Thursday, 31 December 2015

1439 kilohertz (from 1978 1440 kHz) or "Two-o-Eight"

If I want to hear a tune, like say "Return To Sender" by Elvis Presley, there are a number of ways I can do that. 
I can go to one of my hard drives and play it through MediaMonkey or QuickTime or whatever. I can go to Spotify or Amazon or iTunes and stream or download it. I can go to my CD collection and play it on my stereo. I can probably hear it on one of many thousands of Internet stations that play 1960s music.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the only way to hear a tune like this was to buy the 7 inch single after hearing it first on the radio. The only radio station that played popular music was …….. Radio Luxembourg.

The "Station of the Stars" was the mainstay of musical enjoyment for a whole generation of listeners like myself until the offshore stations like Radio Caroline, Radio Atlanta and Radio London started up in 1963.

"Two-o-Eight" had an enormous impact upon the teenagers and young people of that period. DJs like Pete Murray, David Jacobs and Jack Jackson became our knowledgeable disc spinners. We learned how to spell "Keynsham" (Bristol) and that the HQ of Luxembourg was in Hertford Street in London. The gong announced an evening of musical delight; was it to be clear and crisp or fading and distorted, or even virtually non-existent? (The Medium Wave frequency of 1439 kHz being subject to the whims of the ionosphere and its constantly changing moods).

In the early 60s you could receive "Buxom Girl" on 208 metres (1439 kHz) or 49.26 metres on the shortwave (6090 kHz). In the 30s, 40s and 50s it was also broadcast on Long Wave.

QSL card from Radio Luxembourg for reception on 6090 kHz on the 30.7.1965

The transmitter at Marnach in the Principality of Luxembourg could run up to 1,200 kilowatts and was one of the most powerful on medium wave when it was first switched on.

The transmissions of Radio Luxembourg lasted until the 1990s, when it was no longer commercially viable to broadcast to Great Britain.

Marnach transmitter site, Luxembourg

Since then the transmitter at Marnach has been used to broadcast programmes from CRI (China Radio), South Korea and KBS World Radio.

But tonight this comes to an end …… the Marnach transmitter is being switched off for good (along with most MF transmitters in Germany and France) and the antenna will be removed and the land sold at the going rate.

Last evening, a programme about the ending of Radio Luxembourg was aired over 208 (1440 kHz). The end is nigh!

Am I alone in feeling somewhat sad that the end of the Marnach transmitter signifies the end of a broadcasting era?

Thanks Marnach and Radio Luxembourg! 

Gone, but never forgotten..........

1 comment:

  1. Hi Terry,
    I agree with you it is indeed a sad day.
    While not old enough to remember Radio Luxembourg in the 60's i do remember Radio Luxembourg from the middle of the 70's on wards.
    At the time they wes no legal Pop station here until 1979.
    So listening to Radio Luxembourg was the only way to here Pop Music at night here.
    As you say Terry Radio Luxembourg will never be forgotten.