August 4th – August 31st, 1134 kHz - 266m

Good luck messages from your Main Man – Emperor Rosko.
It was great to hear him on Big L 2001!

"It just proves that you do not need fancy gear and premises, it is the people and the music that matter" - Graham L Hall
Listener Feedback

Thank you to everyone for your kind messages of support. Our apologies to anyone whose message may have got missed amongst a deluge of RSL mail. Apart from the earliest-received emails being at the bottom of this page, they are listed in no particular order, except for the following from David Warren.
We believe David's feelings sum up the whole broadcast on behalf of the many listeners.

David says:

I visited you all the other day at the end of a very wet and windy Clacton pier and purchased a few precious trinkets. I must applaud you and your almost obsessive dedication and offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who made the sound of Big L come alive again.

I am now (unfortunately) on the wrong side of the big 5-0 and therefore remember the 60s as though it was yesterday........wishes......wishes...... Still, life goes on and I feel I must congratulate EVERYONE on the excellent programme quality emanating from your little studio. If only you could have had just a little more power to enable proper coverage of London - then I would be a happy person.

I REALLY WISH AND HOPE for the day when London (and others) can return full time and re-establish themselves as a major force in entertainment and broadcasting. I feel that all the time there are people such as all the mad crew in that small wet hut at the end of the pier, then that dream WILL one day become a reality. It must.

Many regards to you and all at BIG L, David Warren

We picked up a Big L polo shirt in the Radio London shop, to send to Willy Walker on behalf of Ray Anderson and Paul Graham. Willy (pictured here) sends his thanks:

Hi Mary,
Many, many thanks for sending me the Radio London polo shirt. I feel very lucky to have been able to obtain one. No doubt I will have many memories as I parade around in same.
Have just spent a fab week with Ed Stewpot and his wife - lots of laughs, etc. Who knows, we may meet again at some future Big L gathering. To borrow a line from THE Tommy Vance "Rock On" !!!
All the very best, Sincerely, Willy Walker

From RNI's Dave Gregory, who was on Clacton pier during the Keith Skues Show

Hi Mary,

I'm sorry we didn't have more time to chat when I met you on the pier. As far as RSLs go, I thought this one sounded pretty good from what I heard. I hope Paul Graham gives me a bit more warning if he wants me to participate next year!

I had no idea PY and Tony Monson were taking part - they never tell me anything! The joke of it is, I probably spent more time broadcasting at sea than both of them put together!

Dave Gregory

Dear Mary
Just wanted to say thank you to Chris and you for all the unlimited pleasure I have had listening to the Big L these past few weeks. I have had the link going on almost non-stop and it seemed a shame to go out. I even got to hear the first hour of your Saturday show before being dragged off to dinner! Please pass on my grateful thanks to everyone who worked so hard to produce a month of wonderful music and memories. I loved it. David Skeates

From our first Backbeat Books prizewinner:

Dear Chris and Mary,
Thank you ever so much for sending me the Backbeat book prize, London Live; I have read a large part of it already. The section on the Marquee Club is particularly fascinating, as when I lived in London I often visited this particular club. Now I can try to work out which gigs I went to!
Good luck with the Density Reunion, and thank you once again,

Love and Best Wishes, John Sales

Hi Mary,
I hear that the Radio London RSL went well. I visited your web-site and think it is terrific. It is one of the most people-oriented radio sites that I have visited.
Congrats, Mark Dezzani

Thank for your email and the page on the Radio London Website and I am absolutely delighted to hear that Radio London is still receivable on my computer tonight! Truly "Wunderful".

I tried the "MacAmp" several times and there was nothing on "Radio London Live from Clacton Pier" and then suddenly to my astonishment there it is and I am currently listening to Ian Damon (I think)! What a lift this has given me as I have been feeling rather low of late, what with the best month of the year being over when there is so much going on in the south, Big L being on the air, visiting the Ross and Caroline, and now back to backward Birmingham.

Anyway I do hope that you keep the service up and play as many tapes that you can find, and I shall be listening regularly while I am at the flat in the evening when my Internet access is free.

Reception is very good and there are no interruptions, buffering or stalling.

Best wishes and LA, Pete Anderson

Mike Terry kindly forwarded the following words of praise:

Hi Michael,
I visited the Radio London site for the first time as a result of your posting. I must say that it is a superb site. What makes it very special is that it really highlights personal stories, both those of the jocks and others who worked on Big L and from listeners whose lives were touched forever by Radio London and the other pirate ships.
There has been real love put into this site.
Good luck to them with the RSL, Mark D.

