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RADIO 101 international

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The (hi)story of RADIO 101

Most of the FM-part of the story is set in three main areas: Niederrhein in the north-west of Germany, the area of Aachen/east- Belgium and in Tirol, Austria. The shortwave transmitter is located in a different country outside central-Europe, because of the so called "dead zone" where a shortwave signal can't be heard.

(note: you can click most of the pictures to see them in full size)

1981, January 16th: the first transmission of "Sender Freies Pfalzdorf" run by Chris and Blecky in Goch at the dutch border in the north- west German area called Niederrhein. The self-made FM transmitter Gottfried mit UKW-Sender (a similar model, a "micro"-FM Stereo-TX which was built into a car, Freddy shows us on the picture on the right) had just about 10 Watts output power and was just put on Bleckies desk, feeding the Antenna on the roof. A lot of classmates were listening to the music played for them. Johnny Best (JB), who was already "radio-active" also listened to that special local program and joined RADIO 101 in the later years. Why "RADIO 101" ? Its simple: 101.0 MHz at that time was the only frequency, which was free to be used in all of the above mentioned now and later RADIO 101 FM- locations in Germany, Netherlands and Austria like Aachen, Kreis Kleve, Kitzbühel and others.
In Kitzbühel, Austria, another forerunner station of 101-Radio, "RADIO Ö4", run by Raimund, Harald and Chris, was "visited" remote-controlled transmitter by the Austrian PTT while transmitting from the top of Kitzbüheler Horn. At that time RADIO 101 began to become active as well in Aachen/Aix-la-chapelle (Germany), located at the Dutch-Belgian border.

Picture on the right: a small FM stereo-transmitter which can be switched on and off remote-controlled by every CB-rig plus DTMF-encoder. That kind of technique was used by 101 in Austria later.

In the years of 1983 to 1989 the shortwave transmitter was on the air every Sunday morning, first on 7450, then 7350, 7360 kHz. Once a local FM radio station, WRKY Killarney/Big L Limerick of Mike Richardson and his crew (see photo) was relayed on shortwave. The phonecalls of listeners in France an Germany were RADIO 101-antenna on the Baudouin-tower facing towards Aix-la-Chapelle aired live on the 41m-band. The signal was fed into a three element full size yagi beam, pointing to central Europe. Some of the Djs at that time were Conny Ferrin, Mike Rogers, Danny Kaye, Johnny Best - of course - and others.

During that time there were lots of activities on FM:
In Aachen after some transmissions out of a car on that 354m-hill "Dreiländereck / Drielandenpunt" (triangle border of Belgium, Netherlands and Germany) we had the possibility to install at that high point a transmitter, the aerial on top of the 34m-outlook-tower (photos on the left: the VHF-aerial, beaming towards Aachen, Germany, below it Rolf fixing the coaxial cable). Until that time all FM transmissions had been in stereo; according to the Belgian laws of that time private non-commercial stations were just allowed to transmit in mono and without commercials, and so we did. Rolf fixing the cable End of April 1984 a power-amp was assembled; not even ten days later the German DBP (telecom) appeared. But seeing that the site was located in Belgium they had to leave doing nothing.......

1985: Back to the Niederrhein: In March 1985 a new RADIO 101 transmitter in FM stereo went on the air. The 150 Watts-TX on FM 101.6 was located in Nijmegen (NL), beaming to Kleve (D). Dave Fonzo, Marijke Schillings and Cliff Bailey were mainly running that station, which later moved into a village near Kleve/Germany. In the Summer of the same year a second RADIO 101 site was installed and run by Erhard and Chris. Erhard owned - how handy! - a record shop. (...well, by the way, sometimes there came somebody into his record shop an said things like "Could it be that I heard YOUR voice in the radio, presenting the top 20?" - and then he answered like: "Oh, no Sir, that really can't be!" )
The transmitter, a 250 Watts ERP FM Stereo transmitter was installed near Siebengewald (30 km south of Nijmegen) in the Netherlands, beaming quite far into Germany, 24h a day, playing the charts as well as oldies of rock and pop music. The transmitter of RTI Gemmenich, manufactured by Rohde & Schwarz in Munich Some people were listening almost day and night to that new, so different program, they loved it and many people signed the signature lists for free radio, which they loved so much. But the German authorities didn't - so it was taken away. After being raided by the Dutch PTT the power was increased to 700 Watts ERP, transmitting from another site in the Netherlands for another while.

1986: In Aachen, 110 km south of the scenery described before, RADIO 101 and HENRI RADIO (Henri-Chapelle) joined RADIO TELSTAR, a station managed by former members of BNL RADIO and RADIO FANTASY like Helmut Slawik, an absolute free-radio-enthusiast Henri-Chapelle, home of HENRI-RADIO ( most of us, anyway). A quite strong Rohde & Schwarz-FM transmitter (photo above on the right) was installed at that already mentioned hill of the triangle border in Gemmenich, the aerials mounted 354m a.s.l. on top of that 34m-tower where the 101-antenna (photos above on the left) was mounted before.

More pictures of RTI you can see here: (click here). The transmitter site was located just 6m next to the German border. Because of that and other problems that site was closed down some years later. Then, in the nineties there was built a microwave link from a studio at Pontstrasse in the center of Aachen to another relay-transmitter on that "Dreiländereck/triangle"- hill. The music tapes played 24h a day by a tape-changer and live events like parties were aired by microwave beam first to a relay and from there to the triangle, later directly to the triangle-relay transmitter. Some other relais, fed by a VHF signal were set up. The frequency 101 MHz could not be used anymore because of another local transmitter, but the name RADIO 101 still remained. So the direct and relayed FM signals were to be heard on 87.8, 104.2 and 107.4 MHz. Axel during a party live on RADIO 101 Photo down on the left: Charlie Cooper of HENRI-RADIO live on the air during a RADIO 101-party in Feb.'91 at the Pontstrasse in Aachen. The music of the party was aired, so the visitors could still hear what was going on on the party while driving home.


by Paul W Griffin / Radio World magazine

Paul Griffin, who works at Free Radio Berkeley, a micro station in California, estimated the number of micro-broadcasters to be in the hundreds. "One's too many," said John Earnhardt, a spokesman for the NAB. "It's illegal."

"This is all about money," said Griffin. "These commercial broadcasters are so afraid that they are going to lose listeners to micro-stations that they will do anything to try and shut down this whole movement." He said he and others plan to demonstrate against the NAB during its spring convention in Las Vegas. "We're opposed to monopolistic practices carried on by the NAB," Griffin stated. Griffin said he would like to see the FCC reinstate some sort of licensing procedure for low-power FM. He noted that low-power FM stations were legal up until 20 years ago...

...The lack of a legitimate outlet for micro-power broadcasters has stalled the government case against Stephen Dunifer, who founded the unlicensed Free Radio Berkeley in 1993. On Nov. 12, 1997, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken denied an FCC motion for summary judgment against Dunifer for operating Free Radio Berkeley without a license. Her decision, seen in the industry as a big victory for Dunifer, was based on his argument "that relief should not be granted to the FCC because he cannot obtain a license to broadcast under the FCC's regulations which he claims are unconstitutional." More recent arguments between Dunifer and the FCC reiterate the same points. "Yes we should apply for a license,"

Griffin wrote in an e-mail to RW, "but the FCC has made this nearly impossible for anyone except the conglomerates that currently are buying up all the media in the country. Micro-stations are trying to make a point by practicing what we call 'electronic civil disobedience.' That is, when the laws make no sense, it's time for ordinary citizens to stand up and publicly break those laws and challenge the laws in court."

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