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Old 16th Apr 2021, 7:11 pm   #1
G6Tanuki
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Default 40 years of legal CB in the UK.

On 2 November 1981 CB radio became legal in the UK (CB27/81) - I was wondering if any of you have memories to share?

Before it became legal there was a _lot_ of illegal use - particularly in rural areas; I remember listening to a lot of these operators while I was living in mid-Wales, and got quite good at spotting the ubiquitous DV27/DX27 antennas. Rich people flaunted a red Firestik...

I was a supporter of NATCOLCIBAR back in those days - though to be honest I didn't really care whether the legal CB would be on the US channels or sonething-else. There were various alternative frequencies to 27MHz proposed; given that 405-line TV was in the process of being closed-down I remember one suggestion was that some of the Band-III TV-allocation could be a good place for CB. I actually got a copy of the Government's Green Paper and wrote to my MP! Back then they didn't call it CB though, it was "Open Channel".

I got my first legal CB [a Lowe TX40] a couple of weeks after legalisation, used with a Valor "Half Breed" base-loaded whip. Fond memories of sitting on a hill outside Aberystwyth and working all the way up and down the coast of Cardigan Bay.

Then in the mid-80s driving sometimes 20,000 miles a year having a CB in the car was really rather useful for warnings about jams etc. in those days before RDS station-switching for traffic-bulletins. This saved me quite a few hours!

My last use of CB was during the 'fuel crisis' back in 2000 - when a call on Channel-19 was the fastest way of finding a petrol-station that actually had any fuel.

These days quite a few of the local tractors have a 'springer' type CB anrenna on the cab roof but that seems to be the only place you still see CB.
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Old 16th Apr 2021, 7:39 pm   #2
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Default Re: 40 years of legal CB in the UK.

I well remember those days. As an active aero modeller very concerned about allocation of the 27MHz model control band, I moved to the clearer 459MHz band and designed some hardware for that as well as buying Reftec and Cotswold equipment.

I remember several colleagues having CB rigs in their cars, variously hidden from officialdom. One such colleague spectacularly crashed his company car while changing channel on a rig hidden under the rear seat....

My opinion, with which I think history concurs, was that once CB became legal there would be much less interest in it.
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Old 17th Apr 2021, 7:25 am   #3
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Default Re: 40 years of legal CB in the UK.

My memories are mostly of illegal CB, through which I made some life-long friends and had a great time going off on road-outings ice-skating, dancing and other social events. CB radio was the glue that held us together. Being impecunious, I sported an imitation red Firestik, but the DV27 was a better antenna. Of course, this all happened at the peak of a sunspot cycle and it was not unisual to hear stations from the U.S. booming in.

One day I was sitting in my drive, nattering away, 'talking the talk' and I stopped dead. 'What's all this about, then?' I asked myself. From that moment on I moved into amateur radio and joined the Solway Radio Club, the illegal CB being the catalyst, as it was for many. Thereafter I took up radio as a career.

In 1984, Legal CBs were being sold off very cheaply so I bought a Midland 40-channel in Dixon's for a tenner. I never used it until I owned my first house in '87, where a few of us set up a system called 'drink-link' with an NE567-based (as I recall) tone-controlled squelch. Basically, a system to see who was going out for a pint that evening. A couple of years later I fitted it with a South Midlands Communications converter strip and used it on ten metres, wortking cross-band on two metres.

I had acquired two or three more sets by then: junk-shop fodder 'because they were there' and from time-to-time I would feel the urge, but never really used them - there just wasn't the interest in Legal CB apart from being a 'sweary band' for some hauliers. I gave my sets away to a group who organised convoys to take food, clothes, etc... to Rumania. My pals from the illegal days had moved on, we'd all grown up, acquired commitments, moved away... It was 'of its time' - the Facebook of the day.

Nowadays? It seems to be popular with farmers doing collective work in the field, and 'tin-tenters' who form convoys heading off on holiday, but apart from the odd antenna on a truck here and there, I thinkit's settled down into what it was originally designed for and is being used quite sensibly.

