The Halcyon Days of CB Radio

This morning, I read a message from a ham radio operator who was just awarded a vanity call sign in honor of his father’s 1970s era CB radio call sign. He was obviously very proud of the role CB played in his “formative” radio years.

Although I often only think of the impact my first transistor radio and first shortwave radio had on my life, CB radio also played a major role.

My father entered the CB radio scene in its early days here in the US. His FCC-issued call sign was KJD1166–it’s laser-etched in my memory from hearing him call it so many times when I was a kid.

Dad had a number of radios, but his favorite was a yellow Robyn T-240D (above). As a kid, I really admired this radio; not only was it stylish, but it also had a digital channel display, amazing audio, and that “Range Expand” toggle switch!

In the 1970s, the CB radio scene in my hometown was dynamic and rather well-organized. Every evening, my dad would turn on the radio and connect with a vast network of radio friends. Not only did they have call signs–and used them–but they also had the best CB handles (like “Tombstone Pete,” “Lady J,” and “Robby Rocket”).

The local CB radio scene also had in-person social meet-ups–a place where you could put a call sign and handle to a face. And let me tell you: you’d see a wide array of folks from all walks of life there. A proper melting pot.

Dad also took me to the CB radio repair shop where he’d buy supplies and occasionally get something fixed. I loved looking at the workbench full of half-disassembled radios. At one point in my childhood, all I really wanted to do was have a workbench like that and dig into radios. Even at a young age, I knew how to use a screwdriver and could void pretty much any warranty.

After the FCC did away with call signs, much of the local CB community fell apart. My dad would still check-in with friends on the air the years following, but much less frequently.

CB: A Ham Radio Gateway Drug

No doubt about it: CB radio eventually lead me down the path to ham radio.

While I never participated in the 70s CB radio scene like my dad, my best friend and I used CBs to communicate with each other across the neighborhood in the 1980s.

My buddy grew up in a multi-generation household and telephone time was restricted to grown-up use (and his teenage sister).

CB radio bridged that communication gap for us. At one point, we both used Realistic 5 Watt 40 channel walkie-talkies–it was incredibly fun and effective.

CB radio, and my dad, taught me about the components of a radio transmitting system–the radio, coaxial feed line, antenna and grounding, etc.–and also concepts like power output, standing-wave ration (SWR), and skip.

I still own my 40 channel CB walkie-talkie (a Realistic TRC-217) and my dad still has his Robyn T-240D, although neither have been on the air for decades. Still, I feel very nostalgic about the 1970s radio scene and should certainly give it credit for paving the path to my ham radio ticket.

Did CB radio play a role in your life? Please comment!

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61 thoughts on “The Halcyon Days of CB Radio

  1. Hans

    This is Hans and I started as a swl when I was 6. The first station I ever heard was on my parent’s huge Airline radio and record player in the hall. It had a big wire loop antenna on the back and several speakers including a 15 inch bass driver. In 1955 I turned on the radio and set one of the knobs to a setting which read 19 M. I had no idea what that meant but I started tuning and found a loud and clear station which was playing very cool music the likes of which I had never heard before! After the music selection a female announcer with a gorgeous voice announced in English ” this is Radio Cairo.” I knew it wasn’t the AM radio station down the street! Later I learned where Egypt was and it changed my life! Years later I had a few CBs but I wanted to learn CW so I got licensed in 1986 and got my Extra in 94 and still love the code and I only use straight keys and bugs. No computers or keyers for me as I am a purist. I also enjoy AM phone and enjoyed working on all my valve gear myself for the most part. Due to 5 spinal surgeries and 3 shoulder surgeries all my Xceivers now are solid state except for a QRP cw transmitter with 1 tube and two Hallicrafters receivers. For several years I was also an U.S. Army M.A.R.S. station also. I owe Nikola Tesla a lot for all the joy he has given me through his radio resonant circuits he invented and that were ripped off by a guy who gets far more credit who I will not name! VY 73 es Gud DX to everyone no matter which part of radio you love. I own two CBs and still have fun with those sometimes.

  2. Michael Dugas

    Sounds like me and my dad. We both were doing cb stuff starting in the early 70’s. His call sign was KGV-3905, and mine was KBM-0145. Still remember them to this day. I’m 63 and still into cb’s. He has passed away. Both live in Texas.

