Full recording: Community Radio Fingal

Full recording: Community Radio Fingal
CRF car sticker (courtesy of DX Archive).

Community Radio Fingal (CRF) broadcast from Swords and then Skerries in north Co. Dublin from 1982 to 1988. It began with a 300 watt transmitter but then increased it to 1 kW, and moving from 1584 to 1575 kHz (announced as 189 metres) improved its reception, particularly on the west coast of Britain. Leon Tipler visited CRF in 1982 on one of his visits to Ireland and you can hear an interview with the owner of CRF Brian Matthews here in which he gives information about the station’s history and technical set-up.

Our recording was made from 1575 kHz from 1922-1952 on 1st July 1983, apparently on the west coast of Britain as it sounds like daytime groundwave reception. Des Lee is on the air with music and community notices. He mentions that CRF is broadcasting from the Castle Shopping Centre in Swords, Co. Dublin and also refers to an FM transmitter on 90 MHz. Audio quality deteriorates towards the end as the cassette has degraded with the passage of time.

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Full recording: Radio Carlow

Full recording: Radio Carlow
The Radio Carlow mast in 1981, faintly visible in the distance (photo courtesy of Ian Biggar).

Radio Carlow began broadcasting in 1981 on 1413 kHz. A report dated 19th July 1981 by local radio enthusiast John Dowling gave its location as Ballyhide, Co. Carlow but Ballyhide is actually just across the border in Laois. He went on: ‘This station has been on the air three or four months from a rented house two miles from Carlow town. A 70 feet high mast is used to support the aerial. The day’s programmes run from 0630 to 1900 hours GMT’.

Full recording: Radio Carlow
Radio Carlow transmitter in 1981 (photo courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

DX Archive visited Radio Carlow in 1981 as part of a tour of Ireland. They recorded the station and took the photos featured here. The recording above was made from 1454-1610 on 19th August 1981 and features John Dempsey on air. Radio Carlow added FM at a later stage and is thought to have been on air until 1984. Thanks to Ian Biggar for donating the recording and for background information.

Full recording: Radio Carlow
Radio Carlow studio (photo courtesy of Ian Biggar).

Leon Tipler recorded the station from 104 FM as he passed through Carlow in September 1983, on his way to Kilkenny. A snippet of that recording is included in ‘Hello Again’, part 3 of his documentary The Irish Pirates. The original recording, including ads, links a jingle and music, was made on 4th February 1983 and can be heard below. Other than the date, we have no further information.

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Bandscan: Irish radio as heard in Wales in 1983

Bandscan: Irish radio as heard in Wales in 1983
A winter shot from Aberystwyth promenade with Constitution Hill in the background (photo by John Walsh).

‘Hello Again’, Part 3 of Leon Tipler’s acclaimed documentary series The Irish Pirates was based on a return visit to Dublin in September 1983. The episode features an AM and FM bandscan from Aberystwyth on the west Wales coast, recorded by Tipler in August 1983. Having climbed Constitution Hill to the north of the town, Tipler gave himself the best chance of picking up radio signals from Ireland a mere 150km away.

This is the original, unedited bandscan as recorded by Tipler on both AM and FM from his perch overlooking the Irish Sea on a sunny Saturday afternoon, 13th August 1983. The pirates heard include Arklow Community Radio, Kilkenny Community Radio, Sunshine Radio and Radio Dublin. RTÉ Radio 1, Radio 2 and Raidió na Gaeltachta are all received loud and clear on FM. There are snippets of unidentified UK stations as well as occasional breakthrough from police communication, possibly due to harmonics.

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Full recording: Radio Nova

Full recording: Radio Nova
A Radio Nova envelope from the days on 846 kHz (courtesy of DX Archive).

This recording was made by the British radio enthusiast Leon Tipler at his home in Kidderminster in the English midlands. The tape label states that it was made from 819 kHz from 2217-2305 on the 17th of September 1982, but there is a jingle for ‘the mighty 890’ and the news ident at the top of the hour announces 846 kHz. According to the November 1981 edition of Short Wave News, Nova returned to 846 after briefly trying 891. Based on Anoraks UK logs, it seems the move to 819 kHz happened between the 7th and the 23rd of September 1982. It is possible, therefore, that Nova had very recently moved by the time of this recording but the ident had not yet been updated. Thanks to Ian Biggar for confirming details.

The DJ in this recording is Eddie West and news is read by Bryan Dobson, now a senior RTÉ journalist. Audio quality ranges from poor to fair as there is plenty of skywave interference. At about 300km from Dublin, Kidderminster is well outside the coverage area of Nova’s 10 kW transmitter. During the recording, Eddie West wishes Sunshine Radio a happy 2nd birthday and also mentions Leon Tipler. That clip was used in Leon’s acclaimed documentary series The Irish Pirates, which is available on this archive.

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 8)

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 8)
Crowds at Herbert Street on the day of Radio Nova’s official closedown, 19 May 1983 (photo by Joe King).

In the final instalment of Part 3 of ‘The Irish Pirates’, Leon Tipler returns to Dublin. Volume 8 covers his visits to Sunshine and Radio Nova in September 1983 to get the views of the staff about the raids of the previous May which put both stations off the air temporarily. Tipler interviews Sybil Fennell, Chris Cary and Robbie Robinson and also features the iconic Nova closedown with Tony Allan at 6pm on the 19th of May 1983. He also recounts the horrified political reaction to Cary’s plans for Nova Television. This final episode ends with Tipler’s analysis of the political implications of the raids and changed attitudes to the pirates in their aftermath.

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 8)
Equipment removed from Sunshine Radio, 19 May 1983, with RTÉ television crew filming (photo by Joe King).

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England. We will bring you more from this valuable collection over the coming weeks and months.

Index to Volume 8

00:00 Visit to Galway – no pirates on air
00:30 Visit to Sunshine Radio offices
01:15 Visit to Radio Nova
02:00 Interview with Sybil Fennell
04:30 Nova TV
08:10 Chris Cary on Nova in May 1983
09:40 RTÉ coverage of 1983 raid on Nova
10:40 Interview with Chris Cary about raids
15:50 Interview with Robbie Robinson about raids
17:55 Interview with Sybil Fennell about raids
18:20 Continuation of interview with Cary
20:20 Continuation of interview with Robinson
25:00 Sunshine closedown in 1983
27:40 Radio Nova closedown on 19.05.83
33:05 Interview with Sybil Fennell about closedown
33:50 Tony Allen closing Nova
42:00 Continuation of interview with Cary about closedown
46:00 Continuation of interview with Robinson about closedown
51:45 Return of Sunshine
55:00 Changed political response
55:45 Conclusion