Another Texan Link
John Pate from Sugar Land, Texas, became an enthusiast for offshore radio stations
and started making models of the ships.
My name is John Pate and I reside in Sugar Land, Tx, just outside of Houston. I have been making models since around the age of 6. I never really mastered it, but is a enjoyable pastime.
I have always been a radio geek. It started with me listening to weird noises on a old tube/valve Airmaster radio and then I played around with a better antenna to get improved reception. All this led to me getting a ham radio license back in 1974. I worked as a engineer/board operator at WGAC 580 kHz, a small AM station. This was many years before the age of the internet, so pirate radio was stations on just below the 40 meter band (7 MHz). I enjoyed listening to those and also to the spy number stations. Ah, the enjoyable days of the Cold War propaganda – the BBC, Radio Moscow, VOA, RCI, and many others!
Next came career, family, those things that make you set aside your hobbies for other responsibilities. I still listened to shortwave off and on and built a model here and there.
Fast forward to the early 2000s, when the internet introduced me to many new radio concepts. While fiddling around, I came across the subject of pirate/offshore radio. I researched it more and became fascinated by this time in radio history. Being in the US, I have to get most of the books, old souvenirs, etc from the UK. Then I found YouTube and discovered show clips from the various ships. I have a thing for jingles, so the Radio London PAMS jingles really stood out and ran through my head!
Over time I saw a Facebook group dedicated to Pirate Radio ships, so I thought, "Hey, I can probably do that." I gave making models of the ships a shot and now I'm hooked!
My first try was, of course, Radio London. I saw several photos on the Radio London website and converted the old Lindberg minesweeper kit into the MV Galaxy. I used various sizes and shapes of Evergreen styrene and K&S metal tubing to modify the kit into something that represented MV Galaxy. I cut the 'Radio London 266' logo on my Cricut machine, but it took a long time to find a font that matched. I also built a case for the ship so no dust can attack the radio antenna rigging that I painstakingly tried to recreate. I used small black glass beads as insulators. The model was airbrushed using acrylics and weathered with various acrylic washes.
With the completion of the Radio London ship, I was happy with the outcome, so I created a Radio Veronica from a Revell North Sea fishing trawler, heavily modifying the aft portion to simulate the Norderney. I also built her a case.
I made Radio Scotland's Lightship Comet, using a kit of the Ark South Goodwin Lightship. It wasn't too bad to do, but I had to scratch-build the rear doors on the stern and the cabin mid deck.
I also built Radio Mercur's home, Cheeta 2 and next up, the Lindberg North Atlantic Fishing Trawler kit will become Oceaan 7 for Radio 270.
Fair Winds, John