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1977: We were in the very early stages of negotiating affiliation with R.E.A.C.T. in America, when we heard about one of their promotional films, “WHERE SECONDS COUNT.”

General Motors sponsored REACT, in the States, and through General Motors in Australia we were able to get hold of a copy of the film. The film was very popular but as it was the only copy, we often had trouble getting it for the necessary promotions. After much red tape and some discussion with all parties concerned, we were given permission to make copies of the film. Two copies were made; one for Morwell and one for South Australia. The film was taken everywhere and shown till most of us knew the dialogue off by heart. Armed with this new material, we approached organizations like ROTARY and LIONS for sponsorship. A far wider and more influential range of people was now accepting us.

We were now close to finalising the planning stages of the seminar. We had found someone who was prepared to open it, we had a criteria base to work from and we had formalised our proposals. Our proposals needed to be both convincing and achievable. Achievable because our research showed that many of the clubs would be asking for the impossible and convincing because we believed there wasn’t going to be a second shot at a CBRS.

In January our numbers started at 420 but by the end of EXPO 77 we had another 185 members on the books. EXPO 77 proved to be our biggest, single, publicity drive ever. Some of the members took holidays in order to cover the stall and others were rostered on as time permitted. The EXPO may have finished but our work hadn’t, the seminar was now less than a week away. The venue for the seminar was a caravan park near Victor Harbor and a holiday house at Aldinga became committee headquarters for the final preparations. Dave Halyer and Joe Bastien from Morwell also joined us. We envisaged that the whole thing, from start to submission, would take about two weeks so we all took holidays to cater for that.

“SEMINAR 77” Australia Day long-weekend January 1977: The visitors started arriving on the Friday and they continued to come right through the night. Fortunately we were ready for them and as we had almost taken over the Caravan Park, the caretaker wasn’t too upset.

Day 1: Saturday was, according to the programme, “Arrival and meet the people,” but by Saturday morning, there were over 200 country and interstaters booked in to the caravan park and meeting the people was proving to be quite a task. The answer was to split our resources, the committee concentrated on talking to the representatives of the various clubs and our members did their best to entertain the troops.


We did manage to work out a programme that fitted in with our schedule though and sufficient time was allowed for all to have their say. By Saturday night, another 60 people had come from interstate and many of the locals were starting to filter in. Needless to say, there was very little sleep that night. After all, it wasn’t every day this many CB’ers congregated in one place. Many pleasurable hours were spent putting faces to call signs.

Day 2: The last of the locals arrived Sunday morning and it was now down to business. The seminar started on time, at 10.00 a.m., with a welcome by the South Australian Committee and a general overview of the Australian Citizen Radio Movement by the Morwell Committee. This was followed by introductory talks from a few of the representatives of the various clubs.

After lunch the seminar was officially opened. Ian Wilson, M.P. did the honours and he was awarded honorary membership in ACRM. He was presented with the call sign CB 500 and an official club tee shirt, which he wore for the rest of his talk. The rest of the afternoon consisted of talks, debates and even arguments, before settling on a basis for our submission.


Some of the groups still wanted the impossible and as it would mean jeopardizing our own submission, we were unable to accommodate their demands. As a compromise, it was agreed that they could submit their own, but in their own name and not as representatives of any of the affiliating clubs.

Tea was followed by the promotional film, “Where Seconds Count” and then more talks. Finally, after much discussion, prompting and coercion, we achieved our goal. The A.C.R.M. was on the right track and we had the sanction of most of the groups that attended.

The rest of the night was devoted to starting new divisions of the A.C.R.M. and organizing affiliations with already established clubs. 11.00 p.m., the official close time, came and went, there was very little sleep that night either.

Day 3, Monday, went pretty well as expected. Plans were discussed and finalized, committees were set up and closer liaison between groups was assured. By evening the place was deserted, everyone had either gone home, or was heading home. Everyone but us that is, we now had the unenviable task of collating the mountain of paperwork and writing the submission.

With the seminar over and the submission written, it was back to Adelaide, back to the regular “run of the mill” ACRM business and of course, work. We still had plenty to do, but the slower pace was welcomed. February meant the A.G.M. and the elections would soon be upon us. Our numbers continued to swell and we had hoped to have a bigger meeting place by then but members hung out of doors and crevices everywhere. We only had seating capacity for 200.

On the 28th of February we got final confirmation from REACT in the States that the necessary affiliation papers were on their way. As we were keen to get going and because they had already sent over sample badges and stickers, we were given verbal approval to begin setting up an Australian division of REACT.


