SURPRISE RETURN

Surprise Return
Radio Caroline made a surprise, albeit brief return in June 1970. Radio Northsea International had started broadcasting, from off the Dutch coast at the start of 1970, and a few months later had moved across to a position off the English coast. The move did not please the British government, who thought they'd seen the last of offshore radio, when Caroline had gone off the air in March 1968. The government considered a number of ways to get rid of this new offshore station, including forcibly boarding the ship and taking it off the air. Eventually they decided to jam the stations signal, which it was claimed was being done at the request of Czechoslovakia.


Radio Northsea - RNI moved frequency a number of times to avoid the jamming signal, and also stated that they had permission from Czechoslovakia to use the 244 Metres / 1230 kHz frequency.

Chairman Harold
At the end of May 1970, the British Labour Party announced that a general election would be held on the 18th June. It was significantly also the first time that eighteen year old's were being given the right to vote. In the lead up to the British general election, RNI began a campaign of anti-Labour Party propaganda. This was stepped up, when on 13th June, RNI changed it's name and began broadcasting under the callsign of Radio Caroline.

The next day, 14th June, a rally was held in London in support of the offshore station. A protest march took place from Hyde Park to Downing Street, and then on to Trafalgar Square. The march was led by Caroline's founder Ronan O'Rahilly who was joined by original Caroline deejay Simon Dee. A London double decker bus joined the protest march, and this was decorated in posters depicting Labour Party head Harold Wilson dressed as Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao. Wilson was allegedly far from pleased and apparently threatened O'Rahilly, that he would finish him off. The day before the election, the government stepped up the jamming, which up until then had been using a 10kW Naval transmitter from a Post Office owned base at Beacon Hill in Kent. The 17th June, saw a plot of land owned by the Marconi Company at Canewdon, Essex taken over by the authorities. Army personnel erected two marquee tents, one for a 500 kW RCA transmitter, which was run at an estimated 200kW and the other housed the power generators. The site was heavily guarded at all times by armed army personnel.

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Mebo II in 1970

The Mebo II in 1970

Poster Harold

Chairman Harold poster

Ronan O'Rahilly

Ronan O'Rahilly

Simon Dee & R. O'Rahilly

Simon Dee & Ronan O'Rahilly 1970

 

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Simon Dee & R. O'Rahilly

Simon Dee with Ronan O'Rahilly at the Free Radio Rally - 1970

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