  3. Andre Kuyckx

    zeker weten dat Cb mijn leven iun de jaren 1977-1985 heeft veranderd.
    het heeft mij veel vrienden opgebracht die ik nu nog heb.
    en ik hou mij ook bezig met mijn Ft-450D aldus
    het heeft mijn leven op positieve zin veranderd
    ik heb zelfs electronica gestudeerd en later automatisatie en plc technieken.

    ik heb een heimwee naar de cb tijd vn-an vroeger.

    vriendelijke groetjes
    Andre Kuyckx
    Alpha2 cb nick-name
    Hasselt Belgium

  4. Kevin Ross

    My Dad was pretty active on CB Radio in the 60s & 70s. Montreal, Quebec, Canada area… XM52-3023 Skypower. I remember, at some point, that he owned a Hallicrafters radio and also had mobile radios and whip antennas… was a great time in my life… this gave me the bug to start listening to Short Wave radio and getting QSL Cards from all over the world…

  5. Armando

    Yes CB radio was first radio I used. I didn’t know anything about him so every time I call for Radio check they would say my radio was squealing and then after I learn more about it and found out why I caught up my dad and he said he didn’t even know about that. it’s all because he changed antennas and the antennas didn’t match the SWR so that’s why the radio was squealing. from then on I got into gmrf UHF 70cm radio on frequencies 462 and 467 and then that’s how I got into HR. Then I got into antennas and thenI want to keep learning about him but it’s kind of hard not to when somebody live with his Nottingham ready or technician so that way you can learn more from them. I just think reading online is good but with my disability it’ll be better for was right in front of me. I still love radios and I’m still going to love him till the day I die. Hope this comment helps and 73

  6. K Wright

    I grew up in the central UK and in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, CB radio was the new community. I made many friends and was 10 years old by 1978 when it really took hold.

    CB became legal in 1981 with a basic 40 channel FM only system, moved away from the world’s standard to have channels 1 to 40 on 27.60125 to 27.99125.

    Needless to say, a number of people still had access to and used the AM and SSB units which also paved my entry into Ham radio which I passed at only 16 years of age.

    I started working in the field of radio electronics but when mobile phones came in, it killed a lot of the two-way radio market I was in and I moved into mechanical engineering and later, the teaching of the same.

    My life has now come full circle and I am again playing with transistors, Rf amplifiers and electronics principles as a teacher of these system, sharing this fantastic hobby and career path with students involved in electronics and communications, but now in Australia. Writing and delivering such a fundamental and interesting advanced diploma course is such a privilege. Thankfully, we still have a chain of shops like the old ‘Tandy’ and “Radio Shack’ in the way of a a couple of shop called ‘JayCar’ and ‘Altronics’ who sell kits and components.

    I recently bought a couple of old AM/SSB radios and got them restored along with a couple of antennas. I know there are still some people on air and its going in the pickup in a few weeks time.

    Still fun and long may it continue.

    My first recollection of seeing a fellow school friend sitting in his dad’s garage talking to someone in Italy from the UK will forever be ingrained on my mind.

  7. Gwi

    Wow, I certainly was a part of the CB world in the 70s so was my wife, we would talk for hours with friends and when travelling home from different places I would contact my wife and say where I was and what time I will be home it was so exciting the whole new thing . I also used to DX and talk with people all over the world it was so exciting and now I am a ham radio and it is nothing like the same fun as CB radios and never will be.
    My CB Handel was woodpecker as I worked in Wood and on SSB I was Charlie bravo 15.
    Happy days

  8. Gene

    Still have the Realistic Navajo I had as a kid in the 70s. Haven’t used it since 1980 something, but still powers on. That with a Patrolman multi band was my radio “shack” in those days.

    That interest in radio finally led to getting a Technician liscense recently. My first exposure to ham radio was as a scout. However, I by the time I joined the ARRL I was already a member of AARP – so time and the code requirement has passed.

  9. Steven I. Adler

    Like many of the other posts, CB radio was a segway into years of amateur radio. My very first transmitting (CB) radio was the GE Emergency CB Mobile unit which I still have but haven’t used in decades:

    Thanks to the GE unit I’ve enjoyed 45+ years of amateur radio.

