By Michael Stevenson
| Entering the year 1978 sees the increasing popularity in CB Radio, something that has taken the US by storm and is now moving through Australia like the flue! I have always wanted to become an Amateur Radio Operator but was always put off by Morse code which I really hated but to become a "Ham" it was required to study and be examined for Morse code, why should I have to do Morse code if I was never going to do CW?
Anyway, with CB radio coming along it gave people like me an opportunity to become like a Ham but without all the rules, study, exams and expense.
I become lured by the bug of talking on a radio and meeting new people through this very exciting new medium. During 1978, I lost interest in good old shortwave radio as the bug of CB bit even harder and I bought my first CB radio which was a large and expensive base station in a Pearce Simpson Super Bengal Mark III which was the superior Cybernet PLL-02A chassis which was also very modifiable and tweakable. This base radio was mains or 12 volt powered with all the controls essential for good CB radio operation. At the same time I also purchased a 5/8 ground plane base whip antenna with the super thick low loss 50 ohm co-ax because I also purchased a 100 watt AM / 250 watt SSB linear amplifier and a Leson powered microphone.
There was never any problem with causing TVI due to me living on a farm in the middle of nowhere and I was always polite on the air so as to avoid any unwanted attention, I was also licensed as per the legal requirements as far as the CB radio part was concerned!
The Super Bengal base radio was modified to have 80 channels, an in-between channel slider on both receive and transmit (to be able to talk to the Japanese etc.) as well as a few other tricks which were all very illegal but made using the radio so much easier and fun.
|I talked to everyone on this CB radio which of course operates on 27 MHz. I chatted to all the locals around my area as well as making contacts to people all over Australia in every state. I also had heaps of fun making contacts with New Zealand, the USA, South America, Japan, Europe and Africa. It was mostly the US guys that I had the most fun with, Propagation was running hot at this particular time and I now know the meaning of pile ups as the Amateurs experience, I would call CQ DX with all the power I had on USB on any of the channels from 30 upwards and upon releasing the microphone button, all these voices and replies would come back, I would just have to try and pick out the loudest one that I could identify and have a short chat before repeating the next callout, I guess it was sort of like a contest thing. I logged a number of stations and QSLed many, I had my own QSLs made back in those days, it was fun.
In 1979 had lost interest in shortwave completely and decided to sell off the Drake R-4C receiver and all other accessories that went with it. The only problem is, propagation began to fade fast as sunspot activity was in decline as well as the fact that the idiots were now taking control of CB radio and I could no longer put up with that kind of thing. 1980 came along and interest in CB radio dwindled to a halt, my life was in for a major change, leaving the farm in the middle of nowhere and moving to the big city of Sydney, I needed all the money I could muster so had to sell all the CB gear and was not involved in any kind of radio for almost a decade except to have a CB radio in my car although it was not used all that much due to too many idiots swearing and using foul language, it was handy though when traveling the highways monitoring the Truckies channel to hear where the cops were!
It was not until 1988 that I began to fire up an interest in shortwave radio again and this will be the year and subject of the next Chapter.
Chapter 6| Chapter 7| Chapter 8| Chapter 9A| Chapter 9B| Chapter 10| Chapter 11|
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