Nostalgia post: 49MHz handhelds and AM CBs

I was thinking about the ‘Handy from Tandy’ conversion from 49MHz and it occurred to me that the first set that I ever transmitted on was a 49MHz handheld.

It must have been around 1980 when I was a keen shortwave listener and starting to get interested in getting an amateur licence. My parents had taken us on holiday to Fishguard in Pembrokeshire. Just along the A487 from Fishguard towards Cardigan is the village of Dinas. This particular year, a new shop had appeared in Dinas, a CB shop. I was very keen on looking in the shop window!

Of course, at this stage, CB was illegal in the UK and as I was living at home – there was no possibility of illegal operation – not that I would have done anyway 🙂

I can remember a number of 49MHz handhelds for sale in the shop as well as the 27MHz AM sets.

When I returned home to Cheltenham, I researched the 49MHz handhelds. They were very low power and they appeared to be legal to use. I bought a set of two. The range was probably 100-200 yards in a built up area. A couple of doors from me lived Jon, G6BHS, so it made perfect sense for Jon to have the other handheld and for us to use them to chat. Good fun!

27MHz CB was legalised in 1981, on FM, and I very quickly purchased a CB licence and a Cybernet Beta 1000 set (great receiver!) and had some fun and learned some basics about aerials and propagation.

Of course, it was just the push I needed to get my first amateur licence, G6TTU early in 1983.

Tim Kirby, G4VXE, is a regular contributor to and writes from Oxfordshire, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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