Feb 4, 2012
As a student, it was often fun to listen on the radio between the broadcasting bands. You would tune just above the mediumwave (AM) broadcast band, say around 1.8 MHz, and you'd often pick up one half of what sounded like a very personal conversation. That's because, in those days, ship-to-shore communications went mainly via medium and shortwave radio. Ships had a communications officer, and they were responsible for setting up calls from the ship which then connected to the public telephone network on land.
I still recall the trip to Ijmuiden like it was yesterday, and I find it difficult to believe we made this programme nearly 27 years ago, way back in October 1985. I remember the female operators at Scheveningen Radio were drop dead gorgeous, had fantastic voices and were clearly driving the place. They were often the only female voice men out on the ships had heard in weeks.
The men at Scheveningen Radio were mainly in the Morse code section which, even then, was being phased out. I vividly recall sitting in the canteen and seeing the Morse Code operators looking at the newspaper and their right hand involuntarily tapping out out on the table what they were reading.
There is one anecdote too. In this programme we set up a Morse Code link with the Hoek-Harwich ferry. I had to do it twice because the first time, when we asked the ferry for its destination, they came back with a string of expletives along the lines of - "We're the Hoek-Harwich Ferry, where do you think we're going?". The guy at Scheveningen radio cleaned up what they said, but I knew the Media Network audience had a high chance of understanding what was really said. So we did it again.
If you want to find out why they called it Scheveningen Radio, even though they operated from further up the coast at Ijmuiden, then take a listen to this vintage show. It's in huge stereo.