The Quirky And Entertaining Vintage Art Of CB Radio’s Golden Age

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The citizens band radio service originated in the United States as one of several personal radio services regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These services began in 1945 to permit citizens a radio band for personal communication (e.g., radio-controlled model airplanes and family and business communications). There were two classes of CB radio: A and B. Class B radios had simpler technical requirements, and were limited to a smaller frequency range. Al Gross established the Citizens Radio Corporation during the late 1940s to manufacture Class B handhelds for the general public. (The) Ultra-high frequency (UHF) radios, at the time, were neither practical nor affordable for the average consumer. On September 11, 1958 the Class D CB service was created on 27 Megacycles, and this band became what is popularly known today as CB.

During the 1960s, the service was popular among small businesses (e.g., electricians, plumbers, carpenters), truck drivers and radio hobbyists. By the late 1960s advances in solid-state electronics allowed the weight, size, and cost of the radios to fall, giving the public access to a communications medium previously only available to specialists. CB clubs were formed; a CB slang language evolved alongside 10-codes, similar to those used in emergency services. – wikipedia

These early days of CB Radio might well be referred to as the medium’s ‘Golden Age.’ There was a real fellowship shared with the participants as well as a kind of etiquette that was lost after the booming popularity that occurred in the 1970s. Until the 70s, CB users were required to purchase a license and obtain a call sign – because the bandwidth was limited, CBers would wait for an opening on a frequency to start new conversation. The Golden Age of Citizen’s Band Radio ended with a cacophony of noise created by a selfish public who cared nothing about the rules – written and/or implied – that made the medium fun and enjoyable.

Fortunately, there is one aspect of those more innocent years that remains – the CB QSL cards. QSL cards are usually postcard sized identifiers users send to others that they contact and communicate with. Not only do they give the receiver an idea of the distance of their signal for that time, they are also nice mementos that can be kept or traded as a hobby. Major broadcasters around the world, as well as amateur HAM radio operators, still send these out today. They’re usually very slick computer printed graphic designs. The mid-century CB QSL cards stand out for their creativity and the fact that they were designed by hand – each one a bit of American folk art, if you will.

Below are some examples of this curious, and endearing, part of communications history. Each one has the user’s call sign. Most of them have the location as well as their nicknames/handles. You’ll notice that couples feature big and families name mum, dad, and children – as well as pets. The ‘Philip’s Code’ numbers 73s and 88s also appear frequently – 73 is short for ‘best regards’ and 88 represents ‘love and kisses.’

Major h/ts to The Pie Shops Collection as well as myQSL.org for preserving these neat bits of Americana and presenting them for all to see. To check out more just click on their names – some of them can be considered somewhat risque so consider them NSFW. The images in this post can be considered ‘safe.’

Spiderman - Amherst, Nova Scotia

Kilowatt & Little Mama - Corning, Arkansas

Casper, Evil Spirits & Venus - Flat River, Missouri

Charles Lloyd - North Baltimore, Ohio

74000042

CTM-113: Good Time Charlie & Irish - Niagara Falls, New York

76001858

78000349

99000136

610064

88000239

t30000461

95000221

890877

000259

20001053

20000583

t30000204

t30000332

40000493

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Battle For The Net

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If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

A Rare 1940 Lone Ranger Collectable – This Is One Serious Acquisition

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Some of the really neat things about early-to-mid 20th century radio and television programs came in the forms of promotional items related to the shows and their characters. The Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring immortalized in the 1983 film classic, The Christmas Story, quickly comes to mind. At times sponsors went all in with merchandise and contests as illustrated with the famous Ralston Rocket Clubhouse in this earlier post. For collectors today, these promotional items are precious gems to be searched out and acquired.

Hake’s Americana and Collectables is perhaps the best source for finding a lot of these treasures. Currently Hake’s has a very rare item available in a post auction sale. It’s a 1940 Lone Ranger prototype secret compartment ring designed by Orin Armstrong of the Robbins Co. which specialized in premium rings. Originally intended as a premium offering from sponsors of the program, an inconvenient design flaw kept it from mass production. The one currently listed at Hake’s is only the fourth ever seen by the auction house.

This prototype ring has a base with star and chevron design identical to the Lone Ranger National Defenders look-around ring. The same design was used as early as 1939 by Orphan Annie as the Mystic-Eye Detective Ring. (Photo and description via Hake's)

This prototype ring has a base with star and chevron design identical to the Lone Ranger National Defenders look-around ring. The same design was used as early as 1939 by Orphan Annie as the Mystic-Eye Detective Ring. (Photo and description via Hake’s)

Mounted on the top of this prototype ring base is a 3/8” tall crisp real photo (without dot pattern) of Silver.

Mounted on the top of this prototype ring base is a 3/8” tall crisp real photo (without dot pattern) of Silver. (Photo and description via Hake’s)

THE LONE RANGER RARE PROTOTYPE SECRET COMPARTMENT RING-ranger

Mounted on the underside of the removable secret compartment is a matching glossy real photo of The Lone Ranger in mask and hat with tiny text on his bandana consisting of a copyright symbol and ‘1939 The Lone Ranger, Inc.’ (Photo and description via Hake’s)

The listing says that the miniature glossy photos of The Lone Ranger and Silver inside the top ‘are an added attraction to the secret compartment feature.’ For today’s collectors they just might be the deal maker. Seasoned collectors might not be too surprised by the price of this scarce find, but it could come as a shock to others. It’ll cost $1,725.00 to add this to your treasured belongings. Hake’s previous sales have been between $2300 and $3200.00, so this price is actually a deal. You can find the entire listing here.