The year was 1977. My family had just moved from Victoria to Rockhampton and so after I met my Uncle Allan. Uncle Allan had heaps of interesting radio stuff to play with (and wreck). He had a lot of amateur equipment (He was VK4DL in those days, now a silent key). I only have a few vague memories of that equipment, but I know he had a lot of home brewed gear. This stuff was BIG and HEAVY- no plastic pre punched kit sets here. It was made of individually sourced components, lots of shiny valves on metal chassis that bent up on a sheet metal folder. Something caught my curiosity, if not my attention.

Then quite soon after, out of the blue, came my first introduction to a CB radio. A friend of my father cam around and I was invited to play with the CB in his car. I had heard a few things about CB by that time.. mainly that it was a naughty naughty thing, subversive if you like. Well, anyway I can say with some foundation that I was there before it legal, maybe only just though. I recall being too afraid to touch the channel selector in case I upset or damaged something - maybe that's why people don't move off 35 these days? I remember chatting away in Warren's car parked out the front of my house (or just listening to the CHAOS in those days!) while my Dad and Warren were inside the house talking shop.

After the initial spark of interest ignited I wanted to know more. I am
thankful that my parents bought me a book called "Big Dummies Guide to CB Radio" for Christmas. I must have read that book fifty times. I don't have it any more, but if you can get your hands on one have look at it. Although the Americanisms were overwhelming, there was plenty of sound practical advice on setting a system up, building antennas (from memory it even had the plans for a quad) and a section on skip.

I think it was a few birthdays before I got my first CB rig - an 18 Channel AM rig with a telephone headpiece for the microphone and a mobile whip. I set the station up and I was on the air. Some of my early experiences on air were not altogether pleasant, but as you grow older you get wiser and I am glad I persevered with CB. Over the years I have had countless CB's, arguments and antennas. Through it all has been some terrific people, that I would not have had a chance to meet any other way.

The magic of CB is still there for me, even after 20 years. These tiny transistorised boxes of anarchic fun still hold a fascination. How could
something so small, so compact and neat allow my voice to be heard on the other side of the world? I get a real buzz out of knowing that this box of bits that was never designed for world wide communications can make me a new friend in the Pacific or even further abroad, and for so little cost. You can buy a second hand SSB radio for $50 if you shop around. Put up a dipole or something and haul it up the side of a tree or drive your car to the local lovers lookout and put out a call. You might even hear me answer you back.

At present I own an AX144, a super panther, and an electrophone UHF. I miss the 2 element quad I built in Mackay though. Enjoy the radio, show a little patience and tolerance when a new operator comes on the air. Believe me, we were all once there...

PS. This story is on my website

under the articles section, you have permision to place it on your site if
you wish.

Greetings from down under,

Rebel Radio 379