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What Listeners thought of Radiofax

Edited highlights from our listener comment line, as sent to Members of Parliament and the government. Far more closedown opinions are contained in the final Radiofax programe of 30th September 1992.

Duration: 16 minutes

MP4 file size: 9.3 MB
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Radiofax remembered in a 2008 podcast from Dublin

Radiofax was recalled in a Brian Greene podcast, mostly about RTE's looming shutdown of 567kHz medium wave. Includes an extract from Sparks M28.

Part transcript: "And finally on the programme, back in the studio, isn't it so much quieter and isn't the noise a lot less? It's wonderful. We head back to the early 1990s and a very unusual broadcast experiment that had short wave radio broadcasting from Donegal; from the highlands of Donegal came Radiofax. You can catch them at and here is a little snippet of one of their programmes. All programmes are available for download from their own website. From me, till we meet again on the podcast, goodbye." Sparks theme "Hello, I'm Andy Burnham. Welcome to Sparks. This week... "

Extract duration: 1m44, Original podcast: February 2008

MP3 file size: 1.7 MB
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Radiofax W54: Radio Caroline into the 90s documentary - Ronan O'Reilly and Lord Annan in the same programme

Recorded after the Ross Revenge had foundered on the Goodwins and been towed ashore this forms a remarkable record of opinions from government agencies, legislators and Caroline staff in 1992.

Written, produced and presented by Jill Moss

* Personalities interviewed in order of first speaking:

* Ronan O'Reilly, Radio Caroline founder - probably the only free radio station on the planet - less and less freedom
* Johnny Walker, Caroline, Radios 1&2 - risked imprisonment - huge youth movement - need radio freedom like press and TV - demand democracy - eastern Europe
* Steve Conway, Caroline station controller - drifted 17 miles onto Goodwin Sands - one foot of water in accommodation - capsize likely
* Captain White, Dover Harbour Board - not financially rewarding - don't regret salvage - marine regulations - ship detained - jailers
* Barry Maxwell, DTI Radio Investigation Service - regulate spectrum - extend rights to high seas - safety of life - pirates can go legal [really?]
* Peter Chicago, Caroline chief engineer - British officials assisted dismantling - worked alongside Dutch - cut cables - damaged generator
* Peter Moore, Caroline manager - DTI complicit in raid - third world licence - crew idealists - special event licences - satellite - Chatham
* Moorhead Fleming, Caroline lawyer - ship registration - dangerous precedent in international law - foreign vessel - UK unique
* Lord Noel Annan (Annan Report 1977) - extremely dangerous - international incident - direct attack by government on Caroline - loyal audience
* Trevor Brook, broadcast equipment designer - interference allegations implausible - Spectrum 558 + 990 - engineering profession into disrepute

[In May 1990 Trevor had written to fellow Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) member and IBA Director of Engineering Dr John Forrest about the inept allocation of 558kHz, the availability of other frequencies in London for Spectrum Radio and how IBA compliance with the DTI's Radio Caroline jamming scheme brought the profession into disrepute. Following predictably inadequate coverage, due to Caroline 558, the DTI provided 990 kHz for an additional Spectrum transmitter beside the River Thames at the Fulham Football Craven Cottage stadium. Trevor subsequently resigned from the IEE.]

Duration: 32m40, Originally broadcast as part of W54: 1st April 1992. Repeated 10th May 1992

MP3 file size: 18.6 MB
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Radiofax Music Programme F4 from Andy Bradgate

Radiofax helped Radio Caroline get out on shortwave in the early 1990s, when outlets were few and far between. They used to provide weekly music programmes to us for transmission. The legendary Andy Bradgate also recorded this one-off Radiofax programme that has not been heard since 1991. He later restyled himself as Steve Satan, Head of Rock at the Caroline Rocks occasional FM station in Bristol. He commented: "It's very nice to play some of your favourite music once in a while".

Duration: 1h34m13, Originally broadcast: 12th July 1991, presented in full - enjoy!

MP3 file size: 54 MB
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Sparks theme tune

Andy chose the 1980 release Tender Force, by the French band Space (Roland Romanelli and Jannick Top). More in Memories from Andy Burnham.