    Thanks for the article and the subsequent comments. All great memories!

    73~Steve (K1KTF)

  10. Dave

    I was a big cber for many years it was and still is i haven’t turned mine on in many years ilto me if was a great time in history Dave

  11. WO538

    Good old days. Had a Norris Shakespeare fibre 2pce base antenna and yup 120 H/M/L CH Ham International Concorde 2 FM/am/ssb as my base setup and the same rig in my car.
    Every summer the Fox hunts on a Friday night in our cars then meet up after for a sherbet. Good memories .
    Still own a 2 export radios for DX ing when I go 4×4 ing as the UHF rigs we just use for car to car when in convoy.

  12. Shaun Needham

    The good ole days . I started out with a radio that also had a 23 channel radio built in. Now I just use UHFs

  13. Ken

    Yes I’m still involved with CB radio, started in the mid 70’s had 1 or 2 breaks from it over the years but getting more involved with it has age advances now a mid 70 year old

  14. Mike

    I grew up before we had cell phones. My mom was a realtor so as kids my parents wouldn’t let us tie up the phone line because she had customers that would call the house. CB radios became my form of communication with my friends. I started off with a GE Help emergency radio connected to a train transformer. I soon saved money delivering newspapers then bought a Midland CB at a yard sale & magnet antenna. What an improvement! I eventually ended up with a President Washington base station w/sideband. I soon added a D104 mic. My dad finally allowed me to attach a 5′ marine CB antenna to our chain link fence. That set up worked really well.

  15. Keith Brown

    I traveled an opposite road. I first got into SWL and started with a Science Fair Globe Patrol I built. I learned about Amateur Radio because of that. I could easily pass the written test as a kid, but couldn’t learn Morse Code. Then the C.B. craze got going and I played with that. Made my own antennas including beams and all kinds of accessories such as antenna tuners and power microphones, mainly because I couldn’t afford to buy them them factory made. I kept working on code through high school and college. I worked very hard to learn it, but I never could. Decades later they finally did away with Morse Code. I aced my Technician and passed my General in one sitting. Two months later I aced my
    Extra class. I still enjoy it all! I just restored a Hallicrafters S-85, just bought a nice Yaesu HF system, and operate on C.B. with my Browning Golden Eagle. And I’m still trying to learn Morse Code!

  16. Ralph Lorentz

    Late 60’s/early 70’s in my parents house the word on the phone was “if you can’t say it in 3 minutes, write a letter”. CB radio was the the perfect alternative. 5 watts (maybe) of power booming, at least a couple of miles. Then we got our license, and we all went mobile. What a great time to be a teen.

  17. Bill hess

    Sure did as 16q1882 I thought the world was much
    Smaller and I could teach any part of it.
    Now at almost 80 I realize I was wrong but happy
    In my recollection.

  18. Mike

    I got my first radio when I was 10 and was instantly hooked. Over the years I haven’t had one set up but from time to time put a rig together and see who was on the air waves. Not to many people over the last few years as you can imagine. But since Covid 19 hit I have got the C.B bug again, installing a good rig in my car and I’m now working on a base unit. To my surprise there are plenty of people in my area still operating C.B radios.

  19. BILLY

    The Question- Did CB radio play a role in your life? Please comment:
    It has and still does. A double hand full of folks on CB in approximately 50 mile radius still get together in restaurants in the area (meet and greet) and eat and shoot the bull as the ol saying goes.

  20. James rhodes

    I remember reading a similar catalog page of 23 channel walkie talkies over and over. I must have been around 12 . Saving money till I could finally get down to radio shack and take it home! Thank for awakening that memory for me. Eventually every one of our cars and the house where connected via CB!

  21. Bas

    Wow, a lot of comments…

    Yes I was influenced by CB. First CB walkie talkie given to me in 1979. Illigal in the Netherlands at that time. But I could hear USA truckers with it, wow! It sparked 40 years of CB hobby, even till today. Although I got my HAM license I really like to meet up with my CB buddies once and a while. Main thing in the CB hobby for me was DX, made many QSO all over the world including most of the USA states on CB. 73, Bas

  22. Gary (rocknocker) Burlison

    I still have my radio equipment and use them it is getting hard to find a good tech as most have passed away.

