Dennis The Menace, was an early entry into our Channel 11 group, which ran from late 1973 until 1975. Dennis was the older brother of Skyrocket (Doug), who was friends with our neighborhood gang. When Doug asked for and got a Radio Shack Mini 23 for a Christmas present, Dennis also got a taste of the hobby and soon got "the bug" as well.  Dennis quickly overtook his brother with his enthusiasm for the CB hobby.  He bought his own radio to put in his car (A Lafayette Micro 923), which he later traded for a Lafayette Comstat 23, which he swapped with Doug to use as a base station, and ended up with Doug's Mini 23 in his car.  Dennis was a favorite among us "pre-car" teens, as he had a car, a red 1973 Chevy Nova SS, which Billy Goat used to call the "Rat Nova", and we were always hitting him up for rides to school and to places to buy radio stuff, which Dennis never needed much persuasion to visit. 


Dennis was one of those guys who was somewhat naive to the ways of the world, and very gullible. This would make him a favorite target for guys like Whitey, who loved to play practical jokes on people. Dennis was also somewhat "boyish" in his excitement of radio. He would almost always tell every new voice that he talked to, exactly what he was running, from the type of radio, right down to the brand of coax cable.  Dennis was always looking for radio checks too.  You couldn't have a conversation with him without hearing his trademark "What are we giving you on the good ol' meter 1-2-3".  He had little technical aptitude for radio theory though. To him, it was simply "magic", and he didn't know or care how it all worked just as long as it did.


Due to the affects of asthma, Dennis had a rough, hoarse voice, which earned him nicknames like; "Gravel Throat", "Linear Lungs", and "Leather Lips" as a result (no one was sacred).  Compounding matters, his Mini 23 radio also had a problem where the transmit modulation was somewhat muffled, which didn't help.  Even when he upgraded to a Turner M+2 microphone, his voice was still a little rough around the edges. 


On the base, Dennis started out with a 3 element beam which, due to space constraints, ended up being mounted in the horizontal position.  Needless to say, that didn't work all that well with the locals.  He then got rid of the beam, and went with a Radio Shack "Super Maxim" 1/2 wave omni-directional antenna.  Dennis also managed to pick up a Palomar 60 watt amplifier.  It was really funny to see him timidly try to use it.  Since he was so gullible, he easily bought into the rumors of the FCC lurking in every shadow.  But what really took the cake was when he would turn the amp on, he'd would then ask us all to:  "not tell anyone that he's running a (and then he would say in a low whisper) linear."  Yea, the FCC didn't hear that whispered voice Denny.... ;-)


Sometime in late 1974 or early 1975, Dennis' family picked up stakes and moved out of the neighborhood. Fortunately, they didn't move too far away and, as luck would have it, they moved into the home of a former CB'er and they had left their antenna in place.  Consequently, Dennis was back on the air in no-time, albeit with a much lower signal than before.


After a while, Dennis's brother Doug started hanging out with a new group of friends in his new neighborhood.  He started losing interest in radio, and starting using drugs. This eventually led to some trouble with the law. Eventually, he became depressed and committed suicide. This tragedy affected the whole family, which then prompted another move to a more distant place and that pretty much ended Dennis' CB career, at least with our group.


Today: I saw Dennis for the last time in the late 70's, when he took a drive through the old neighborhood. I don't know what he's been up to since.