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Uncle Eddy: the black sheep of the family that Amateur Radio does not talk about

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cb_qsl_brucefccIt’s all in the family

If you have seen the movies National Lampoon Vacation or National Lampoon Christmas Vacation then you know the characters Clark Griswold played by Chevy Chase and Uncle Eddy played by Randy Quaid.

If you know who these two characters are then you get an idea of the relationship of Amateur Radio to CB radio.

Clark Griswold is to Uncle Eddy as Amateur Radio is to CB radio.  Or so that is what it would seem from the perspective of Clark Griswold.  How Uncle Eddy feels about this – we don’ t know.  But if CB radio was to exchange Christmas gifts with Amateur Radio, Amateur Radio would be in possession of some fine white shoes.

Amateur Radio seeing CB radio as Uncle Eddy might be the “Pot calling the Kettle Black”.  Don’t forget that the popular media identified Ham Radio as an embarrassing hobby like stamp collecting.

History as objective ?

Those who record and write the history of a cultural phenomenon simply record and write the history and defer judgement to others.  History is supposed to be “objective” – as much as this is possible; history is written by the winners – don’t forget that.  “Just the facts madam” as is the ideal.

CB radio is as much a part of radio (wireless) communication as is any other part of radio – Broadcasting, Pirate Radio, special uses of radio as in the military, and Amateur Radio – to name a few.  To not recognize that CB was a part of the american popular culture in the 1970’s is to miss out on a rich American phenomenon.

Serendipity Strikes Again

As is the case many times, while searching on the Internet for one thing one finds another thing that was not at all what one set out to find.  So was the case when I stumbled upon some CB radio web sites.

The Internet as nearly primary source material for History of CB

cl_qsl_hotpantsSome folks have put up tribute sites to the heyday of CB radio in the 1970s preserving pictures of old radios, recorded conversations from 30 years ago, remembrances to “characters” (CB personalities) from those old days, QSL cards, and various other artifacts.

The work of these folks is almost to create a museum of days gone past of the phenomenon of CB radio.  Without the Internet, the knowledge of this era would be not nearly be as accessible  as it is and would be lost history to the majority of regular people.

The Remnant

There is still a remnant of CB radio out there and there are web sites with products and advice to CB’ers.  It’s an interesting culture of illegal linear amplifiers, radio modifications, and language.

Certainly these terms cause one to wonder what they are missing – “Super Swing Kits”, “Top Gun Modulation”, “Outlaw Kits”, “Sliders” – as in frequency sliding between CB channels, “kickers”, and many more.  Of course “Pimping out” a CB with LED’s in the panel meter so that they slowly change among 7 different colors is part of the panache of CB as well.  One must have panache.  It’s all about fashion and style.

Exploring the world of CB Radio

We’ll provide some URLs that we stumbled upon so you can explore this part of Americana from the 1970’s and how it is today.

QSL Cards

Probably one of the most interesting sites we found was a image archive of about 1300 QSL cards from CB Radio.  At one time the FCC did issue CB call signs and folks did QSL.  This site has an interesting slice of life from CB QSL’ing.  This site takes a long time to load, so be patient.

http://www.barovelli.com/qslcards/

CB Gazette

An archive of equipment, Advertisements, Photos, manuals, bootleg rigs, freebanding, Videos, radio reviews, and much more.  Check out Woody’s Video version of the Gazette ( http://www.cbgazette.com/wmv/video.html )

http://www.cbgazette.com/gaz2.html

Night Ranger’s Radio Communication Page

A great collection of Vintage CB radio photos, stories, CB personalities, and recodings.

http://www.shadowstorm.com/cb/

Illegal Linear Amps

What is more a part of CB than illegal Linear amps ?

http://www.davemade.com/mobile.htm
http://www.amateurlinearamplifiers.com/cgi-bin/cart.cgi

CB Radio Manuals, Schematics, Service Manuals, and mods

http://www.cbtricks.com/
http://www.geocities.com/y40002000/plowboy.html

Conclusion

Amateur Radio and CB are brothers – its undeniable.

w6tns1small

Poem found in “Maxwell’s Elementary Grammar” school book copyright 1904.

“Oho!’ said the pot to the kettle;
“You are dirty and ugly and black!
Sure no one would think you were metal,
Except when you’re given a crack.”

“Not so! not so! kettle said to the pot;
” ‘Tis your own dirty image you see;
For I am so clean -without blemish or blot-
That your blackness is mirrored in me”

Amateur Radio folks who pass judgement on CB Radio shoud remember this mass media opinion

Amateurs Demand Apology By TIME Magazine: Amateurs around the U.S.A., and in other nations as well, have been writing to TIME Magazine. They are demanding an apology from TIME for failing to edit out a slur against Amateur radio in TIME’s December 31, 2004 issue. That edition featured an article by Lev Grossman about Internet blogging. At one point, Mr. Grossman wrote this:

“Before this year, blogs were a curiosity, a cult phenomenon, a faintly embarrassing hobby on the order of Amateur radio and stamp collecting.”

For those who do not pass judgement on Class  ( Excuse Me. Your Class is showing ) then check out the links above and enjoy a part of American popular culture from the 1970’s.

We’ll give the final word to Amateur Radio operators.

w6tns2small

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Written by frrl

December 18, 2008 at 7:51 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Anybody with a Don Martin cartoon needs to be read! It was like seeing an old familiar friend. I was suddenly 42 years younger and speeding home with Kent and Mark to preview their subscription copy.

    Dwayne Selby

    February 1, 2015 at 10:08 pm

  2. Department of Health and Human Services Good mental health is important to everyone. ,

    Mr.Carrot17

    October 10, 2009 at 3:11 pm

  3. Have you ever seen a rf pwr amp model EL90 built by electronic specialties inc. oklahoma city ok. operates on 12vdc neg ground, has 2tubes 6ju6, also has some kind of transformer round looks like a doughnut. got it from a flea market for 2.00 hooked it up it worked for a few min. then grounded. out put was 80 watts need any help i can get, tnks om.

    paul bunyann

    May 21, 2009 at 11:00 pm

  4. I’ve been a CBer since the 70s, only recently got a no code ticket and try to fit in.

    The similarity never ends. On CB one would twist the dial and on 12 of the 23 channels there would be cliques of people gathering on those channels to ‘ratchet jaw’ with others that shared interests. Naming them off sounds like a cable tv station lineup. You had the retirees channel, the family channel, the kids channel, the military channel, the fishing channel and so on.

    The same thing applies to FM repeaters – some are aloof and casual and some are rigid. I’ve not found one yet that makes me jump in with comments, I tend to monitor .52 and talk with whoever else is there.

    Glad you like the cards – enjoy the Americana.

    David
    K6AYB

    K6AYB

    December 19, 2008 at 12:38 am


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