Europe's Hit Music Station
It was planned to have two stations on one ship, the music programmed via satellite from the New York offices of Music Media International. This was scaled down to a single station called Laser after early disagreements on policy. The station was built on a former hydrographic survey vessel, the Gardline Seeker, renamed MV Communicator.
The plan was to use an antenna held aloft by a helium balloon - an inflatable dirigible tethered to the deck.
The conversion work was carried out in autumn 1983 at Tracor Marine in Port Everglades, Florida, and the ship sailed via the Azores and Ireland to an anchorage off the Thames Estuary.
The original name and channel for the station was to be Laser730.
On December 27th1983 the Communicator dropped anchor off the English coast, one moth later on the 19th January 1984, tests were being heard on729 kHz. The tests lasted through until February.
The early days were overshadowed by problems with the balloon aerial. Due to weather in the North Sea, several balloons were lost. The short-lived transmissions on 729 kHz could be heard in several countries but not in London due to a Radio 4 relay on the adjacent channel of 720kHz.
The tests on 729KHZ consisted of non stop music, and several live programmes.
A change to two masts and a frequency at the bottom of the band were effected for the station's launch in May 1984 as Laser 558