A.C.R.M. The MONITORS by Phil Richards.
On the first of July 1977, the first day of legalisation, the Australian Citizen Radio Monitors went on air. It was earlier than anticipated and there was still much to be done, but we at least had official paper work, report forms and a basic concept to work with. My call sign then was "ACRM 6." We had no areas or regions and everyone used the prefix ACRM. Some of us had jobs that allowed us to monitor during the daytime so we had very good coverage, both in area and time span. At home the base station radios were rarely turned off, with the women, in most cases our wives, monitoring during the day and then, once home, we took over. When we went to bed the radios were still on and we devised some fairly elaborate switch gear and extension speakers to accommodate our "hobby."
Licences, as promised, were issued and those who went and waited in a queue were rewarded with a call sign but for those who didn't and opted to post their applications in, the wait was about to start again. The Radio Inspectors, most of them Amateurs, decided to go on strike in what we believed to be a protest over losing the battle. Whatever the reason, no more licences were issued again until September.
After legalisation, there was a noticeable drop in applications for membership. It was heard said, "Now that it's legal, who needs a club anyway?" We had suspected for a long time that many of the members only joined because they felt safer being in a club and this confirmed it. At the conclusion, there were 801 members on the club register and we had seen a total of 1076 members go through the books. For those of us who had made ACRM our lives for the last two and a half years, we were looking for a long earned rest and we didn't care if the numbers dropped or not. The magazine, not including the two days my wife Chris spent addressing the 900 odd envelopes, now took ten people, two full nights and well into the mornings, to write, print and collate.
On the 17th of July, the monitors in Gawler got the green light from Ray Farmer and for the first time we had a fully co-ordinated 24-hour monitoring service. Their call sign numbers remained unchanged but they now used the prefix Gawler ACRM.
What happened next was a surprise to us all. For nearly 3 years we had talked about the three aims of ACRM, we had achieved those aims and we had prepared for the end. but at the ACRM (Movement) meeting in August 1977, the vote to disband was by no means unanimous. People had made new friends, they had been through thick and thin together and through their club they were doing something important. They had no intention of giving it up now.
As a compromise, the A.C.R.M. (Movement) did disband, but instead of reforming as the "Australian Citizen Radio Monitors," it was decided to form the "Charlie Baker Club of South Australia" and the now established, A.C.R.M. (Monitors), would remain as a separate entity. The two clubs would coexist, each with separate constitutions but the funding and resources for the monitors, would be provided by the newly formed Charlie Baker Club. This arrangement suited everyone and in the long run it helped to expedite much of the work that had to be done. No longer did one committee have to do all the work.
As this is the history of ACRM and the Charlie Baker Club has a history of its own, I will concentrate only on the path ACRM took. The next two months were spent tying up loose ends. My involvement, apart from being a monitor, was mainly in an advisory capacity. One of my jobs was to oversee the drafting of the constitution. It was left to Ray to get things moving and there were plenty of people willing to help. The first Monitor's meeting was held in September 1977. Two Gawler monitors presented a copy of the training manual they had been working on and it was adopted. We also concentrated on setting up the divisions and finishing the draft version of the Constitution. The divisions were based on locality and a block of numbers was issued to each area. This proved to be an ideal that was too hard to manage, as we had no way of gauging the number of monitors that there would ultimately be in any particular area. Adelaide ACRM encompassed a great area and it was desirable to use different numbers, rather than different prefixes. The regions, made up of neighbouring suburbs, were all of similar size. Region one for example comprised North Adelaide, Prospect and Kilburn and had the numbers 20 to 30. Ray lived in Region One and he became ACRM 26. Region eight, which is where I lived, was in the Elizabeth area and my number changed to ACRM 48. The numbers 1 to 10 were reserved for Major Base Stations. Gawler ACRM retained the old REACT numbers, which started at 60, so we issued them with the numbers 60 to 70. Later on, as the regions grew larger than this system allowed, numbers were issued and reissued as the need arose.
