Fed-up pensioner, 68, who claims mobile phones are too expensive installs 10ft antenna on his roof so he can chat to family and friends over CB radio
• Ken Overton, 68, uses the short-range CB radio to communicate with friends
• Mr Overton, who has mobility problems, said it has become his ‘lifeline’
• But neighbours have complained that his aerial is disrupting their television
A pensioner who says he cannot afford a mobile phone has set up a 10ft antenna on the roof of his home so he can chat over the radio.
Ken Overton, 68, uses the short-range CB radio to communicate with friends and family seven miles away from his home in Portishead, near Bristol.
Mr Overton, who has mobility problems, said it has become his ‘lifeline’ and stopped him getting lonely because mobile contracts are too expensive for him.
But neighbours have complained that his aerial is disrupting their television and broadband signals, and the pensioner has been asked to take it down.
The device is similar to a walkie-talkie and was popular with lorry drivers in the 1970s and 1980s, even spawning a hit single, Convoy, in 1975.
Because Mr Overton struggles to leave his house, he relies on the CB radio to catch up with his family in Clevedon, Somerset.
He has also made new friends who use the devices as a hobby.
He said: ‘I installed it about three months ago, and I use it to speak to relatives and my friends. I can’t afford a phone contract and it’s cheap to use, plus I get a really good signal where I am.
‘I’m normally on it three or four times a week, usually in the evening. I don’t get out very often because of my disabilities, so it stops me getting lonely. There’s a bit of a community of us who use CB radios – it’s my lifeline.’
Mr Overton worked as a metal polisher and finisher in Birmingham before moving to Portishead nine years ago.
He fears that the ruling by social housing provider Alliance Homes that he must remove the aerial will axe his main means of communication.
‘They contacted me to say they have had several complaints from neighbours, who say it’s interfering with their TVs,’ he said.
‘But I’ve been using it for the past few months and I’m sure if it was affecting their TVs, they would have said something by now.’
Alliance Homes, which owns the property, said the aerial needed to be replaced.
A company spokesman said: ‘We understand Ken’s situation. The issue is that the CB aerial is interfering with the broadband and TV signals in some of the other residents’ flats, so we have asked Ken to replace it with one that won’t cause interference.
'We also asked Ken to apply to us to get agreement for the installation so that we know that it has been put up safely.’
The short-distance radio boomed in the 1970s when it was used widely by truckers, but its popularity dipped as mobile phone ownership boomed.
In December 2006 it was deregulated by Ofcom, meaning it can be used without a licence.
The devices, which can be bought for less than £100, remain popular with farmers.