When I thanked Mike for forwarding Mark's lovely message, Mike replied:

And thank you too Mary, it's a great site and brings back wonderful memories of my youth! Cheers, Mike

I came home at about 17:45 GMT and I had to spend some time to put the kids to bed, set up my wife Ingela's Lap-Top in our bedroom to be able to listen to the web-feed with ear-phones without disturbing the rest of the family! At about 18:15 GMT I had the plug-in installed and started downloading the web-stream. The sound-quality was really good and there was virtually no breaks or clicks during the 45 mins I was logged on! The modem logged in to my ISP at 44 kB/s and that seems to give a good quality. Of course I would have liked to stay on-line for the whole show but the counter was clicking at the telephone company every minute...

Last Saturday and Sunday (The last weekend in August we spend some sort of "Bonfire" weekend here, celebrating the end of the summer with bonfires and fireworks, good food, wine and beer etc.) we went out to the summer-house at the rim of the Gulf of Bothnia and I brought out my top end receiver and some antenna stuff to create loops and other kind of antennas but sorry, still no Big L on 266m.

Anyway, thank you all for the wonderful work you do with Big L and I hope you all will remain at good health so you may be able to carry on into the future!
Hans Astrom, Finland

From the compiler of Field's Fab Forties, our Absolutely Fabulous Star Guest and new Big L Newsreader, Alan Field:

Well, what an amazing weekend!! An interview on Big L, followed by a live newscast. The words "Absolutely Fabulous" describe the experience perfectly. Thanks again for having me on your show, and for being such great company the whole time. I really enjoyed it all.

I thought your show was really good. Lots of interesting music that I probably haven't heard in 35 years, and plenty of information about it too. I know you got home safely, as I've seen your updates to the website. You've said some nice things about my "debut", and I thought adding my name to the news team for week 4 of the RSL was a very nice touch!

I saw Paul Graham on Tuesday morning. He told me he'd actually been listening at the time and he was very complimentary. The funny thing is that if I'd had any longer than 2 minutes to think about doing the news, I probably would never have gone ahead!! And the interview about the Fab 40's? I wondered at first if it might be a bit nerve-racking when I actually came to talk on air, but you made it just like the little chat we'd had in the pub the night before, so it all seemed very natural and really very enjoyable.

From one of our 'Star Guest Voices' – Steve Young:

Hi Mary & Chris,
Good luck with the RSL, I hope all goes well for everyone concerned. I'm sure it will bring back lots of great memories for many people.

Thanks for your role in making it happen.
All the best, Steve Young

Hi Chris & Mary,
Good to meet up with you both again at the end of Clacton Pier on the 12th. I managed to get recordings of Bud Ballou and Keith Skues, plus video of Keith.

After leaving Clacton on the Monday, I headed for the Isle of Man for a few days searching for recordings or any articles regarding Caroline North. I spent a few hours in the library at Douglas looking through all the Microfiche files. One interesting item, a guy in Ramsey has Caroline's Anchor in his garden, after it was towed away.

I spoke to dozens of people asking them if they remembered RADIO CAROLINE, and every one said, it was the best thing that ever happened to the Island, but sadly, not one person I spoke to had any recordings or even photographs. One oldish guy I talked to told me the name of every DJ on board; he related story after story about the station. Very interesting guy he was.

Whilst looking through a record stall in Douglas market, I came across Keefers' signature tune Side Winder by Wes Dakus and in very good condition too, not a mark on it, cost, just 50p! A very rare record to find.

Colin Wilkins, Leeds

I am very pleased to inform you that I was again able to tune in to Radio London on 27 August 2001 at 0925 hours BST on 1134 kHz. I have added a Real Audio sound file that will show you the exact quality of the received signal here in The Netherlands. Unfortunately the signal is not as good as in previous years.

I enjoyed receiving Big L very much. I am a 47-year-old photographer living in Sneek [53.02 North, 5.40 East]. It is the second town of the province of Friesland.

Rein Faber, Sneek, Netherlands

Wonderful stuff, just like radio used to be! I can only capture a weakish signal here in Letchworth; it was stronger last year.

I wish you all the very best and keep up the excellent transmitting.

Steve, Letchworth, Hants

I'm now back down to earth after my expedition to the ends of the earth - sorry - Clacton Pier, I mean. What a thrill it was to venture amongst the ex-pirate hordes lurking down there and play my part, however small, in the re-creation of those great days of REAL radio.

