Sunday, March 27, 2011


There is a piece of throw back equipment that came with the truck I recently bought, a CB radio. I finally turned it on yesterday. I adjusted the squelch to knock down the noise and I found that there was no on on locally. 40 channels and no chatter.

Occasionally I'd come across someone with a southern accent putting out an ionospheric skip signal with a couple thousand watt linear amplifier, but other than that there was no local chatter at all.

I thought back to the 70s after the FCC deregulated the Citizens Band, meaning they no longer charged $20 a year for a broadcast license and took little effort in patrolling it unless someone was really abusive or over-powered, supposedly; though I've never heard of anyone ever being busted by the FCC. It was said that if you were putting out enough power that your broadcasts could be heard several channels above and below the frequency you were broadcasting on, you'd find trouble. I nor none of my friends were ever confronted.

Back in the 70s, nearly one out of every ten houses sported a ground plane antenna. It is a rare site these days. I haven't seen one in years. Today the modern day CB radio is Twitter, Facebook, chat rooms and forums. Sadly these forms of communication lack the mystery and romance of the CB radio where there was always a voice coming out of the darkness. Though it may have been anonymous it was still distinct and individual. It was local and we were talking about local things with local people we may never meet. There was a bond there. I still recall conversations I had on the radio back then.

Occasionally I look at my site meter stats to see where people are from that are reading this blog. It seems that more and more readers are checking in regularly from all over the world, the Middle East and Asia in particular. I wonder if these people are expatriates looking for a glimpse of the home that they miss, or are they people looking for a voice in the darkness. Though they may not be considered local on an earthly scale, it is local on a universal scale.


Blogger darev2005 said...

It's funny. CB's have gone by the wayside but ham radios still seem to be going strong. So if you have something secret to say, you could use a CB cos nobody else would be listening!

9:34 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

In my big truck I have very radio pictured. My favorite use for it is when stuck on I-5 due to a wreck or snow. It is amasing how well total strangers can connect in the face of total boredom.
Although the 70s were a lot of fun on the radio, I think we are better off now that the throngs of hobbiests are gone.
Like Guy said, the air is mostly clear which makes practical use far easier.
As far as Facespace, Mybook, twatter, your life, get-a-life, etc.... NO THANKS!

9:41 AM  
Blogger g said...

Watch for smokey and put the hammer down.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Uncle Walt said...

I know channel 17 is regularly used by log trucks. Or, at least it was when I worked at RadioShack, tuning the CBs in those rigs.

I think a lot of short-range radio communication has gone to FRS/GMRS radios.

10:47 AM  

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