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What Listeners thought of Radiofax - TRANSCRIPT

Edited highlights from our listener comment line, as sent to Members of Parliament and the government. Even 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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Broadcaster Brian Greene of Dublin recalls Radiofax

Brian Greene ended a March 2008 podcast with this tribute to Radiofax, including an an extract from Sparks M28:

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." Music: Sparks theme "Hello, I'm Andy Burnham. Welcome to Sparks. This week... "

Extract duration: 1m44, Original podcast: March 2008

MP3 file size: 4.1 MB
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Listener's Guide 1999

The Listener's Guide 1999 by Bob Ellis lamented the loss of Radiofax:

Bob EllisThe Listener's Guide 1999 Radiofax memory

Eddie Caffrey recalls the Radiofax Automated Frequency Change Transmitter - TRANSCRIPT

The 6205 daytime, 1611 nighttime transmissions during 1988 remembered.

Part transcript: " ...he devised a transmitter that would change from AM at night to shortwave during the day automatically... ...changeover, automatic. A work of art. It was genius... "

Extract duration: 1m50, Original podcast: October 2018

MP3 file size: 1.7 MB
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Radiofax W54: Documentary - Radio Caroline Into The 90s - Ronan O'Rahilly and Lord Annan in the same programme - TRANSCRIPT

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

Written, produced and presented by Jill Moss

* Personalities interviewed in order of first speaking:

* Ronan O'Rahilly, 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
* Mairead 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 which the IBA established beside the River Thames at the Fulham Football Craven Cottage stadium.]

Duration: 29m57. First broadcast as part of W54: 1st April 1992. Repeated 10th May 1992

MP3 file size: 68.5 MB
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Alternatively, this 3910 or 6205kHz off air recording from MDS975, missing the first half minute, illustrates typical Radiofax short wave reception. Duration: 29m20

MP3 file size: 67.1 MB
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Radiofax Music Programme F4 from Andy Bradgate

Radiofax helped Radio Caroline get on the air in the early 1990s, when outlets were few and far between. Caroline provided 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, First 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

Radiofax transmitted programmes for Radio Caroline through 1992 until 11th July. This show is by Steve Conway, who was on board Caroline's Ross Revenge when she grounded on the Goodwin Sands in November 1991. It is presented here as one long show, though it was originally aired in four parts (with a mis-announced frequency, phonetic spellings and repeats edited out and Radiofax style IDs substituted).

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

MP3 file size: 60.2 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, First broadcast: 29th May 1992

MP3 file size: 69.3 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, First 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, First broadcast: 4th September 1992

MP3 file size: 72.1 MB
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Off Air Recordings

Holly messes up a recording which went to air on Radiofax 6205kHz OFF AIR

Presented by Holly Robson and Trevor Brook
* Listener letter - There was a lot of talking mostly about technology - Are the programmes like that always?
* Letter from Robert J Little
- recording edit
* Radio 1 - Johnny Beerling - reasons for change - access to FM for September - 21st birthday - reasonable FM for 85% population - frequency availability - infill stations in the valleys
* Holly messes up... and continues: conservative audience - complain if John Peel is not available at 10pm - they'll get used to it - station has to evolve
* Do your programmes always sound like this Holly?
* Music: Beautiful Zelda by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band

Duration: 2m38, First broadcast: 1988, unknown date

MP3 file size: 6.1 MB
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Radio Seagull on Radiofax 6205kHz OFF AIR:

Recorded near a beach not far from Amsterdam, this is a short piece of a 1990 Steve Conway programme.

Duration: 35s, First broadcast: 29th April 1990

MP3 file size: 1.3 MB
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Radiofax 12,255KHz Krissi For Breakfast OFF AIR:

Recorded near a beach not far from Amsterdam, this is a short ident of Krissi Carpenter on Radiofax, with an edit into the end part of a promotion by Paul Bentley.

