From time to time I tell everyone I get some outrageous, funny or just really neat Emails!
I thought I would start to share them with you. Hope you enjoy these glimpse's into the past,
present and future. I like the past myself! Please note these are copyied and pasted here in "as is"
condition. So spelling and grammar are unedited!
There’s Magic In The Air
When I was about 3 or 4 years old in about 1958, my family had a tabletop radio. I didn’t question how or why it worked, it was just there. My parents bought a used record player that only played 78 rpm records and was a big console type. At first I assumed that bands played inside it as it was so big, but couldn’t figure out how they survived without food or water. I asked my dad about it and he showed me a record disk and said the music was on it and showed me how the needle sat on the record allowing the music to come out of the speakers. I didn’t understand it but accepted my dad’s explanation and didn’t think too much more about it.
However, the radio intrigued me being so small and not only was there music, but voices that talked just like anybody else. One day while we were outside, I asked my dad how the radio worked. He told me to put the palm of my hand up close to my mouth and start talking and then he asked me if I could ‘feel’ my voice vibrating against my hand. I said I thought I could. He told me that there were people in a building that spoke into what they called a microphone that added electricity to the vibrations for power and then sent them to an antenna which sent the vibrations out through the air. He pointed to the antenna on our car and said that that antenna acted like my hand, feeling the vibrations in the air and then into the radio which we could then hear through the speaker. Wow! Was I impressed or what! Actually, I still am to this day.
Shortly thereafter we got a TV set and my dad put up a TV aerial and explained that the TV worked much like a radio, only sending pictures as well as sound. Although this too was magical, and all the technology since then, like satellites, cell phones and wireless data links, the radio has held a special place in my heart.
In about 1962-3 I was walking down a street a couple of blocks from mine when I heard somebody talking but the voice didn’t sound quite natural so I stopped to listen some more. I determined that it was coming from an open side door on a garage close to the street, so being the inquisitive kid that I was, I walked up alongside the garage and peeked in the open door. There was a guy about my dad’s age sitting at a bench with a bunch of huge radio equipment and a big microphone. The guy pressed a button on the mic and started talking back to the voice coming through the speaker. Man, was I IMPRESSED or what! I had never seen a radio with more dials and gauges and I had never actually seen someone “broadcasting” before. I knew I shouldn’t be snooping, but I was totally spellbound and couldn’t leave.
He finally noticed me and invited me in and showed me his radio equipment and let me hang out while he made contacts. He had been a radio operator during the war in a B-17 Flying Fortress and those guys were hero’s – still are – of mine. Unfortunately we moved shortly after that and I never saw him again.
Around 1965 a buddy of mine got a crystal set for his birthday and I thought that was pretty awesome because just the power of the radio wave operated it and no AC or DC or batteries were required. Around this same time an uncle of mine had told my dad he was thinking of getting a Citizen Band radio for the heck of it. I had never heard of a Citizen Band radio before and he explained what it was and I was really interested in that because of its two way capabilities Unfortunately my aunt had other ideas for spending the money and he just got a multi-band radio receiver instead.
In the late 60’s I worked on farms up in Whatcom County during the summer and in 1969 I worked for a farmer who had a CB radio base station in his kitchen for the Mrs. And one in his pickup. One day I was sitting in the cab of his pickup taking a break out of the sun. The radio was on so I sat and listened to the static and then I heard a guy asking if anyone was out there a few times. I knew you had to have a license back then, but no one was around so I picked up the mic and responded to him. He asked me where I was at and I told him the road I was on. He said he never heard of it and asked me what town I was in. I told him, but he said he’d never heard of it either. I thought he was putting me on as I knew that a CB radio only had a radius of about 10 miles. He asked me what state I was in and I was sure he was putting me on, but I told him Washington. He said, oh, ok, we must be on the DX as he was in eastern Montana. I told him I had to get going back to work, figuring I’d had enough of his baloney. Later I told the farmer that I’d heard a guy on his radio who claimed he was in Montana and he said I was probably hearing some DX and explained it to me. Wow!! After that, I HAD to get me a CB radio!
I finally got one from my wife’s Uncle Jack around 1974-5. It was a Midland 23 channel AM rig but I don’t remember the model number. He had bought a SBE Sidebander II to use for his work in the timber industry. Then he bought an SBE Console II base station for home. The first time I saw it, I fell madly in love with it, it was such a pretty radio. That was the first Single Side Band radio I ever operated. Whenever we went there for a visit, I would disappear into his radio room, much to my wife’s chagrin. “No Guy, we can’t afford one.” I think at that time they were going for close to $400 new. I hate it when they’re sensible and you don’t want to be!
