Citizens Band Radio - History - Australia

Australia

Before CB was authorized in Australia, there were hand-held 27-MHz "walkie-talkies" which utilised several frequencies between the present CB channels, such as 27.240 MHz. By the mid-1970s, hobbyists were experimenting with handheld radios and unauthorized American CB radios. At that time in Australia, the 11-meter band was still used by licenced ham operators, but not yet available for CB use. A number of CB clubs had formed by this time which assigned callsigns to members, exchanged QSL cards, and lobbied for the legalization of CB. In 1977, CB was legalized with an 18-channel bandplan. In 1980, the American 40-channel band plan was adopted. From the outset the government attempted to regulate CB radio with licence fees and call-signs, but some years later abandoned this approach.

The first CB club in Australia was the Charlie Brown Touring Car Club (CBTCC), which formed in Morwell, Victoria in 1967 and consisted mainly of four-wheel drive enthusiasts. The club used the prefix GL (for Gippsland), since "CB" could not be used. After July 1, 1977, the club changed its name to Citizens Band Two Way Communication Club (CBTCC). Other early clubs were LV (Latrobe Valley) and WB (named after Wayne Britain). Members of these clubs are still active, and have also become amateur radio operators.

With the introduction of UHF CB radios in 1977, many operators used both UHF and HF radios and formed groups to own and operate local FM repeaters. Members of the CBTCC formed what became known as Australian Citizens Radio Movement (ACRM) in the early 1970s; this organisation became the voice for CB radio legalisation throughout Australia. After peaking in the 1970s and early 1980s, the use of 27 MHz CB in Australia has fallen dramatically due to the introduction of 477 MHz UHF CB (with FM and repeaters) and the proliferation of cheap, compact handheld UHF transceivers. Technology such as mobile telephones and the Internet have provided people with other choices for communications. The Australian government is working on changing the allocation of channels available for UHF CB Radio from 40 to 80, and doubling the number of repeater channels from 8 to 16.

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