Bart Steenman visiting the MV Ross Revenge (November 2016)

On October 30 2016 a unique reunion took place of disc jockeys who served on the famous offshore radio ship The Ross Revenge! Disc jockeys and employees from Belgium, Netherlands , the United Kingdom and Ireland where among the famous dj’s Nick Richards , John Lewis , Bart Steenman , Dave Foster ,Vince Holland and Chris Pearson. Some dj ’s like Nick Richards ( Radio Caroline ) and Bart Steenman ( Radio Monique ) has not been a board fort he last 30 years! They had a lot to talk about, shared old photographs, were live on the air on radio Caroline North (medium wave, fm and internet) talking about the old days and friendship . Bart Steenman was live on air in several interviews and contrubutions with Nick Richards and Chris Pearson talking about the friendship between them and the Dutch and UK crew. Most of them also served in the same periods.They stayed aboard from the morning until the evening. In this report from our correspondent a board we show you many pictures, and even movies about the mentioned interviews and ship!

The trip was organised by their old colleague the famous Albert Hood who organised the tendering and supplies for more than 40 Years. (Photo 4 ) He was there just after the Mi Amigo sunk. He was the person who warned about the state of the Mi Amigo anchor chain back than and refused tob ring people aboard at one point. He was in contact with Ronan ‘o Rahilly . He has seen it all. And now he is there, still organising the tendering, now as volunteer, and from now on you can go there too just by calling him at 07984572353 or from abroad 00447984572353 or email him at . Some of the crew stayed in the famous little hotel ‘Stonar quest house’ in Clacton on Sea. (photo 3a) Were people are used to Offshore pirate radio for 50 years. (photo 0 ). The crew went aboard on the official Ross Revenge tender Razorbill 3”, (photo1 and 5) stationed on the wonderfull Mersey Island to go tot he Anchor place in the middle of the River Blackwater which is a 5 miles wide water near open sea, so the ship is really anchored in the middle of open water like in the old days! (film 2 ). Safety instructions were given because,(photo 6, photo 7) unlike in the old days, everything is done now by insurance rules. (photo 10,) and comming nearby (film1) old memory’s about nasty weather etcetera were shared, the Ross looked ok, is still getting its paint it seems,(photo 11 to 21 ) and looked majestic knowing the history and the impact it made on the world. Its good she is still there.l The 90 meter high mast was broken but a lower mast is on her now giving her that special look again. People felt the old magic approaching the old Ross. (film 3) And nearby they noticed a difference. In old times they had to climb up but nowadays a door has been made in the metal fence, so entering is quite easy now. No raffles the dog wit its head out of a hole now. He spend his last 5 years on land we heared.
People were waiting fort he tender just like in old days and welcomed us (photo 22 to 25)

A board some slight differences were noticed (photo 123) but it looked about the same (photo’s 26 to 28)
We witnessed this; Bart Steenman ( offshore radiostation Radio Monique with 4 million listeners) entered the old Monique studio. Immediately Nick Richards organised a long special interview live on Radio Caroline North with the witty Bart Steenman known for his many voices including the famous dark voice heard back than and now also on many ststions like the offshore station radio Batavia, Kennemer radio 1 9the new dutch worldservice after Radio Nederland Wereldomroep stopped) , and international peace stations, members of the brave Pirates for Peace organisation which gets free media allover the planet also in troubled area’s. More Ross dj’s and engineers are involved in that. And quess what, this INTERVIEW by Nick Richards with Bart Steenman is filmed and you can WATCH IT here ; (film4) Later on the famous Chris Pearson asked Bart Steenman to do a commercial whith his dark type voice which is also catched on film here; (film6) Chris complimented Bart for his work on which Bart Steenman responded with; ‘alllllright! “ which became the word of the day.(photo 95b)

Ofcourse quests walked around the music room, (photo76 to 80) one of the most wonderfull magic places aboard were the dj’s used to meet eachother searching for music enjoyed by millions of people a moment later. Lots of musical inspiration was found here and lots of words about music was said here. (photo 71 tm 74) Here we show you a short film shot and comment by famous Caroline dj Dave Foster; (film 7) and Dave Foster in the picture and a longer shot of the music room here; (film 8)
People talked a lot.(photo 40, 41,42) Cheerfull moments in the diner and lounge. John Lewis still seems to have the same mood it seems because Bart Steenman, the dutch dj mentioned that John used to say in a verry cheerfull way ‘moooorning leds!’ to the dull faces there which was actually good for the moodback than. (photo 28 to 33) Nowadays the ship complies to todays safety standards, with an emergency light system and drawings of safeways as you can see here; (photo 34) Lots of things and memory’s were brought up (photo 36 and 37) I heard Nick Richards and Bart Steenman, old friends, telling many story’s to eachother also this amazing story; people were arrested once. Among those Peter Chicago and Nick Richards. In the police station were they should be searched and questioned, Peter discovered he had the secret code lists in his pocket were the codes were on used to order materials via the radio. Peter Ripped the paper in his pocket and gave bits of it to the other crew members under the eyes of the policemen, with the words; want a chewing gum ? And they all swallowed the code paper ! (photo 38) famous Caroline dj explained on film were the old radio Monique studio was situated because its rebuild now for Caroline North with the old Monique mixing table though.. on this film; (film 10)

