March 4 --- On this day in 1952, the first seagoing Radio broadcasting station, "Courier", was dedicated by President Harry Truman.
The MV Courier "Project Vagabond" was fitted out for use as a floating Voice of America relay station in 1951. For all of its life it served in the Eastern Mediterranean though it was originally conceived to be able to sail to world troublespots. Some reports say it was possibly docked and coupled into a landbased antenna system whilst others say it was moored off the coast of Rhodes in Greece. It carried a helium balloon to hold its own 5/8's inch antenna wire if required - an idea unsuccessfully adopted by Laser 730/558 on the MV Communicator 30 years later. As well as a water cooled RCA BTA-150A 150kw MW TX, it also had a pair of Collins 207-B1 shortwave transmitters and normally received SSB feeds via HF for rebroadcast.
This seems to be the first publicised successful attempt at what we would recognise today as "offshore radio", though the ship only broadcast from within territorial waters with the permission of the Government concerned. The signal was widely received, and was heard as far away as Australia. The ship was approximately 5000 tonnes, ie. five times the size of the Ross Revenge and was reportedly manned by a crew of over 100 men.
See the articles in the February 2004 edition of "Medium Wave News", and the September 1952 article in "Electronics" magazine for more details.
It broadcast as an offshore relay in Eastern Mediterranean from 1952 to 1964. The transmitter equipment was eventually gifted to the Greek government.
05 marzo 2007
L'antenata delle stazioni offshore
Bella la storia, raccontata da Mike Terry sul BDXC, di uno dei primi trasmettitori "ufficiali" installati a bordo di una nave, una decina di anni prima dell'esplosione del fenomeno delle stazioni offshore pirata nel Mare del Nord. Si trattò niente di meno che della Voice of America, che dopo la guerra allestì la motonave Courier come stazione in onde medie galleggiante, entrata in funzione nel 1952. Riporto qui il contributo di Mike e il link a una pagina di Soundscape, magazine online olandese con molte fotografie del Courier. Da quel che mi sembra di capire da Soundscape, sembra che anche i volontari olandesi della Guerra Civile spagnola avessero trasmesso programmi radio da una imbarcazione. Il Courier fu però la prima stazione completamente attrezzata, con tanto di ricevitore HF per il feed dei programmi ripetuti in onde medie.