Sun, 8 August 2010
Time Out have just run a centre page spread on the London pirate stations featuring Thameside Radio so the team are sounding pleased. It’s clear that there are radio pirates broadcasting pretty much every day and throughout the weekend in London.
This was an interesting week behind the scenes: Rather than just responding to reports of interference Eric Gotts, who ran the Home Office detection unit, was actively trying to close down all the pirates. Many of the pirates had now discovered the radio channel that the detection unit used so they were able to stop broadcasting or change transmitters as soon as they were being tracked. However this week half way through the evening the detection team were heard to say that they were “going home as all the pirates have gone off” so many of the pirates came back on. In fact the Home Office switched channels and ran a number of successful raids.
This does illustrate how this was something of a personal battle between Eric Gotts and the pirates. It was wasn’t just about preventing interference it really was a vendetta which was probably made worse when Eric was successfully prosecuted by Radio Jackie for violent conduct!
The recording has most but not all of the show. If you have more please drop me a note.
You might notice that the VOX was set a bit tight on one of the transmitters – this is the circuit which automatically switches the transmitter off when the broadcast stops. Unfortunately it set so that it switched off even if there was just a quiet bit in a record. It comes back on when the record gets louder though...
The number of transmitters being lost to the authorities around this time meant that some engineers had started to specialise in building and selling VHF transmitters and link equipment to the pirates. Funnily those entrepeneurs are still doing it but they now run major businesses building equipment for mainstream broadcasters throughout the world such as the BBC and have moved away from the pirate market completely.