first land-based pirate radio station that I ever
heard was what I thought was called Radio Free
Nold in 1970. It used to transmit on a Sunday
afternoon with a weak signal to Birmingham on
medium wave. In retrospect, I wonder whether this
might have been called Radio Free Knowle.
Roger hit the airwaves from a flat located at
Vernon Road in Edgbaston in 1971. The station
transmitted on frequencies from 1357 kHz to 1363
kHz, announced as 222 metres to exploit the
slogan, "music for you on 222". Radio
Jolly Roger, or RJR, transmitted all day Saturday
initially and sometimes on Sunday. The sole
diskjockey was Jacko Diamond - "your man
Jacko" - with a staunch Birmingham accent.
Jacko had obtained a little experience from
Eddystone Radio where he had learned some radio
after RJR's transmissions had closed on Saturday
evening, a Radio Jolly Roger South would come on
the air, and RJR (North) would converse with RJR
South on medium wave. RJR South, from Northfield,
aired a number of programmes in its own right.
1972, Radio Jolly Roger was raided after many
weeks of transmitting by the GPO and "our
man Jacko" was fined £75. The RJR
transmitter, based upon an 807 value, and the
Linear Concorde Modulator with 2EL34's was
this setback did not keep Jacko off the air for
long. Soon RJR with its theme tunes,
"Exodus" and "Rinkydink" (a
45 rpm record played at 78 rpm) was back on the
air from Vernon Road.
was soon joined by Happiness is Radio
(from Birmingham 12 minutes circa
1971). from Halesowen with Chris Stevens.
Later Radio Albatross (Northfield), Radio
Midlands Mobile (Smethwick), Radio Javelin
(Rubery), Radio Pegasus (Warley) and Radio Signal
North (Northfield) arrived to join with Radio
Jolly Roger and Radio Dolphin to form the
Brimingham Free Radio Network.
the GPO, known as the Gippo, increased its
activity and the stations had to move from
location to location to maintain hourly weekly
broadcasts. I learned many years later that the
Gippo were thrilled by the Sunday broadcast
because the activity lined their pocket with
Sunday overtime payments. Walter Frank Preston
headed up the GPO team, and records were often
played for Frank Preston - "this one's for
number of court cases were heard following raids,
and fines started to mount. During one court
case, eggs were fed into the diesel tank of a GPO
Landrover, and someone's mum, a parking warden,
issued the GPO with a parking ticket when the
Landrover subsequenly broke down on a double
years prior to the outbreak of illegal CB in the
UK, a number of individuals took to 27 MHz.
Unfortunatley, the third harmonic caused
interferrence at a government radio station at
Romsley, and again there were court cases.
Birmingham Free Radio Network faded out around
about 1973 and the stations were not heard again.
From that point on pirate radio in Birmingham was
mainly centred around black and Asian stations.
The final act of the Birmingham Free Radio
Network was to jam the local commercial station,
BRMB, for a whole afternoon because it was
believed that a transmitter from the BRMB
transmitter site was being used to jam Radio
Jolly Roger broadcasts - this was unproven but a
directional finding expedition was deemed to
demonstrate that this was the case.
Radio Venus North could be heard on 194 metres
medium wave from Shropshire. An SRBC from Banbury
on VHF. Radio Sunshine later transmitted from a
farm near to Ludlow, and subsequently obtained a
licence. Radio Britannia transmitted from
Nuneaton. And Three spires Radio broadcast from
Coventry - later to become Radio Enoch. Some
unidentified broadcasts were heard from a council
estate in Coventry. Transmissions were made from
a flat in Rowley Regis but I can't remember the
name of the station.
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