Into the 80's now with Andromeda Independent Radio, an FM-only station that Bob and myself started in 1979. Over the next few days and weeks, I'll start digging in the archives to see what photos and tapes I can find. Stay tuned!
Andromeda first hit the airwaves in early 1979 with a few very low power tests from the hills around Tameside, East Manchester. From these tests, we found that a power of about half-a-watt to a two or three element beam from a high spot would cover the area quite nicely.
The transmitter we settled on (after a few rather poor efforts) was a simple 30MHz oscillator with varicap modulation feeding a tripler, driver and PA. DC power input to the final stage was around 1.5 watts. As with Aquarius, programmes were pre-recorded onto cassettes at home and replayed on site using modified domestic players.
Somewhere I have a box full of cassette recordings of almost all our programmes, taped at various locations in Tameside. If I can find it I'll put a few up on here.
Here's Bob tying one of the antenna support strings into place. It could get very windy atop those hills. This particular site reached a height of 1300ft and we weren't far from the top!
A photo of the extremely rare Andromeda Badge. Avid listeners could order these directly from us, or they could visit the Grass Roots bookshop in Manchester and hand over 25 pence. Far out, Man.
Below is one of our first bits of press coverage in the Tameside Eye, April 1980.
Over the years we got quite good press coverage, from the specialist music and radio magazines to the Tameside Advertiser and the Guardian.
In 1982, Andromeda was the subject of 'Whatever You Want', a show on the new Channel 4 TV network. One of the presenters was the now famous Keith Allen. After the initial meeting at their RPM Productions office in London, we retired to a local pub where he bought us a sausage butty. At the filming of our fifteen minutes of fame, we received our payment - £15. How this didn't launch us into a life of stardom and drug-fuelled debauchery I'll never know....
You can see the Whatever You Want segment here:
OK, I've found the old off-air recordings and stuck a few bits together, spanning 1979 to 1983. Watch out - it's about 18 minutes long, so get a flask of coffee and some butties:
Click here to listen: http://g1hbe.webs.com/Montage2.mp3
Interested in land-based pirates? There's a load of stuff and a forum here: