This summer, Icom UK is to sponsor a unique radio station. This special station called Red Sands Radio will be 7 nautical miles offshore from Whitstable on the North Kent coast in a set of former WWII Army Sea Forts on the Red Sands. The radio station, which will be on-air from early July, will be broadcasting to 1,000's of listeners in Kent on 1278kHz and via the Internet at www.redsandonline.co.uk
. * N.B THE FREQUENCY HAS YET TO BE CONFIRMED BY OFCOM
As part of the sponsorship agreement, Icom UK are planning to operate an Amateur Radio special event station. Ofcom has issued GBORSR the special call sign for this occasion. Icom will be broadcasting on HF using an IC-756PROIII
in the evening and on VHF/UHF in the day. Icom UK also plan to conduct D-Star transmissions into a repeater system & the Internet. A vertical antenna will be affixed to the stanchions on the Southern Gun Tower roof to support the communications.
Project-Redsand is a Registered Charity that aims to preserve the Red Sands Army Fort as they are the last complete set of its kind in the world. Red Sands Radio is part of that initiative but in addition has the ambition to provide a proper 'Local Radio station for Local People'. Programme Director, Bob Le-Roi said, “Icom have a mutual interest in what we are doing & we’re delighted they’re aboard. We’re offering Icom UK an opportunity to broadcast world-wide during this summer transmission period.”
He added, “Preparing the Fort for broadcasting is a mammoth task. We have a new MF antenna system to erect, generators, studios, & a newsroom to install to get the radio station on-air, and make the Fort habitable. It’s be a big job for everyone involved.”
Icom UK Managing Director Phil Hadler said, “ We very much enjoyed the programmes from Red Sands Radio last year, it was a breath of fresh air hearing something different, that was topical & local, that played a wide range of music. We as a specialist organisation realised how difficult it was to pull off the initiative & are pleased to be supporting the project hereon ”
Radio Red Sands launches in early July 2008. For the history of the Forts photographs & audio from Red Sands Radio & the latest news on this years programmes visit www.bobleroi.co.uk
For more on the preservation of Red Sands Fort visit www.project-redsand.com
& for Ham Radio transmissions & more details of Icom’s unique station including operating times and frequencies stay tuned to this website www.icomuk.co.uk
About Project Redsand (www.project-redsand.com)
The Thames Sea Forts are the last in a long history of British Marine Defences. The Army Anti Aircraft forts have played a significant role in post World War 2 developments. Notably in offshore fuel exploration and drilling platforms. The successful rapid deployment of the Maunsell Forts soon after led to the construction of the first offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in the late 1940’s.
Up until 2003, no serious consideration had been paid to the preservation of any of these historic structures. Now discussion is taking place within Government Agencies, which will determine the future of The Maunsell Towers.
Project Redsand has been established to secure the Redsand Towers, coded "Uncle 6" during WW2 and chosen because it is the better of the two Army forts, closest to shore and clear of the main shipping lanes.
Project Redsand have, since August 2003, been in discussion with
Government Agencies about this proposal. Concerns such as the stability and structural integrity of the fort have been addressed. During July 2004, a survey team inspected the fort on behalf of Project Redsand. A Port of London Authority diving team together with Taylor Woodrow materials specialists gave the “all clear” to go ahead with the Project.
Mowlem Marine, experts in marine structures, installed a new safe access system for Project Redsand in 2005. Materials were donated by a number of River Thames companies. Other companies around the UK are now preparing to assist Project Redsand.
Meanwhile, the Department for Culture Media and Sport has considered an application to list the structures. A summary of their report can be seen on the News page. The Project Team are seeking sponsorship and grant aid for the restoration program which will form a Charitable Trust.
The Ministry of Defence is to supply a team of Royal Engineers who, as part of a training exercise will assist working parties at the Fort.
The duration of the restoration program will be determined by the availability of funding. This may take a number of years to realise. Patience, determination and hard work will be essential.
To date, media support has been excellent. The Project has been covered by The Times, BBC Breakfast TV, The Telegraph and a host of local TV, Radio and newspapers.
July 2007 saw the first licensed broadcast from the Redsand Fort. A 10 day Restricted Service Licence allowed transmission on medium wave and a webcast, commemorating 40 years since the demise of "offshore radio" from the Thames Estuary forts. Red Sands Radio was sponsored by Canterbury City Council and the Lottery Fund.