I only had the Midland for about a year when my car got wiped out in a parking lot by a lady who lost control of her car in the snow. The insurance totaled the car, which I loved. It was a ’68 Plymouth Sport Satellite, so I bought it back from them, but didn’t have the money to fix it up so I sold it to a buddy of mine. He wanted the radio too and since I really wanted a SSB radio, I let him have it with the car.
Shortly after that the “CB Craze” hit hard and everybody and their dog had to have one. It was amazing how people here on the west coast suddenly acquired a southern drawl and were all “Good Buddies”. The hate and agitation, dead keys, music carriers etc. were rampant and by listening to friends radios, I decided I had lost interest in the band and considered getting my ham ticket. The problem was, I still had young kids and all and financial priorities hindered that goal!
In 1984-5 my brother who was in a four wheel club, bought a Cobra 7 Plus to use out in the woods. He had picked it up on sale for $25. I figured I could deal with that, so I picked one up too. It was a little tiny thing with only an on/off/volume pot and a squelch pot and a channel rocker selector. I still had an old mag mount antenna from the Midland days, so I was in business. I hooked up with some good people on channel 7 about 4 in the morning when thee wasn’t any hash and trash and did most of my talking then. I bought a little power supply and put an 4x8 sheet of sheet metal on my garage roof and stuck that old mag mount up there when I got a Firestik for the vehicle and thus had a ‘little’ base station.
One of the guys I talked with was retired but did some work for a radio shop and told me he could get me a sideband radio at his cost. He suggested I get the Cobra 2000 GTL as he had one and really liked it. Another good radio he said was the Cobra 142 GTL which had the same board as the 2000 but without some of the amenities and was about half the price as it was the older model. I went for the 142 GTL which went over much better with the missus, although I would have loved to have had the 2000. If I remember right I paid $135 for the 142 and it was retail at over $300, so needless to say I was happy about that. I still have the 142 and its sitting here about a foot away from me. Unfortunately it stopped transmitting about a year ago and is patiently waiting for me to get it fixed.
In the late 80’s I bought an Astatic D-104 for the Cobra 142 and still use it with my Uniden Grant XL. By the early 90’s though I got pretty tired of the hash and trash and my core group of contacts were either moving or going “Silent Key”, so I got on the radio less and less. Through most of the 90’s I would turn on the radio only once every several months just to see if thee wasn’t any DX, but for the most part I was dusting the radio off more then I was using it.
On a rainy, dreary Sunday in January of 2009 I turned on the radio and heard a few guys on 38 LSB just talking about the upcoming fishing and camping season and they all seemed to be getting along, so I jumped in there and Jeff MT454 invited me to join their reconstituted sideband group they were calling The Mountain Thunder Radio Group. I picked a number and joined and have since enjoyed immensely communicating with like minded radio buffs. One of the key ingredients of the group is the desire to bring back some dignity to the CB, which was so lacking for so long. A good family atmosphere where you can let your kids listen is the key to the success of the Mountain Thunder Radio Group. Not that I’m a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but after years of “garbage”, its mighty refreshing.
The Saturday night log-ins are mighty enjoyable as you really get a sense of how your radio is doing with operators logging in from every direction of the compass. The “Old, Old” log in is great as you get to hear some of those old 23 channel SSB radio’s that I only dreamed about owning back in the day!
At the core of my radio interest is still the idea that I can put my voice out into the air and someone perhaps miles away can hear me and come back. From the simple explanation of my dad and putting my hand in front of my mouth and talking and ‘feeling’ the sound waves from my voice and my hand being the ‘antenna’, I still carry my childhood fascination and thus still think “There’s Magic In The Air”!!
From My Radio Wave To Yours, May They Never Double!
On Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 5:51 PM, Dennis MT204 wrote:
Looking at my book, I see we are 20 years old in march. Can't believe its been 20 already. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MT. THUNDER MEMBERS!
This first series of correspondence to add to the page is from "JL"!
This man needs his own place to write a historical (histarical) radio review!
Oct 10, 2012
I've had a fascination with CB for many years. My first raddidio was a Johnson
messenger. Three channel mobile. It had one set of crystals in it. ( which ones
escape me currently) In the early cross over days from Allied Electronics to
Allied radio Shack ( which by the way was originally Tandy Leather), radio shack
was the only place the crystals were available. They were as I recall near ten
dollars for the pair. ( circa 1970-71) My antenna was a shunt load M-125b. My
first base station was a Johnson messenger white face, a five channel that took
the larger incased independent crystals. I built my first base antenna then from
a picture hand drawn from a friend. His name was John. The antenna was called
a "Long John". Made from stranded / braded and solid copper wire and a broom
handle. Along about then we learned to cross install the crystals which split a
specific channel to an in-between frequency. 7 - 9 - and 11 were the local favorites.
( kept us busy swapping those crystals too ) next radio was a messenger 5
mobile, and a black face messenger 10 chan base. John showed us how to
solid state the driver tube socket and increase the out put power. Not long after
the black face arrived came the messenger 223. Which was a black face turned
sideways, different box around it and the synthesized added for 23 channels.
