Shorty Wave: Well thanks again for your thoughts at today's meeting and finally I have asked John to tell us how he finally decided to join Anoraks Anonymous and the benefits he may have derided by our meetings so far. As always just tell it how it is John.
John: Well, after over thirty years of anorak addiction I decided it was time to quit as I was getting close to losing my mind. I have very few friends outside of the community and even with my family I still sense the unease, you know, will he start on about Radio Caroline again, even when I try it only takes someone to mention a trigger word and I was off. Something like "have you heard Taylor Swifts new album" and without hesitation I would just huff and comment, well you wont hear that on Caroline.
Shorty Wave: So what happened, how did you go about quitting rather than losing your mind, as you put it?
John: Well for a few months I had weened myself off of Caroline, I listened to Radio Jackie, it wasn't the same but it had a fresh younger feel to it, like it was in the old days, I knew I was to old for it, but at least I felt a little more cheery for a while. I went back to the pretend Caroline North broadcasts each month, they might have been from Essex but they were on a boat that occasionally moved a tiny amount, and lets be honest, it was less, oh how can I put it, less dull presentation and music wise.
Shorty Wave: I sense you are holding back a little John, would you like to chat some more about this next week?
John: No, it's time I cut to the chase, I am sorry but this was always going to be difficult. Well Caroline was never going to be the same after the offshore days. I was well informed enough to know that each incarnation of the station was different, unconnected so to speak. By chance I had met one of the radical 'Anorak Bloodline Trolls' and that experience left me shaken. Those people are dangerous, cross one of them and they will hound you for months. OK there may not be many, but they are fanatical, just the tiniest negative comment about 'The Lady' that's how they refer to Caroline and they send round the Bishop. Nobody knows his real name, he uses so many on the free radio forums, that's where they tend to meet up these days, to agree whose out of line and needs sorting out, or to pay obeisance to 'The Lady'.
Shorty Wave: Go on John, this is fascinating.
John: Well you never know where you stand with these guys, I mean they are constantly moving the goal posts, at one time a person called Garry (known as the legend) kept these people in check, but alas it's seems like they have even got to him, that's how crazed they are, it wouldn't surprise me if they had given him a verbal kicking offline. It's almost surreal nowadays, one moment DAB stands for dead and buried, the next Caroline is on some tiny DAB outlets and it's the future! A few years back community radio was derided, it would never work, it was a sell out, but now Caroline has joined in and it's wonderful and they have a whole kilowatt to cover their heartland, which apparently turned out to be just Suffolk and North Essex, even Ronan couldn't have made that one up and boy did he tell some tales!
Shorty Wave: But surely Caroline covered most of southern England back in the day?
John: Well that's what I thought, but if the Bishop say's it's only that area that counts as the heartland then who was I to argue. His boss has the boat, the license, the true believers who will volunteer for as long as they can, it's almost like a cult or religion nowadays. Finally I had a moment of enlightenment. If the Anoraks have taken over the asylum, well then, it is time to get out. Joining Anoraks Anonymous finally made sense. You share facts, something Anoraks usually compulsively resist, as they say who wants to know, who cares. But after a while for me, a sense of understanding, a calmness of no longer being considered a little strange by those around you, and a thing called logic kicked in. I woke up one morning and shouted out loud, "I can be normal, I can have many friends, I no longer need to send in reception reports, I am reasonably adjusted and I feel fine".
Shorty Wave: Thanks John, any final words before we all head down the pub to get some well earned beers in.
John: No, lets go and sink as many as we can, and get a few blissful drunken hours forgetting these nutters.
Well that's what it say's on the tin and it's been the vehicle to censor many a naughty boys opinion. Thank goodness for the consistent approach since the nasty man who questioned matters was booted off!!!
I am wondering if you and Mr Reality have ever been mates or may just have once been in the same room or even may have waved to each other from far sides of a huge field. I have to say that I doubt it.
