Uncle Eddy: the black sheep of the family that Amateur Radio does not talk about
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
Some 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.
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.
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.
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 )
Night Ranger’s Radio Communication Page
A great collection of Vintage CB radio photos, stories, CB personalities, and recodings.
Illegal Linear Amps
What is more a part of CB than illegal Linear amps ?
CB Radio Manuals, Schematics, Service Manuals, and mods
Amateur Radio and CB are brothers – its undeniable.
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.