Some of the people who were instrumental in helping Ray get things going were, Steve Hall ACRM 25 and David Treharne ACRM 27. Almost immediately, bottle drives and fundraisers began. One of their aims was to become financially independent as soon as possible. There was much enthusiasm and we grew fast. The venue for the new ACRM meetings was the Parafield Gardens High School. We invited speakers from the various services to attend and give us talks. The Police, St. Johns, the Fire Brigade and even the Department for Postal and Telecommunications obliged and in turn we were invited to visit their facilities to see how their services worked.
We still hadn't decided on a badge either and as we needed to get printing done, a logo was necessary. The name change, Movement to Monitors, meant only minor differences to the old logo and as the initials were still the same, we opted to keep the basic design of the old Movement sticker and change the colour. The first red stickers were produced and membership cards soon followed. Letterheads, followed by the Training Manual, were next and the Constitution, which had now been drafted, was being checked by the legal people in time for presentation at the December meeting. The second meeting, held in October, was designated as a Monitor Training meeting and the emphasis was on education. We showed the film "Where Seconds Count" and to our surprise, many people hadn't seen it. It showed very graphically, the effect an emergency monitoring service can have on the outcome of a situation in crisis. At the close of that meeting, the monitors had for the first time, a far better understanding of what ACRM and emergencies are all about.
On the 4th of December, we opened our first Base Station at Salisbury North High School. Channel Nine did a feature for the evening news and the newspapers followed with some top editorials. Ray also did a very successful talk back show on 5AN with Philip Satchell. This had the effect of livening things up again and a couple of the old Committee Members joined Ray to help, namely Damien Vale ACRM 21 and Frank Aue ACRM 52.
1978: The Constitution was presented at the December meeting and, with minor changes, adopted. The constitution outlined specific committee positions and duties so we could now plan our first A.G.M. This was set for January the 24th 1978 and it was well attended. At the same time, new country areas were getting started and by February, both Pt Augusta and Whyalla were on air. We already had 176 monitors on the register and there was keen interest from the interstaters as well.
The ACRM (Monitors) catered for interstate membership, in fact it was encouraged. Initially, the monitors joined and belonged to Adelaide but they had call signs relevant to their area. This allowed them to grow in size and slowly work towards independence. Our aim was never to control the interstate divisions but, if they were going to use the ACRM name we had to set up guide lines for them to work to. We believed then, as now, that the locals know best the situation in their own area and we relied on them to formulate procedures suited to their own needs. Our role was to ensure that their procedures were within the bounds of the ACRM Constitution.
One way of keeping in the good books with our promoters was to support their functions. ACRM supported the "Channel 7 Easter Appeal," in 1977 for the first time and we raised nearly $3,000. It was now time for the 1978 appeal and we set our sights higher. The weekend was the 18th and 19th of March 1978. Twelve base stations controlled the operation and Channel 7 gave us the use of a house just down from their studio to run things. Other monitors went out collecting, mobiles did the fetching of funds and others came to help us distribute cans. At the end of the weekend, we presented Channel 7 with a staggering $7,200 - an excellent effort.
In May, we had been experiencing heavy skip and this meant an influx of calls on 27.065 MHz. Not only did we hear the locals but we had interstate calls to contend with as well. One thing was apparent, there was a total lack of decorum with some of the interstate monitors and far too much unnecessary chatter. In an attempt to try and unify on-air operations, the A.C.R.M. committee wrote to each of the organisations detailing concise, courteous operation methods and asked for their assistance in cleaning up Channel 9/5.
The country areas were expanding fast and at the April meeting we had representation from Mannum, Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend. It was good to see the members making the effort to travel the distance. One advantage of attending the meetings was that the area representatives could take back to their members, immediate answers and information. The benefit to the members was reflected in the smooth running of their areas. There were enough country divisions now to warrant a person to liaise with directly so we appointed our first Country Coordinator.
Apart from the teams that made up the greater Adelaide, ACRM was now represented by divisions in Gawler, Mannum, Mt. Barker, Mt. Gambier, Murray Bridge, Peterborough, Pt. Augusta, Pt. Pirie, Robe, Tailem Bend, Waikerie, Whyalla, Yorketown and two interstate divisions, Dalwallinu in W.A. and Darwin in Northern Territory.