Duration: 36s, First broadcast: 25th April 1991

MP3 file size: 1.4 MB
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Fragment of Radiofax 6205 OFF AIR

A poor quality recording with items not found elsewhere (tape reverse at 4m41):
Presented by Trevor Brook
* Eddiefax Million Selling Single by Eddie Caffrey: I'm Into Something Good by Herman's Hermits
* Microphones in Broadcasting - BBC - Michael Talbot Smith - cost - quality control - ruggedness - rough handling - flat frequency response - good noise figures - appearance - Tim Lee Smith, Broadcast Systems Engineering

Duration: 7m04, First broadcast: 1988, unknown date

MP3 file size: 16.1 MB
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Radiofax Programme Solid Gold Sunday from September 1992 OFF AIR

This is nearly 60% of the show from a 6205 off-air recording in Clacton on Sea, Essex, at 660km by Sean Cuthbert, using a Matsui MR-4099 receiver (=Sangean ATS-803a) plugged into a 27MHz CB dipole. Several Opinion Line recordings appear.

Presented by Paul Bentley

* Opinion Line 0483 272 888
* Malcolm Cairns, Fieldhouse Road, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear - shocked and saddened - cannot think of single station given so much listening pleasure - letter to MP
* Carl Callaghan in Dublin city - think Radiofax should stay on
* Dave Hall, Lindhurst, Nottingham - enjoyed - do anything I can - lost stations before - thanks for everything - won't take any notice but writing to Dublin
* Jingle: One And Only Classic Gold
* Music: It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones
* DC777 Ad
* Jingle: Classic Gold It's A Blast
* Music: Lady Luck by Lloyd Price
* Letter from Veslav, Samara, Russia - thank you for programmes - enjoyed - 3910 - Soviet receiver - 10m outdoor wire antenna
* Phil Muir, Gillngham, Dorset - piano tuner - blind - really value Radiofax - valuable service - thanks for technical information
* ???, Ayrshire, Scotland - nice change from other stations - good luck - professional job
* Andrew Barker, Huddersfield - really enjoyed Sparks last months - should have licence - miss it very much - thank you very much
* Radiofax T Shirt £9.99
* Jingle: Stay With The Fun Hear All The Oldies Memory Making Classic Gold
* Music: Remembering The Sixties by George Duke ***TAPE REVERSE 16m50s
* Already had four calls from blind listeners - value they find in Radiofax content
* David Croxford in Northampton - sad favourite Sparks going off air - congratulations on high quality - Europe's best - writing to MP
* Gerald Grey, Sevenoaks - shattered - very sad - since 1988 - programmes superb - not background - listening every word - much appreciated - sent letter
* Letter from Mr E Carter, Pwllheli, Abergavenny, Gwent
* Music: Guitar Man by Bread
* Closedown announcement Tuesday 29 September
* Letter from Richard Mulhaley, Anglesey, North Wales - disappointed - so much pleasure - popular - sad listeners - tears in eyes - ICR71E ***WRITTEN SUN 30 AUGUST
* Simon Maher, Dublin - dismay and disgust that you are closing down
* Bill from Magherafelt, Co. Londonderry - rename as Radio Caroline
* Jimmy Longden in Newcastle - enjoyed your programmes - hope you continue - good luck - best wishes
* Paul Walker, Poulton in Avon - Sparks regular favourite - format excellent - always interesting - best of luck in the future
* Jingle: Always Happy To Be Of Service
* Closedown announcement Tuesday 29 September
* Jingle: You'll Find The Fun Radiates Around Everyone's Favourite Classic Gold
* Music: Breakout by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
* Station ID
* Music: Hallelujah Freedom by Junior Campbell
* Letter from Johan Deacock, Brustem, Belgium - 31 - 3 daughters - studied electronics, video, audio - working textile factory - Suzuki GSX1100 - collect beer cans - shortwave 1979 - Capri - IML - EMR - good signal
* Dave Preston, Leicester - long term listener - blind - Sparks covers more than my reader can get through - very sorry closing
* Pete Cook, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire - every day - very professional - very interesting - Andy Walker Radiodaze - wish you all well - missed by me
* Simon Parton, 23 Kingsland, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire - very sad - become regular listener - do whatever I can - thanks a lot for entertaining and informing
* Jingle: The Good Times Classic Gold
* Music: Invitations by Shakatak
* Anoraks Ireland - recordings - Nova - KITS - Midway - Heartbeat - Dublin - Sunshine 101 - ERI - ABC - hundreds of photos - catalogue £3 - Paul Davidson, 310 Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin 9
* Music: Light My Fire by Stevie Wonder

Duration: 51m21, First broadcast: Late August or early September 1992

MP3 file size: 117MB
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Radiofax Programme Final Falcon Radio, The Rock Of Europe OFF AIR

This is a tad over half the show from a 6205 off-air recording in Clacton on Sea, Essex, at 660km by Sean Cuthbert, using a Matsui MR-4099 receiver (=Sangean ATS-803a) plugged into a 27MHz CB dipole. There is some receiver IF bandwidth switching near the start.