Ironic that back in the days of illegal CB radio, we all campaigned for it to be legalised and went on protest marches and wrote to the newspapers, but when it was legalised, we lost interest and never used it!
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Old 17th Apr 2021, 8:18 am   #4
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Default Re: 40 years of legal CB in the UK.

I got into a bit of trouble at work for fitting one in the works van.....not helped by the fact it was yellow van with a ladder on top and a picture of "buzby" on the side!
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Old 17th Apr 2021, 8:33 am   #5
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Default Re: 40 years of legal CB in the UK.

This is a one and only warning to Stay on Topic.

Section F1 Equipment or information that cannot be used legally in the UK by the general public or a licensed radio amateur must not be bought, sold or discussed in these forums.

No more discussion or memoirs about illegal CB and those present may yet be edited or deleted.

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Old 17th Apr 2021, 9:08 am   #6
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Default Re: 40 years of legal CB in the UK.

As someone who had for some time been actively involved in the campaign for the UK to have legal CB, on 2nd November 1981 I went to my local (North Shields) branch of Rumblelows and bought one of the most expensive mobile CB radios they had - a Binatone 5-Star. In spite of the mediocre badge this (and many other radios of the period) turned out to have a decent Japanese-made Cybernet chassis in it and is now regarded as one of the classic radios of the period. I still have it of course.

CB could well be regarded as the first technology-driven social media network, many people formed lasting friendships and some even got married to people they first encountered via CB.

I still have the collection of UK spec radios I acquired during the eighties and in normal circumstances I select one and take it with me on my annual run around the highlands and islands - that area is so far away from the south east UK that it is within normal sporadic-E skip distance and I can quite often find myself chatting to operators in Kent and Sussex.

The main users now seem to be farmers / farm vehicles and off-roaders, although caravanners travelling in pairs or convoys will often have them as well.
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Old 17th Apr 2021, 9:12 am   #7
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Default Re: 40 years of legal CB in the UK.

It's different now as AM DSB SSB have been allowed since 2014.

In fact 11 meters USB is very busy in this area.
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Old 17th Apr 2021, 9:32 am   #8
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Default Re: 40 years of legal CB in the UK.

I remember a friend of mine asking me too look at his cb rig it was dead and when he brought down to me it had blacknd marks around aerial socket and casing he told me there had been a thunderstorm and it must have hit the garage an enormous clap of thunder so loud his friend with him threw himself under a van in the garage they were in .I took the top off just to find burnt cinder of electronics the lighting must have hit the aerial directly
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Old 17th Apr 2021, 9:57 am   #9
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Default Re: 40 years of legal CB in the UK.

I was involved with CB back in the day and joined a local CB club.
I was a passionate promoter of being legal and ran a training course at the club to train members for the Amateur Radio exam, in that first year some 15 people passed the test.

The local Adult education got to hear of it and asked me to run the course as an evening class which I did for several years. The courses were oversubscribed in the early years, the interest being generated by the popularity of CB

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Old 17th Apr 2021, 10:37 am   #10
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Default Re: 40 years of legal CB in the UK.

CB and repairs of such items I never got involved in, just business pmr. However, one visit to a large farming group nearby I was presented with a repair of a Tait T198 high band a small plasticky cb. Would I take them home and have a look please to see if ber? I asked why ber?? His reply, they were fitted to a pea viner and the aerial had touched an 11kv overhead line in a field!
I took them away for investigation. The Tait was just the centre of the coax aerial inlet had vaporised, after repair it was fine.
The cb was a right blackened mess inside with bits of molten metal splattered all over! Definitely scrap. I have a photo somewhere.
I bet that driver had the fright of his life!
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Old 17th Apr 2021, 11:37 am   #11
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Default Re: 40 years of legal CB in the UK.

This thread really only ever had two ways to go:
illegal and automotive
It's done both so its time to sign off.

Cheers

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