Surrounded by a raft of billowing deckchairs, the blare of the fairground and the sickly-sweet aroma of doughnuts wafting in the breeze, I could almost believe I was back in my youth, dancing to the vibes from Caroline North in the teeth of a Blackpool gale. (sorry - we didn't get Radio London too well on the Lancashire coast). I never thought then that it would be me hitting the pirate air waves.

Greetings to you and the rest of the crew, marooned out there by the Jolly Roger. I'll have my Internet antenna tuned your way on Saturday, ready to hear the true professionals playing the game. Love from a no longer knock-kneed Pauline.

Pauline Halford, Frank Ifield's biographer and guest interviewee on the Keith Skues Show, August 12th.

With regards to the Radio London broadcast this year. Absolutely fabulous. After visiting Clacton, we moved on to Herne bay, and I fixed my frame aerial up, inside the motor home to be able to receive Big L on my radio cassette, the car radio aerial having gone faulty. Recorded loads of programmes. We were due to go on to Brixham and Paignton, but the fact is that the programmes were so good, as was the weather and Herne bay being so nice we just kept on listening and stayed there for the whole week!

Back in stinking Brum (as I call it) I've been able to listen to Radio London on the Internet.
Anyway a great big THANKS for your contribution to Radio London, which really has been WONDERFUL this year again.

Best wishes and LA, Pete Anderson

Congratulations to all at Radio London for a superb month of broadcasting. I have really enjoyed listening here in Jersey on the Internet. It really brings back memories of '67.

Also please congratulate your engineers as I hardly had any buffering!

Look forward to hearing you all again soon, Stephen Clipp

I'm married and I have two kids. Listening to remote radio stations is my hobby since 1971. I am 49 years old and working as a GIS/CAD-draughtsman in Antwerp, at the local waterworks company. I am also an editor for the local radio-DX-hobbyist club DX-Antwerp.

I'm glad to tell you that I was able to hear your station's transmission on the 4th of August 2001 between 15:05 and 15:50 UTC/GMT, that's from 16:05 to 16:50 BSTime. I received your station on 1134 kHz. The signal strength was weak (SINPO 24242) but what would you expect from a 1 Watt station? I'm happy that your signal reached me.

By the way, besides the thrill of hearing such a low-power station, it was also interesting to follow your programme.
Guido Schotmans, Merksem, Belgium

Having been a sixties child it's great to hear Radio London again. I'm listening via the Internet and sound quality is fine. I've always had an interest in offshore radio since I was a kid growing up in the 60s and 70s and I'm now involved in local hospital radio. If I can get time (with 2 kids not easily done) I'd like to get down to Clacton Pier and have a look.

Well done and hope to be hearing you again on another RSL when this one finishes..

Cheers, Eddie Newnham

On Saturday 4th August I drove from Chelmsford to Clacton getting a good signal from Colchester onwards. I was very pleased to hear half-an-hour of Ian Damon and I arrived at the Pier just before Ian finished his show and left the studio. I received a friendly greeting from Paul Graham and I had a chat with him and John Ross-Barnard. When I got back in the car I enjoyed hearing Norman St. John again after all these years but he sounded much more Aussie than he was back in 1966/67. I felt Norman recorded his programme with great warmth and sincerity and we'll forgive him for forgetting that Big L doesn't have news on the hour! Stephen Chesney

I had a good time visiting Big L 2001 and spent many hours talking to a lot of people. Bud Ballou and I had an interesting conversation. Also Mike Barrington and I had a lot to talk about, since he remembered some "technical papers" that I handed over to him on my visit to the Ross in 1986.
I will now listen to the recording that I made in Clacton on the 10th and also the one I made just before I left a very rainy Harwich on Sunday the 12th of August.

All the best from, Per Alarud - in Stockholm

Great to hear Big L once again, and getting a good high quality connection through my old PC. Excellent sounds from years gone by and nice to hear all the old jingles etc., also good music & names of other offshore stations makes good listening. Heard Big L as a 9 year old in 60s - my first taste of real radio. Also heard your RSLs July/Aug and Christmas/New Year 1997/8, and Merlin Net One broadcast 1998. Missed your last one but really loving this one, thanks for all your effort.

The website is getting better all the time!

A Caroline support Group member, Richard Colins, Kettering Northants

Hi there, and greetings from Los Angeles.
We've been listening to Keith Skues this afternoon (early morning here), and have been really impressed. You have a very professional-sounding station, and we hope we'll hear you a lot more permanently real soon. The web cast via Live365 was OK for the most part, although there were occasional drops of the signal. Still, being able to hear Big L again live, and halfway round the world, who's complaining?!

Please tell Keith his show was really appreciated, and we send him every good wish for the future.