Another change to the committee occurred; Ray 26's appointment in Darwin came through and yours truly was asked to stand in as Chairman until the elections. Most of my energy was now focused on the new club anyway and while I wasn't exactly sitting around waiting for something to do, I did miss the action and quite enjoyed the chance to be involved in the management side of things again.
In September, after only 5 days notice, ACRM manned a stand at the Royal Adelaide Show. The event was a tremendous success. Elders provided the space and with the help of 25 members, a fully operational base was on show for the world to see. We handled and processed many calls from the show grounds. We also handled the coordination of lost children, or in some cases, lost parents and it was a big hit.
The A.C.R.M. (Monitors) started in South Australia and, while we slowly made in-roads into other states, only a few attempts were made by other organisations to start in South Australia. These groups, while only small, were beneficial to the Emergency Network and on-air cooperation was good. Friendly rivalry meant each team tried that little bit harder and the result was a better service to the end users, the general public. It wasn't until a breakaway group called A.R.E.S. formed, that the friendly rivalry started to turn to bitching and for a while the monitoring service suffered. But when A.R.E.S. joined CREST, things started to improve. CREST at least tried to keep their monitors in line and as far as a monitoring service went, they were well accepted.
Towards the end of the year we did two more functions, one was the Channel Ten Xmas Appeal. With the help of the country divisions our members were able to raise $8,600. The other function was a dual purpose one, the venue was on the third floor of the Harris Scarfe building and while we were there primarily to give sales a boost, the public relations work for ACRM was outstanding. The setup was known as "City Base 1" and like the Royal Show, it was fully functional. Again, many calls were processed and the spectators loved it.
1979: Between the secretary, Graham 141, who's job took him into the country often, and Terry 34 (Country co-ord.), new country divisions were being added all the time. New areas included Pt. Lincoln, Tumby Bay, Lameroo, Coonalpyn and Clare. Divisions in Queensland and New South Wales soon followed.
With all the promotions going on and the faithful red sticker being sold or given to anyone as advertisement, we decided to have a sticker for monitors only. The blue sticker was born and as it was for monitors only, the "CB Saves Lives" was omitted from the outer circle of the shield. Then we registered it with the other services, Police, St. Johns, etc. as our only official sticker. Blue was for monitors only and we strictly controlled their issue.
The Channel 7 Easter Appeal was again a success. Prior to the Appeal, we managed to get some excellent editorial in all the local papers promoting our cause and this resulted in a $9,838 presentation to Channel 7. They repaid us with excellent coverage of the operations and later with talk time on air. Other promotions included participation in a "Rotary" Fete at Salisbury, a display in Woolworths at Parabanks and then a display in the Parabanks Mall.
In May 1979 we lodged the final papers for incorporation. Apart from the obvious reasons, sales tax exemption and being registered as a charitable body, it was felt that closer liaison between us and the other services would ensue. We also hoped that, as an incorporated body, the people and companies from whom we so desperately needed sponsorship would better accept us.
We were now being asked to provide communications at various motor cycle and car rallies. Early communications at these events was done on 27 MHz and with the ever-present skip, this was an almost impossible task. The obvious was to start using UHF but before this could be effective, much testing was needed. When we did our first News 24 Hour trial, the organisers admitted they never expected the level of proficiency that we so capably displayed. The first Australian Rally Championships at Morgan was held that year and ACRM was asked to do the communications. The Gawler to City Marathon followed, which later become the Festival City Marathon and then the GIO Marathon.
There was also another Major Base Station planned, "Base 3," to be located at Salisbury Heights. The location was some 800 feet above sea level and had superb coverage from the South, right through West and to the North. Base 3 proved very successful and it was a sad day when we finally lost the premises. With the addition of Base 3, we initiated Auxiliary or "0" membership to cater for all the people who wanted to be monitors but had no equipment and Base 3 provided the venue.
