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
73..... Andy Thrasher KC8EVM