The wonderful world of listening to the radio

Tag: Closure

Gold 1548 kHz off air end-September

Other Gold mediumwave stations closed already in June this year. Gold 1548, servicing London from the Saffon Green transmitter, will follow end-September (source: Ydun’s Medium Wave Info).

Before the merger of many independent local radio stations in the United Kingdom this was the transmitter of Capital Radio. With 97.5 kW this station was significantly more powerful than other ILR stations and easy to receive here in The Netherlands. The higher power probably has to do with the size of the London area and the urban environment.

In the 1980s I had a lot of fun chasing the different ILR (and BBC) local radio stations. The stations all had their own local identity and studios and hadn’t merged into larger conglomerates yet. Below you can see the Capital QSL I received in 1980. Had it been a post stamp it would have been a collector’s item given the apparent misprint of the frequency. Truth be told, I regularly get confused with the 1458, 1485, 1548 and 1584 frequencies myself.

My QSL from Capital Radio 1548 in 1980

RTE ends long wave service 252 kHz

Next Friday RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) from Ireland will end their long wave service on 252 kHz. Operation on 252 kHz started in 1989 when a joint venture of RTE and RTL started as Atlantic 252. With its powerful transmitter it easily covered Ireland and the UK. The BBC and Independent Local Radio complained about the station as they considered it a “commercial pirate”.

Initially the station was on air between 6 am and 7 pm, as listeners were encouraged to tune to Radio Luxembourg in the evening hours. Radio Luxembourg was the station that – following the demise of the North Sea pirate stations – you listened to for the latest popmusic. From 1991 Atlantic 252 it was on the air 24 hours a day, making it an easier catch for DX-ers around the world.

Popularity of the station reached a peak in the mid 90-ies. But commercial radio on FM, with better sound quality, gained popularity in the UK. From over 6 million listeners the audience declined to less than 1 million in 1999, and in 2001 the station went off the air. For a few months in 2002 Teamtalk 252 was aired via this frequency, after that RTE used the transmitter for RTE 1 programmes directed to the Irish expat community.

Below you can see my QSL from 1989, a few months after the start of Atlantic 252. It’s a pity that following the closure of the Beidweiler station of JV partner RTL another LW station bites the dust. On the other hand, given the costs and pressure to save on the huge energy consumption of such transmitters, it is understandable.

Information Letter Atlantic 252
QSL folder (1989) for Atlantic 252, Ireland

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