Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on September 1, 1974 · 196
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 196

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Location:
St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 1, 1974
Page:
196
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When you are raised on Dick Tracy and Buck Rogers, life can never meet your expectations until you have your very own two-way radio. We have seen Tracy talk in his watch and we have read the backs of cereal boxes on how to order the magic Buck Rogers rings and we have strung two tin cans together with strings. Today's generation of children has its own walkie-talkies that can be bought in a department store. But I'm talking about real radio, man. Turn - the -switch - on, talk - to - the -rest - of - the - world kind of radio where the cat on the other end is not always somebody you know or somebody you sent down the block with your other receiver. I'm not talking radio for kids, I'm talking radio for the grownup kids. And not the kind where you speak into your watch or your ring, but into a real microphone. At age 35 I was able to live out my childhood fantasy, a living testimony to the proverb: "The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys." Just a little over a year ago I got my Citizens Band radio. Quite frankly, I wasn't really into radio at the time. I was into painting the inside of the house. But when my dad, a CBer himself, arrived- one morning with a radio, antenna and a helper, I could not refuse. If you had asked me a few years earlier about Citizen's Band, I would have probably said it was a group of vigilantes. I did recall upon arriving on the outskirts of some towns, seeing signs that read: "CB, Channel 9 Monitored." And never knew what it meant. (What it means is that channel 9 on CB radio is set aside for emergency use only. Many towns have 24-hour monitors who listen for trouble reported over this channel. In some cases the sheriffs office also monitors the channel. The monitoring group in Pinellas County is called REACT, and they will call an ambulance, police or KFQ 9699 is known to his non-CB friends as Buddy Martin, sports editor of The St. Petersburg Times. Ten-Roger-Four . . . BY KFQ highway patrol according to the emergencies they monitor.) Now, however, I know a bit more about CB, for I have become one of about 800,000 licensed CBers. The 800,000 licenses have been issued since the government set aside the short-range 11 -meter band for "personal business" a little more than two decades ago. (Another estimated 400,000 operate illegally.) Getting my license was deceptively easy. All I had to do was send $20 to Washington, D.C., there would be no written examination. I certainly did not realize that I was about to be introduced to an entire subculture. When I show somebody my CB set now I can almost anticipate the reaction: "Oh, so you're a ham." Wrong. Hams must have a working knowledge of radio theory, must know Morse Code and take rigid examinations. Hams get incensed if you call them CBers. It is like calling a Harvard graduate a trade-schooler. Hams are allowed more freedom in talking long distance and on more bands. It is not essential to know much about radio in order to operate on Citizens Band. There are, of course, a set of rules you must read before sending for your license, but most of them deal with cour THE LINGO Here are some of the terms used on Citizens Band radio in A.M. lingo: Green Stamps euphemism for money. Bucket Mouth a loud station. Ears antenna. Seventy-threes good luck and goodby. Eighty-eights love and kisses to all. The Good Numbers 73s and 88s. Cotton-Chopper slang, as in, "you old son-ofagun, you." Break Please stand by and let me have the frequency. Coffee Break social get-together among CBers. you sure are soundin' bodacious tonight. 9699ILLUSTRATION: DON ADDIS tesies and not technology. The rule book is called "Part 95", and it tells you things like the fact that you are not supposed to use CB radio as hobby, you are not supposed to talk more than five minutes on one channel, you are not supposed to talk to stations more than 150 miles away and you are supposed to use your call letters when signing on and signing off. Very few people obey any of these guidelines. Citizens band radio is a hobby, although it is also used for the "personal business" which is its purpose. It is mostly a hobby. It is not uncommon for a person to talk more than five minutes on a channel. Almost everybody has talked to stations farther than 150 miles when the "skip" (certain atmospheric conditions) is in. A good many stations