Thursday, January 28, 2010

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I figure it must be because all humans through the years have had their own Lonely Hearts Clubs. We are communicators like bull frogs at the pond. We send out our calls, and sometimes someone in the distance replies. Back in the primitive times it was the sound of the drum that communicated with those far away, but in the early 20th century humans progressed to armature radio and Morse Code.

Back in the early days many careers required the knowledge and use of Morse Code. Anyone in the communication field needed to know it and be able to deal with code at the rate of 40 upwards to 100 words per minute. This code was used by nearly all radio engineers, Western Union, Railroad stations and anything to do with shipping. There were civilians that also mastered code to qualify for their amateur radio license. CW communications were the main stay of how to communicate with many people you’ve never met.

The interesting about code was that each person hammering out code on a key had a distinctive flare. A well trained ear could determine not only who was sending the code, but also the region in which they lived. It was called the Swing and it is best described as an accent. I’ve heard examples of several different swings and even to the untrained the differences were discernable.

To become good at code was an effort. It was like learning another language or a musical instrument, but with communication it was easy to make a major mistake. One had to constantly practice The more that other forms of communication became available the fewer people learned code. The U.S. Coast Guard stopped monitoring Morse code transmissions in 1995 when their use in sending distress calls had been almost entirely superseded by automated systems using satellite relay. There are still people on the CWs coding like the good old days, but it is a dying art.

In the 60s and 70s it was no longer necessary to learn code to speak to the masses of strangers out there. All one had to do is buy a 4 watt CB radio and you were able to connect to people all over with amplitude modulation signals bouncing off the ionosphere. On a good night one could skip their signals a thousand miles or so like a stone on a pond. Throw in an illegal linear amplifier and you could skip every night no matter the conditions in the ionosphere were.

We humans go to great lengths to communicate with those we do not know. This is why we send out space crafts like Voyager containing messages hopefully to one day be intercepted by other intelligent life forms. We are humans and we have a need to communicate.

9 Comments:

Blogger Donna said...

Hence, we blog.

6:21 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

Donna said it first. Now we blog. I often wonder who is out there waiting to see what nonsense I'm talking about.

7:11 AM  
Blogger mark said...

.. -. - . .-. . ... - .. -. --. .--. --- ... - .-.-.- .. .-.. . .- .-. -. . -.. .-- .. --. -....- .-- .- --. .. -. -... --- -.-- ... -.-. --- ..- - ... .-.-.- .. ... ..- .--. .--. --- ... . - .... .- - .----. ... --- -... ... --- .-.. . - . - --- --- ..--..

8:04 AM  
Blogger dalia said...

@ mark: wigwag? jeez, how old are you, like a hundred?

(and shouldn't you be separating your words with slashes?)

guy, my dad had a CB radio when i was little... he'd drive around talking to truckers for sport. his handle was "The Jolly Roger" for the famous tourist spot/boat in Barbados where they serve a sweet-and-deadly rum punch.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah... the CBs of the 70s... those were the days I used to drive around the country a lot. And move a lot. My handle was "The Blue Zoo", 'cuz I had a blue '68 VW Fastback and travelled with my dog, cat, and finches. Most of the time I travelled alone (you can guess why), but always felt the truckers had my back. Crazy times... thanks for the memories!

10:14 AM  
Blogger richpix said...

10-4 good buddy, got your ears on?

Blogging is great, but if you want to talk to the guy in the car in front of you to politely ask the driver to get out of your way, it's so much better if you both have CBs. It might be a while before they read a blog post.

VW--denes: defective genes

4:06 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna, exactly.

Darev, sometimes it's your bosses ; )

Mark, .-- - ..-.?

Dalia, Careful you'll be our age some day. I remember being 35 like it was yesterday. Hey, what age is your father?

Anon, a dog, a cat and birds. That wasn't a road trip, that was an odyssey. Noah like...

Rich but they'd be less apt to road rage out.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Hee....memories of my grandma and her CB. "Breaker, breaker, 1-9!"

12:52 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Amy, Grandma? Just how young are you?

5:34 AM  

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