Fidelity 2000 CB Radio - the past revisited
Fidelity 2000 - my first radio transmitter!
As a spotty teenager (!!) I discovered CB radio at the time it was being legalised and promptly got hooked on all the things school friends were telling me about the fun they had with it. Well that was almost exclusively on the old and illegal AM system in the late 70's and very early 80's. Mum and Dad said I could have one if I worked hard and passed my exams so it was in late June 1982 I got my reward for at least making a bit of an effort (never a great scholar I'm afraid!) and was presented with a brand new Fidelity 2000 legal FM 40 Channel CB, the radio I'd wanted for ages. We'd actually spotted this one in an electrical/white goods (?) shop in Plymouth, in the lower part of Exeter Street as I recall earlier in the year; it all looked spot on and at the time was a hell of a good deal costing the princely sum of £56 as I recall when this was actually the price for the simpler and less capable Fidelity CB1000FM (oops!, pricing error?). From memory as well as more recent research in old mags the price at the time 'should've been' about £75 to £85. If we compare thats £200 and at least £275 in todays money..., ouch! And quite a decent saving!
Anyway the great day came in late June 1982, it was not long after we had moved from Newton Abbot to Ivybridge near Plymouth in Devon. I started off setting the rig up with a base loaded antenna and an aluminium ground plane in between the boxes in our new living room and straight away made a few local contacts, until when around midday a lot of static and crackling noise and a sudden sporadic E opening (before I even knew anything about such things!) meant I was listening to and talking with people in Scotland! The first contact was a nice lady calling herself 'Highland Dancer' in rural Kircudbright! It was a sign of things to come but the whole amateur radio thing is a separate story on other pages here.
Anyway after a day or two the aerial and ground plane was installed in the loft and the rig on a slide mount in my bedroom and it was fun to have and to use. Back in 1982 the general calling channel was 14 where most activity was centred, 19 was the truckers channel which was fun as we lived on a new housing development so there was a steady stream of dump trucks and deliveries and you never knew who'd you'd be talking to next.
There used to be a good local net on channel 16 or 17 of an evening depending which was free and would usually cover Ivybridge, Cornwood, Yealmpton and Plymstock and parts of Plymouth with the regulars including Rabbit Trapper, Dirt Digger, Cornish Arab, Cockney Rebel, Grasshopper, Sidewinder, Iron Pumper and others I'll add as and when I remember their 'handles'!!
So what went wrong?!
Well the simple fact of the matter was..., as I've mentioned elsewhere, there was a hooligan element intent on spoiling things for others but I'd changed the radio to a Uniden by then and started to get interested in amateur radio but that's mentioned elsewhere!
I always regretted getting rid of the Fidelity in a way and so it was in about 2015 I spotted a nice one (this one) on eBay for not much money, it had been modified to an apparently high standard to increase the power output (10 watts and 2 watts instead of 4 watts and 0.25 watts! in the same way as my original) as well as installing the 'missing' and now legalised CEPT mid band FM channels on the dimmer switch and improving the squelch circuit operation. The radio is in superb condition, possibly slightly better then my original as that one had a small dent in the top case from a SWR meter that fell on it one afternoon!! The only thing it lacks is a genuine Fidelity microphone, nearly bought a matching and almost authentic Rotel mic (also Cybernet based and a standard range 'coffin' microphone) for it but one will come along one day I suppose!
The radio doesn't get much use but just occasionally its been fun to hear a UK conversation on MPT1320 and call in just to say hello and by the way I'm in France!!