are hyped-up by amplifiers, well in excess of the legal wattage, specifically because operators wish to talk past the 150-mile limit. This only pollutes the CB band, sometimes causes interference with the neighborhood TV sets and quite definitely piques the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), as well as some of the CB-ers who are trying to talk. The aspiring CB-er can purchase a set, antenna and necessary installation materi- Rig radio, usually by brand name. Skipland any station over 150 miles away. XYL wife, ex-young lady. XYM husband, ex-young man. Peggin' my needle giving out a strong signal. Walkin' on you a station is covering your transmission. Soundin' bodacious strong signal. Uncle Charlie The FCC. My 20 meaning my 10-20, or my house. Goin' horizontal going to sleep. Pull the plug turn off the set. als for about $200 new and maybe a little less used. Oh, you can buy CB sets three-channel jobs for under $100. But the very least you will probably want is the 23-channel A.M. (amplitude modulated) set because there are certain frequencies, or channels, on which you are allowed only for certain reasons. If you get the CB bug, which often happens, you won't be satisfied until you've upgraded all the way to the single sideband, which is more sophisticated than the A.M. but still less complicated than ham radio. Once installed, you can run your CB rig an hour a day for less than 10 cents worth of electricity, but hardly any of them are maintenance-free. Some units are also adaptable for battery. It is not necessary to know all the technical aspects of CB radio, such as the fact that you are operating on the 11-meter band from 26.967 megacycles to 27.255 as prescribed by the FCC. More importantly, you need to learn the special lingo of the subculture if you want to be accepted by your peers. Understand, now, it is not official jargon, it is simply the native CB tongue for operating on the A.M. band. It requires .a certain rhythm, a touch of colloquialism, maybe even a dash of Down Home. It is unlike anything you've ever heard. First, however, before you do that, you must select 'a nickname for yourself, or a "handle." This is illegal by FCC standards, but legal if you also use your license numbers. For instance, I am "The Typewriter." If I identify myself as "The Typewriter" and say this is KFQ 9699, then I'm legal. Most, however, don't use the numbers. Selection of a "handle" is usually related to a line of work or a particular geographical location. Someone living on the beach might be "Beachcomber." A short-order cook might call himself "The Chef and his wife, or XYL (which stands for ex-young lady), might call herself "Lady Chef." Someone living near an orange grove might be known as "Orange Picker" or someone in a wooded area "The Oak Tree." The more unusual the handle, the better. There is one CB-er known as "The Shadow," and his identity is known by only a few. "The Shadow" lurks most anyplace on the 23 channels, although most CB-ers have a certain frequency on which they hang out. "The Shadow" pops in and out unexpectedly, and it confers a certain status if he talks with you or knows your voice. His voice is deep and resonant, and when he signs off, he does it thusly: "This is el sombre, The Shadow, good evening to you." CB social functions, known as "breaks," are held for the purpose of matching up voices and nicknames with faces. "The Shadow," however, for a long time kept his identity somewhat secret even at these gatherings, slipping around at breaks and leaving his calling card in conspicuous places. Once you have your nickname, all you need to know in order to talk other than what is stated in the "Part 95" is the first word, "break." That tells anyone on the channel that you wish to break into the conversation and if he or she is a courteous CB-er, you will be given the go ahead. There is, of course, the vernacular. Which goes something like this: -Break." "Go break." "Anybody out there got a copy on The Typewriter. " "Yeah, we gotcha Typewriter, go ahead." "Ten-Roger-Four, mer-ceeeeeeee sakes, you cotton-chopper, you sure are soundin' bodacious tonight." "Well we appreaciate all those kind words, Typewriter. You're flat doin' the job yourself, you're peggin' my needle over here." "Who we got there?" "The Oak Tree." "Oh yeah, Oak Tree, haven't modulated with you in months, merceee sakes. Roger-four, Oak Tree, okay, thanks for the comeback and you take 'em easy. Three's to you Oak Tree. We're gone." "Threes to you, Typewriter. The pleasure was on this Continued on page IH. FLORIDIAN, September 1, 1974 17

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