How I Got Started in CB.

By Andy, in the buckeye state.

Thanks for the opportunity to recall this history, It was/is a great nostalgia trip. So here goes:


1968.... With the exception of the AM/FM table radio at my parents, I knew nothing of radio, certainly not any type of two-way radio until the fall of 1968.  It was harvest time in rural central Ohio, where I became instantly and irrevocably hooked.  In 1968, I was 8 years old and I was impressed with the huge Allis Chalmers combines that harvested the fields near my boyhood home, and so I would venture, with my parents permission, down to the fields to watch.  Sometimes the farmers would let me ride, and sometimes play in the back of the trucks where the corn/beans were off-loaded.
But on one particularly cold afternoon one of the farmers noticed I was standing there freezing my 8 y/o butt off and started his big ford Galaxy, turned on the heater, and let me watch the harvest in comfort.  It is strange that after all these years I still remember this in such detail but I do.
Under the dash of the old Ford was an interesting black box with a couple of knobs, and a mike (it was a Johnson Messenger 123).   Very interesting indeed but I had no idea yet what exactly it was.  There were voices talking about different things, some I understood, most I didn't, but the one transmission I will never forget was a very loud fellow who called himself "The Drifter, Cold country control in Duluth Minnesota".
That was IT! This was cool, and when the farmer came back to his car I must of asked a million questions.  He told me all about CB radio, and that I was hearing "skip" and next came the best part.  As we listened to "The Drifter" he proceeded to give his QSL information via P.O. box and we wrote it down. I wrote Drifter a letter and in about 2 weeks I got my first QSL card!


So Christmas was coming up and CB was all I talked about.  I took in all the information I could mostly from library books and so for Xmas that year I got probably one of my greatest Christmas presents ever: An Archer Space Patrol toy base station. 
The Base station had a tunable 23 channel VFO, and a Channel 14 transmit crystal (in a crystal socket inside) and I spent endless hours listening to CB. I soon found out the neighbor kids had walkie-talkies also on 14 and so the transmitting commenced.  My neighbor's house was about 1/4 mile down the road and the signals were good for about a mile or so.  The base had an output of 100mw and I used to experiment with adding wire to my telescoping antenna. I seemed to remember it improving the receiver but whether or not the transmit range improved is unclear, but this marked my first foray into electronic experimentation.
The Space Patrol base was also the radio I had made my first "real" CB contact on.  There was an old truck driver that drove a big noisy rickety truck that used to go around and pick up the old used motor oil from filling stations and auto repair shops.
The driver went by the handle of "Yardstick" and it just so happened that Yardstick's "home channel" was 14.  Yardstick had a radio in his truck, and one at his house ( which I later found out was a Browning Golden Eagle MKIII with AV-140 Moonrakers up about 75 foot on a tower).  Well Yardstick would talk base-to-mobile with his wife and occasionally my friends and I would hear them and as he got close we would just shut up until he was out of range. I remember back then that we kind-of thought that "adult CB" was big official business that we needed to steer clear of.  But one day while we were all yacking away on our 100mw radios, Yardstick must have been monitoring our activities and he broke in and called me!  My mom was standing near by at the time and coaxed me into answering him and I did.  He asked me my "handle" which I had no idea what he meant, and my mom said he wanted to know my CB name.  Our school mascot was "the Vikings" so thinking on the fly, I was then officially, and until the late 70's "the Viking" or "Mr. Viking" as Yardstick called me.  I would have many conversations with Yardstick over the years, well into my adult CB days.
Well that's all for now, I will write more memoirs soon. Hope this is of some interest. I know its a blast for me to recall....
73..... Andy Thrasher KC8EVM  "Mr. Transistor"