A visit to C.F.S. Headquarters on 14th November 1979, turned into a night few would forget. Twenty-two people rolled up for the tour but on their arrival, they were told that the tour might be cut short at any time, as the C.F.S. may be needed to assist at Port Broughton.
The tour was cut short and while the details were being explained to the monitors it became horribly apparent that if the power and phone lines were down, they would need communications. All we knew was that Port Broughton had been hit by a storm, the C.F.S. were preparing to move and we had, in light of the communications problem, been asked to help. After some discussion a plan was put into action and the members split into groups. Jim 27 went to Kulpura, where they set up a relay on top of the Hummocks. Eric 38 went home and packed, then headed straight for Pt. Broughton. Reg 32, went up to Base 3 and other monitors put their own bases on air. Mobiles stood at the ready for backup situations as well. My base was also operational and a direct link with Kulpura was established on UHF. From the time of notification at C.F.S. Headquarters, to set up, including Eric at Port Broughton, just one and half-hours had elapsed.
Eric and Company arrived at Port Broughton to find a twisted mess of houses, galvanised iron and power lines. They were directed to the police station where operations were being coordinated and were immediately welcomed. Eric noted "We were there to help them in their time of trouble and yet, in the middle of all that mess and confusion, they found time to assist us." In no time at all they were set up and a vital link was established. Three hectic hours of passing information to and from worried friends and families had passed before the C.F.S. had their radio link restored and ACRM was free to pack up. We were thanked by all concerned and I couldn't help thinking that perhaps now, ACRM had paid its dues and we were truly the emergency service we claimed to be. On the way home, radio tests were carried out, dead spots were noted and areas for future communications, should the occasion arise, were mapped. All in all, some eight hours had elapsed and Base 3 closed down at 0330 Hours.
1980: In February we were involved with the Birdman Rally and then later with another Channel Ten promotion, the Milk Carton Regatta. In April a change to the constitution allowed the position of Social Secretary, along with his band of helpers, to become a subcommittee and we introduced Country coordinator as the seventh Committee position.
Back in June 1977, when the C.B.R.S. was legalised, the department let it be known that a review of the C.B.R.S. would be done approximately 2 years later. In 1979, with the results of the World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC) about to be finalised, the department again called for submissions from the interested public. The Topics for discussion were:
The interesting item was number (3). One of the objectives was to abolish A.M. (amplitude modulation) as this would fall in line with other services world-wide and pave the way to get rid of 27 MHz. completely. The A.C.R.M. responded in August with a submission, which dealt specifically with the four issues and recommended stiff penalties for offenders. We were successful in retaining 27 MHz. and we increased the 18 channels to 40 but we didn't get the extra 40 channels on UHF and we didn't get the extra effort required by the Radio Inspectors to detect, apprehend and hit hard the people who misused the C.B.R.S.
In September we purchased our first caravan and a concerted effort was made to have it operational for the start of the 1981 season. The committee chipped in and purchased personalised plates for it, ACRM-00 and these plates are now on the new van. Also in September, the magazine went metric, using the A4 format, as Foolscap was getting hard to get. At the 1981 elections the newsletter number 45, was renamed the COMMUNICATOR and we introduced a new cover and image to reflected the changes. The distinctive blue cover has remained.
With regular rally events now established and the cover of each Communicator reflecting the dates of these events, we were horribly reminded that the role of the monitor was changing. As a volunteer organisation, most of the early events were done free of charge and the odd donation was gratefully accepted but it did little to offset the running costs of the organisation. The original purpose of the club was being forgotten and as there was a general decline in membership, we wondered if this was a contributing factor. The monitors who did the events, did so because they enjoyed doing them and as the service we provided was of a safety nature, we were obliged to continue. To justify this and keep the events under the auspices of ACRM, it was decided that a donation, based on the size and the number of participants, would be paid. This worked fine and the coffers started to look healthier. One aim for charging the levy was to stop or minimise, increases in fees and magazine costs. By keeping fees to a minimum and concentrating on manning the major base stations, we hoped to reduce the financial burden on members and in turn make the prospect of becoming a monitor more attractive. This freed up the monitors who wanted to do the events and took some of the strain off the dedicated monitors who sat home consistently taking the brunt of the calls.
