Fond memories recalled as widow is reunited with CB radio card featuring late husband's drawing

Back in 1990, CB radio fans Helen and Brian Ducker sent a message to one of the many acquaintances they encountered on the airwaves.

Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 06:00 am
Helen Ducker and her grandson Luke after she was reunited with a QSL card sent 29 years ago.

Now, 29 years later, Helen has been reunited with the QSL card which features her own hand-writing and a drawing done by her late husband of the two of them out walking.

“It was just amazing to see it and a nice reminder of those days, especially with my late husband having drawn it,” said Helen.

The card, sent from their former home at Annstead Farm, was spotted on an internet auction site by Seahouses local historian Phillip Hanvey who recognised its significance.

Brian and Helen Ducker's QSL card.

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He got in touch with friend and fellow Seahouses resident Olwen Foggon, Helen and Brian’s daughter.

She contacted the seller Frank Heuer, who lives in Germany, only to be told it had been sold.

“I was so disappointed, “said Olwen. “I’d already phoned my mam and she was so thrilled at the idea of getting it.”

However, sadness soon turned to joy when Olwen discovered her sister Helen Hicks, who now lives in Kings Lynn, had bought it!

Helen and Brian Ducker

“Helen told Frank the story behind it and he was kind enough to take it off bidding and sell it straight to her,” said Olwen.

Helen and Brian lived at Annstead Farm for 22 years as caretakers. They moved to Wooler 25 years ago but Brian died in 2005.

Helen, 75, was presented with the card by her grandson, Luke, who runs Alnwick-based Topcoat Decorating Solutions.

“Luke was his pop’s world,” said Olwen. “He used to sit on his knee when dad used to go on the CB and chat to people all over the world from Annstead. He would have been just two or three when this particular card was sent.”

Frank Heuer, who sold the card.

Citizens Band (CB) radio was a two-way, low-power radio band which grew in popularity in the 1970s.

“Dad’s handle (name) was Broadsword and mum’s was Gypsy Rose,” recalled Olwen. “The CB had 40 radio channels and normally you could speak to people in England but when the sun spots atmospherics were right, you could speak to people all over the world.

Helen explained: “Most of the time we would talk to people locally but in the summer, when the sun spots hit, the radio waves would bounce up into the atmosphere and you didn’t know where they were going to land. That was called ‘skipping’ and we would talk to people in Italy, Holland, all over the place.”

A QSL card is a written confirmation of a radiocommunication signal. A typical QSL card is the same size as a typical postcard, and most are sent through the mail.

“We would send these QSL cards when we talked to someone overseas,” said Helen. “We used to have hundreds of them but we gave them all away to a little girl next door when we moved to Wooler so it has been lovely to get this card back. It’s in pristine condition too.

“You don’t hear much about CB radio these days but it was good fun. They were great days.”