Days after that we learned to add a jump and get three more channels. There
was a Johnson in there I can't recall off hand used same basic linage as the 223
but went sideband. radio Shack came out with one of the first Phase-Loc-Loop
systems, and that changed out re-creations for the communicators. ( I'm jumping
along here paraphrasing as well ) In 1973 Christmas time everything changed
again. The federal Communication Commission closed the 23 channels out no more
sales (legal) of the 23 radios. That's when the CB radioing went south. January
first 1974 out came the forty channel. One could buy for little Johnny and Suzie the
perfect baby sitter complete set up for under fifty dollars out the door. radio-
antenna-pole instructions. Mom and sat it up in their respective areas, and the
profanity begin. Tucked away from Mom, Dad, grand ma,grandpa est. out
of ear shot. Pinning coax became popular. Flexing the coax in a horse shoe
then run in a pin through the stretched loop, clip off the remainder, re-straighter
the coax and one would never find the pin. key the mike, and blow finals.
At one time I ran more power on a CB station than the local TV station.
I used a 35 gallon barrel of used motor oil as a dummy-load to tune the set.
I once ran a phone patch from a destroyer in the pacific to Wisconsin in the wee
hours of the A.M. I had a highly modified orignal five quad Big Gun on a fifty
foot tower with a ham-M roter. Coils were re-wrapped to handle up to 9,500
wats dead key. I had a Buddy five piece radio loading 48 wts dead key, audio
just over sixty wats pure plate audio. I had a Sure 55s mike using VOX. That
drove a skipper three hundred with a "T" pad, that drove a Henery that
Henery had 12 6LQ6 tubes for finals. The skipper was dual power, the Henery
had four stages. Total out capasity was just over 9 thousand KW. The antena
had an isotropic multiplying ratio of six times of input transmission raidiated
over isotropic standards. back door closd off compleately with true copper
wire screen wire. ( solid wall ) nedless to share, I did not talk skip, I talked
direct. the door was so tight I coud use roughly two KW avrage on same
chanel as you were on, turn the house away from you, you woud not know
the system was on. the coils would glow in the dark when I was would up
and on the air. I used a modified Antenea Specialist Moon Raker ) used same
coil format as the big gun, on a vortex for min country skip. An older style
military droopy-drawer genral-local antana for local communitcations. That
entire anteand loaded up. In late 1972 I opened a ture communication store
/ shop. Oh yea; In the pick-ups we ran mineum of five hundred wt. foot warmers
1973 changed the CB atmosphre in general. FCC went from 23 chanels to forty.
And Christmass time '73 the 23 channel radios went cheap. Pole, antena, radio
instructions complete set up under fifty bucks. Cheap baby sitterd for the parents
/ grand parents and the profanity became apearent. I went HAM and on to MARS
and got the extra class liscenese by middle part of that year. ( my first CB liscense
was four full pages and cost twenty five dollars per year) In '74 liscense were not
needed, CB got complately out of hand in '74 and the federal candy commision
coud no longer keep up.
I paraphrased the story for read restraints and mailing base band width. Those
were some of the preferable "Good-'Ol-days' for sure. My handle back then was:
" The Bean Stalk Controll" aka: Little Jack & or Jiddle lack. I owned the
communication store / shop. I hold a master barber and beautition liscense, &
a comerical contractors liscense, Operated two barber / beauty shops ( my still
girl friend ran / managed those ) she too has same liscenes for those) and I
worked for one of the largest farmer / ranchers in the mid west as senior forman
all at the same time. Ranching / farming over eighty five thousand acres. I am
retired military. Now I am retired. I have a team and all we do now is teach
Computers and watch the rocks grow in the yard here in the senior mobile home
park. 8^) the team teaches twice per month we avrage about 25 per class and
an avrage or eight in the special interest groups / needs class. ( remeadial classes )
And I do some publishing as well for several mobile home parks mostely for / on
the computer side interests, but occasionally a humerious something as I am asked
to do. heck, it's all fo FREE these days, and if I can help some one with these
toung-in-cheek shares and classes, why not.
Really liked you web site I'll book mark it;
Roger-doger from the old codger
the harry legger fud pucker mother trucker
jimmi jammin' down the boulevard
rubbr down shiney need care
catch ya on the flipper
passin' 73 and co-phased 44's to
you and yours'
from out here on the west coast
better ways and happy days
go ahead your turn.
I'll take a stood-by.
Reply to That email from JL on OCT 11,2012
by Jeff MT454
Wow....! Where do I start to reply to a historical account like that!