We asked radio Monique disc jockey Bart Steenman to sit on the same places as his old published pictures which offers everyone a great opportunity to compare the situation in 1985 and 2016 ! (photo 38a) As you can see the frontdeck has got more paint on it, a vence is constructed, and instead of the old hughe anchor chain the size of an elbow, nowadays several smaller anchor chains are in place. (photo 38b) The buoy ‘s has changed, there is no Panama on it, and we noticed less thick and less mast wires.(photo 38c) Bart on deck, we noticed one chimney is gone, metal things on deck are covered now and dangerous things painted in bright colours for safety i quess. Also a less thicker mast and wires, and it looks cleaner nowadays. Take a look around the almost hole ship on this film; (film 5 ) The kitchen is new.( photo 43) More luxury than the old situation. One of the few interior things that has really changed. And the room were the wash use to hang at rainy days is now a souvenir shop. With great items by the way. These 3 people were on board at the same time. Caroline and a Monique dj, Nick Richards, Bart Steenman, John Lewis. (photo 44) who shared a lot of information in a great mood. (photo 38d) And here are those three same persons in the eighties,(!) on photo’s taken by Bart Steenman. Everyone takes a look at the old radio Caroline studio. The old switchboard used in the movie ‘The boat that rocked’ (take a look at that here; is still there ! (photo 81) In the next picture you’ll see a laptop. Amazing that a complete studio and all of the record collection fits in there ! In the eighties we could not explain that more than 20 thousand songs fit in a key ring. And radioCaroline can be heard allover the planet now. (photo 81b) Here we have Dave Foster, Nick Richards and Bart Steenman in the old Caroline studio. (photo 82a) Bart tried the old wired potentiometers and memorized lots of joy was brought through them. (photo 99 to 110) Especially that revolution like feeling was great and it still is. Free media are still available to spread free independant opinions allover the planet, brought by free radio, tv and internet media without propaganda or capitalistic messages. A secret organisation called Pirates for Peace ( is coordinating dozens of such media which often result in important worldwide positive developments we see on the news. Also some people working on the Ross Revenge are involved in that. So the spirit is still alive. (photo 83) The Turntables in the Caroline studio are antique. They were already old fashioned in the eighties. Were Radio Monique used modern technics professional turntables the Caroline jocks liked the decent metal machines. They did the job, and have seen more albums than singles . (photo 84 & 85 & 87) Dj’s spend many hours here to bring Europe ‘loving awareness’! The old 8 tracks ! (photo88) are still there! Hundreds of them! It needed firm handwork to use them. And made the show. Look at it closely and see the familiar sounds. From the ‘deep Caroline voice’ to Johan Maasbach.Famous jingles! (photo 90 & 91) The Ross Revenge was kept alive for a big part by.. the people puting their money in a offertory bag in the church ! Radio Monique transmitted vicar Toornvliet for years, and Johan Maasbach shouted his special voice from the mast of the Ross. On medium wave and shortwave. For the shortwave transmitter much less power was needed for a European audience. The frequencies chosen for that were sometimes on ship communication frequencies which was not a clever thing to do. Internet was not available and i quess the engineer just did not know..(photo 89) The dutch stations on radio Caroline provided far most of the money and materials.(photo 111) Without the dutch radio Caroline would have never survived. The dutch know how to bring in money, and how to do business and organisation in a verry effective way. Tapes were sometimes played although far most of the Caroline transmissions were live. This is the original tape deck.(photo92) About the dutch service, Radio Monique played more tapes, they used one hour per side compact cassettes. Live programs on Monique were morning, afternoon and late afternoon / evening, and the news. In between that those cassettes. For just three Monique people on board that was a lot of work. Get up at 4 o clock, check if the transmitter is on, bringing a ‘happy ’morning show, wit hall the jingles and commercials on time, making food, make news, from this small news room (photo 117a , 117b, 118, 119). Bart Steenman (photo 39) explains to us how they did it. The Caroline jocks had their news room behind the Captains quarter in the card room near their studio which was big en comfortable. The dutch however had a ‘room’ ‘the size of a toilet’ on the other side of the ship 40 yards away from their studio. Several radios were used to tape the bbc, belgium and dutch news. Antenna’s were outside the newsroom just above the water line. The verry strong transmitter otherwise radiates a deadly beam tot their equipment. A radio on deck receives… nothing! Even the own signal could not be heard. Direct radiation in the radio prevends that. Within the hour their own news had to be written down, recorded