In June 1981, our attentions were focused on a resident of the Home for Incurables, now called the Julia Farr Centre. Kath Baldwin, now deceased, through her association with the UHF operators and because of her eagerness to be a monitor, approached ACRM to help set up her station. When we met Kath she had a UHF set on a chest of drawers and her antenna was a mobile mounted on a chair in her room on the fifth floor. We immediately installed a base antenna outside her window and signed Kath up as ACRM 47. Kath was constantly in pain and her radio, which was always on, became her life and purpose for existence. She handled calls at all hours of the day and night and despite being one of our most effective monitors, Kath felt that she could do better. The only way to improve the situation was to get the antenna higher, so we approached the Centre management about shifting her to the ninth floor. This was agreed to and in no time Kath had been relocated to the top floor. Her base station in the sky was now called "Base 4 relay" and with her antenna now on the roof, nine stories up, her coverage was fantastic.
In September the Gawler/Barossa division, which by then was a large, well managed group, put in an application to incorporate in their own right and in December, their incorporation became effective.
1983: We had our UHF emergency repeater stolen and it was 5 weeks from the time of going off-air to getting a new one and having it installed. During that time monitoring was again done on simplex, which had worked well at first, but by now people had become reliant on the repeaters and we found that most callers went to an alternative repeater to get help. The Parafield venue for the meeting was now a bit too far north to be classed as central, so a new site was looked at. We changed to the Nailsworth Primary School in August and during the time we were there, we occupied three different rooms.
In October 1985 our secretary, during a ten-minute segment on radio with Jan Springett, included a message aimed squarely at the people on Yorke Peninsula who persisted in using UHF channel 35 for a chatter channel. In some cases people were unaware that channel 35 was the input frequency to the emergency repeater but most just refused to leave it free. It wasn’t until a couple of months later when the department proclaimed both channels for emergency use, that people slowly learned to respect the channel.
In November, a message from the Whyalla division informed us that a bloke by the name of Rusty Fatchen was on his way to Adelaide in a wheel chair. It wasn’t until we met Rusty (and his chair), that we realised why Whyalla had notified us. Rusty's wheel chair turned out to be a three-wheeled, battery operated scooter, set up with lights and a UHF radio. His power supply was a 24 volt Honda generator which was mounted on the back of the chair to charge the batteries that powered the chair and ran the lights. A 6dB antenna and mobile UHF rig completed the deal and Rusty was well and truly mobile, on his own, from Whyalla to Adelaide. When he got close enough, Rusty called us on the channel and some of the members went out to give him an escort in - at about 16 km per hour. It had been a long trip but he was ecstatic.
1986: In December, a proposal to cease A.M. (Amplitude Modulation) transmissions was circulated by the Dept. of Communications. Their object was to stop "type approval" of AM sets in 1988 and five years later, stop the issue of new licences. Again ACRM responded and although our submission addressed both the advantages and the disadvantages, the need to retain AM was obvious - it accounted for the bulk of our emergency calls. Many people would have been disadvantaged without the cheap AM equipment, boat owners, bush walkers, 4X4 clubs, holiday makers to name a few. Many of the people in these categories would probably go without, rather than buy dearer UHF and/or HF/VHF marine sets. Fortunately, our submission was received favourably and we retained AM but for how long, no one knows. One thing is for sure - if or when they outlaw AM, it is going to be an impossible task to police. This feat alone should ensure AM is here for a long while.
1987: For the 10th Birthday of the A.C.R.M. (Monitors), the Gawler/Barossa division organised a dinner at the Roseworthy Community Club. It was well attended and some of the Gawler members were honoured with Life Membership.
In November we held our 100th General Meeting and as it was the last for the year, we finished it off with chicken, pizza and drinks - we had a great attendance that night.
Our 1987 Christmas edition of the Communicator was the first in the new format. This has proven successful and by popular demand, has remained. We also introduced our first Event Calendar in December ready for the 1988 rally season.
