ad: elecraft

Jack Anderson's 1970s-era Ham vs CB Editorial

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by K4KYV, Oct 10, 2018.

ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: L-MFJ
ad: Left-2
ad: Left-3
ad: MessiPaoloni-1
ad: Subscribe
ad: K5AB-Elect-1
  1. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ham radio operators vs. CB operators is like horse drawn buggy drivers vs. Model T drivers :rolleyes:
    You all spend a lot of time feeling superior to something that vanished long ago.

    * And he was also correct. We would have all been vastly better served had CB migrated to some VHF 0r UHF allocation instead of the creeping abandonment of spectrum to MURS, GMRS, FRS, etc.....
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
    WD4ED, N5PZJ, NL7W and 2 others like this.
  2. K4PIH

    K4PIH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, he hit the nail on the head years before it's time. A visionary!
    WD4ED likes this.
  3. K3EY

    K3EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    It’s stupid, putting it mildly!
    WZ7U likes this.
  4. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ham radio is not going to get anywhere with anything by "being better than CB" when no one knows what the heck CB even is.
    The people that I know that would have been putting up big base station CB antennas in the 70s are busy making a GMRS repeater system linked into Skype right now.
  5. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, that and the fact that for many CBers, it was just a "craze." Like hulahoops. Like all crazes, it faded away. Some made a lot of money on it, however--those who were aware it wouldn't last. Some took a bath--those who thought CB was forever. ;)
    N2EY likes this.
  6. N4KZ

    N4KZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I remember the Jack Anderson column in question very well. In fact, I wrote a letter of protest to Anderson after his syndicated column was published in papers around the country but I never got a reply from him. Anderson did a substantial amount of good work over the years with his investigative journalism but in this particular case he and his staff jumped to an erroneous conclusion. He thought the FCC was corrupt because several individuals at the FCC were hams and, therefore, he concluded, they must have been looking out to protect amateur radio spectrum at the expense of others. And to do so was a conflict of interest. But what he didn't realize -- or want to consider -- is that amateur spectrum -- for the most part -- is allocated by the ITU, an international organization -- and not the FCC.
    KC6KNL, N0NB and K4KYV like this.
  7. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    Actually that is what happened. GMRS was the original "Class A" Citizens Band. But back in the 50s technology wasn't such that affordable transceivers with a useful range could be marketed to the public, so the FCC came up with the idea of "Class-D" citizens band on 27 MHz. Class A CB was re-named GMRS, with FRS a direct offshoot of the original GMRS. MURS was established in 2000, basically as a replacement for the failed class-D CB, allocated to VHF frequencies just above our 2m band. With present-day technology, these other services are now fulfilling the public need that 11m CB was originally intended to fill.

    11m CB failed at its primary mission because of the part of the spectrum where it is allocated, with highly unreliable intermittent sky wave propagation limiting its use for local communication while attracting those who saw it as a licence-free and largely un-regulateable ham band whenever the skip was in.
    N0NB, N5PZJ, KA4DPO and 2 others like this.
  8. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I was stationed at NAS Olathe KS 59-61 they had regular price wars every 6 months or so, the lowest I remember was $.169 down from a normal range of about .21 t0 .23.
    That pleased me to no end since I was driving a 51 Buick Roadmaster convertible with a 320 Cubic Inch Straight 8 and a Dynaflow (aka Dynaslow) transmission that may have got 12-13 mpg on a good day from about 4500#.

    I then drove it straight thru to Great Lakes IL for ET School and it cruised effortlessly thru the night at 70-90 mph but after a few months there and regular runs into Milwaukee I sold it for something more economical and picked up a 51 Studebaker President sedan with their first V8, a little 232 CI OHV screamer with solid lifters (all years of that design had solids) and a 3 speed plus OD transmission. It was a good 23-25 mpg on runs to Milwaukee and a solid repeatable 25 mpg on banzai straight thru runs to the NYC-LI area on long holiday weekends at up to 80 mph. Never a problem and never a ticket either and this was long before the CB craze:cool:
    Kept that even after graduating and being transferred to sea duty out of Newport RI, and wrecked it just before going on a 7 month Med Tour.