  23. Robert Richmond

    Started CB around early to mid 90s during my teenage years. Mostly DX. A Cobra 89GTL was my go-to desktop CB for years. Various mods, a Tuner +3 desk mic, 1/2wl vertical, etc.

    I eventually migrated to a Dirland “export” radio plus dabbled in SSB before largely dropping out of the CB hobby around probably 2000 or so.

    Being straightforward here, since my main interest was DX, I also had a rather heavy rectangular “accessory” with multiple vacuum tubes driven by another “accessory” with transistors in the home; and another “accessory” with multiple transistors in the car.

    Sadly, it eventually got to the point one practically needed hundreds of watts to talk on popular local frequencies, less long what one needed to be heard on 27.025 and similar DX hotspots. o.0

    Fast forwarding many years, I do keep a Shakespeare 318-GBT 1/2wl vertical (a personal favorite for upper HF) ground mounted over a few radials in the backyard antenna farm. I even have a really basic Midland mobile CB floating around here somewhere. Suppose I could connect the coax and turn it on someday.

  24. Peter L

    I had a BLAST on CB Back In The Day®. Happened to hear “voices” while goofing around with 100-mW toy walkies in ’76. The walkies were, I think, either super-regen or super-het with a REALLY wide front end that allowed me to hear many more channels than the channel 14 it transmitted on. Locals were all on 7 at the time but moved to 10 (for reasons I never knew) but I could also hear stations from 5 to 20 (at least).

    Anyway … the coming of 40 channels in early 1977 meant that US suppliers were scrambling to either figure out ways to “upgrade” 23-channel units or do something else with them. What the something else was in some cases was dump them on the Canadian market (which didn’t officially expand the CB band u til later in spring of 1977) in late 1976. Spark-O-Matic 2123s got rebranded Lloyd’s in Canada and sold for $79.99. This was about half what CBs had sold for all summer and I had that much! 1977 and 1978 were my big CB years and, like the author says our area was :dynamic and rather well-organized”. We had a REACT chapter monitoring 9, we usually has a Net Controller to keep things moving on the calling channel (10) and until later in 1978 and into 79, it was generally well-behaved. Didn’t last of course, but I’d moved on to cars and girls by then. 🙂 Had a great time. Got a scanner a couple years later and then finally an amateur license in 1991. But CB was a great time.

    I have no recollection of that Robyn. Amazing that there was a TUBE transceiver with “All 40 Channels” and equally amazing that it didn’t have SSB!

    Thanks for stirring up memories!

  25. Stenn-Ove Lund

    Oh jah im still on cb back here in Denmark!
    Startet at 14 year old and im now 64.
    Best 73 from 47Tango Lima 58

  26. Bob

    Yes it did.
    CB radio was a big part of my youth when I was growing up in the mid-70s.
    I had the exact same 40 channel radio that you had and a five eights wave roof mounted antenna connected to it, each of which came from my local Radio Shack. I also had the 6 channel 5 watt version where you had to put your own crystals in for each channel you wanted to be part of. I didn’t get my first 40 channel vehicle mount radio until somewhere in the late 70s when I got a Midland 40 channel radio with all the controls on the microphone for my vehicle.
    I was KBHF 3981 the Silver Lighting from central California, those were the days.
    I still have a radio that I have in my truck with a couple of trucker style antennas on the back, and only use when we go on vacation and Jaw Jack with the truckers on the road that still use CB.
    Back in the day it was fun to try to find who the furthest away was, that you could talk via skip clear across the country, and sometimes even across the pond.
    Those were fun times, and yes they actually had a way of affecting my future career path. because as a result of messing around with radios and electronics at young age, I always had an affinity for anything electrical, and as a result, I ended up in the industrial controls and automation industry, and have been doing that for nearly 40 year now.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
    Stay safe and stay healthy

  27. Michael

    In the 1980 me and my brother and brother in law was some of the first in Swindon to have a CB brilliant times smurf the ram and the fox 10 4

