Ship-to-shore communications on the west coast of Scotland always had their limitations due to the terrain and the limited Coast Radio Station coverage. This was particularly so when the run-down commenced of Oban Radio with its eventual closure on 31st March 1982. At that time, on medium frequencies there was the total loss of Oban's signals, although this was in part augmented by the introduction of radiotelephone link-call facilities at Malinhead Radio/EJM in the Republic of Ireland. On VHF, although control of Oban's slave stations on Skye and Lewis had been patched through to Stonehaven Radio , the hours of operation were limited to 0800A to 2200A.
Plans had been put in hand, long before the closure of Oban, for a permanent replacement of the temporary experimental station Lewis Radio . Although it had been promised that this new station would be operational before Oban Radio closed, it was not until August 1982 that Hebrides Radio/GHD came on air for tests with restricted hours working, with full 24-hour operations commencing on 1st September 1982.
Hebrides Radio was located at two different sites on the west coast of Lewis, one site for MF transmitting and the other for receiving and VHF. Some interesting problems were encountered during the construction phase. Although the station was going into exisiting sites, it was necessary to take in a heavy emergency generator - too heavy for the existing narrow twisted road. A new access had to be constructed, but the planners forgot to allow for the rights that local crofters have to dig the peats. When they arrived with the generator on the low loader they discovered that their new road had been dug up at several locations to give access to the all important peats!
Hebrides Radio was remotely controlled from Stonehaven Radio/GND but, with the other west coast slave vhf stations Lewis Radio and Skye Radio, was operated as a separate entity. The station formed part of the UK distress watch on 2182kHz with the watch being kept at Stonehaven, but there was the unusual feature that Stornoway Coastguard station could, on request, be given access to the stations 2182kHz transmitter.