MONITOR SPRING ISSUE 1972            - Page Four -

      Next, we hear from Alex Dee:                    

           Hi, Ex Pirate day people; you know its a funny thing being asked to write about 
      something that seems to have been gone such a long time, mind you people are still 
      writing about both world wars and their heroic adventures in them. So here, for 
      what it is, is a couple of short memoirs from the radio station, Radio City.
           As far as I was concerned working on a radio station was no different than 
      working in an office or being a butcher's boy, that's how I felt about entering into 
      the business anyway, - my attitude is much the same today, although I was thrown off
      balance by the romance that surrounded the job at the time.
           The first thing that delighted me, apart from being paid money for talking and 
      playing records, was fan mail. I had not imagined that disc jockeys got fan mail 
      or worship from afar and the first letters to arrive disturbed my ego, made it larger 
      even more unmanageable - offers of every kind, and myself at the time having no moral 
      code by which to live - partook of the kind offers! 
      Life on the fort for me and a few of the others was as full and interesting as 
      any land based job. The main things I enjoyed as much as DJing were lying in the 
      sun or making the things on the forts work again, e.g., the toilets, the cranes and 
      anything else that needed doing.
           One day, after I had been in the station about a year, Reg Calvert told us 
      he had just bought a transmitter, a good one - and that the Radio Caroline supply 
      tender was going to deliver it in a few days. When it arrived we could hardly 
      believe it, the transmitter consisted of three of four enormous cabinets, the size
      of telephone kiosks, hardly the size or performance of an RCA 10 Kw. It was I'm told
      an early ship to share communication device and if size meant quality we would have 
      had the strongest signal in the fleet of pirates.....
           Meanwhile, the job of getting these cabinets off the tender and up to our 
      haven prooved to be more difficult than anticipated, we tied on and began to pull 
      it up with our electric crane. We thought it might pull the tower over, but it took
      the strain and the first cabinet ascended very slowly. I was working the crane 
      handle, that was situated overlooking the Caroline tender. We had winched it as 
      far up as the first level and I stopped the crane which automatically put the brake
      on ..... well our makeshift braking system decided that a telephone kiosk was to 
      large to hold and the transmitter began to descend towards the deck of the tender. 
      Everybody was yelling, brake, brake ... but there was nothing we could do. We had 
      to watch the transmitter gaining speed towards the ship's deck, the crew scattered 
      and the cabinet crashed on to the deck. It was in a big wooden box so it didn't 
      appear to be damaged too much.
      More was to come. We tried again to winch the cabinet up (it was the largest 
      of all the cabinets) this time we decided to pull it in as soon as it was level
      with the first stage, which is about seventy feet above sea level, before stopping
      the crane, for it was only when the crane was stopped that it would start going down
           Well, once again the transmitter cabinet arrived at the first stage. We 
      pulled it in as fast as we could but to no avail - the cabinet hit the side of the 
      fort, rolled over and fell towards the sea...but the ropes that surrounded the whole 
      cabinet caught on the rail's around the side of the fort and remained dangling in mid 
      aid. To cut a short story shorter, we tried to get it in from where it was but it 
      fell the seventy feet into the sea, the tender obviously this time had already moved 
      away. That night on our ship to shore linkup Reg Calvert asked if anything went 
      wrong and I do believe had a seizure on hearing the news that his 5000 transmitter
      was lying in twenty feet of salty water. After he recovered, he arranged for divers
      to come out next day and salvage the submerged transmitter.
           Well Radio fans, all that is past; all the free air plays for up and coming 
      groups, the gay, profit-making advertisements, the jingles, the bells, the deep 
      "hallo", the coffee breaks, the never-ending talk of who's on leave and who's just
      coming back, the battles at sea, the deaths, the dramas, the corruption, the 
      transmitter breakdowns. The non-stop music parade is over and has been for a long 
      while, and as we all suspected, there is nothing of comparable quality on the air 
      today. As far as I am concerned the coming and going of pirate stations and all they
      stood for (if anything) bothers me very little. I was at the time greatly bothered. 
      I fought, and talked of revolution, and what the British Public could do to save 
      free radio, but it was my job that I was fighting for - not freedom. It is only in 
      these later years that I have began to question myself about the meaning of freedom, 
      and it does not lead me into the paths of commercial radio. Happy days!"

                                                             SIGNED: ALEX DEE

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