Ross Revenge English



There took a unique reunion place of DJ’s 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 , Dave Foster, Vince Holland, Bart Steenman, Ruud van Heemskerck (KR1) and Chris Pearson. Some DJ’s like Nick Richards ( Radio Caroline ) and Bart Steenman ( 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 (MW, FM and internet) talking about the old days and  friendship . Bart Steenman was 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 our correspondent a board we show you many pictures,  and even movies about the  mentioned interviews and ship!
The true story of Radio Caroline.
 DJ Tony Blackburn 1965
The trip was also organised by their old colleague the famous Albert Hood who organised the tendering and supplies for more than 40 Years. (Photo 4 ) 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] 


Some of the crew stayed in the famous little hotel ‘Stonar quest house’ in Clacton on Sea. (photo 3a)  Were people are used to Offshore pirate radio for 50 years
The KR1 crew went aboard on the official Ross Revenge tender Razorbill 3”, stationed on the wonderfull Mersey Island to go tot he 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) had a conversation with Albert Hood about the history from the Ross Revenge for writing the report about the reunion of all DJ’s and what happend with the ship.


The Ross Revenge comes closer and closer 🙂



Safety instructions were given because, 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.
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. All crew of Caroline were waiting fort he tender just like in the old days to welcome us. 
A board some slight differences were noticed but it looked about the same, some things disapeard other things new or refurpt. DJ Ruud van Heemskerck was surprised and went directly to the “belly”of the schip to see the transmitter of Caroline.


The famous DJ’s from Radio Caroline Nick Richards en John Lewis decided to make a live video transmission for their listeners because it was a special reunion day and because the KR1 DJ’s were on board after 30 years.


It was a amazing feeling to be on board again many memories comes back from the old days, we were impressed how the Dj’s the dream from Radio Caroline keeping the dream alive. They did it with dedication and for many listeners by playing all kind of music on the radio.
DJ Ruud van Heemskerck (KR1) took a video and pictures of all cozy moments. The crew explain here everything about the schip in the old days, People talked a lot. Cheerfull moments  in the diner and lounge room of the ship. John Lewis still seems to have the same mood it seems because 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. 


Of course 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 words about music was said here.
Nowadays the ship complies to todays safety standards, with an emergency light system and drawings of safeways as you can see here, Still the KR1 sticker is on the door 🙂


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 ! 
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. 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.
The kitchen is new, more luxury than the old situation. One of the few interior things that has really changed, but still you have to make your own mail was telling by DJ Nigel like the old days. 🙂


Here the room were the wash use to hang at rainy days is now a souvenir shop with great items by the way. Of course the DJ’s of KR1 bought many items for sponsoring the Ross Revenge. To everybody we can say that it is worth to visit the Ross Revenge.

These 3 people were on board at the same time 30 years ago. Caroline and a Monique DJ Nick Richards, Bart Steenman and John Lewis. This DJ’s were giving each other a lot of information with a very good spirit. It was wonderfull to be back on the ship, there was so much to tell and no time enough. Under you see the same DJ’s in the 80ties, In the beginning when we came on board  they did’nt regonise eachother because mother nature has change something 🙂 This pictures were taking by Dj Bart Steenman in 1985, The English Dj’s were suprised when they saw the old pics after 30 years. You can imagen that the ice was broken  and that we were the VIP’s of the day.

Here an other trio from that time on the Ross Revenge. You see Ron West, Bart Steenman and Walter Simons in 1985. In this time was also born the Dutch radio station KR1 with DJ’s Bart Steenman en Ruud van Heemskerck

Recording of Pirat Radio Station Caroline 1965

Everybody was looking around at the old radio Caroline studio. The old switchboard used in the movie ‘The boat that rocked’  (take a look at that here;  ) is still there ! In the next picture you’ll see a laptop and 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.


Here you see the captain cockpit with all equipment that was needed in that time, the ship was a fish trailer and later on a icebreaker. Under 2 pictures are the cardroom with all the maps from that time, they are still there!


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.
We are witnessed now; Bart Steenman  offshore radiostation Radio Monique with 4 million listeners) entered the old Monique studio. By asking Ruud van Heemskerck (KR1) immediately organised Nick Richards 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 and KR1 worldservice
9th new dutch worldservice after Radio Nederland world service 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 quess what,  this interview by Nick Richards with Bart Steenman is filmed and you can watch it here 🙂
Later on the famous Chris Pearson asked Bart Steenman to do a commercial with 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.  
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.



Here we show you a short film shot and comment  by famous Caroline dj Dave Foster, and Dave Foster in the picture and a longer shot of the music room here:

The turntables in the Caroline studio are rare. 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 ! 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!


Listen here the jingels of Radio Monique

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 Revenge. 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..
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 the money, and how to do business and organisation in a very 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, with all the jingles and commercials on time, making food,  make news, from this small news room. here you see DJ Bart Steenman in the small newsroom.
Bart Steenman explains to us how they did it. 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 very 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!
There it is ! The Optimod, used at that moment 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, I am suprised that DJ Ruud van Heemskerck (KR1) made the same sound on KR1 radio. 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 aan still an expensive machine.  
Bart Steenman is pointing at the Optimod machine. Next from the Optimod are the blue wall closes with the 50 kilo watt transmitter with tubes with the size of an elbow, in the grey wall closes are the extra spair transmitter in case that the first one is falling out. 

The coils of the antenna were tuned for the best effect, the signal went through a big coil to tune and 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 Steenman was glowing when he looked through the window. The antenna in that time was 90 meter high, 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 wich is important for having a good radio wave in the airways. 
Bart explained; when I went down, there was that amazing loud noise comming from the big generators. In that generator room you really need earplugs. 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 radio transmitters.


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. 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.


The DJ’s on the Ross Revenge slept in a small cabin. DJ Bart Steenman told us when there was not enough sweet water then salt water was used.

The engineer was always busy most of the time and really needed the spare parts and sometimes the hughe engines were tested. 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 and 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.   


After 30 jaar went DJ Bart Steenman to his cabin and saw the “wall of fame” with all names of the jocks, the name of DJ Bart Steenman is still on the door as well. 
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. It is always rusty at 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. 🙂
In the evening the people could see a beautiful sunset. that day, the weather was great. DJ’s Ruud van Heemskerck and Bart Steenman they feel themself  radiofree 🙂 Now we have just a few moments left for talking with the famous DJ’s Nick Richards en John Lewis on the end of the day. The tenderboat was nearby for taking us to the shore 


Here a record of a pirate night on radio Caroline 
After a fantastic day its time to say goodbye from our radio friends, we had so much in commen with our radio work that we dicide to come back again. It is getting dark and even when the light are on the Ross Revenge it has something majestic, because it has so much to tell. With some emotion we are drifting away from the “Ross Revenge” with the tenderboat “Razor Bill 3” back to Holland for a new story about an other radioship wich was in the Nortsea as well.


The ship Ross Revenge is still in function. This reunion was succesful for everybody who likes the radiowork and for surviving of the Ross Revenge. KR1 recommand everbody to go to this historic ship and to buy some promotion stuff out of their store. The money they realy need it, because it takes  600 pond a month to stay in open water, also diesel for the generators and spare parts is needed. The ship needs always a crew and the tenderboat has to go offen. For us KR1 team it was above aspecting to make live radio at the famous Radio Caroline on the Ross Revenge with English and Dutch KR1 DJ’s ! All credits go to radio Caroline organisation of the Ross Revenge.
Thank you for reading our story
By DJ Ruud van Heemskerck
Contact: [email protected]

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