Ray and Margaret Robinson, Los Angeles, California

Hi Mary
Enjoyed hearing you and Chris on the wireless, but sadly Radio Tirana or whatever it is takes over after 7pm-ish and I miss a lot. Where the hell did you get some of those records?
Cheers, Jef Robinson

Dear Chris and Mary

Having met both of you on Clacton Pier, I thought I ought to say "hello" via e-mail, having been a regular visitor to your website for several months.

Over the whole weekend, all over South East England (Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Essex), I was able to receive another RSL station - Susy Radio (SUssex and SurreY) on 531AM from somewhere near Redhill or Reigate in Surrey. They obviously had a good frequency at the low end of the AM band and an efficient aerial system. Radio London sadly became unlistenable when we reached the M25. Regards, Keith Milborrow

Just got back home. Thanks a lot, good to meet up with you (Sat August 18th). I listened to you right back to Thurrock services, where I stayed at the Travel Lodge. It was good to hear Take a Heart by the Sorrows. I have it on 45, but have not heard it for years. I also have Indian Reservation by the same Don Fardon. I also listened on most of the A2/M2 and the road to Sheppy.
Hope the broadcast is a success for you all. Here's to the next one. It is still great to do and listen to. It just proves that you do not need fancy gear and premises, it is the people and the music that matter.

Please also pass my regards on to Bob Lei Roi. I am sorry I did not meet up with him again.

Best wishes to all. I am looking forward to meeting up with you again.
Regards, Graham L Hall

After more then 30 years we've got - on the continent - Big L on the (radio) - Internet. What a great feeling those 28 days! Thanks a lot all the deejays and all the people that make it possible, especially the "morning deejay" Paul MacLaren, a real Big L DJ!! We shall keep listening to our Radio London on the Internet.

Like Ray Anderson wrote as preface in Chris Elliot's book: I also miss Radio London and think about it every single day - it was in 1965 for me the start of my great love for radio and the music. Keep on broadcasting, Radio London men !!!

Greetings from Belgium, Etienne Kerremans, Duffel by Antwerp

What a pleasant surprise to "discover "BIG L again in the year 2001, sounding as great as ever!!! Indeed, radio as it SHOULD be, ALIVE, REFRESHING, and most of all ENTERTAINING. The question that lots of people ask these days is WHY the majority of radio so unbelievably boring???
Congratulations to everyone concerned in bringing BIG L back to life on the ocean (well nearly) wave (Clacton Pier is the next best thing!!!!) I have just been enjoying your broadcast here in Nottinghamshire on the Internet, and will be a regular listener during this month.

Please also pass on my regards to Ray Anderson and Paul Graham who I have known for many years.

All the best from a fellow RSL operator and ANORAK!!!!!!!! Graham Collis

Frank van Gerwen of Castricun in the Netherlands:
I have been an avid listener to Radio London from the first day of broadcasting in the mid-60's, and though I must admit that I sometimes tuned into Radio Caroline, my feelings for both stations have always remained more or less the same. I still am a proud owner of an original QSL-card dated September 1, 1965.

In order that you may get some kind of idea of the meaning of my receiving your transmissions, let me tell you that I live in Castricum on the Dutch North Sea coast, some 15 miles north of Amsterdam. My house is approx 3 miles from the actual coastline. My receiver is an ICOM PCR-1000 which I use with a 15 meter long-wire antenna with an MLB.

Hoping that there will be many more Big L-RSLs, or maybe an actual Big L local radio station in Clacton or thereabouts with a power of a couple of KWs, so that I may listen to you every day. Thanks a lot for your RSLs and I hope this one will be a huge success, Frank
Steve from Letchworth:
WONDERFUL STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just like radio used to be! Can only capture a weakish signal here in Letchworth - it was better last year. I wish you all the very best and keep up the excellent TX'ing. Steve

When he wrote, the Internet feed was not up yet, but Steve Whitt was tuned in... in GRIMSBY!

Your signal is getting out loud and clear. I caught your morning show (09:30 hours, 4th Aug) here at my home near Grimsby. Reception was clear but weak, even though I was using a top notch receiver and decent loop aerial.. It's amazing how far the signal from a 1 Watt RSL can go - especially when you're on the water (I also heard RNI a few weeks back). I haven't calculated the distance exactly but there is something like 200km between us!

Nevertheless it makes me regret the fact that I moved from Suffolk about a year ago since listening to R London on my car radio was a doddle then. I was working in Ipswich but a job move has taken me "up north". Best of luck with the venture, Steve Whitt.