Thameside Radio 90.2
The early days
Years of success
Where are the
Thameside Radio crew now?
Links to Thameside
Thameside Radio 90.2
State of the art broadcasting technology
Thameside's main radio studio was a permanent
installation which had a number of notable technical facilities including 3 instant start record decks, a built
in telephone interface and jingle machines.
By the end of their first year
the Thameside team had built a mobile studio. Originally just used at special events it began to be used as the main studio after a while. Presumably
this was because the building where the main studio was located had become inconvenient
Transmitters and links
used state of the art technology for its transmitters. In the late 70s almost
every broadcaster (pirate or licensed) used valves to amplify the broadcast
signal. In contrast Thameside used transistor technology - this resulted in reliable transmitters which were more robust and used less power. Originally the
transmitters produced about 50 Watts, but as more powerful devices became available
the signal grew to 100 and 200 Watts. This was enough to cover the whole of London.The quality and stability of the Thameside design was legendary, a pirate with a signal as good as any legal radio station. Some circuit
diagrams for the Thameside driver boards and power stages still remain. There is a detailed analysis of them on http://www.rockradio.freeserve.co.uk/rigs.htm
order to avoid detection and to get the best broadcast signal Thameside Radio also was
an early user of link technology. The studio output would be sent to a low power
high frequency transmitter which "beamed" the signal to the main transmitter.
That way the studio would be hard for the authorities to locate as they could
only easily track the main transmitter. For a long time the main transmitter was concealed in a space between between two concrete floors in Trellick Tower which was 45 stories high (the tallest residential tower block in Europe) where a remote control was needed to open a hatch and gain access (very
Hammer Horror!). You can imagine the authorities wandering around the top of the
tower block looking for the transmitter with their signal meters but not being
able to find it.
Despite the name Thameside Radio 90.2 in fact broadcast for 90.45. While originally they had used the 90.2 frequency as it was clear in worth and west London - as the output power increased they found that there was the potential for interference with the Rediffusion cable network in Grenwich. (Yes, cable TV is that old!). To save on any potential interference for Thameside listeners in Grenwich and people listening to the local cable service. Thamesde moved to 90.45 VHF. They kept the Thameside Radio 90.2 VHF jingle though. Since digital radios were very rare and expensive back in 1978 hardly anyone noticed.
Around the 4th birthday the station started changing transmitter sites every hour. This was another way to stop the DTI getting their transmitters - just as the detector vans got near the transimtter site would change and would have to start again.
Next: Memorabilia >
The Thameside Radio Story is an achive of material about Thameside Radio 90.2, a London pirate station. It broadcast between 1977 and 1982. Tony Lloyd, Bob Edwards, The Intrepid Birdman, Alex Wright, Paul James, Ian Stewart, Terry Anderson and The Curly Man all presented shows, as did many others. More important were the listeners. This is a live site so if you would just like a namecheck, want to get in touch, have a Thameside Radio 90.2 related photo, Thameside Radio recording or a memory please email me.
Special thanks for mp3s, writing in or sending pictures to (amongst others) , Carol H, Olaf Star, Jessica D, Pyers E, Warren S, Stephen Sykes, John G, Mike E, itrilby for Radio Eric, Alex Wright, Aidan S, Dave "The Birdman", Alan Dolby, Rachel McIntyre (for Terry Anderson), Al at fmthen.com for the Thameside Radio Revisited podcasts, Terry/Decibel90 and Steve Scribbler.
I know that a lot of Thameside listeners and friends would like to get in touch with each other again. If you are happy to have e-mail forwarded do write in. Even if you don't have any new information it would be great to hear from you.
The content of this site is avalilable under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.