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Ten-four to that

Ten-four to that

From walkie-talkies evolved car-phones and car-phones begat mobile phones (some the size and weight of four housebricks). In no time at all we had SMS, satellite tracking, all manner of telematics and soon, so we’re told, surgical implants with silicon chips rather than the old sort of implants with just the silicon.

But in a world time forgot (and most folk nowadays can’t even imagine) we had CB, or at least the Americans did, and a fair few found their way across the pond despite their illegality in Britain. In the early 80’s there existed a subversive underground movement which the government of the day viewed much the way they look on Al Quaeda today, and they were determined to put a stop to it. After all, every time someone called ‘Breaker, Breaker One Nine’, entire intensive care units would switch off, 747’s would rain down from the skies and Billy’s remote control Metal Mickey would waddle off over the horizon, never to be seen again. Little wonder that the General Post Office Radio Regulatory Department (acronyms hadn’t been invented back then) brought out the big guns.

To put it in perspective, when the Mid-Kent Citizen’s Band Radio Club formed in Maidstone, Kent in 1980, it drew over 300 paid-up members within a month, confounding the establishment who believed they were dealing with just a few cranks - multiply that nationwide and you could count the following in hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions. In this wonderfully pre-pc era the borough council even allowed the pictured float to take part in their summer carnival, supporting the cause.

Those with exceptional powers of observation will have spotted Busby (remember him? No? Well, get back to your homework then) hanging from a gallows on the side, a grim joke which had parents smiling and kiddywinks crying. Ultimately the government gave in, possibly encouraged by the realisation that there was money to be made here, and CB radio was legalised, taking all the fun out of it at a single stroke.

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