CB Convac: 40-Channel Expansion is Producing Bargains

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.

CB Convac: A HOT Line and a Holiday Inn CB Line?

The followingconvac-1976-10-14-1976-the-longview-daily-news-14-oct-1976-thu-main-edition syndicated column, written by Ink Dipper, appeared in newspapers in the 2nd week of October, 1976:

A CB HOT line? That’s what Maryland CBers are talking about. Or how about a Holiday Inn CB line? One of the latest improvement in the CB world involves travelers being able to use CB more effectively.
If you haven’t been through Maryland this year then you may have missed one of the more original and best organized CB plans.
Maryland’s Division of Tourist Development has started a program called CB HOT line (Helping Out Travelers). The program trains CB club members to give out reliable tourist information via CB.
And if you’re wondering about how these CB helpers are designated, well, they’ve thought of everything. Just look for bumper stickers saying Maryland Travel Info, the CBer’s call numbers, and the channel monitored.
The originator of the plan, Bob Willis, Maryland Tourist division director, says he happened to be traveling in a car with a CB, and heard someone asking directions “by making an appeal over the air waves.”
That “appeal” may have lead to the development of one of the most coordinated travel bureaus in the United States.
But you may not have to go to Maryland to see the system in action. Willis says he was contacted by a governmental agency which would like to use the idea of a HOT line nationwide.
Could this be where CB is heading? CB was first planned for small business purposes and not for chit-chat, so perhaps Maryland is giving the rest of us a hint of what will come.
It’s a great idea for those travelers who always leave the road map on the kitchen table. Or those who are a little too adventurous for their own good, and need help.
There’s also the Holiday Inn trial of CB going on in the Boston Area. The plan has received both good and bad reviews from innkeepers, as well as guests.
One Holiday Inn representative says the problem is the excess noise on CB. The base stations for the experiment were placed behind the main desk so the person working could hear the calls or give them. Holiday Inn executives just couldn’t see the practicality of hiring someone only to monitor the CB action.
But placing the unit near the lobby area has brought complaints from guests who say it’s too noisy and only aggravates them. And innkeepers aren’t saying anything good about its use yet.
Holiday Inn people say they’re not trying to sell rooms by CB, but are simply trying to do a public service by giving travel conditions, directions and, if asked, room availability.
Their main worry is that if the plan is put into effect then there is no reason why unprofessional innkeepers won’t take to the air waves to barter for the cheapest room. Their greatest hope would be that the FCC would help by establishing one channel for just this type information.
There’s been no final word from the committee, which decides of the worldwide chain will get ears. But if they do take to the airwaves it will benefit every CBer from campers to traveling salesmen.
With one sate and a well known American institutions getting into the CB routine, at least a few channels may get some badly needed organization.

CB Convac: QSLs: Imaginative Calling Cards

The following syndicated column by Ink Dipper appeared in newspapers starting in the first week of October, 1976.

