dutch radio KR1 world service

 Listen the KR1 tune: Man of action

Contact: [email protected]