On the 15th October, a test broadcast was made on 1395 Khz with a power of about 250 Watts. A few days later Eric Sullivan, announced the station, saying that he had put every penny he owned into the project. Near the end of the month John Walters joined the team on the tower to "give a hand" with the test broadcasts. On 28th October, an emergency call was put out, asking listeners to contact Burnham on Crouch and tell them to send out the supply vessel, no reasons were given for the request. The supply vessel was unable to put to sea because of bad weather, another boat went out but went to Roughs Tower by mistake. Eventually, the Walton lifeboat was sent out and took off George Short, who was in some pain, it appeared that he had forgotten to take his tablets for prostrate trouble out to the tower some ten days earlier. After that, the lifeboat service was forced to complain about the difficulties of reaching the tower in winter, the tower was considered unsafe after being hit by a ship in the mid 1950's. All calls made by the offshore radio stations were then carefully vetted.
The station continued to make test broadcasts on various frequencies. In early December, another generator was taken out to increase the output to about 5,000 Watts. Dave Simser joined the company as a director, also joining the station were Chris Gosling, Graham London (real name Graham Smith) and Bill Rollins.
In January 1966, the Frequency changed to 1268 Khz / 236 Metres and a station ID of "get a fix on 236" was introduced. Eric Sullivan contacted Kees Romas and between them purchased the Icelandic fishing vessel "Maarje" in Holland. The "Maarje" then became the supply ship for the station.
Sunk Head fort Radio Tower studio
Radio Tower testing
The 5th March 1966 saw Tower Radio reappeared under the new ID of Radio Tower. Many tests were made on various frequencies between 1270 Khz and 1260 Khz. On the 24th March, the station announced that regular broadcasts would start on 21st April.
On 8th April, another new generator (an Oman 15,000 VA diesel generator) was taken out to the fort by the supply vessel "Maarje", but while trying to winch the crate up to the fort, the crate was dragged along the tenders deck and the generator was smashed up. the generator was taken back to land and repaired. The generator was taken back to Sunk Head tower by the fishing vessel "Venus". A few days later the supply vessel "Maarje" was impounded by HMS Customs in Ipswich for unpaid bills, later the supply vessel "Maarje" was sold.
News of the World (magazine) announced, on 15th April that it had booked a twelve month advertising contract with Radio Tower. However on the 28th, Vision Projects was declared bankrupt. The only asset owned by the company was a Bedford van, it was offered to Billy Bennett, of Harwich, who owned the "Venus", to return the station staff on the Sunk Head tower to shore. The station reappeared on 1282 Khz with regular broadcasts, on 29 April, but these were short lived. The last full day of broadcasts was heard on 4th May and the station was not heard after the 12th May.The station managers put out a statement, in June, saying that they were bugged by technical problems, and with no advertising would have to give up the station.
In November, two men, C T Payne of Bexley Kent and Dexter Stoneham of London, were taken off the tower by Walton lifeboat after running out of food and water, they refused to say what they were doing there. Later Film director David Hart said that he had told Coast guards at Walton on Naze, that he was putting two men on the fort and it did not have any connections with broadcasting.
The end of Sunk Head
Just a few days after the Marine Offences Act came into force, the Naval tug Collie took a team of twenty Royal Engineers to the tower to commence demolition work. The superstructure was cut away with oxyacetylene torches and explosive charges.
On the 21st August 1967, 2,220 lbs of explosives were set, and just after 16:00 the fuses set. At 16.15 a vivid crimson flash was seen, followed by a large cloud of smoke. Large chunks of concrete flew into the air, some landing over half a mile away. The heat and force of the blast was felt on Walton on the Naze beach, some fourteen miles away.
Sunk Head demolition
All that remains today of Sunk Head tower are the stumps of the twenty-four foot diameter legs, which are used as unofficial navigational aids to shipping entering the Thames Estuary.
Chris Gosling, Bill Rollins, George Short, Dave Simser, Graham Smith, Eric Sullivan and John Waters.
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