Radio Caroline applied for a licence and had to suggest a service of a type that was not replicated by other stations audible in the same area. It was on this basis that we were granted the licence and now we must, within reason, provide that which we promised. We are not ' hogging a frequency ' keeping it from other users. We have no ability or permission to offer it around for others to ' have a go ' even if we wished to do so, which we do not.
I think you are so fixated that if I asked you which day it was you would reply ' it should be the day we get hobby radio in the UK '. Or if I asked about the socks you were wearing you would say ' the same socks I hope to be wearing when hobby radio' etc etc.
So what is it that you hope for, hobby music radio, hobby speech radio, hobby radio a bit like CB and Amateur
More to the point, aside from on this forum, have you actually done anything at all to gain support for and lobby for what you want. Or have you as I suspect done nothing whatsoever.
Don't fib ! - Malcolm Smith (aka Peter Moore).
And here comes the cavalry...
I don't think anybody was expecting an intelligent answer from David LW and he hasn't disappointed us. - Jim.
David, you endlessly bang on about 'hobby radio' being allowed on AM, you have referred to Caroline as a 'hobby station', and now you are suggesting they are wasting money being on AM. You are all over the place, there's no logic whatsoever to your posts. - Kevin.
David, you better advise Gary not to put any of his stations on MW as you were advocating a few weeks back. - Ian S in Portsmouth.
Correct Peter, David has done NOTHING at all. All talk. - Freddie Archer.
Well, this is going well for David, not. Why do you insist on making yourself the subject of ridicule, David? - Kevin.
It's just a little like a certain movie scene, where the same brave folk had found their suitable victim....
CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch! We've got a witch! A witch!
VILLAGER #1: We have found a witch, might we burn her?
CROWD: Burn her! Burn!
BEDEMIR: How do you know she is a witch?
VILLAGER #2: She looks like one.
Step aside Sheriff there's a new book in town, (or is this just much a do about nothing). No fear Sheriff Malcolm has ridden into Anorak Town and all will be well for those innocent folk who have suffered enough by Wild Billy Mervyn the meanest book-slinger in the West.
You see a man needs to know his limitations and even Crazy Geoff Thinker has already come to realise that nobody and that means nobody, messes with Sheriff Malc. The general public might, but as everyone knows the general public won't, just ask the Sheriff, the all seeing eye, the protector of all law abiding anoraks. My goodness this new Sheriff is angry, he is already up to 1980/81 with a new book, whilst Wild Billy Mervyn is way back in 1964-67/8, a period of time that no single person is interested in. The sixties? come on everyone knows the sixties are history and what idiot wants to understand history, least of all if it's accurate.
And here comes the killer blow, Sheriff Malcy Baby's book is bigger, yep even though it's not been written yet, trust the boss, it will be bigger and far more interesting. How do we know, well it's already received rave reviews from a couple of anoraks which as everyone knows is definative and final.
Now Deputy Garry, be a good boy and tie the Sheriff's horse up outside the Saloon, it's Wine O'Clock for the Boss...
On Conversation Central we are not just about satire, sarcasm or silly stuff. It's encouraging to note the number of individual visitors popping over here each day. Just as Mervyn Hagger is trying to document the true offshore radio history and the bigger picture of the sixties era (yes we know, he is abrasive to snowflakes and those who sold out to the state), Radio Now and Then has other motives. Like the real truth, real facts, documented, cross referenced and robust under scrutiny. Our Serious Series starts with a fascinating interview. We have ordered the book referenced in this video and will add more on a further occasion. In the meantime, strap yourselves in for a beautiful learning curve. If you are already up to speed on this stuff feel free to add your informed comments below.
Not so long ago a "new rule" was introduced about only one thread on one subject/station being allowed on the legendary Garry's forum. Duplicates were FORBIDDEN! Some moaned and complained, what about our free speech etc, etc, blah blah blah.......
So how about right now, right there? Where? Over there of course! Well as of Sunday (18/08) circa 20:15 or 8:15pm in analogue, we have on the glorious first page the following Thread Titles.
Tommy Rivers On Caroline.
Caroline 648 currently 1kw EMRP?
Graham Bannerman on Caroline.
Why does RC not livestream on U Tube.
