The following syndicated column ,written by Ink Dipper, appeared in newspapers during the third week of October, 1976.
Expansion of the Citizen’s Band from 23 to 40 channels has stopped some prospective CB buyers dead in their tracks.
The new 40-channel rigs won’t be on the market until early January, and manufacturers are using a variety of approaches to sell out inventories of 23-channel models.Most are doing one of two things – either offering to convert 23-channel models to 40-channel capability or cutting prices on present stock with offering conversion.
Hy-Gain was one of the first companies offering to “retrofit” recently purchased models, and it estimates that adding the new channels will cost about $20 per radio. Most conversion plans are similar to that.
Officials for companies offering retrofitting plans say they want to sell a product that will not be obsolete in a few months.
But companies not offering to convert CBs don’t want the expected headaches of setting up temporary conversion facilities.
And they see a risk in converting because no one is certain how the Federal Communications Commission will react to converted CBs.
When the expansion was announced, the FCC added new electronic filtering requirements to lessen possible interference.
Manufacturers are now trying – and not always successfully – to gain FCC approval for new 40-channel units under the toughened requirements. And gaining approval for retrofitted rigs, some manufacturers feared, would be an even steeper hill to climb.
A prospective CB buyer can find slashed prices on radios that can;t be retrofitted, with some models selling for half the regular price.
The radios won’t be obsolete in the sense that they can’t be used, but a CBer who buys one of them won’t have the freedom of 17 new channels. Most CBers, finding channels crowded in the lower 23, will want a radio with 40 channels.
An exception to that is the trucker, who relies on channels 9 and 19, Channel 9 is the emergency channel and channel 19 is the trucker channel, and you don’t need a 40-channel model to operate on them. Manufacturers are betting, if they don’t offer conversion, that the truckers will but out a big part of the inventories.
Besides retrofitting and price cuts, manufacturers are offering other deals to lure in customers for 23-channel units. One manufacturer, Sharp, will replace each radio it sells from July 26-January 31 with a “comparable featured” 40-channel radio. The replacement cost will be $30.
Another company, Hadnic, U.S.A., will allow customers buying its 23-channel units to purchase 40-channel sets at half price having to return the 23-channel sets.
If you want yo buy a CB, you can go in a lot of directions to find a deal, but make sure you know what you are getting into. If the salesman says that there is a retrofit or replacement offer being made by the manufacturer, get it in writing.
The companies with the offers should be giving out certificates guaranteeing it.
And if the certificate has to be mailed to the manufacturer for the retrofit or replacement make a photostatted copy of it just in case your radio is lost in the expected shuffle.