  28. Ari Huss

    Absolutely brilliant stories.
    A friend of mine had a CB radio when I was 14 and got hooked, a dv27 on a biscuit in in the loft, great great days and many hours of fun, met some wonderful people, a few years later all of my mates had CBs as we were not allowed to use the telephone in them days, some would ring each other up, 1 bell and hang up and then go on the very busy airwaves, range about 10 miles and a car battery constantly on charge. Walkie talkies and bicycle mounting and car mounting, never stopped messing about with the radios, Commtron 80ch I think it was and then a GE 40 ch and a stag 297?
    Custom Kid, Longsight, Manchester.
    Stay safe

  29. Larry G

    KBOL 1790 here; the Vanman. I got in in the early 80s when license was required. So hard to find contacts now but at least not getting “squished” by some teen running 300 watts just to talk across the street and calling others “mud ducks” for our barefoot FCC compliant rigs.

  30. Maritin

    Cb radio was a blast in the 70,s I made friendships that continue till this day…what a great main radio was a cobra cam 89..shure 444t avanti astroplane and avanti old beam on a 35 ft tower..I would sometimes stay up till morning on that radio..73,s from Kim 0769 the steppenwolf base

  31. JM

    Midland 75822 , I turn my’ne on every day. I do miss my Cobra 148 though. People are still out there. Just got to have good skip.

  32. Edward Kusalik

    Myself, I started in General Radio Service (that what it was called in Canada) or GRS for short. My call was XM-144 Base and XM -145 mobile ( in 1969) and I used a Johns om Messenger 123 for Base ( w/ attached power supply and speaker) and for Mobile. Oh what times I did had have late at night taking to operator’s such as Bedsprings, Midnight Rider, Mosquito Valley, and Shady Lady… Mine was Timber Wolf. On the farm, I had Cubical CB (Delhi) Quad on a 32 foot tower, and with ‘legal’ limit my best catch was a operator up in Kenera Ontario, from Chatham, Ontario…what a haul!
    Again what times as young lad…and I did collect QSL card’s from fellow CB’ers…

    1. Michael Black

      So it wasn’t 23 channels.

      For some reason Canada onky allocated I think 19 channels, leaving a tiny slice still the 11 metre ham band it had been. I’ve never seen mention use of that slice, just that it remained a tiny ham band. Not much use for it, too small and no US stations to contact.

      It remained until the end of April 1972, if I remember properly.

    2. Peter L

      Somewhere in BC? And only the 4th and 5th licenses issued? Cool! The lowest I remember in Montreal was, I think, XM5150, the 51 office being in Dorval and closed probably after radio stuff moved under the Dept of COMMUNICATIONS instead of the Dept of TRANSPORT (very few XM51s left once I was into it – all XM52).

      As for Canadian channels, 9 matched the US emergency use, but I think it could be used for “calling”, IIRC, and 23 was reserved early on for municipal use (or something. Everything else pretty much matched US regulations.

      Remember having to get an FCC permit to take your radio into the USA? LOL!

  33. Dwayne Towry

    I too found my way to Ham Radio though CB radio.
    My first rig was a Realistic 3 channel 1.5 watt walkie talkie, lord the AA batteries I went thru.
    I played with CB, and Shortwave where I would listen to Ham contacts. I got my Novice ticket when I turned 16 and been haming ever since. CB radio is still useful today but will never have the same glory of the early years!
    Dwayne “KA4WOG”

  34. Paul Fernandez

    Before we became hams,used cb radio to communicate with my mom who worked late shift @hospital. Later got ourselves ssb mobiles,and increased range and audio quality still have ny RSI trc-480 mobile

  35. Robert

    First my arline short wave am fm radio,a huge big walnut verneer case big speaker n tubes.i listened to it nites when i was 5 in 60,then at 18 bought my first cb,now im a ham but still use cb and shortwave radio


    Yes up until about 4yrs ago I caught the bug back in the 70’s always loved it how things have you use to go to a tech and get quality work done today not so much and it’s so expensive on the tube side as well as the transistor
    There’s still guys out there could be more if we had the trust and equipment wasn’t so expensive
    I was a mobile operator being I was always in the truck you couldn’t ask for a better hobby
    Wish we could get back to those days if back then you owned a radio you always had conversation the band never slept

  37. Willie

    It certainly did. We had a small group of active cb friends here in South Africa (still illegal then) and it was such fun having social meetings etc. My antennae was mounted on the boot lid of my car and I had a 1/4 wave base station at home. I had a GE40 and a Royce SSB set. We eventually ‘legalised’ (9 channels only and no technical proficiency test which let anybody in) and sadly it got totally congested by people who had nothing better to do. It was only usable while mobile and out of town. I packed it in and it has remained in mothballs. With cell phones and anti social media in vogue at least the airwaves have decluttered.