Caroline Wednesday Evenings @ 8.
Next RC North Broadcast.
Which I think in all fairness begs the question above, has Garry joined the church, in this case the church of Caroline as he described the anoraks who obsess over their beloved former free radio and pirate radio station.
It also raises the question, how would Ronan really feel about his former offshore radio station and the worship it receives in the modern setting? No longer a free radio station. Licensed by his long term enemies, and restricted to 1KW ERP. No format choice beyond the one you applied for. Hardly free radio, not at all pirate radio, and let's put the boot in (Doc Martens allowed) even further, your signal is from a former BBC radio mast.
You see the Church of Caroline venerates Ronan and surely the above paragraph can only confirm the heresy that has taken place. Yes the D.J's, the sole private owner, and worst of all even Ronan's long term disciples have turned on him. A poor old man in dreadful health and this is what they do? Thank goodness some of us are prepared to stand up for the truth! To expose the fraud that is, the Church Of Caroline. To recount Caroline's real history, it's true legacy and above all to expose these heretics for all their false worship.
If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people. - Confucius.
The lunatics have taken over the asylum. Well not quite they have taken over 5799khz short wave just one criminal kilohertz from the 49 meter band where safety awaits any renegade pirate, who does not want to pirate too illegally. Once again our philosopher of the month Long Wave Dave has been stirring up the proverbial hornets nest, that is free radio legend Garry's forum.
But whats all this about DM's I hear you screaming incessantly at me. Well folk of a certain era will remember fondly Dr Marten Boots. Yes I know they are still around, but these day's they are a must have for rebellious fashion ladies and lovers of sturdy comfortable shoes, rather than the must have foot-ware of any self respecting skinhead.
Anyhow let us do a quote from our favorite forum - "David LW you are such a complete and utter clown. You talk absolute rubbish constantly and have no real knowledge of free radio. You constantly insult the people on this board who have much greater experience on the topic than you have or will ever have. If your advice was followed there would never be any free or hobby radio on bands like MW because OFCOM etc would consider us to be a bunch of idiots more likely to need attention from local social services. 'Narnia a place where magical things are said to happen'. David you would like the place, but unfortunately I doubt you could find the wardrobe" - Dave Martin.
Whoa that's savage for a place where respect for other people is, well lets quote Garry this time, after all it's his forum - "Please take note we will not tolerate ANY FORM of direct attacks on any individual". Wait a minute! wasn't Mr Martin Persona Non Grata from Garry's pad after giving himself over to the dark side otherwise known as the joke board? Oh well perhaps all is forgiven and this was just a momentary lapse. Lets have another quote from another thread.
"David, why? Well to minimise the chance of harmonics and sprogs for starters. Then of course the resonant antenna when matched to the the TX will radiate the signal more efficiently than the proverbial piece of wet string. Don't pick a fight with me over radio, because you will end up losing. My RSM told me that".
Wow, fighting talk, D.M must have his D.M's firmly boot-laced. How can poor old Long Wave Dave handle this one. Dave Martin in his Doc Martens armed with a soldering iron in one hand and a resonant antenna in the other, thank goodness we can look for a timely intervention form Garry. You what? He hasn't?
It's a strange old world in the land of the Anoraks where for decades certain dates or anniversaries hold the same or even more significance than say the 8th May 1945 or even 9th November 1989. Easter Sunday being one that readily springs to mind along with today August 14th. Yes events in 1964 and 1967 resonate highly among faithful Anoraks of a certain age and this year is no exception, no wait a moment, hang on a bit, it would appear that this year is an exception. 2019 what's going on, explain yourself?
A quick search around various free radio forums and the silence is deafening. A certain tpebop has tried to stir up the usual frenzy of nostalgia on a couple of forums and fallen flat on his/her/it's face. Is forgetting or ignoring now the new cool in anorak circles? Have they all morphed into Hipsters and so hey daddio we don't look back, looking back is soooo last year!
