Radio 390 = former KING radio = former Radio Invicta

Announced wavelength: 390 metres... Location: On ex Army Fort.. on Red Sands in Thames Estuary...

Listen to Radio 390

As you will have already read Ted Allbeury was called in to sort out KING radio's problems and came up with an entirely different format... 20,000- was raised to buy out most of KING's owners and to start re-equipping the station... On 10 th July 1965 an application was made for a broadcasting licence but needles to say this was refused, so work started on the fort complex... A RCA 10 kW transmitter was bought for 9,000- (cost 15,000 new) and taken out to Red Sands where a 297 foot aerial mast was being constructed on top of one of the towers, itself reaching 85 feet above sealevel... Two studios were custom-built to a basic design used by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, each containing two turntables, capacitor microphone, seven channel audio console, two taperecorders and a number of playbacks for commercial spots... Each studio was airconditioned...

Picture: one off the studios on board

More equipment followed... Two of the original generators were brought back into use and together with new ones that were installed, developed 160 kW, sufficient to power transmitter, studios, central heating, lightning and all other power requirements... In all some 150,000 was spent to get the station on the air... The first test transmission was made at just after 4:00 pm on Thursday 23 th September 1965 when Glen Miller's Moonlight Serenade went out on 773 kHz (388 meters)... Regular programmes started on the 25 th, and the station met with an enormous success, as unlike the other offshore stations Radio 390 was aiming at a more mature audience...

Picture: the 390 Crew

The quality of the signal put out was much to do with this success covering most of england with what at a maximum was only 35 kW of power... Usually no more than 10 kW was used although the BBC once said the station must be using at least 60 kW... in June 1966 plans were announced that a new service Radio 390 North would commence from a ship anchored off Colwyn bay... this schip was probably to have been the Cheeta 2 which was involved in a legal argument over ownership... As a consequence the second service never took the air... neither did a planned F.M. service from Red Sands... After month's of argue with the authorities about the location of the station and causing Radio 390 of the air... Radio 390 returned to the air, just before Midnight on 31 th December 1966 ... Mr. Allbeury said "We shall stay on the air now, we have new evidence that Red Sands Tower is at least one and a half miles outside territorial waters"... Ted Allbeury left the station and went to Radio 355 because he believed a ship had a greater potential then the forts... and some of the announcers followed... On 28 th July 1967 Radio 390 closed down... All the staff left the fort except a party of four... On 6 th August a group of men raided the fort and stole equipment worth 400- the men dismantling the station had been told not to stop any such attempt... Five men in a fishing boat were later arrested by Port Of London Authority officials.

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