Most people aren’t likely to put a photo of a naked woman on their calling cards.
But in CBing, calling cards are bound to have just about anything – from Bible verses to naked women.
Non-CBers sometimes marvel at the colorful handles CBers adopt, hearing CB songs about Rubber Duck, Pig Pen, Teddy Bear and the White Knight.
People don’t know the half of a CBers imaginations, though, until they see his calling card, known as a QSL card. The card, like his handle, usually reflects the way he would like for people to think of him being.
For instance, the Super Plumber might not be all that much better than a regular plumber, but he thinks he is, and he want you to think so also. His card might have a cartoon of himself, dressed in cape and tights, flying to the nearest overflowing toilet.
Just about anything is likely to end up on QSL cards, which are about the size of postcards.
A very devout little lady will put her favorite Bible verse on hers. An avid hunter’s card will have a photo of his jeep and bird dog.
Probably the most unusual card we’ve seen lately was one from a Venezuelan CBer, featuring a four-color photo of a well endowed, very naked native woman. The card probably got a lot of second looks as it made its way – slowly – through the postal system.
QSL cards had their beginning with amateur radio operators. The “Q” means that the letters are part of the amateur Q-code, much like CBers’ 10-code. There are varying ideas on what the “SL” means, but probably “send letter” or “signal letter.”
Hams swapped cards only when they have actually talked to each other or one ham has monitored another. Hams can legally talk to any other ham in the world, but CBers are limited to 150 miles.
That means unless CBers want to break the federal law, they are limited in the variety of card they can receive on signal reports.
Many card swappers though, collect QSLs without ever actually talking to people whose cards they collect.
At CB gatherings, like jamborees or coffee breaks, there are often card-swapping tables, and CBers from hundreds of miles apart will legally exchange cards.
The cards are sometimes referred to as “wall paper” because CBers hang the cards on the wall near their base stations.
We CBers probably hang the cards to impress our non-CBing friends. After all, it’s a lot of fun to watch a friend scan the wall and notice a card from an operator a couple of thousand miles off.
The far off CBer, incidentally had passed through town on vacation the week before.
“Did you really talk to this guy?” he asks, pointing to the card.
“Yep,” the answer comes without hesitation.
We CBers, after all, will stretch the truth occasionally.

CB Convac: CBing North and South of the Borders

The following article, written by Ink Dipper, appeared as a syndicated column in newspapers in the last week of September, 1976:

Your CB could be your best good buddy when you’re at home. But if you plan to travel to Mexico, you better find a resting place for the CB. And if you’re going to Canada, plan ahead.
Many of us CBers have gotten so attached to our little buddies that we don’t like the idea of leaving of them at home, especially when we’re going on vacation.
However, we’re finding that we need a permit with us if our CB goes with us to Canada. And, in Mexico forget it.
Several stories came out in midsummer saying CB could be taken into Mexico by writing a certain official for a permit. What the stories were not saying that simply got a “request denied” answer.
New stories soon followed saying that not only could Americans not take their CBs into Mexico, but there was no permit they could obtain to do so.
Mexican officials say there was never official plan for CBing visitors carry their units into Mexico.
Now the world is that a bilaterial agreement will have to be negotiated by the U.S. State Department and the Mexican government before Americans can legally take CBs across the border.
Until recently Mexican border authorities simply sealed CB units when owners failed to have valid Mexican Permits (which no on ever seemed to have). The units were covered with tape rendering them temporarily inoperative. If the seal was broken, a heavy penalty would be imposed on re-entry into the United States.
Richard Everett, an FCC official, is saying that CBers shouldn’t take the chance on having their units seized or sealed. He said that simply not taking them into Mexico was his best advice.
Everett says there is a treaty in negotiation with Mexico, but he doesn’t seem to know when we can legally modulate south of the border.
But if your desire is up Canada way, then there’s little problem except time. There is a reciprocal agreement between the United States and Canada which states that any American licensed CBer can obtain a permit to operate a CB in Canada.
That means the CBer must obtain a permit application through any of the Canadian Department of Communications regional offices. Fill it out and return it with your copy of your American FCC permit to the regional office nearest your planned point of entry.
Canadian officials are advising that it may take as much as 60 days for processing, so plan ahead. If you get to the Canadian border minus a permit then you simply will have to declare the equipment

CB Convac: Can Sunspots Kill CB?

The following column written by Ink Dipper, appeared in syndicated columns in newspapers during the 3rd or 4th week of September 1976:

CONVAC - 1976 - 09-22-1976 - Ironwood Daily Globe, 22 Sep 1976, Wed, Page 8.jpgWill 1978 be the beginning of the end for CBing in America or is that just a cry of “wolf”?
We’re not crying wolf, but there is something disturbing ahead for CBing as we move toward the peaks of the 11-year sunspot cycle.Sunspot activity causes CB signals to “skip” thousands of miles. These bouncing signals block out local signals and knock out the normal effective range of a CB radio.
The peak of activity will begin in 1978 and last from three to five years. No one can say for certain how bad the problem will be, but there is little optimism.
At least two independent studies suggest dire problems for CBers. Proposed solutions offer little hope.
It seems inconceivable that sunspots, which are eruptions of the sun’s surface can cause havoc on the world’s most widely used from a wireless communications. But it happens, and here’s how:
A normal CB wave is like light from an electric bulb – it goes out in all directions. The signals that go up simply pass through the Earth’s atmosphere.
But when sunspots build in intensity, they increase the amount of electrical energy in a layer of the atmosphere known as the ionosphere. The energy buildup causes the layer to become reflective – just like a mirror. And instead of passing through the atmosphere, the signal reflects – or skips back to earth.
We CBers who went through the last skip peaks are probably the least optimistic about what will happen in 1978. Sunspot skips sometimes decreased range by 75 per cent or more. There is always a small amount of skip specially in the summer. But this is usually related to sunspots and nothing like the skip in the last peak period.
The Federal Communications Commission is aware of what is coming. FCC officials have been studying two reports, one done for the U.S. Department of Commerce and the other for the President’s Office of Telecommunications Policy.
The dilemma, the studies point out, is clear. The peak will come and skip will increase.
Also, sources inside the FCC say, that the agency has a report stating much the same thing.
A solution to end all of this would be to move the citizen’s band to a higher frequency range, one not hit as hard by the “skip” phenomenon is now on the 27 megahertz range, and suggested ranges for the move are the 50 and 200 megahertz range.
But a move to the higher frequency would make the average CB set cost more – possible as much as $1,000 – because of added electronic refinements needed to operate at the higher level.
If the FCC did move CB up the frequency spectrum – and abandoned the 27 megahertz frequencies – it would mean that Americans would own millions of useless two-way radios tuned to frequencies that no longer could be legally used.
Whether the FCC takes actions or not, we don’t believe the end of CBing is at hand. Too many people have CB radios now, and some them will ride it out. But the phenomenal growth of CB use could end unless a practical solution can be found.

CB Convac: Case for Lowering the CB Age Limit

This syndicated column by Ink Dipper appeared in newspapers in the third week of September, 1976.
CONVAC - 1976 - 09-16-1976 - Playground Daily News, 16 Sep 1976, Thu, Page 29.jpg

There is a movement afoot to have the Federal Communications Commission change its rules to permit young people under 18 years of age to obtain a license to operate a Citizens Band Radio.
At this writing young operators must be a member of a family in which there is a license issued to someone 18 or older. However, there have been so many instances where proficient operators younger than 18 have performed “heroic” roles that the hue and cry for licensing is being raised.
“CB is for everyone,” goes the battle cry.
Gene Mallyck, prominent Washington FCC attorney, says: “The movement has two thrusts. The first is that CBing has become a hobby with younger people and they feel they have a right to have a license in their identity. Secondly, it has become widely-known at the Commission that younger people are operating units, even there isn’t a license in their family and the feeling developing at the FCC is that it would be better to permit them to be licensed in their own name.”
The popular song, “Teddy Bear,” written by a veteran trucker and CBer Dale Royal and recorded by Red Sovine, tells the story of a crippled boy in his earliest teens who talks with truckers on his home CB unit. The recording has sold over a million copies.
In Garden City, Ga., there is a 15-year-old, Mark Davis who mounted a CB units on his bicycle so he could modulate while he rode. He has the transceiver mounted on his “two wheeler” between the handlebars in a wooden box.
Mark said he has watched the four-wheelers and 18-wheelers spinning by his home with their CBs going and found it a little frustrating.
“I’m not old enough to get a license to drive a car, and I’m not old enough to have a CB license jeither,” he said. “So, when my Dad got his CB license from the FCC, I got my own unit and decided to put it on my bicycle. All the other kids at school are jealous.”
His handle is “Bud Man Jr.” He picked the name from a character in a television beer commercial.
Stan Bennett, editor of Magic Magazine, reported recently that CB is a hobby and many of his young readers are interested in “Amateur magicians are usually active and creative young people.” he said, “They are constantly involved in hobbies, CB is a natural.
“There are now many CB-magic club around the country in which the members discuss various tricks, which ones are good and which ones are not so good,” he said. “One group calls their base station ‘Houdini’ and hand like ‘Blackstone’ and ‘Conjurer’ are widespread.”
“Many of them use channel five as their meeting place,” he reported. “They call it the ‘nickel channel’.”
Break…break..this is Magician. The Ink Dipper may disappear.

