Announced wavelength : 270 metres.
It was in November 1965 that a group of Northern businessmen got together,
the purpose to set up an offshore commercial radio station. After six
months of planning it was hoped to start on 1st April 1966. A Dutch fishing
vessel, Oceaan VII was purchased and arrived in Scarborough on 26th
February 1966 and within hours work had started to convert her into a radio
station. The opening had to be cancelled as vital parts had not arrived
from America, and the following day, 2nd April 1966 at 9.00am a force seven
gale and heavy seas caused 100 feet of the mast to collapse. With her
propeller fouled a distress call was put out, but was cancelled after the
crew had managed to free the propeller. Two local keel boats, 'Progress'
and 'Utilizer' escorted the ship into Scarborough. The opening programme
was to have been a prayer for those at sea and a blessing of the ship by
Rev. Hedley Pickard.
Locations : On motor vessel 'Oceaan VII', anchored in international waters
off Scarborough, later moved to Bridlington.
Owners : Ellambar Investments Ltd.
Address : Radio 270, 278 Scalby Road, Scarborough, Yorkshire.
Advertising : Radio 270, Advertising Sales, Albemarle Chambers, Albemarle
Crescent, Scarborough, Yorkshire. Tel : 63645.
Hours of transmission : 6.30am to 1.00am, later extending to 6.00am to
The rough weather continued for some weeks before the Oceaan VII could be
towed to Grimsby by tug for repairs. Transmissions eventually started on
4th June 1966 on 1115kHz (269metres), with a power of 10kW. The station was
off the air several times in the first few weeks due to technical problems.
Bad weather in July 1966 put the station off the air again as she was
forced to take shelter. On 21st July 1966 the Oceaan VII entered
Bridlington for provisions and to repair damage to the aerial. But soon
Radio 270 was back on the air.
Early in the morning of 28th October 1966, an unstamped letter addessed to
Radio 270 arrived at Scarborough post office, as the station had instructed
that no unstamped letters would be accepted, it was opened so that it
could be returned to the sender. Inside was a printed note, "There is a
limpet mine attached to the ship. This is not a hoax". The police were
informed of the letter, which had been posted at Foggathorpe near Selby. A
hoax was suspected but they decided to inform Radio 270, just in case. A
gale prevented the tender from leaving Scarborough and Humber Radio refused
to take a radio telephone call because of a ruling forbidding calls to
offshore radio stations brought into effect on 9th February 1962.
Proudfoot, managing director of the station tried to contact the Postmaster
General, but could not contact him. His deputy, who lived near Scarborough
got in touch with London, but all they could advise was that the police
should ask Humber Radio to allow the call. They agreed, but no reply could
be obtained from the radio ship, who because of the ruling, did not keep a
permanent radio watch. The station kept on broadwasting unaware of the
drama on shore. At 4.20pm consideration was being given to sending out the
lifeboat, when the Burmah Oil rig Quest drilling nearby radioed that she
had managed to contact the station. The crew searched the ship, but found
nothing. Later Mr. Proudfoot left on a coastguard cutter to carry out a
fuller inspection. Because of the rough seas they were unable to board the
ship, but Captain Hodgson was sure his ship was safe.
At 5.35pm on 3rd November 1966 Humber Radio received a call from the Oceaan
VII, "I have seized main shaft bearing and will require tug assistance".
The station was off the air because of this, and unable to pass any
messages direct to the owners. She arrived in Scarborough at 8.00pm with
the 'Success II' in attendance. Repairs were carried out and within a few
days Radio 270 was back on the air. But she still had problems and was off
the air later in the month and again in December for a number of days. The
anchorage was moved to a more
sheltered position off Bridlington.
On 4th August 1967 the Oceaan VII left her anchorage and reappeared on the
13th, her position in that period is unrecorded. Trouble was experienced in
supplying power due to jelly fish being sucked into the cooling water
intake, causing the equipment to run at the wrong speeds.
In common with most stations Radio 270 decided to close with the Marine
Offences Act taking effect. On the afternoon of 14th August 1967 it was
intended that the DJs on shore leave would go out so that the entire
broadcasting staff would be on board to say goodbye. Rough weather
prevented this, and one of the DJs arranged with a friend to have a tape of
their farewells flown out. The problem was that he was with the RAF, so
when a helicopter appeared over the radio ship at 9.15pm it was a great
surprise to all on board. The package was dropped, but was lost in the sea.
Inside was a message telling those on board not to mention the drop as to
do so would cause a lot of trouble. But they did not get to read this note,
and thanked the 'helicopter boys at Leconfield'. The next day an official
enquiry was held as to why the training flight had carried out this
unauthorised action. It was reported that the Prime Minister himself called
for a report on the case.
The last hour of Radio 270 had to go out with just those on board, and at
11.59pm the station closed. The broadcasting staff were taken off and
arrived ashore at 1.00am to be met by a crowd of well-wishers. The ship
moved close to shore, and at 3.30pm the next day sailed to Whitby.
After nearly becoming Caroline in 1968, the ship had the mast and
broadcasting equiment removed and was offered for sale at £12,500. There
were no takers and she was later broken up.
The Oceaan VII was built by A. Vuijk & Zonen of Capelle in 1939, 118 feet
long, 179 tons, and the radio mast measured 154 feet. On board was a water
distillery unit, the galley was fitted with every modern appliance. The
aerial was of the vertical birdcage type, the transmitter a RCA BTA 10J1
with a power of 10kW. Under the wheelhouse the ship's four cylinder 240h.p.
engine was run every evening after close down to ensure the ship's
capability of sailing under her own power. Two 40h.p. auxilaries drove air
compressors, pumps etc., including if necessary an emergency 5kW generator.
Two 50 K.V.A. Dale Marine generators supplied all electricity. 6,000gallons
of oil were held in the main tank together with two reserves of 650 gallons
each. There were two studios on board, one for presenting programmes and
one for news.
Do you remember those 'Golden' days of Offshore radio?
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