    My dad had a 53 Olds 88 2dr with the 303 ci V8, a 2 bbl carb and factory standard transmission as that was the year the Hydramatic factory burned down during the middle of the year and the base model 88 got the stick shift as a standard....others including Cadillac got the Dynaslow. On a visit to me we met in Milwaukee and he reported 21 mpg for the trip with my mother and luggage included. That was about the same as he got with a 52 Plymouth with a flathead 6 and stick shift which was the only car he ever bought new.

    Other vehicles I owned including a 57 Chevy 283 powered convertible with stick shift and OD got over 20 mpg when not stop light racing:eek:

    By the 60's the engines got much bigger, up to 472 ci, and bodies heavier in the full size models but the compacts such as Falcon/Mustang, Chevy II/Malibu, Valiant/Barracuda would easily do 20+ mpg with the base engines.....even a V8.

    WZ7U and N1VAU like this.
  9. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good summation, Don, but there were some other factors.....

    One was that 11 meter cb mixed licensed and unlicensed users on the same channels, which meant that it was normal to encounter users who did not ID with callsigns. Yes, the unlicensed users were SUPPOSED to use only 100 mW sets with limited-size antennas - but if someone used more power and a bigger antenna, how would anyone know?

    See also post #7.

    In the mid-1970s, near the peak of the boom, the EIA proposed "Class E" cb, on VHF-FM. Lots more channels, much less sky-wave propagation. Advances in technology by then meant that synthesized multi-channel low-power FM sets could be made inexpensively. As part of the proposal, 11 meter cb would be shut down by simply not selling any more sets for that band.

    The problem was that the EIA proposal involved taking 220-225 from US hams and using it for Class E. After having lost 11 meters about 15 years earlier, hams weren't exactly supportive of losing yet another band! So the idea was widely opposed by hams and their organizations.

    And....11 meter folks didn't like it either! For one thing, moving to 220 would mean that almost all existing 11 meter gear would be useless - radios, amplifiers, SWR bridges, antennas, power mikes, and much more that was designed for 27 would not work on 220. Some power supplies and coax might - but IIRC the proposed power limit for Class E was higher, so power supplies meant for 5 watt radios wouldn't be adequate, and RG-58 type coax is kinda lossy at VHF. To top it off, there wasn't a lot of old ham gear that could be reused for Class E FM in the mid-1970s. So the 11 meter folks opposed Class E as well!

    In the end, FCC expanded 11 meters to 40 channels.

    Then there's the "broken windows theory":

    The "broken windows theory", as I understand it, is the idea that you DO have to "sweat the small stuff", because if you don't, the small stuff becomes big stuff. Letting small violations go as "not worth the effort" results in bigger violations. Then even bigger ones. And then a real mess. And it spreads.

    This doesn't mean you start locking people up for putting their trash out a half-hour too early, or for letting their grass get a half inch too high. It doesn't mean you need a rule for every possible thing people might do. But it does mean you draw the line somewhere, and you make it stick. You don't just shake your head and walk away.

    This is an old story, but it applies:

    A Parable

    Imagine a city of neighborhoods. Call it Fredonia.

    The neighborhoods in Fredonia are many and varied, and enforced by zoning and other ordinances. Some are industrial, some are commercial, some are residential, etc. Each has its own purpose and its own rules.

    In this city there was a residential neighborhood with a long, proud history and a distinct culture. Call it Podunk.

    The folks in Podunk followed the rules closely and behaved in neighborly ways. There were a lot of rules and traditions in Podunk, but they made life there pleasant and safe. Some folks might consider Podunkers old-fashioned, but they valued education, order, courtesy, and responsibility above trendiness. Sure, there are a few who pushed the rules a bit, but the rest of Podunk, and the Fredonia City Council, kept them in line.

    The quality of life in Podunk meant house prices and taxes were relatively high. Podunkers didn't mind, though; they liked having clean, safe streets, good schools and a close-knit community. They enjoyed a lot of freedom because they took care of many things themselves. They were willing to pay the price and meet the high standards Podunk required.

