Rob Ashard's Red Sands Radio Gallery
Rob Ashard


Through a chance conversation with Ian Trill, once a transmitter engineer on the Ross, and someone I now occasionally work with in TV production, I gathered that the Red Sands Radio project might need a bit of audio gear, and particularly, a mixing desk. I was aware that David Foster had bought an A-Series Alice desk off Bob Lawrence, and had not yet installed it in his home studio. This information was fed back to Robin Adcroft and after a few phone calls Foster and I agreed to supply the studio kit (with the exception of the computers) all wired up and ready to go. In the meantime both of us had recorded a few hours of programming for programme director, Bob Le-Roi.

Sadly, due to boat availability, the installation day moved to a day that Dave couldn't make, so it was on the Thursday before transmission that I loaded the car and headed off to Whitstable on my own. The boat was loaded with a mountain of supplies and soon I was heading out to sea towards a structure that had fascinated me for years with a crew that included Bob Le-Roi and no less than three legendary offshore radio engineers, Peter Chicago, Robin Adcroft and Tony Pine.

The mood dropped a little as we approached the towers as it became obvious that things were not as they should be with the antenna, which had been erected a few days before. Luckily the scaffolding tower used in the construction had not been removed due to lack of time and this constrained the damage somewhat. It also meant that it was ready and in place for the rebuild. I was downstairs sorting out the studio so didn't really see much of this, but all I know was that by the next high tide and boat departure they all seemed to have recreated an albeit slightly shorter version of the mast, which, now it's on the air, seems to be performing extremely well. First job was to unload the boat, which must have taken at least an hour-and-a-half.

In the studio, Bob had put in some furniture to put the gear onto. Before installing the mixer, speakers and a rack containing two cd players, a mini disc machine, an off-air receiver and a PPM (peak programme meter) along with an Electrovoice RE20 mic on a stand I had a bit of clearing up to do. Bob wanted me to try to weather-proof the windows a bit as some of the panes were broken. We used some heavy plastic sheeting which I held in place with some strips of wood screwed to the original frames. We also helped each other with other jobs, lifting and moving things, or looking for bits of wood that might help achieve the job in hand.
By about 6pm the studio was all ready to test so Bob started the 6kVA diesel Genny. The studio sprung into life and soon it was time to get on the boat and leave.
That was last Thursday. Today, Monday 16th July Foster and I were both free so went out to visit. Much cleaning had been done on Red Sands Tower and they really had transformed the place in three days. They had also relocated the generator into the boiler room which meant much less noise. Kevin Turner, who I hadn't seen in a few years was aboard and both live and pre-recorded programs were getting out well and sounding good. A good trip back to Whitstable was followed by a fairly anoraky chat in the pub. It's on the air until next Sunday, and I wouldn't have missed being involved for anything.


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Click on the pictures to enlarge:


Robin Adcroft (Banks)


Bob Le-Roi


Dave Foster, Robin Adcroft (Banks), Rob Ashard


Bob Le-Roi


Dave Foster






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