Obviously much planning had to take place and as March was the 2nd birthday of ACRM SA, we hoped to announce the affiliation at the general meeting. Other interstate divisions were simultaneously doing the same and there was a great feeling of success.


ACRM’s aims were threefold. The first was to make the public aware of citizen band radio; this we had certainly done. The second, to gain a legal CB service for Australia, was now close to fruition and lastly, the establishment of an emergency monitoring service. With the current negotiations now positive, this last aim seemed inevitable.

Another major change to ACRM was being undertaken as we now had over 600 members encompassing most of the state. Even the metropolitan area was too large for satisfactory management and some of the members had to travel very long distances to attend meetings. The best way to overcome this was to create regions that could cater for the members in their area.


The Adelaide Committee became the Management Committee and Regional Directors, who attended the Management Committee Meetings, were appointed to be our contact people on the committees of each area. There was an automatic invitation to all regions to participate in each other’s functions and of course, all were welcome at the Adelaide meetings.

In March, as planned, we announced the formation of REACT but before we could enjoy the fruits of our labour, we found out we had a management problem and REACT in the States now refused to have any thing to do with us. We were almost back to square one. Almost, except we had the money, we had the means and we had the monitors, all we needed was a name.

For the next month we had the buzz of legalization to contend with. The papers and news broadcasts spoke of nothing else. The Minister, in his discussions about the submissions from clubs and organized lobby groups, was reported in the papers as saying, “I’m disappointed in the lack of submissions from individuals.”


The article indicated that people would not send in submissions because they feared it was a trap and that their names and addresses would be passed to the Radio Inspectors. This prompted the Minister to respond again, assuring everyone that all submissions were treated as confidential. Many operators then got the idea that if you sent in a submission, you were safe and on-air procedures for some became very blasé. This, in turn, meant the number of idiots increased rapidly and bucket-mouths become fairly common.

We now had close to 700 members on the register and we wondered where it would end. When we devised the CB 5?? Call sign, we had no idea the numbers would get so high and the thought of a five digit number, like Charlie Baker 51154 was hard to comprehend, let alone use. The solution was to back-fill numbers. When a member resigned, or let his membership lapse, the number was reissued. The call sign no longer reflected the number of members, in fact the total membership, past and present, approached 1000 but it did stop our call signs going to five digits.

In April we moved to a new meeting place, the Y.M.C.A. Hall in Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide. It could seat 400 comfortably and at one meeting we had 360 members, again we wondered if it would be big enough.

By May 1977 we had taken over from Morwell as the leaders in the fight for legalization. Everything was done in consultation with Morwell and we had their sanction but South Australia had grown to be the biggest, single entity of the A.C.R.M. in Australia and we had the respect that we deserved.

Fortunately, we did have Morwell ACRM’s respect and we survived the REACT fiasco but our bad management had put paid to any sort of reconciliation with REACT in the States. Morwell ACRM negotiated hard and long to save the affiliation with REACT but because of Adelaide’s bungle, REACT refused to have anything to do with Australia. Just two months after its inception, the A.C.R.M. withdrew all its backing and a very feeble, unofficial, Adelaide division of REACT was left to flounder on its own.

A change of plans was necessary; one that would appease all and still fit in with the tight schedule ahead. The name “Australian Citizen Radio MONITORS” had been bandied around within the committee for some months and now seemed a good time to put it to a test. We started promoting the name and it’s purpose and, at the same time, advertised for a State Administrator to set up the operations.

Also in May, Frank Aue (Secretary) and I attended a meeting with the Minister for Postal and Telecommunications in Melbourne where we learned that a CB service was inevitable and soon to be a reality. The Bill had gone before Cabinet and unless rejected, we would have a C.B.R.S. within three months. On the 23rd of June 1977, we had the first official word that licenses would be available after the 1st of July.

With only one phase left to achieve and legalization just around the corner, we had to get our skates on so Ray Farmer, who had done his P.R.O. job well, was put in charge of setting up the A.C.R.M. (Monitors). Initially we intended establishing base stations that would be located in key areas and manned 24 hours a day but as we were running out of time we decided to put the service on air as soon as possible.

By now, a chapter of CREST had started in Adelaide and some of the members from the failing REACT decided to affiliate with them. However, CREST’s structure of hierarchy did not suit everybody and many REACT monitors resigned rather than join CREST.

Monitors from the Gawler/Barossa region were among them so they opted to continue monitoring but use the call signs, G.E.S. (Gawler Emergency Service) followed by their old REACT numbers. On the 30th of June they voted unanimously in favor of joining the newly formed A.C.R.M. Emergency service.

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