The Great CB Radio Rebellion!
Please excuse me while I strap on my tin hat for a few minutes. Every so often I look around and get a little concerned when, as I see it, some of our freedoms being restricted, and I wonder if we would have the fortitude that the founders had to stand up and resist.
It's been a long time since that day that our nation declared that it would be independent, and I wondered if I could find anytime in my life time where an effort was made by citizens that would have the same spirit that motivated our movement away from British rule.
Interestingly, while not on the same scale as what John Hancock and company did in 1776, I think I found a bit of that same independent streak exhibited back in the 1970's.
I call in the Great CB Radio Rebellion.
Some of you may remember the CB Radio craze the gripped the country back then.
The CB radio craze refers to a period in the 1970s when citizens' band (CB) radio became immensely popular in the United States. CB radios provided a means of communication for individuals to connect with others nearby, particularly while driving. During this time, CB radio experienced widespread popularity and cultural impact.
People from all walks of life, not just professional drivers, were attracted to CB radio, resulting in millions of users across the country. The CB radio community developed its own unique jargon and slang, with users adopting "handles" or nicknames to identify themselves. Conversations were filled with phrases like "breaker, breaker," "10-4" (meaning understood), and "smokey" (referring to police officers), creating a distinct language that added to the camaraderie of the CB radio culture.
CB radios were especially popular among drivers as they provided a means of mobile communication on the road. People used CB radios to request directions, report accidents, warn others about speed traps or traffic jams, or simply engage in casual conversations. This sense of community among drivers enhanced safety and fostered a unique camaraderie.
CB radios operated on 40 channels, with channel 9 designated as the emergency channel. Channel 19 emerged as the widely used channel for general communication among CB radio users.
The popularity of CB radio during this time was further fueled by its portrayal in movies, TV shows, and songs. Films like "Smokey and the Bandit" and TV shows like "The Dukes of Hazzard" featured CB radios as integral elements of the storyline. Songs such as "Convoy" by C.W. McCall and "Teddy Bear" by Red Sovine celebrated the CB radio culture.
Of course, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulated CB radio usage to prevent interference with other communication systems. The CB radio craze led to an increase in the number of CB radio users and the need for stricter regulation. That didn't work out.
People ignored the requirement to obtain a FCC issued call sign and the payment of the $20 fee (later reduced to $4) to get that call sign. They bought the radios, picked their own handles (in place of call signs) and started talking to each other on the radio.
And to be honest the FCC itself was pretty lax in enforcement of the rules which led to more disregard of the regulations which led to increased antenna sizes, longer distant communicating than the service was meant to have and higher powered transmitters.
Finally, in 1983 the FCC threw up their hands and gave up and individual licensing came to an end.
The CB radio craze began to decline through the 1980's as other communication technologies emerged, such as cellular phones. Additionally, changes in FCC regulations, including the introduction of the Family Radio Service (FRS) contributed to the decline in CB radio's popularity.
However, according to Wikipedia
CB radio has once again gained popularity in recent years, an uptick not seen since the 90's. Manufacturers report an increase in sales, while social media sites like Youtube show a growing popularity in CB radio content, mainly as a hobby. The technology has also given way to more compact CB radios with far more features afforded in older models.
The rebellion continues!
You may see evidence pretty much every day driving around and seeing how many people are talking on their mobile devices, and some even texting while they drive, despite this being a huge no-no (and for the record I think texting while driving is extremely foolish). The government may find itself opening up a hornets nest if it gets in the way of our cherished ways of communicating.
So the next time you hear someone say “breaker, breaker!” you may think it's just someone holding on to old technology and the glory of a craze long gone, but for me I will be thinking sweet freedom.