Days of Richie Rich and his good buddies on CB radio

Power of art in action on the streets of the city

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I do love it when my folks on the Isle of Wight phone to say they’ve been sorting out the loft.

While up there they usually find something wonderful from my youth and last week was no exception.

‘Do you still want all this CB radio stuff?’ my mum asked.

She informed me that it had been in the loft for more than 20 years and was in the way.

Back in 1991, CB radio was in its final throes of popularity.

Soon, mobile phones and the internet would take over as the fun way to communicate.

But the fact that CB radio was technically illegal made it all the more exciting, as you took on a different persona with your own ‘handle’.

No-one knew where you lived, or your name and with some clever equipment, you could also disguise your voice so that nobody at school would be able to recognise you.

Living at the top of Ryde, by the tall church you can see from Southsea seafront, this gave me an excellent location for my CB signal.

Originally, myself and a friend got into CB-ing so we could talk to each other instead of using our folks’ phones.

He lived in Cowes, but his signal was so weak I could hardly hear him.

I soon made contact with many ‘overners’ as my signal was booming over to Portsmouth.

Asking someone for their ’20’ (location) I would then add another pin to my map.

Petersfield, Havant and Clanfield were the furthest.

Friends were made and even an ‘eyeball’ (meeting) was arranged once in Portsmouth.

These were simpler times. Four TV channels and only Radio 1 or Power FM to listen to.

In many ways, CB was the Facebook of its day, allowing us to swop gossip and interact.

I’m wondering how many people today have their whip poles attached to the gable end of the house and transmit each evening on a local scale?

Richie Rich signed off for good in 1992 when I swapped the old CB transmitter for a slightly more powerful one at the local radio station on the island!