Or have we finally run out of angles or energy when it comes to offshore radio and the past. This cat has been skinned so many times your down to the bone and chipping. But Johnny Walker promised us, he ensured us that no man would ever forget August 14th 1967! I wonder if he remembered today whilst going around his local agricultural show with the wife, pinning the odd rosette on here and there and being wined and dined with the local farming finery (source - The Blackmore Vale).
Oh well 1967 is a long time ago now, and as the new party line is "nobody is interested about what happened back then" perhaps Malcolm X oops S is now the keeper of sixties offshore radio history and Johnny should have kept his mouth shut. So anoraks, toe the line, "nobody cares" and that most certainly includes you. That is of course and whilst we are on the subject small furry domestic pets, unless someone comes along at lets the cat out of the bag. I had better dial 999 and see if this is an anorak emegency.
Shorty Wave: Welcome back to John our newest member, as you probably remember last week he told us a little about his journey into our world, and I know you have more to say, so over to you John.
John: Thank you, well I knew a listener who lived in Essex and one day he invited me over to stay for a while. He'd heard about Sovereign being raided & I guess, just wanted to help. Every other listener I knew had said East Anglia was the place to be, they called it the home of watery wireless, something I knew little about, so I thought to myself, well why not go.
Shorty Wave: You had not heard of watery wireless?
John: I know it sounds strange now but I was so wrapped up in the local pirates and as long as you didn't go on about them at work to much, nobody really noticed if you had a problem, and I felt quite comfortable with what I had.
Shorty Wave: What happened when you arrived in Essex?
John: Well I was getting quite unsettled on the journey, I could just about tune into the Dread Broadcasting Company but reggae was not really my thing and by the time I got to Basildon they were fading in and out, it was the first time I had experienced the Anorak Shakes, I was clutching at my transistor radio and just spinning the dial uncontrollably. Thankfully Alfred my friend was there to meet me at the coach station.
Shorty Wave: Well done John, I can see you are reliving this, are you OK to go on?
John: Yes I'm good. Well we went to a pub and grabbed a beer each and sat in the corner. Alfred told me to listen to the music in the background, he was smiling, I will never forget the song, it was The Reflex by Duran Duran and then I heard an American accent saying all Europe radio Laser 558, Alfred leaned across the table and whispered, have some watery wireless, his grin said it all, I could see he was blissfully addicted.
Shorty Wave: And how about you John?
John: What can I say, I was elated, this was my first offshore station and it was being played in a pub! We sat there for hours sinking pints, Alfred had some photos of their ship, new all the D.J's names, he even had some cassette recordings with him in case they went off air, something I later learned often happened while they did maintenance or were short of fuel. Eventually we went to his house, he lived with his mum but she didn't mind me staying in the spare room, one of the first things she said was that Alfred could do with some friends.
Well it was incredible, we listened to Laser all day long, Alfred logged their signal strength each morning and afternoon and he had countless scrap books with photos of all the other preceding Offshore Stations. I'd never seen a QSL card before, he had hundreds, and everything was meticulously arranged in date and alphabetical order, with colour coding where required, I suddenly knew what it was like to be in the know about free radio. He became my mentor, I learned all the offshore radio station themes, the DJ's themes going back to the sixties, it as fantastic.
Shorty Wave: How long did you stay there?
John: A couple of months, once I had received some reception reports from a listener in South West London confirming they were coming in loud and clear, I knew I could return home, I also felt I had a mission now, to share Laser 558 to those in the dark. Once I had plenty of car stickers, tee-shirts and a couple of signed photos from the DJ's, I was ready. I remember waiting at the coach station, when Frank looking rather serious whispered to me - John, I know Laser means a lot to you, but just in case the worst should happen, he paused looking a little troubled, well in cast it goes wrong you need to know about Caroline. It's different he said, very different, it is Offshore radio, but it comes with a price. What sort of price I asked, I was puzzled. He replied, it's hard stuff, massively addictive and without the fun of Laser, some listeners don't even like any of the music they play, but they still listen, so be warned stick with Laser & you will be fine but I thought you ought to know, I thanked him, my coach had arrived.