CB Convac: CB For More Than Just Four-Wheelers

This syndicated column appeared in newspapers at the end of August, 1976.

If you’re one of the millions who have finally made the move toward having a CB in your four-wheeler, then maybe it’s time you hooked a unit up in other areas of your life.
For instance, more and more fishermen are finding that it’s much easier to find “where the fish are” with a CB at their side.

For practical purposes you won’t be scaring fish away screaming to a nearby boat to see how the catch is going.
It will also save time from fishing in the wrong place till the sun goes down, and turning in with a dry haul.
And don’t minimize the fact that there could be a dire emergency aboard your boat and the only way you could get attention is by setting your boat afire or using CB.
Yes, you’ll be able to scream for help from your good buddies, but don’t expect to hear from the Coast Guard, if you’re in their area.
The only way a CBer can get Coast Guard help is if he also has an FM emergency radio on board or locates one in another boat.
The U.S. Coast Guard refuses to monitor CB because of the many hoaxes they claim have been perpetrated via CB.
So the Coast Guard may listen to you, but the fish probably will.
Fishermen aren’t the only outdoorsmen who find the air waves a help. Have you though of back-packing with a CB for company?
A hand-held CB transceiver is a self-contained CB radio. You can take it anywhere on a backpacking expedition, from New York’s Central Park to the Smokey Mountains.
A walkie-talkie can be bought for as little as $15.95 and up to $149.95. And if you’re a member of a family in which everyone likes to route his own course on family outings then stick them all with a CB. It works much better than saying, “Meet you back here at 8:15 p.m.” This way you can find out where they are and if they can help.
How about a CB on your two-wheeler (or motorcycle)? It may sound strange, but it can be a life-saver for motorcyclists, just as well as automobile drivers.
Duncan Parks, a 68 year-old man from Watkins Glen, N.Y., made a cross-country trek from his home to California and back. His company for the trip? A motorcycle and his sweet-talking CB, of course.
Parks felt prepared for anything after he put his CB in an old camera case and wore it around his neck with a transistor radio earphone plugged into his helmet.
“I was going alone,” Parks said, “and realizing the vastness of this great country and the possibility of a breakdown. But I got my CB.”
Even though you might not be planning to go boating, backpacking or motorcycling right away, you could be just planning to bicycle around the block, and need to be in contact with home.
There’s a CB for every occasions and there’s no limit to its use for leisure or in an emergency, all it takes is a desire to communicate and a little imagination.

