Radio Caroline South, beleaguered throughout 1965 by the loss of advertising revenue to Radio London, a series of on-
However, an unexpected helping hand came from Scandinavia, where the last remaining Swedish offshore station, Radio Syd, had itself been forced off the air on 18th January 1966 due to extensive pack ice forming in the Baltic Sea. The station's owner, Britt Wadner, had her ship Cheeta 2 sail south for safety intending to anchor her in the comparatively warmer waters off the Dutch coast near the Radio Veronica vessel until weather conditions in the Baltic improved. However, after hearing of what had happened to the Mi Amigo she immediately offered to divert the Cheeta 2 to England to provide a temporary base from which Radio Caroline South could recommence broadcasts.
Cheeta 2 arrived off Harwich on 31st January 1966, just eleven days after the Mi Amigo had run aground, but Radio Caroline South's broadcasts could not restart immediately because the Swedish radio ship was only equipped for FM transmissions. Bad weather conditions prevented the necessary modification works being carried out for some days and it was not until 12th February 1966 that test transmissions for Radio Caroline South were able to start from the Cheeta 2, but they were only on a very low power.
When regular programmes eventually began transmissions had to be restricted to 10.00am-
Unfortunately for Caroline South more problems followed in late March 1966 when the Cheeta 2 was buffeted for three days by gale force winds. On 25th March 1966, with the station again off the air Cheeta 2 began to take in water and the tender Offshore One came alongside to assist with the pumping operation. Cheeta 2 sailing under her own power, with Offshore One alongside, headed for port, however, engine trouble on the radio ship brought an abrupt halt to this voyage and both vessels were forced to drop anchor overnight.
The following day Cheeta 2 was towed into a shipyard at Lowestoft for repairs. This work was completed by the end of March and Cheeta 2 left Lowestoft with broadcasts from Radio Caroline South starting once again on 2nd April 1966
Meanwhile, since the end of January 1966 the Mi Amigo had been in Holland undergoing repairs and the opportunity was taken by Radio Caroline management to install a new 50Kw transmitter, enabling the station to compete more effectively with the powerful signal of rival Radio London.
On 5th April 1966, the Mi Amigo, now fully repaired and with new radio equipment on board, left Holland arriving off the Essex coast two days later. Test transmissions started on 17th April 1966, but within a few hours a short in the aerial mast brought these broadcasts to an abrupt halt. Bad weather prevented engineers repairing the aerial immediately but one of the station's DJs, Tony Blackburn, managed to climb the mast and remove the rogue wire which had been causing the short circuit. Test transmissions were then able to resume on 25th April 1966.
Throughout this time normal Radio Caroline South programmes were still being broadcast from the Cheeta 2 and some DJs from Caroline North were brought south to help with the test transmissions from the Mi Amigo. For a few days there were two separate programmes being broadcast under the call sign of Radio Caroline South, but at 6.00am on 27th April 1966 the Mi Amigo was able to resume responsibility for the station's regular programming -
With a new powerful transmitter and new frequency giving improved reception across southern Britain broadcasting hours for Radio Caroline South were gradually increased to 24 hours a day with effect from 6th August 1966.
Cheeta 2, temporary home to Radio Caroline South
Click on picture to enlarge
Britt Wadner, Ronan O’Rahilly and DJ Colin Nicol (front) on board Cheeta 2
Mi Amigo undergoing repairs and a refit in Zaandam, February 1966
Tony Blackburn on 259m from the Mi Amigo and Graham Webb on 199m from Cheeta 2
Cheeta 2 entering Lowestoft for repair March 1966
Ship and Location