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volume 2
april 1999

Rare pictures from radio's past


  Scandinavian Offshore Radio: Radio Mercur (2)
by Hans Knot
  Radio Mercur had a male as well as female broadcasting staff. Most of the programmes were taped on forehand on land in studio's in Copenhagen. The tapes were brought to the ship either by a tender ship or, when the weather conditions were not good, by an own small private airoplane. Next to the Danish language programmes there were two weekly programmes in English, recorded in London. Female announcers were: Birgit David, Gitte Müller, Hannah Ralf, Helle Schmidt and Jytte Weiss. Male announcers were: Peter Ahbrams, Pedro Biker, Timme Rosenkrantz, John Steenberg, Hans Vangkilde and Per Wiking. Charles Richards and Neville Powley were the English broadcasting staff.
1 Three years after the start of the station, its audience had risen to 2.5 million people. The revenues were rising accordingly and the directors decide to buy a new and bigger ship. This ship was called the Cheeta II. The picture shows announcer Gitta Müller.
2 The second radio ship MV Cheeta II (450 BRT) was formally rented from a firm based in London, Baltic Panama Shipping Co., by another firm, Internationale Radio Mercur Anstalt which in turn was Swiss based. This firm fitted the radio equipment and hired the ship to Radio Mercur. Broadcasting from the Cheeta II, anchored close by the Cheeta I, started on January 31st, 1961, on 88 mHz. Both ships are broadcasting the same programmes except for a few hours each day, when the Skaanes Radio Mercur is airing Swedish programmes from the Cheeta II, while Radio Mercur keeps to Danish programmes aired from the Cheeta I.
3 On either February 7th, or April 1961 (reports vary) there was an experiment — Europe's first — with dual channel stereo transmission, using both transmitters. For the reception, of course, the listener needed two receivers.
4 Claus Walther, Preben Marth and Paul Reichardt
5 Staff members of Radio Mercur
6 In July 1961 the Cheeta I left for a Norwegian harbour to undergo repairs. When the ship returned to sea, she anchored in a new position at Elefantgrunden between Fyns Hoved, Funen and Reerso, Zeeland and restarted transmissions on 89.58 mHz with an ERP of 30 kW. After a few weeks, however, the antenna collapsed. The Cheeta I and the Cheeta II next changed places, as the Cheeta II was expected to withstand the rough seas at the new location. The picture shows technician Ib Hansen in the studio of the Cheeta I.
7 A shot of the studio on board of the Cheeta II
8 QSL-card Radio Mercur
9 Reading the daily mail
  Header for programme schedule Radio Mercur
11 Again Ib Hansen on board of the Cheeta I, now busy editing programmes.
  Mats Lindgren
13 Cheeta II tendered with tapes by a small airoplane. This picture was taken somewhere between December 1961 to June 1962 when the Cheeta II was anchored in "The Belt", west of Zeeland.
  Radio Mercur's own private plane
15 Birgit David
16 In September 1961 Nils-Eric Svensson decided to leave the world of offshore radio. He sold Skaanes Radio Mercur to one of Radio Mercur's collaborators, Mrs Britt Wadner, who in February 1962 would buy the Cheeta I to start her own station Radio Syd. After the close-down of Radio Mercur in 1962 she also would acquire the Cheeta II. The picture gives another shot of the Cheeta II at sea.
  Photographs are from the Freewave Media Magazine Archive and Hans Knot. With thanks to Goran Carlsson for his information about the people and ships on pictures 6, 11 and 13
  Look here for more pictures of the Scandinavian Offshore Radio Stations
  1999 © Soundscapes