CB Convac: FCC Expands the Number of Channels

convac-1976-08-24-dixon-evening-telegraph-24-aug-1976-tue-page-10The biggest CB news is being transmitted out of Washington, D.C. from the granite headquarters of the Federal Communications Commission.
As a result of many complaints about channel congestion and interference the FCC had to do something.
Their answer was primarily increasing the number of channels for Citizens Radio Service from 23 to 40. All of them in the AM band. They did some other things too.
The FCC decided that equipment authorization would be required of the manufacturers prior to marketing the unit. Type acceptance of the transmitter must be obtained from the FCC. This is a change. Also, certification for the receiver.
The type acceptance and certification for transceiver and other equipment, having both transmit and receive capability, it is quite a departure from the way it has been handled in the past. As a result of these new rules, manufacturers won’t be able to play games with pricing as it relates to quality and type of equipment being sold.
Obviously, not all manufacturers were guilty of this sort of thing. But, a lot of in-and-outer assemblers did it and the result were that many units were sleazy. And, since close to 80 percent of the components or total units came from the Orient, it was pretty easy.
Now, transmitters must comply with FCC specifications or they will not be accepted and certified. This will eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, spurious emission and comply with harmonic suppression limitations. Net result: less interference and a reduction in the complaints of many of your neighbors and the commercial broadcasters in your area.
All this goes into effect on all sets marketed after January 1, 1977. One thing the FCC did might aid in the efforts to resist thievery: all new equipment must have a unique identifier, both type or model number, according to the rules governing type acceptance and certification.
It will ultimately cut down on congestion so you can reach your good buddy without so much trouble. So, that’s a second good point.
Third, assuming you don’t get your set modified, you’ll not have as many people on the original 23 channels as you have now. That will make it a little easier.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is the date when this will all go into effect: Jan 1, 1977. If you are buying or planning to buy a unit now, don’t let a hard-selling salesman unload 23 channels on you without clarifying the program he has for handling the changeover to 40 channels.
He may be caught with a big inventor in 23-channel units right now and, to move them out, he’ll make rash promises. Get the modification plan in writing. This way you’ll get your money’s worth.
All this is necessary because adapters which might connect your existing 23-channel radio with another unit containing 17-channels is illegal according to the new rules. Either a modification of your present sent or buying a new one with 40 channels is required.
Is it comforting to know that Washington is always transmitting? I wonder sometimes.

CB Convac: Preventing Those ‘Dangling Wires’


The theft of CB radios has reached crisis proportions. If you haven’t already had your CB stolen, then it is only a matter of time before you return to your four-wheeler to find a few ripped wires where the one proud instrument rode.
That is, unless you take some very basic precautions. Most people don’t. So for the thief who wants, or needs, to make a quick buck ripping off your CB is easy.
Here are 10 simple steps that will greatly reduce the chances of your CB being taken.
1. Use common sense.
2. Always park in a well-lighted area.
3. Never leave car without locking it.
4. Remove lock bolt covers on car doors.
5. Have CB mounted so it can be removed when away from car.
6. Take it with you or put it in trunk.
7. Get a metal engraving pen from local hardware store and etch Social Security number on the CB chassis.
8. Record serial number of CB and keep it in a safe place.
9. Purchase auto burglar alarm.
10. Encourage local police department to initiate a program to marl all CBs with metal engraving pens.
With the use of these precautions most CB thieves can be thwarted. But recently in Cincinnati the police caught up with an accomplished CB thief.
In an interview, the thief – who was only identified as “John” – explained how he made more than $20,000 in two months stealing CBs and other things.
“By the time I walked up to a car and put my hand on the door handle, I would have had a coat hanger in the window and the door unlocked,” he said.
“Anybody who saw me open a car that fast thought I had a key,” he explained.
He could even enter cars that were equipped with burglar alarms.
He said stealing CBs enabled him to build up a sizable bank account, pay the rent, take friends out to dinner “and blow about $300 a night” at a local race track. John found hotels profitable because large numbers of salesmen who stay there leave their CBs and other wares in their cars, parking lots at theatres were lucrative, too, because he could time the owner’s return to their cars with the ending of each showing of the movie.
Interestingly enough, he frequently used his CB to sell the CBs he had just stolen. He would go out on an interstate and cruise, ratchet-jawing with other CBers. When he found a likely prospect, he would arrange to meet them at the nearest restaurant or truck stop. He usually sold CB units for $30 to $40 below retail price.
A favorite story John tells is the time he ripped off another thief.
“I was just sitting in my car, watching a parking lot, when I saw this guy taking a CB unit out of a car. I waited until he had gotten out, and then I went over and told him it was my car. He just looked at me and handed me the radio and took off,” John said.
Luckily most thieves are not like John. They have not perfected the art.
If the simple rules listed above are carefully followed, the CB thief will take an easier target, leaving tours alone. Then you won’t find some dangling wires when your return from the movies.