Duration: 6m23, Full version, stereo

MP3 file size: 5.9 MB
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Radiofax Programme W44, 46, 48, 50: Radio Caroline/Seagull 1 with Steve Conway

A young Steve Conway, who was on board Caroline's Ross Revenge when she grounded on the Goodwin Sands in November 1991. Presented here as one long show, though originally aired in four parts with a mis-announced frequency, phonetic spellings and repeats edited out and Radiofax style IDs substituted.

Duration: 1h45m12, Originally broadcast in four segments as part of: W44 22nd January, W46 5th February, W48 19th February and W50 4th March 1992

MP3 file size: 69.3 MB
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Radiofax Programme W57: Radio Caroline/Seagull 2 with Ricky Jones

An entertaining two hour selection from a young Ricky Jones, previously on Radio Invicta Coast AM in Kent and also on Caroline when she grounded on the Goodwin Sands. A Radiofax station ID aired in the gap.

Duration: 2h01m09, Originally broadcast: 29th May 1992

MP3 file size: MB
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Radiofax Music Programme F43 by Andy Sherwood - Possession is Nine Tenths of the Law

A 'music' show from Andy Sherwood.

Two hours of creative radio from one of our most off the wall broadcasters. There are a few songs as well.

Duration: 2h5m9, Originally broadcast: 19th June 1992

MP3 file size: 71.6 MB
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Radiofax Music Programme F59 by Andy Burnham

A rare music show from Andy Burnham (a.k.a. Andy Parka and Joss Stick on Radio Caroline) which includes an entertaining Star Trek spoof at 1h46.

Listeners had just heard of action by Dublin and a few listener letters to Sparks are included in this show since there were too many to pack into the remaining Sparks shows before the impending closure of Radiofax. Several licensed radio amateurs approved of what we were doing and one listener posted along a SPARKS bar he had spotted at Marks and Spencer in Edinburgh. The Minister's address in Dublin, our special call-in number, 0483 272 888, and the limited edition Radiofax T shirt all get mentions.

Running order
* Music: Free World by Kirsty MacColl
* Making the most of the last few days
* Music: The Boy in the Bubble by Paul Simon
* Runaway by Deee-Lite - this had flopped - 50 pence from Woolworths
* Music: I Wanna Be a Flintstone by The Screaming Blue Messiahs
* Embarrassing for the Republic - Dublin wish unlicensed activity to cease
* Music: All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix
* Datawave Wireless Rock Speaker WRS10 - redeeming achievement - belief in mankind - FM radio - weatherproof loudspeaker - Zeitgeist, Guardian
* Music: White Rabbit by The Damned
* Music: Sweet Bird Of Truth by The The
* Letter from Richard Henderson - Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen - third year student - electronic engineering
* Music: Shoplifters Of The World Unite by The Smiths
* Music: I Am the Law by Anthrax - for Andy Sherwood - Possession is Nine Tenths of the Law - Judge Dread, the radio show
* Letter from Mike Pratt - electronic engineering - University Radio Bath - best of luck with the station - of all the people waiting you of all deserve a licence the most
* Music: 24 Hours by Betty Boo
* Bristol Computer and Electronics Fair - radio rally - Brunel Centre, Temple Meads Station, Bristol - 6th September
* Music: Let Me Take You There by Betty Boo - met her while working at Radio HMV
* Music: Everything Counts [Reprise] by Depeche Mode
* Music: Start by Peter Gabriel
* Music: I Don't Remember by Peter Gabriel
* Letter from Bob Baird - After 12 Channel collapsed - adult films - £35,000 debts - Lothian Trading Standards - £30 subscribers - project overambitious - no 813s, would a SPARKS bar do instead? - M&S food section, Princes Street, Edinburgh - what a clever marketing idea from Radiofax (Andy eats it) [Anyone got a photo of this short lived bar?]
* Music: L.S.I. (Love Sex Intelligence) by The Shamen
* Music: Can U Dig It? [The Riffs Mix] by Pop Will Eat Itself
* Music: Really Scrape the Sky by Kingmaker
* DC777 Ad
* Not here for much longer
* Music: Like a Child Again by The Mission UK
* Music: Under the Gun by Deep Purple
* Radiofax will be closing down soon - hope of independent short wave licensing - thanks for 3000 letters of support each year - 0483 272 888
* Music: Images by Hawkwind
* Music: The World Is Stone by Cyndi Lauper
* Radiofax T Shirt Ad
* Music: A New England by Kirsty MacColl
* Letter from John Redmond of Devonside Tillicoultry, Scotland - radio amateur - FRG7700 - G5RV aerial - enjoyed programmes
* Music: Close to Me by The Cure
* Music: Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty [record jumps]
* Music: Good Morning Judge by 10cc
* Music: Sleeping Bag by ZZ Top
* Old tapes from university - Star Trek spoof - with DJ Martin Noshave/James Hampton Lovett
* Music: Star Trekkin' by The Firm
* Music: California Dreamin' by River City People
* 'Music': while we're playing ridiculous recordings - recorded by a friend of Andy Bradgate
* Music: True Faith by New Order
* Music: Walk This Way by Run-D.M.C.