Shorty Wave: Thank you John, we can pick this up again next week, now I don't know about you people but I could murder a pint, shall we....
You Will Hobby Radio! There is a chap who prefers the hobby radio method, after all it is without doubt the future of MW radio. So let's understand why this is, by taking a few of his quotes....
"There is No more money mileage left in it for Ofcom. The MW cash cow is DEAD!! No operator in his right mind wants to give Ofcom MW licence money. AND the listeners are gone. Time now for MW to become our very own Hobby music / Amateur radio band. To be acceptable to all, hobby radio would need similar rules to Amateur Radio (no politics or controversial stuff), and to be inside the MW broadcasting band. Play the music you like, as long as it's not offensive, and be considerate to other radio users".
OK then, so OFCOM can no longer milk this particular cow, seems a reasonable enough assumption, despite any data or shall we say facts supporting the point, and at what price for the Hobby Radio enthusiast? Well initially just a small one, like no free speech, but who want's that when you can get to play your records, but how can we make it work I hear you (not) asking?
"Legal access to MW is best for all. Ofcom would benefit, as the locations of all TX's would be known (as in Amateur Radio), in the unlikely event of interference. Also, the argument of some pirates that they would have no listeners is not valid, as they could use the MW / SW transmissions to make listeners aware of their online streams, and vice versa. Of course, commercial advertising would not be allowed, and also political propaganda. That is basically the same as Amateur radio, but with non controversial music being used. It's a good plan, and would satisfy over 90% of radio enthusiasts, and because the TX locations would not be secret, of great interest to MW DX'ers. It would be interesting how far away the hobby music stations could be received. Radio DX'ing has many enthusiasts, who would then become regular listeners to the hobby stations and their online streams. Folk, such as Garry and Neil, and Steve (Album zone) could then put their streams on real radio, making it all come really alive, like the Dutch scene."
Well that could not be clearer! Well maybe just a tad more. So Pirates have nothing to worry about because their online streams can be advertised on a medium that is dead or dying but suddenly full of radio enthusiasts playing their record collections & DXing, why had I not thought of that. Those online pirates eh, pirating away all day on the internet. But let's keep the whole thing simple.
"An interesting point (but not with any argument intended), is that using Morse is a vital ingredient of radio research. All initial testing of any new radio method, ALWAYS requires the use of Morse!! This was proved again only this evening, trying to set up something radio with a very close radio friend and colleague"
Yep Morse code, good old Morse code, would not be without it myself, although I am still a little keen on semaphore. Talking about Free radio I take it that it will all be free.
"I don't think Hobby Radio will add anything to anyone's purse strings. However, if it does not come here, a new 'raft' of legislation is on the way under the 'harm' ethos. This is happening now in the USA, and will effectively end ALL Free Radio, and will be a certainty here if we are not part of the EEC (which is not that much against free and hobby radio). The FCC is being given the authority to jail and fine all involved with free radio, so we better hope we get 'Hobby', because if not, after Brexit, the will be NO unlicensed free radio in the UK".
"Outside the EU, and after a year or so after Brexit, you will say goodbye to all Free Radio, and most web streaming that has no official approval (Trump is creating this legislation). This (in the UK) will be covered by the 'harm' papers, and will be a similar 'copy' of the incoming USA (Trump) media laws. Offshore radio back in the 60's violated international 'radio' laws, and so had to go. The BBC played no part in this, and the push to create the MOA came mainly from the Dutch authorities who like to follow the ITU agreements. If Ronan and the others had applied to the IIU first, things would be very different today. Today's PM Caroline follows the ITU plan by being on 648 MW. Low power MW stations (due to the small range) do not need to comply to the ITU arrangements".
Well he's being blamed for pretty much everything else that's bad on the planet so why not add threatening Hobby Radio to Donald's collection of wrongs. Still back to the money how much will this all cost?
"Garden shed free hobby radio costs almost zero, and will return on MW, and maybe also on VHF band 2 after digital switch over. If Brexit happens, the chances will be less, unless Trump and Co. can be persuaded".