    Then some folks on the Fredonia City Council decided to create a new neighborhood. They sliced off a piece of Podunk that wasn't heavily developed or used, and renamed it Squeedunk. And they made a set of rules for Squeedunk - rules that were very, very different from Podunk's. In some ways the Squeedunk rules were much less restrictive, in others they were more restrictive, but in any case they were very different.

    Squeedunk grew quickly, and in the beginning was pretty well-behaved. But it wasn't long before it became quite an overcrowded, wild place, where most of its few rules were pretty much ignored.

    Podunkers weren't too pleased with this, being right next door, but figured it was a matter of live and let live. What Squeedunkers did in their neighborhood was their business, right?

    Except that after a while the Squeedunk culture began to encroach on Podunk. The Fredonia City Council was overwhelmed with complaints and problems from Squeedunk. Not only did they lose control of Squeedunk, they all but stopped enforcing the rules in Podunk too. They had never imagined that a neighborhood would simply ignore their rules, but that's what happened. And they did not have the resources to enforce the rules, nor would they admit they'd been wrong to create Squeedunk in the first place.

    Some Squeedunkers moved to Podunk and became good neighbors - usually because they grew tired of the noise and problems. But some Squeedunkers brought the Squeedunk culture with them, and sought to change Podunk's rules to suit themselves. A few succeeded in various ways.

    Worse, folks from outside the area began to confuse the two neighborhoods. A long-time Podunk resident, travelling to another neighborhood, would be addressed as if he were from Squeedunk. Graduates of Podunk High discovered that their diplomas didn't mean as much as they used to, because college admission officials and employers confused them with kids from Squeedunk High - a school with much lower standards.

    Problems in adjoining neighborhoods that were caused by Squeedunkers would be blamed on Podunk in the media - and somehow the retractions would never get as much attention as the headline stories that were mistakes. City-wide restrictions aimed at controlling Squeedunk were enacted by the Fredonia City Council, but their biggest effect was on Podunk - because the Squeedunkers just ignored the restrictions.

    Years went by without a resolution. Eventually Squeedunk's growth stopped, and the place actually began to lose population. The problems remained, though not as bad as before. The Fredonia City Council didn't do all that much to deal with them because budget cuts and growth in other parts of the city stretched their resources to the limit. Often Podunkers felt abandoned by the Fredonia City Council, who had formerly taken an active interest in keeping Podunk in order. And since Podunk was only a small part of the City of Fredonia, Podunkers' influence on the Fredonia City Council was very limited. The Council was much more concerned with the industrial and commercial areas of Fredonia.

    Podunk was still a great place to live, but many Podunkers remembered how it was before Squeedunk came to be, and knew what had been lost. The Fredonia City Council, being politicians, would never, ever admit that their creation of Squeedunk had been a mistake. Nor would they take strong action to change things.

    Given all that - would you expect Podunkers to feel all warm and fuzzy about Squeedunk? Would you expect them to embrace aspects of the Squeedunk culture?

    Or would you expect them to be a bit standoffish and protective of Podunk and its culture, traditions, and ways? And to reject the Squeedunk culture? And to say "That's NOT how we do it in Podunk?"
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
    W4NNF, WA8FOZ and K4KYV like this.
  10. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Anderson was actually a very well liked columnist at the time. If you were an outsider looking in, with no knowledge of radio, the Citizens Band would probably looked like the future of personal communications. To Anderson the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few, amateurs in this case.

    I am thankful that the FCC saw through the craze and cooler heads prevailed. I doubt that any technological advancement came from the ranks of CB but hams were still contributing to the state of the art in the early seventies.

    FWIW, CB is still being used and more for it's intended purpose again. My brother works for a large construction company in Santa Maria California, they contract with the State for road and bridge construction and maintenance. They use CB radios in all of their vehicles because CB is a low cost. short distance communicatios solution for coordinating activities among the trucks and other equipment operators.
    WD4ED and KC6KNL like this.

Share This Page