The REM Island – August 1972

REM Island was a marine platform originally located in international waters about six miles off the Dutch coast near Noordwijk and anchored to the sea-bed. The REM island‘s purpose was for offshore “pirate” radio and TV broadcasting by Radio & TV Noordzee which had been founded a year earler, in 1963.

REM is an acronym, standing for Reclame Exploitatie Maatschappij, which means advertising exploitation company. Commercial broadcasts aimed at the Dutch market commenced in mid August 1964 with a radio programme on 1400kHz and TV using Channel E11 (System B).

The Dutch authorities took action against the station by passing the REM Law on 12th December 1964, which designated the sea bed under the REM Island as Dutch territory. Five days later Dutch authorities boarded the platform and ended broadcasting. About one year later, Radio Noordzee resumed transmissions legally, on land, as the TROS.

Meantime the REM Island itself was abandoned and was for some time used by the Dutch government to measure sea temperature and salt concentrations. In 2004, after a failed attempt to sell the REM, it was eventually dismantled in 2006.

Since March 2011 the REM platform has been located in the harbour of Amsterdam and serves as a restaurant.

More information about the REM island is available here and here.

Pictures of the abandoned REM island shown below were taken by Fred Bunzl during a sight-seeing boat trip in August 1972.

All photos © Fred Bunzl

X-Tower Airship Broadcasts Digital Radio & TV

A Swiss company, Stratxx, says it has launched a new tethered Airship called X-Tower, designed to broadcast both digital TV and radio.

According to Stratxx CEO, Kamal Alavi: “The X-Tower is the first airship that has successfully proven that digital TV and radio transmissions can be broadcast from an airship over a long period of time.” He says that far less energy is required to broadcast in this manner compared to conventional methods.

Is this a hoax? All that text in the report about ballistic tests on the fabric sound a bit strange. We know that Google was supposed to have looked at a project to bring high speed internet to large areas of Africa using an airship.

The only real application for a venture like this is in large, underdeveloped areas like Africa. If they intend to run it in Switzerland, or anywhere else in Europe for that matter, the bands are so packed in the Vhf/Uhf/Ghz spectrum that Stratxx would find it difficult to slot into a gap where people could find them. If they tried, they would likely be in the same category as the old offshore pirate stations!

Remember, in about 1970 Radio Caroline’s Ronan O’Rahilly was going to fly planes and broadcast from them, but the project never got off the ground.

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