First of all, You didn't drop your name (other than JL) with that special "midnight rendition!"?? We share many things in our background with the CB radio. I came from the mid-west too. I started as a kid with a 6 channel radio from my dad's company when they went to "business band radio" in the 60's. I had a concrete forming rod nailed to a fence for an antenna. I worked on farms in the summer to make money. Went into the USCG in 72 and ended up out here in Washington.
I have been getting some wonderful e-mails like yours. Things you wouldn't believe! One gentleman sent me his old log entries from the "good old days of CB" with over 600 handles of people he had logged. He said he wanted to pass it on to someone. He died the next week.
Sometimes, I like to use things like your e-mail on the Mountain Thunder Web Page.
I would like to know if that would be ok to share your letter with the group? I would also like to be able to post a name with your letter. It can be as simple as "JL age ?? from Somewhere, OK" if thats OK with you.
A great many of the group share a lot of memories with you. These are the things that made radio what it was and is today. I think if I post your letter, several more will write in with their accounts and I could start another section to the MTR web page. I would hate for this little portion of history to be forgotten.
Reply to Jeff's MT454's Email
From JL OCT 11, 2012
Not a problem Jeff, not at all. Post if you like / choose.
I only wish I had all those the QSL cards from the past. When we moved to the west coast sadly we went off and left many pictures, and so forth, Even of the family, ranch times, our stint with the Christian Motorcycle Association.
If one time you're interested I will share more adventures from those days. I have some really colorful stories of events in the early days of communication. What a ride that was too. Some of those stories have been published as well. If you need space filler, let me know and I'll put togather some interesting past stories in the communication lines for you. You're welcom to share them.
No longer in the 46th state, HUD came along and made us offers on our rentals we could not refuse, the ranch owner passed away, wanting a change of scenery, so we migrated to the West Coast about twenty years ago, where the adventure inexpediently continues. However slowing down some because of health and age events, but remaining active.
Untill next Time... '3 and 8 yer way
J.L. (So. Cal.) imigrant from Oklahoma.
age? (Some where between late sixties and death) lol
Short senerio about my E mail address. One of my uncle used the anagram"BODA" in place or using a curse word of sorts. I always thought that if I had the place or use for that I would. So, I own copy writes of / in seven formats / use of that term now. Oh yeah, what does it represent? " Big Old Dumb Ass" As Mr Paul Harve shared: "Now you know the rest of that story" My attorney has had some intersts in that pursuant as well. Called Copy Right infredengements. Gives her something to do I suppose. 8^)
New Email from JL
November 17, 2012
I finally got around to digging out the systems from the mothballs. yeah, their just piled up here for now. I need to find a tech some where. I want these systems gone through, re-aligned, and I have a couple new ones here that need some mods. ( up-dating / grades ) if you know what I mean. I found a cobra 148 that is about ninety days old, used less that one can count on one hand in a second hand establishment over in a small communities close to here. (5-6 miles) Here on the communication desk I have several power resources so just had to connect. I have a magnetic mount antennae specialist next to a window and it is of course out of standing wave, but not to transmit, wanted to here was all for the evening. I got it for fifty bucks. It has been a long time since I have set any thing up here got off into computers ( now I teach them ) radio kind went to the way side. BUT, the sister dug out the Kenwood TS- 520 and the matching VFO-820 Took it out to the shop and gave it a blow-job beat the barnicles - dust bunnies out. I looked for an hour and spent an hour looking for the speaking horn for it, Astatic D-104. Apearently some where along the way misplaces the patch harness from the VFO to the kenood, not got have one made I guess. I have a set of speakers here for it I found at Starvation Army. ( salvation ) It may need some tubes as well ( kenwood) he it's has been realiable in the past. 8^) By the way I also have another cobra 148 here too I come accross still factory fresh sealed in orignal box. That one and the one I have on the desk listening, need the mods.
I'm in a senior mobile home park-gated communitee ) I have permission it install anteaneas, but they can't bo really large or so in height. I have power lines right at the back of the coach. To hight park regs to go above them too. So may have to desighn / build the needs. In the area here there is simply extreamy little availability for virtual any communication / radio needs. Just for got so much along the way for repairs, up grads-mods, best to find some one smarter than this old man. I'll get off to the local lowes / home depot and get a roll of 1/8" solid copper wire and some 1/4" copper tubing. I have a couple old satilite disc- dishes here as well. Watch out "Rube Goldberg" lol I could use a couple power mikes as well. One hand held and a desk top. Going over to Santa Anna / Tustin next weekend ( Sunday ) there is an electronic / computer sweap meet, who knows, might find every thing nessary there. Soon as it all gets togather I'll contact you and sighn / log in with your group if you are still excepting membership applications.
I have some more nifty stories to share as well.
Untill next time"
Shnny side up
in the motion
never load when drivin'
pay attention in lovin'
catch ya next time
and phazed 44's
catcha ya on
the flip side
go ahead yer turn.
aka: Little Jack
Look for more to come!
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