Radio Mercur.

Frequencies : 88 mHz and 89 mHz.
Locations : From motor vessels Cheeta 1, Cheeta 2 and Lucky Star, anchored in international waters.
ID :" The sound of Copenhagen, Denmark, between the islands of Funen and Zeeland."
Owners : Per Jansen and Borge (Borje) Agerskov started the station.
Ib Fogh was the owner of a Silversmith company and put up the money.
'Skanes' Radio Mercur started by Nils-Eric Svensson.
Address was : Radio Mercur, Adolphsvej 61, Gentofte, Copenhagen.
Advertising agents : Mercur Reklame, Roemersgade 9, Copenhagen K.
Hours of transmission : 06.00am to Midnight.

During the summer of 1958 plans were made to start a commercial radio station broadcasting to Denmark from a ship anchored in international waters. A small German stone fishing boat Cheeta was purchased, she was taken to a small port on the east coast of Zeeland and in total secrecy fitted with broadcasting equipment. The ship was registered in Panama and owned by the advertising agency which was registered in Liechtenstein. Studio's were built in a house in a high class suburb of Copenhagen and as Danish law only forbade them broadcasting from land, recording of programmes was not effected.

On 11th July 1958 test transmissions started on 93.12 mHz FM with an ERP of about 20 kW using a directional antenna that was kept pointing in the right direction from the control room on board. Power was supplied by a diesel generator to keep the 1,5 kW transmitter and other electrical gear working. The Danish postal authorities ordered Radio Mercur to cease transmissions at once, but needless to say, this order was ignored.

During the night of 17th/18th July 1958 the Cheeta lost her anchor, drifted towards the Swedish coast and ran aground just outside Malmo. Repairs completed, the radioship sailed again and on 2nd August regular programmes commenced. Three days later the Danish Labour Government requested the Panamanian Government to withdraw the Cheeta's registration and on 14th August Panama informed Radio Mercur that unless broadcasting ceased the registratiobn of the Cheeta would be withdrawn. This ultimatum was ignored and Panama withdrew registration on August 29th. The Danes took no immediate action in the hope that the project would collapse due to a lack of advertisers. This was not so, the station was becoming increasingly popular with the Danish public.

Power was gradually increasing and on 31st August 1958 an experimental programme in Swedish was aired between noon and 2.00pm under the name Skanes Radio Mercur. Business was booming and a new and much bigger ship was purchased and renamed Cheeta 2. Cheeta 1 left for a Norwegian port to undergo repairs.

The new 450 BRT ship started broadcasting on 31st January 1961 on 88 MHz. The transmitter from the Cheetah 1 was installed and broadcast the Swedish programmes on 89.55 mHz. A couple of weeks later dual channel stereo transmissions commenced using both transmitters.

The Danish Post Office issued instructions on 29th September 1961 that coastal radio stations were not to accept traffic to or from the radio ships unless the message was a distress call. Radio Mercur had been using Lyngby Radio to transmit talks from land to the Cheeta for rebroadcast. Cheeta 1 returned to sea and anchored in a new position.
On 25th November 1961 transmissions recommenced with a ERP of 30 kW, but after a few weeks the aerial colloapsed. The two ships changed places.

During a gale on 12th February 1962 the Cheeta 1 put out a distress call and a tug was sent to assist the ship. Here the Cheeta 1 was met by police and detained. It was discovered that after Panama had withdrew her flag the Cheeta 1 had been stateless although she claimed to be registered in Honduras. The Lucky Star took over the broadcasts of Radio Mercur. The Cheeta 1 was sold to Mrs Britt Wadner who had been responsible for the Swedish programmes on Mercur.

In April an anti-pirate bill was presented to the Danish parliament. A ministerial meeting between Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden was held in Stockholm on 3th July, and it was agreed that all would bring their anti-pirate laws into effect at Midnight on 31st July 1962. The Radio Mercur station on board the Cheeta 2 closed down on 10th July 1962, the station on board the Lucky Star closed down at Midnight on 31st July as required by the new law.

On 13th August 1962 transmissions restarted from the Lucky Star using old Radio Mercur tapes. The next day a force of armed Danish police boarded the ship. It was discovered that the ship had no registration, the Lebanese flag flying from the stern was a fake, differing slightly from the true flag.

A court ruled that the boarding and seizing were in order and stated that the ship would be held until the owners appeared. The crew who had refused to disclose the name of the (new) owner were not held by the police. Later it was said that the ship was owned by a senor Louis Arturo Delboso of Guatemale who had hired the ship to a firm connected with Radio Mercur. After some weeks it was decided that the ship would remain intact as legal proceedings were under consideration. It had been suggested that the ship would be free to leave on removal of the radio equipment.

Special thanks to Jean-Luc, Belgium, for information provided.
Do you remember those 'Golden' days of Offshore radio? If you wish to add anything to these pages then please E-Mail me
These pages are Limited copywrite and were designed and edited by bebridel@guernsey.net .