THE HISTORY OF RADIO SCOTLAND INTERNATIONAL
As a sixteen years old i started this great hobby in may 1975, prompted by the disapperance of the offshore stations on the 31 st of august of 1974. i was a huge fan of Radio Veronica. the fact that they had to disappear made me so angry that i decided to start my own radiostation. Not a year later i had done so.
The disappearence of the offshore stations, though, was not the only reason to start my own. My father had been a "pirate" in the sixties already. He had, so to say, lit the fire! In those years there already existed numerous "pirate" radiostations, a trend that starting during the fifties using medium waves (MW).
Now i still had to think of a name for my station. There used be lots of stations that were named after the disappeared offshore stations (or after still existing ones: Mi Amigo/Caroline were still on air), but i did not feel like naming mine "Veronica nr 20". So it had to be something different, more creative, yet catchy. In a book on offshore radio i ran into the name "radio Scotland". That it had be! This name, though, caused quite some confusion later on. (see below).
My first TX was build up out of two 807 tubes, with a power of 50 watts. It was a simple structure build upon the plastic closing lit of a lunchbox, but worked fine. I used a 45 meters long and 15 meters high long-wire antenna.
This all worked very well, as long as most of the
other pirates were making use of the same power. But then the
race for more power set in....
Everyone wanted to be the strongest one in the field, so the transmitters got bigger and bigger.
And i was in it as well. I had to, in order not to disappear from the band forced by my concurring colleagues!
So from a 50 watts 807, things went up to a VT4c tube, with a power of 100watts. This improved things a lot. In the same period i also bought a so called "VT-tray" (BC 191n), an original made by General Electric in 1942 and used by the French army. This is also a 100watts, but i have not made extensive use of it and now mainly decorating my living room.
But things did not stop there. The next one was a
double 813, build from a box of a "VT-tray".
The output could reach 300/400 watts. This truly was a great TX. A 813 is a very solid, decent tube.
During the eighties this transmitter was replaced by
the type i have used many years. Once again a box of a "VT-tray",
this time with 6 pl-519 tubes on top and a pl-509 on the driver
Although this kind of tube is much smaller and more delicate than a VT4c or a 813, they render much grander results. Power: i have tried to put a 800 watts on it, but the box cannot cope with that, nor can the modulator. So i stick to a 400/500 watts. Since oct. 2005 i use a Rohde&Schwartz SK-050 TX as well, but, i have to say: although the R&S is looking great, the power is less then the PL-519...
The race for more power also encouraged one to use ever changing modulators. I have had several ones, with different tubes: 807, VT4c, 811, PL-519. The current modulator makes use of 6 pl-519 and has an output of around 400 watts. Update: now using 2 TB4/1250 tubes.
Of course the race for power did not stop in the
eighties, but i stepped out of it. It had been enough. It would
be quite nice, having a TX of 1500 watts or more, but just a bit
too expensive. And since i have more, and more expensive
And a TX such as the one K.K.A, (FM) that had a power of 10 KW and a antenna-mast of 101 mters high...quite a stunt! (11-12-2004)
In 1988 i also started broadcasting on the shortwave
(48m) with a nice PL-519 transmitter (4x). I could be perfectly
received in the whole Europe but unfortunaletely it only took a
few months before it was taken out of the air.
From then on once again only medium wave!
In 2001 i started broadcasting once again on the short wave (48m) and this work perfectly. I am receiving reports from troughout Europe and the U.SA. Broadcasting on the shortwave, but also the international broadcasting on the medium wave, which i started in the late seventies (a.o 227m), brought an unsuspected problem to the fore: the name radio Scotland! In Dutch this name sounds very good, but for the audience abroad it was rather confusing!: radio Scotland Int. FROM THE NETHERLANDS???? What to do? Change the name? I thought about it, but decided to keep it this way. And after 40 years of R.S.I. this way it will stay!
Update 2011: oh well..i'm using more power too! At SW a homebuild TX with 3 ceramic tubes type 4CX250b. Output 1 KW carriėr. All this on a ¼ wave dipole antenna. Update 2014: using a 4CX 1500 now. Output:1500 watt. (carriėr) And for MW a homebuild TX with 1 ceramic tube type GU43b. (ex Russian army) Output 1 KW carriėr.