Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
from Popular Electronics,
published October 1954 - April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
Although "Citizens Band"
(CB) is the common reference to these unlicensed two-way radio service transceivers,
the official name for the spectrum allocated by the FCC to their operation is "Citizens Band Radio Service" (CBRS). It was originally called just
"Citizens Radio Service," but the popular use of "Band" caused the FCC to incorporate
the additional term later on. Early Part 95 Class D citizens band radios offered up to
23 channels in the 11-meter band from 26.965 MHz through 27.255 MHz. CB radio
channels increased to 40 in 1977 due to the immense popularity at the time (long before
cellphones) - recall the "Convoy" song. The 11−meter band was re−allocated
from the amateur radio spectrum in 1958 (to the great dismay of Hams).
CB radios are still used heavily by truckers who don't like the
idea of "Big Brother" listening to and recording conversations and identifying
metadata from cellphone calls. As mentioned in
other articles, the first
radio control (R/C) system I owned operated at 27.195 MHz, which
was embedded within the CB band, and was often subject to CB interference. I bought my
first CB radio in 1976 (senior year in
high school) and installed it in my
1969 Chevy Camaro SS. A radio operator's license was required at the time, and
I paid $4 for mine; a year earlier the cost was still $20. Not wanting to mount the antenna
to a painted surface, I placed it on the rear bumper - one of the most non-ideal locations
due to its lack of an omnidirectional
radiation pattern. My chosen "handle" (on-the-air nickname) was "Aquila," chosen in reference to my radio-controlled sailplane of
that name (see aquila bird). The FCC actually assigned a set of call letters that was supposed to
be announced at the beginning and end of all communications (Ham operators must announce
call sign every ten minutes), but most people did not do so. Come to think of it, I don't
remember ever reading up on the regulations - I just hooked up the radio and put the
pedal to the metal. Guilty as charged.
RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling
2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed
formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit
design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at
the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps
while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got
Mail" when a new message arrived...
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