  38. Mario

    Robyn produced the nicest looking base radio, in different colors too. Thomas that is a nice radio indeed. CB was a stepping stone to eventually getting my ham ticket. Lots of manufacturers back then like Radio Shack, Lafayette, Teaberry, EF Johnson, Handic, Royce, Midland just to name a few. The mid- to late-1970’s was the high tide of CB radio usage. It was an early form of social media. Dollar for dollar CB radios were more expensive back then; my first SSB rig cost $300. Nowadays you can get one for half that amount.

    Every CB had a license registration form included in the box. Took ages to receive your license back then and eventually with the tsunami of folks entering the hobby and ops not following the rules the FCC dropped the license requirement. I was KBN8387 back then,

    Thanks for the post Thomas.

  39. Mark ricketts

    I’m sure your story rings true with a lot of people, most certainly with me . When I was 13 ,way back in 1976, a friend gave me a rig, a twig , and power pack , and some basic knowledge of how to set the thing up ,dv27 mounted on a car boot from local dump. When I d swr, the aerial switched it on , and wow ,people were talking!!! , we used Am then . 27/81 , came I remember buying a 40 channel fm set ,and you could not get a vacant channel it was so busy. Sadly not so busy anymore, but I’m still on!! All these years later.

  40. Tim Supovitz

    I had 468 citizens band radios in my collection for years. Sold all but 33 to the right young gentleman for 100.00 from Camden, Maine in 2017. It was a lot of fun. Had about 83 ham & commercial radios. The same gentleman bought those with the selves for 300.00 You never saw such a hugh smile like on this fellow & his wife was some wicked happy as well! (*_*)

  41. Donald Jeffrey

    My life with CB Radio in the mid 50s was almost exactly the same except there was a time when I boasted 3 new Licenses.
    I was proud of my first Drivers License as well as my CB License (KFA3559) and my Novice Ham Ticket (WN6FWH). This was also when I discovered the Short Wave Bands and was soon listening to the World with a used Zenith Wave-Magnet Console.
    It didn’t take long before the roof of my Dad’s house was covered in a tangle of wire antennas .
    My first car, a used 1949 Willys Jeep, soon sported an EICO 3 Channel CB Transceiver and had a Heath “Twoer” squeezed between the seats. The rear mounted 19 inch whip was no problem, but pulling into Gas Station meant trying to remember to haul down the 108 inch CB Whip.
    CB was even used at my first job ……. Associated Television Service in Riverside, CA. (now long gone) had 4 Channel CB Radios in their fleet of VW Service Vans and an International Crystals “Executive” Transceiver back at the Shop.
    Those were great days …… however, all had changed by the time I had returned from my time in Vietnam …… but I could still find WWV, HCJB and BBC on Short Wave.

  42. ad

    Back in the early 80’s conditions on 10m were great, so I hacked my ts430 to travel to CB’land using our POBox as my call sign. All Europe was wide open and I believe few american as well. later on I even manged to visit one of my CB’er contact in England for 2 days.
    I do have few QSL from this short pirated time, as it’s illegal in Israel.

  43. DopieJoe

    Back when I was 11/12 yrs.old (1962/63) I threw a paper route on my bike,later on a motorcycle. A boy friend of my sister built a 5ch. Heathkit base station CB and we got a Sears walki talkie ,slapped a 1/4 wave ground plane on top of the house and I could stay in touch with home 6 days a week. Call sign was KOV2868. Never will forget that number.Later on in the 1980’s I became a trucker fo 26 yrs. Still have some of that stuff around here. May need it someday.