1988: We did a promotion at the Australia Day Festival at Salisbury, something we hadn't done for quite a while and besides having a good day, we managed to put a few dollars in the coffers with a raffle that was going at the time. We were surprised to find that there were still people who didn't know what CB radio was all about and we spent much of the day explaining and demonstrating Citizen Band Radio.
In December 1988 a new division was formed - Central Belt. In an effort to rejuvenate some of the neighbouring divisions, a group known as "Dad’s Army" took on the task of coordinating the new division. Comprised mainly of the Mid Murray/Lower North division, with the Riverland and Southern Yorke Peninsula as its boundaries, it encompassed a great area.
1990: Our Northern Division, under the watchful eye of Ted 291, was growing well and the initial plans to put in a repeater at Beetaloo were under way. A site had been picked out and although the installation was to be temporary, most agreed that the service was beneficial. In a way, the early installation was done to keep some of the knockers in the area happy. The site proved successful and the range was better than expected.
In June we did the River Murray 200, the first one under the ACRM banner. Our job, just as Dad’s Army and a few other members had done the year before, was to man the checkpoints, only this year they wanted to make a documentary film so my boat was used for the first time. On the second and third days, as well as carting the camera crew around, we spent much of the time doing water safety.
1991: We have always had our fair share of misguided CB’ers but mostly they were show ponies and if the situation arose, they usually went quiet during an emergency call. In December though, we had our first escalation of true idiots on the emergency repeater and with the Xmas season coming, we wondered how many lives would be lost if we had to contend with this new breed of bucket mouth. In an attempt to allay the situation, we requested audience with Spectrum Management Agency, only to find out that they were already aware of the problem and that they didn’t know what to do about it either.
1992: At the January meeting it was decided to pull the plug on ADL-05. Monitors were so sick of the idiots and the foul language that they weren’t monitoring anyway and as no calls could be taken through the bucket mouths, we hoped that reverting to simplex would improve the service. After years of service to the public, the repeater was silenced in February. While the peace and quiet was welcome, the void in our service wasn’t and deep down we felt we were failing in our aims. Usually at an A.G.M. there is no other business discussed but the repeater became the hot issue and most agreed that we should put it on air as soon as possible, much to the chagrin of those who were enjoying the peace and quiet.
In April we looked at a new site for the Beetaloo repeater - one that was permanent. The Northern division had rebuilt a windmill tower and acquired the necessary extras to facilitate the relocation but as the new site had no power, we decided to use solar cells - much to the disbelief of some and the amazement of others. We put ADL-05 back on air in May and immediately felt like disconnecting it again. From the word go, we were hammered again. Fortunately our northern repeater relocation at Beetaloo went well and the solar panels have turned out to be a low maintenance success story.
Following the success of our safety boat in the 1990 Murray SA 200, the organisers tried a similar idea in 1991. They used the Sea Rescue Squadron from Adelaide to do the water safety and I was asked to do a half way checkpoint. But the half way checkpoint was soon forgotten and we did most of the water safety again. Now, in 1992, ACRM was asked to look after the water safety as well. Fortunately we were able came up with enough craft and crew to do it and a new era started for ACRM.
One of our regular events, the Waikerie 400, was held for the last time in 1992. It was one of the more popular events and there was never a shortage of monitors to cover it - but the properties that the track went through could no longer cater for the event and it was moved to Mt. Gambier. After eleven years of providing communications for the dune buggies, most of us were sad to lose it.
1994: The Adelaide repeater was silenced again. This time though, it wasn’t going back on air until the necessary modifications had been done. Many of the bucket mouths believed, for whatever reason, that repeater five wasn’t needed any more and treated it like any other channel. True, there were fewer calls for assistance and for much of the time the repeater was idle - but it was there when we needed it. One way to discourage the bucket mouths, we hoped, was to use the repeater more often, so we signed on and off more and acknowledged other monitors when they came up, all in an attempt to let the idiots know that we were around. Unfortunately it didn’t have the desired effect and we were now being accused of having our own private channel. The bucket mouths increased their activity in a jealous attempt to block us out completely and they did so even during emergency calls. What possesses a person to hinder an emergency? I don’t know - but they continued to do it even when we handled assistance calls on simplex.