Duration: 2h6m0, Originally broadcast: 4th September 1992

MP3 file size: 72.1 MB
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Related recordings

Radio Cracker with Andy Burnham

Part of a Christmas 1993 show on Radio Cracker in Cheam.

Running order:
* She Is Revolution by The Poppies
* Unforgiven by D:Ream
* The Perfect Kiss by New Order
* Astra satellite Radio Cracker 8PM news - not Andrew Flowerday - Nile trip young offender rearrested - Sir Rhodes Boyson - David Friel Croatia killed - Sarajevo convoy - South Pole crevasse death
* You're History by Shakespear's Sister
* Groovy Train by The Farm
* Layla by Derek & the Dominos
* School's Out by A.M.P.

Duration: 26m25, Originally broadcast: Christmas 1993, 28th or 29th December

MP3 file size: 15.1 MB
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Radio Caroline 819 Overnight Alternative with Joss Stick/Andy Parka/Andy Burnham

From 3am and featuring inserts from Chris Adams and Max Buchanon - three weeks before the 19th August 1989 raid. Max Buchanon in the 819 Studio (not the 558 studio as it says in the caption) from where these Caroline 819 shows originated. The rather nice soundproofing on the walls had been installed by the Dutch guys over the summer.

Running order:
* When The Music's Over by The Doors
* Killer by Alice Cooper
* No-One Loves You When You Have No Shoes by Doctor & the Medics
* Soldier Blue by The Cult
* Julia Dream by Pink Floyd
* And I Go by Steve Winwood
* Who by Fire by Leonard Cohen
* Funny How Time Slips Away by Bryan Ferry
* Hanging Out With Halo Jones by Transvision Vamp
* Winners & Losers by Iggy Pop
* River's Gonna Rise by David + David
* Crawling King Snake ( LP Version ) by The Doors
* Poor Boy by Split Enz
* Fire Girl by Iggy Pop
* Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley & the Wailers
* Listen To Your Heart by Roxette
* I Just Can't Leave Your Love Alone by B.B. King
* The Great Pretender by The Band
* Heartlight by Kenny Loggins
* A Party by Big Audio Dynamite
* Dogs by Pink Floyd

Duration: 1h34m06, Originally broadcast: 26th July 1989

MP3 file size: 26.9 MB
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Condensed version. Duration: 15m12

MP3 file size: 4.4 MB
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Back to Radiofax Main Page

Sparks Technical and Media News - listen to the some of the very first editions.

Technical information:
From the original cassettes, programmes have been:

  • Processed through a Surrey Electronics Variable Emphasis Limiter 3
  • Digitised using an external 48kHz codec and transferred to PC over a digital optical link.
  • Edited in Audacity on Suse Linux
  • Converted to MP3 using Lame on a dual 2.8GHz Xeon CPU system

Page produced by Andy Burnham and Trevor Brook
Published: January- March 2006


Recommended Links

Media Network Vintage Vault

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British DX Club

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Radio Jackie

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