Wright's Aerials

Aerial photography - Ancient Gallery

You can learn about the past and present of Citizens’ Band radio in the UK by Googling for it, but here you see an example of the most visible manifestation of that strange pastime. Aerials like this sprung up all over the place in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The TVI (television interference) problems were many and various, with street altercations erupting occasionally as a result. Some of the thicker CB enthusiasts provided a great deal of amusement for those who actually knew anything about RF, with their unshakable faith in particular ‘twigs’ (aerials) and their weird theories about propagation. The resemblance to a whacky religion, what with the gospel of incontrovertible RF ‘knowledge’ and the arcane parlance*, was striking. But by 1990 the craze was well and truly over.

CB provided a route into ‘proper’ amateur radio, and it has been said that the wave of ex-CBers entering the slightly stuffy world of ham radio provided a breath of fresh air. Some ex-CBers went on to become very knowledgeable radio amateurs, to my personal knowledge.

The aerial in the picture is an Avanti Sigma 4, a 3/4 wave end fed. It’s a whopping 28 feet long. The gubbins round the bottom is a 'basket' type ground plane. These aerials allegedly had 7dB gain over a dipole. Most of them soon fell victim to winter gales because of the enormous wind loading. Some CBers added non-conductive guys (often made from fishing line) in an attempt to stabilise them.
Thanks to Nick Tucker for some of the above information.

*twig = aerial; home 20 = home; skateboard = car; Alpha one superslab = A1(M); rig = CB radio; jam sandwich = police car; good buddy = person you’ve just met on the CB; burner = illegal high powered TVI-causing RF amp; ankle biter = child; alligator station = someone who talks and doesn’t listen; penis town = Penistone; eyeball = meeting; fanny magnet = car attractive to young ladies; fender bender = traffic accident; and so on.

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