Also in February, we moved our meetings to a new venue at the Northfield Scout Hall and in a review on the radio spectrum licensing and regulations we saw, for the first time, a mention of Class licensing for CB radio. A short time later, with the whisper of Class licensing floating around and no one really sure of what it meant to CB, Alan Jordan, from the Spectrum Management Agency in Canberra, had A.C.B.R.O. invite interested parties to a meeting for the purpose of explaining what it was about. Based on the department’s figures, there were approximately 400,000 licensed CB operators and at least as many unlicensed operators - so in fairness to those who paid dearly for their hobby, fees, if the bill was passed, would cease in mid 1995.
In August the repeater went back into operation and apart from a few hiccups, the modifications were welcomed by the monitors. For the first time ever, we had control over who used the repeater.
1995: Apart from the initial problems mentioned earlier, the repeater was now performing well and the last thing we needed, or expected, was to be told that we had to look for a new site for the repeater. We were able to defer the relocation for some months but finally we had no choice and a concerted effort was put into the new site. One benefit that occurred from the shift was increased range to the north.
While ADL-05 was out, EUD-05 was taking the brunt of the calls and, at a most inopportune time, it also had to come out for repairs. Then, after doing the Mobil One Rally, which took us to Beetaloo, we found that the battery in BEE-05 was dead and some modifications to the solar charging system were necessary. For a while it seemed that we were to be forever plagued by repeater problems - but each one was rectified with only minor inconvenience to the public.
By July, when class licensing started, all the would-be idiots had come out of the woodwork and made their presence known. The general feeling by them was, "no licence, no rules" and with the department showing their inadequacy, by not doing anything about these people, the situation escalated rapidly and the bucket mouths thought they were invincible. At the meeting with Alan Jordan the year before, we were assured that the department would advertise and explain class licensing in the media to make everyone aware what had changed and what hadn’t. Unfortunately this never happened and no amount of pleas from us could get them to change their minds. The situation got worse and because of the bucket mouths’ contempt for channel five, we found the repeater was switched off more than it was on. Again the service suffered and again we approached the department for help. This time they were sympathetic towards us and we have enjoyed close liaison with them since. Slowly but surely we saw a significant improvement on air and a subsequent increase in assistance calls.
1996: It was time to look at a revamp of the rallies and events we do. Our aim was to rationalise the events on a priority/cost basis and only accept events for which we were suitably remunerated. We had done some of the events for so long that we took them for granted and it was painfully obvious that some of the organisers took ACRM for granted too. Each event was then evaluated on the number of operators required and the length of event basis. Once on paper we could see which events were worth doing and as we were now in demand, we could afford to be a bit choosy about which events we did. The main events paid well anyway and were already the mainstay of the clubs coffers so we didn’t have to write to many organisers.
In July, with the events now the norm and safety communications being a major role of the monitor, it was very obvious that the role of ACRM had changed. We saw a need to cater for the people who only wanted to do events so, in our first break from tradition, we introduced a bylaw and a revised training manual to cater for these people. Thus far, a very successful move and we now have a pool of around 40 regular event monitors from the combined divisions.
On the 27th June 1997, 60-plus members helped to celebrate our 20th Birthday and twelve members were proudly awarded a 20 years service certificate for their continued support and loyalty.
On the 1st July 1997 the ACRM (Monitors) was 20 years old. The Movement was 22 years old and CB in Adelaide was around 25 years old. In the year 2000, the A.C.R.M. in Adelaide will be 25 years old and who knows what we will be doing then? Was it all worth it? I’ve asked and answered that question a thousand times. Simply, yes, the ACRM, both Movement and Monitors, has earned a place in history and more than justified its existence. From our initiation to disaster, the devastation at Port Broughton, right through to the recent flooding of the Gawler/Two Wells area, ACRM has been there.
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