On 30th November 1985 the first shortwave test transmission took place from the Radio Caroline ship, Ross Revenge on a frequency of 6273kHz, relaying Caroline 963 programmes. A marine transmitter (part of the Ross Revenge's original communications equipment) was used for the broadcast with a power of only 500 watts and reception was generally poor.
Vincent Monsey from Caroline's New York office confirmed that the tests had been official and that the station planned to transmit on short wave from about the beginning of February 1986, with a power of 5Kw to provide a World Service of Radio Caroline's programmes.
However, the expected Radio Caroline shortwave service, promised for the end of February 1986 didn’t materialise. Vincent Monsey explained that although a 1Kw shortwave transmitter was on board the Ross Revenge and had been tested in November 1985, they wanted to install another 5Kw transmitter before starting the service, but bad weather had prevented it being taken out to the radio ship. Two transmitters were needed, he said, because Radio Caroline wanted to offer a 24hour worldwide shortwave service.
Since the November 1985 tests a new shortwave aerial system had been constructed on the Ross Revenge and it was now planned that the 'World Service' should start in April 1986. Much of the work on this shortwave equipment was undertaken by American radio enthusiast Al Weiner, who just over 12 months later was to feature prominently with his own offshore station on the other side of the Atlantic (Radio New York International).
By October 1987 there were further rumours that a new shortwave service would be started from the Ross Revenge to carry the Viewpoint programmes. Some tests were carried out on a number of shortwave frequencies during September 1987 and on 28th October the programmes of Caroline 558 were relayed on 6220kHz, later transferring to 5955kHz.
Further shortwave broadcasts from the Ross Revenge took place on 22nd February 1988 when Caroline 558 was relayed in parallel on 6210kHz. Two weeks later, on 6th March 1988 more shortwave test transmissions were made, but this time a separate programme was broadcast with station identifications in English, French and Italian.
The transmissions were halted for two short periods to enable engineers on board the Ross Revenge to receive reception reports from other stations and radio amateurs on the same and adjacent frequencies. During this time reports were received from Ireland, Holland, Denmark, Scotland, France, Italy and West Germany, while other reception reports obtained later showed that Radio Caroline's shortwave broadcasts had been heard in Wisconsin USA, Australia, New Zealand and Poland. Further test transmissions on shortwave were made throughout March and April 1988 on a number of frequencies including 6210,6215 and 6205 kHz, but all generally relayed the normal Caroline 558 programmes.
Following successful completion of these tests a new station was launched from the Ross Revenge on 1st May 1988 on the shortwave frequency of 6215kHz. Using the call sign World Mission Radio (WMR) the station broadcast a range of sponsored (largely American) religious programmes as well as tapes from Dutch evangelist Johaan Maasbach which were also broadcast four times each day in Dutch and English.
WMR programmes ceased shortly after 12 noon on 18th August 1989, the day before Dutch and British authorities raided the Ross Revenge, and were never resumed.
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Ship and Location