and time was recorded, before the hour they contacted the studio by a intercom which had to pass the news signal from the news room on air. Listeners heard the fresh news, and after that the time signal on the hour. Amazing but they managed to do so. Never heard that again, i quess lots of stations are too lazy for that. Sometimes they had a news item which was on air hours before the dutch state radio, which needed 20 people to do what those three people did in those strange circumstances but they managed to do so in a way which sounded great , on that frequency of 963 Khz, with the best sound of the band because of the optimod am machine, in the ‘belly’ of the ship which is still in use by radio Caroline North nowadays! Let’s go there! (photo58) There it is ! The optimod, used at that moment by radio Caroline North transmitting on medium wave and internet. Radio Monique managed to use the machine on 963 Khz. Some splash complains by a university station in the uk were solved.. Dutch dj Bart Steenman explained; ‘ it really was the best sound of the medium wave according to lots of people. It sounded more hifi than any other signal and BBC and NOS were jealous of that! The machine makes a specialised sound just within the am ‘mask’ by cutting frequencies to some allowed there, pushing the signal on 6 audio frequencies up or down in a micro second, which results in a stable 100% modulation which boost the signal and make a loud stable flat line modulation with the best in it suitable for medium wave. A big difference. It was a expensive machine.”(photo 57) bart Steenman is pointing at the machine. Next to it the 50 kilo watt transmitters.(photo 51 tm 56) Tubes the size of an elbow (photo60a) which were according to Bart Steenman glowing when you looked through the window. They were tuned for the best effect and the antenna was 90 meter, the highest thing ever build on a ship, which means a half wave which is great, the sea provided a great ground for the antenna. The signal went through a big coil to tune, (photo60) and a special machine (photo 59) which provided a system were both signals could be transmitted on 1 antenna at the same time by switching rapidly between the 2 transmitter outputs! All together an amazing and dangerous high voltage system on a ship but it did the job throughout Europe! Bart explained; when i went down there there was that amazing loud noise comming from the big generators (60b, 60c, 60d). In that generator room you really needed earplugs.(film12) Those were 2 big generators and much diesel was needed to keep them going to reach Europe. Next tot the generator room were the optimod and transmitters. The engineer was busy most of the time and really needed the spare parts (photo 61 & 62) to keep things going. Diesel was brought with the ship ‘Zeemeeuw’ (means ‘seagull’) from Oostende Belgium, in secret tanks hidden in the double ship skin. Also the fresh Dutch dj’s, food, water and tapes were brought in that way. Tendering was done by that ship, and another ship from the British coast. The ship was not near the coast. It was in sea and the coast could not be seen.(photo 45) The dj’s slept in a cabin,(photo 117) and sometimes the hughe engines were tested (photo 47, 48, 49,50) . The whole ship was shaking than but it was important everything was ok. Captain Bob needed to be sure it was ok. In the past anchor chains broke and the motor did not start. The engine is huge. It was a ice breaker trawler in the past used to catch fish. Lots of power in there. The engine room is locked by gas tight doors for safety reasons. Bart Steenman also told us things like the water from the taps was salty (photo 115, 116). He went to his cabin and the wall of fame (photo 114) were his name is still on the door. On deck in the back we discovered the jingle construction mix room of Caroline was still intact (photo 120). On a normal day people were working there. Nearby also in the Monique newsroom, and the washing machine room. Wash was hanging on deck on the shortwave antenna / washing line or in a room. Also people working in the kitchen and resting in the diner. Taking food out of the fritch in front, repairing or painting. When the whole ship was painted they could start allover again. Always rusty on sea. In the 2 studio’s and Caroline newsroom were also always people doing their thing and between that all the dog was walking around. A complete family and small effective village like household we could say. (photo 124 to 127b) In the evening the people could see a beautiful sunset. That day the weather was great. (film11) and Bart Steenman also send his sunset film to us; (film9)

The ship is still functioning. This reunion was great for the people involved, also good fort he ships sake, because of the promotion by the quests to other people to ask them to sponsor the ship by going there, buy merchandise and so on. Just laying there is 600 pounds a month and there is the generator and huge raepairs which always continue. The ship is always manned now. And ofcourse, it was great by making great radio on Radio Caroline that day by famous Caroline and Monique dj’s ! (photo 129, 129)
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