CB in Australia was a natural flow-on from the CB boom in America but not everyone shared the same enthusiasm for its implementation. The path it took, from fight to fruition, was fraught with problems, both for the government of the day and the citizens who wanted to use their new hobby – legally.
For almost as long as there have been radio operators, there have been “radio pirates.” In the beginning, all experimenters with radio were unlicensed; there were no pirates because there were no licenses. Many people used radio as a hobby and continued dabbling in radio long after the Governments decided to regulate radio experimentation.
These “radio pirates” were the forerunners of the early CB’ers.
Clubs, with names like KT Club, G.L. and Delta Whiskey, started springing up in the early seventies to provide a way for CB’ers to QSL (send a card confirming a contact) without giving their postal address over the air. Some clubs catered for CB’ers Australia-wide, while others, like the G.L. Club in Gippsland Victoria, catered for their area only. It was the G.L. club that we (South Australia) became interested in.
They had formed a club called the “Charlie Brown Touring Car Club” (which had nothing to do with cars) and they issued G.L. call signs. One of their numbers had, in December 1969, written to Parliament detailing the need for a “Citizen Band Radio Service” based on the newly legislated American 27MHz. CB system.
Between 1972 and 1973, there were about 6 regular voices floating around the airwaves in Adelaide and except for the odd call sign that we heard during skip conditions, most of us were oblivious to the fact that “CB” even existed. Communications were limited to 1 watt “walky-talkies” on what was known as bush-walking frequencies. 27.240MHz and 27.270MHz were two of the common frequencies. By 1974 we had finally “eyeballed” (met) most of the other operators and we were now meeting regularly.
In 1974 we learned of a CB convention that was being held in February 1975. The hosts for the convention were the newly formed lobby group, The Australian Citizen Radio MOVEMENT