  44. Glynn Dennis

    I also grew up in the 70’s CB era my dad owned a CB repair shop for few years . they were a part of everyday communication with friends and family my grandfather was a trucker along with my uncle’s and couple cousins . my stepdad as well .. We all used them daily. I grew up to be a trucker as well you could barely talk on 19 there were so many truckers talking you had to have a Palomar or texas star linear to talk across a truck stop. They have all faded away now sadly no bear reports no friendly conversations . no warnings of trouble ahead … You can go days without hearing anybody talk . I miss the days when good buddy was a good thing to be and truckers were the white nights of the road . respected admired and all ways willing to help anyone . .

  45. Rob L.

    I was never really enthused about CB radio since my interest was MW & SW DXing during the late 60s & early 70s but I found myself working at Radio Shack & then Lafayette Radio in the mid 70s during the CB radio craze when there were only 23 channels & walkie-talkies used crystals. While at the Shack, we never could get enough radios & antennas to meet demand. But later at Lafayette, we had plenty of radios to offer from Lafayette & Cobra. We also had an incredible selection of Antenna Specialist antennas made in Cleveland. We catered to long haul truckers as well as every day folks. We would assist customers with mobile radio & antenna installs & do SWR checks. We also had a fulltime bench tech to keep customers rigs working. It was a busy & exciting time to work in an electronics store.

  46. DevinDenali

    My first exposure to c.b. ratchet jawing came in my uncle’s semi. On a run to Florida for a load of melons I would call out for information as to the location of the highway patrol.
    I spent the summer of that year talking my head off. As I went from one c.b. equipped vehicle in the family to another to stay on the air it became obvious that I needed to buy my own radio. It was an old t-berry 23 ch. mobile unit with radio shack power supply and a 1/2 wave base antenna. I had the good fortune to be living next door to a line man for the power company, and he had access to a bucket truck. In less than a month he had acquired a utility pole.
    I had my first station…..then the movie “Convoy” was on the big screen. For the next decade the frequencies were on overload. I found sideband for relief from the madness. Horizontal polarization brought about the best worldwide contacts. A collection of QSL cards (post cards) from around the globe, are a way to remember when I could communicate to beyond my abilities to visit.

  47. Robert Peinelt

    I was cheyenne on the air into ham now but still hear the trucks on the hiway belong to react to in the early days when to many cb partys

  48. Michael Black

    I never travelled through CB.

    From about 1967 I had a pair of 100mW walkie talkies, but I don’t recall them influencing me. I didn’t know abkut CB until I started reading hobby electronic magazines in Jan of 1971. But I was already headed to ham radio.

    I could hear CB in the summer of 1971, when I got that Hallicrafters S-120A. But it was all jammed together, not just because CB was a small portion of tge dial, but the skio was in so a jumble of signals.

    One day going to the pool, I saw someone with a radio. Lafayette had a battery pack that fitted a few transceivers, so I figured it was a 6M rig. But it was a CB set. I think the summer of 1971.

    I didn’t know what CB was in those hobby electronic magazines. It just seemed exotic. And at age 11, it all looked so interesting and exotic, not just CB sets but all the things advertised. It took a whike for it to come into focus.

    Around 1975 some kids at school had CB sets, I never asked how they got licenses when they were about 16. I thought there was a minimum age, but I didn’t pay attention.

  49. Steve Allen, KZ4TN

    I remember in high school (that was in the late 60s) designing our CB QSL card in print shop class. My father used CB radio for emergency communications as he was the Civil Defense Director for our county in Minnesota. I remember sitting on our front steps late in the afternoon with a Johnson Messenger handheld 5W transceiver listening to skip coming in from all over North America. That was at one of the peaks of the sun spot cycle. Other friends in high school had CB radios and we would talk after dinner. I have listened to SW radio since that time and have been building radios since then as well. I owe so much of my interest in radio communication to my Father.

    1. Thomas Post author

      It is indeed a fine radio.

      It hasn’t been turned on in decades, so I would want to bring it up on a variac and assume it might need some new caps. This radio was a hybrid–part solid state and part valve/tube.


      1. Andrew

        Take care of that old guy; it deserves a bit of respect; I still have my Hy-Gain 2795DX in working conditions 🙂


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