Presented by Peter Moss

* Recorded ID: Falcon Radio, The Rock Of Europe
* Music: Walking With The Kid by Huey Lewis & The News
* Peter Moss with the last Falcon - Radiofax closing down
* Music: Woodstock by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
* Music: Walk On The Wild Side by Lou Reed
* Station ID - last Falcon programme - please give Radiofax a licence
* Music: New Year's Day (Live Version 1983) by U2
* Station ID
* Radiofax Opinion Line 0483 272 888
* Radiofax T Shirt £9.99
* Music: Highway Star by Deep Purple
* Music: Introduction/Let's Get Stoned by Joe Cocker
* Music bed: Slim Jenkins' Place/Joint by Booker T & The MG's - Radiofax closedown details - 7 days a week - licence from Ireland
* Music: When The Music's Over by The Doors
* 10 minutes 55 seconds long - miss Radiofax a great deal - so many years - obviously a need - somebody listen, grant licence
* Recorded ID: Peter Moss, The Boss On Falcon
* Music: The Green Maharishi by Fleetwood Mac

Duration: 48m14, First broadcast: 19 September 1992

MP3 file size: 110MB
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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 Shakespears Sister
* Groovy Train by The Farm
* Layla by Derek & the Dominos
* School's Out by A.M.P.

Duration: 26m25, First 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, First 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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Print Media Coverage

Pirate's Pleasure?

A three page spread with transmission photos in the British magazine Radio Active.
Pirate's Pleasure, Radio Active, November 1991

Extract: " the present rate of progress, it will be easier to get a licence in a former Eastern Bloc country than in England"

Radiofax kämpft um eine Lizenz - Radiofax fights for a Licence

A German news report in Funk magazine, July 1993, by Harald Kühl of MEDIAforum in Goettingen.
Radiofax kämpft un eine Lizenz

Free Radio Service Holland, FRS Goes DX 119

Despite many errors (for a start the presenter of Sparks was Andy Burnham) page 20 has a summary of the project.
FRS Goes DX 119, 2nd December 1992

Extract: 'Sparks' turned out to be one of the most popular and interesting shows containing a mixture of media news and technology. It was presented by Trevor Brook,(sic) the key figure behind the Radio Fax operation... It is believed that the start of the recent Irish-based Radio Caroline programming on 6305 has led to the move by the Irish government.

It may be ironical to know that Radio Fax has always been supporting Radio Caroline by relaying numerous Caroline Intelsat satellite programmes. Radio Fax has appealed for listeners to support them in their battle for a SW license... Radio Fax will be sadly missed but there's hope for the future."

No Room for Local Short Wave - Short Wave Magazine

Government White Paper Broadcasting in the Nineties, Competition, Choice and Quality igrores short wave.
Short Wave Magazine Bandscan by Peter Laughton, January 1989 p21

Anoraks UK of October 1988

An early sample of hundreds of reports on the station which appeared in radio publications worldwide.
Radiofax, Anoraks UK 234 p4, 29 October 1988

Online Coverage

Plaudits on the speech programming from Radiofax

Radiofax memory by Andy Preece in May 2008

Will the BBC ever report on science without "dumbing it down"? Has it ever occurred to them that most listeners have been through the British education system and in the process been exposed to at least two years of general science with many even going on to get O-Grade/Level or higher qualifications.

Some listeners and viewers even have degrees in scientific subjects! But whenever a science story comes up in the news or as a subject for a programme, it is reported in such a simplistic way that anyone who is actually interested in the subject ends up getting little or no information out of it.

Hoorah for Radiofax.

Posted by Andy Preece, 3 May 2008: Cycling in Strathclyde - Commentary

The loss of Radiofax recalled in 2020

Radiofax remembered by Philip Bragg in March 2020

...reminds me of what RadioFax could've been if only the UK/Irish governments had allowed it.

Posted by Philip Bragg: 1 March 2020


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