So just to be clear Donald is running OFCOM? - OK then, I have been a little sarcastic with my comments so just to be fair and in your own words, reassure us that free speech is allowed within hobby radio, or at the very least a daft joke or comment made on air can be forgiven, and people in general and within the law can air their opinions.
"I have a very long and close working association with MoD, and I can assure you 'free speech' (I assume you mean political and / or controversial stuff) on ANY platform will never be allowed. I am proposing something (Hobby music radio) that is 'allowable, BUT it MUST have the same basic guidelines as Amateur Radio. If you listen very carefully to the 'tolerated' Dutch pirates, and the 'city block' London pirates, you will NEVER EVER find any of them doing political rants. One presenter (Lion King) on a 'city block' pirate station (Omega Radio, I think) did a poor taste Jewish joke, and that station was busted within hours by Ofcom with heavy armed Police backing. 'Lion King' was sent to court for racialism, and also 'banned' by all other 'city block' pirates, who know not to EVER go down the 'free speech' road. They play their music, and promote their community gigs. Some even do adverts promoting the civvy Police and have UK Forces recruitment adds!! Creeping 'oils the wheels' of free radio. Some, like Rinse, have been given a licence to broadcast!! So that's how it is. If free radio is used as a political tool, hobby radio will never happen in the UK. Notice too that Garry's streams NEVER carry any present day politics. If they did carry present day politics (nostalgic 'Big L' original 60's vintage News snippets have no relevance today), those streams would be taken down in less than a day. Also staying inside the broadcasting bands is vital, as Amateurs stay in theirs. It's common sense, and consideration to others, and the Authorities at the end of the day, (David LW).
So in summary Hobby Radio is fine as long as you keep your mouth shut, play your record collection, and indulge in a spot of leisurely DXing.
But has anyone thought of using Morse code to share their views and ideas. That's it! Hobby Morse, the last bastion of free speech, I'll have a word with Donald who is a big fan of the first amendment, you never know he might even let us use our mouths.
Welcome to Anoraks Anonymous - We are here to help all of you. Our three part 'play' is designed to assist you on your first steps to your journey of recovery. You can be normal again, you can have real friends again, you can go outside again, all of this can happen. So follow the first steps to recovery as our play unfolds, this might be part of you, all of you, or at the very least the first guiding light to recovery. YOU CAN BE NORMAL, IT IS NOT JUST A DREAM.
John: My name is John Smith and I.. well yes.. well erm... I am an Anorak.
Shorty Wave (Group Therapist): Well done John, all of us here know just hard making that statement can be, and we all welcome you to your first meeting. So John if you can, tell us some of your story.
John: Well for me it started back in the early nineteen eighties, I had been tuning around on the radio and came across Radio Sovereign... it's really hard isn't it....
Shorty Wave: It's OK John, take your time, I promise you, we have all been there in our own way.
John: Well the buzz was incredible, they were playing oldies 24 hours a day, you know back then nobody was doing that. They didn't have a license and seemed so enthusiastic and day after day I kept going back for more, at first an hour here and there, but after a month or two I was tuning in for at least ten hours a day, I even found it hard to hold my job down, I just needed to get back in my Ford Escort after work and have some more on my car radio.
Shorty Wave: So what happened next?
John: I knew a guy called Dave who on one occasion had been going on about his new girl friend Jackie when we were in a pub one night. Well I bumped into him a few days later and he looked really rough, I asked him what was up and it turned out that Jackie was another pirate radio station and he had just binged on a forty eight hour non stop listening session.
Shorty Wave: I guess that did not help?
John: No. I now found myself doing both Jackie and Sovereign and within a year I needed more. I got to know more listeners, that's what we called ourselves back then, one guy had a list of other pirates and where you had to go to tune in, he'd been a Thameside Radio listener and after they were busted big time, he had made it his cause to spread the word about land based pirates wherever they might be, he was totally addicted.
Shorty Wave: Do you want a break John?
John: Yes please, but I have so much more to tell when I am ready.
Shorty Wave: That's OK, you have done really well for your first meeting, I promise we are really proud of you!
Radio Now & Then
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