This DX-quality recording of Monaghan station Radio Star Country was made in western Norway in 1992. On air is Sean Brady with a drivetime mix of country music and requests, with adverts from Derry, Fermanagh Tyrone, Monaghan and Cavan, some of them read live by the DJ. There are promos for events in Northern towns Keady and Magherafelt but no news bulletin at the top of the hour. A Monaghan number is announced for requests.
As would be expected given the distance from the transmitter, audio quality is poor for the most part with fading later in the recording. It was made in Solsvik on the west coast of Norway from 1627-1705 from 981 kHz on 29th October 1992. The receiver used was a Drake SPR-4 with a 200-metre antenna facing southwest. Thanks to Svenn Martinsen for the donation.
Don Allen (RIP) was a familiar voice on the Irish pirate scene and did a stint at Monaghan station Radio Star Country in 1989 and the early 1990s. This recording of Radio Star Country features Don with his live afternoon American country music show, as received in Norway due to the magic of AM propagation. Don is also heard on promos and adverts, as is station founder and owner Gerry Byrne.
The recording was made from 1632-1645 on 17th January 1990 from 981 kHz in Solsvik on the western Norwegian coast using a Drake SPR-4 receiver with a 200-metre antenna facing the southwest and Ireland. Audio quality is poor with deep fading and the Algerian station also broadcasting on 981 kHz dominates for a time, all part of the fun of DXing. Thanks to Svenn Martinsen for the donation.
This recording of Radio Star Country from western Norway was made almost a year after the Monaghan station defied the new broadcasting laws and stayed on air, one of a handful of Irish pirates to do so. Isobel Byrne (RIP), the wife of station founder and owner Gerry Byrne presents the breakfast programme. There are very long commercial breaks, featuring mostly Northern businesses and releases and concerts by country music stars. The voice of former offshore pirate legend Don Allen (RIP) is heard on adverts and promos remind listeners that Radio Star Country is Ireland’s only country music station.
Audio quality ranges from poor to dire with deep fading and is for serious DXers. There is also wobble on the tape in places due to the passage of time. The recording was made from 981 kHz from 0833-0915 on 5th November 1989 in Solsvik in western Norway, using a Drake SPR-4 receiver with a 200-metre Beverage antenna aimed towards the southwest. It is kindly donated by Svenn Martinsen.
This recording of Radio Star Country was made in Solsvik in western Norway, northwest of Bergen and facing the North Sea. It features non-stop music in early 1989, not long after all the Irish pirates were suposed to leave the airwaves in the new era of licensed radio. The automated programme includes a promo voiced by the late Don Allen announcing the frequency of 981 kHz or 305 metres, to which Radio Star Country had moved a few weeks previously. The Swan Lake Hotel in Monaghan Town is referenced as the station’s address and a number in Armagh is given for advertising. After 25 minutes the tape changes to another recording featuring a male DJ and adverts for businesses north and south of the border. It is not clear if this was recorded on the same day or on another occasion.
The press photo is from the newspaper Vestnytt on September 4th 1996 and shows the donor of this recording, Svenn Martinsen with his receivers ESKA RX33 DX, Drake SPR-4, Hammarlund SP600 JX21 and Autophon E627. The headline translates as ‘Radioactive priest’, reflecting Svenn’s profession. He recalls: ‘I mostly used the Drake SPR-4 for listening to Radio Star Country 981, Radio North 846, North Atlantic 846, 954 and 1116 and other Irish stations’.
Due to the distance between the transmitter and receiver, there is deep fading at various points in the tape, with the Algerian station on the same frequency coming through underneath. The recording was made on 16th February 1989 from 0745-0813 on a Drake SPR-4 receiver with a 200-metre Beverage antenna aimed towards the southwest from the western Norwegian coast. Many thanks to Svenn for the donation.
One of the joys of AM broadcasting is its propagation that allows radio waves to travel long distances beyond the core listening area during the hours of darkness. In our focus on border station Radio Star Country, today we begin a series of posts showing how the Irish pirate sounded on the west coast of Norway in the late 1980s and 1990s. Recorded over 1,200 km from the transmission site on the Monaghan/Tyrone border, these tapes capture the unique audio quality of skywave reception of distant radio signals at dawn and dusk between October and March.
The first such recording begins before 0900 on 17th November 1988, a few months after Radio Star Country began broadcasting from the Swan Lake Hotel in Monaghan Town. On air is station founder and owner Gerry Byrne with a promo for the forthcoming Radio Star Country Music Awards in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. The recording was made in Bud, western Norway from 891 kHz on a Hammarlund SP-600 JX1 receiver with a 500-metre Beverage antenna aimed towards the southwest. The antenna ran behind the barn to the left of the large white house (the rectory) on the right in the photo and received stations from Ireland, the UK, southwest Europe, Brazil and Argentina.
We thank Svenn Martinsen for his donation of these unique recordings.