Coping: Why I Broke Down and Bought a CB Radio

Me….me of all damn people!

Holding a GROL (and the First Class Commercial Radiotelephone before that) and an Extra Class ham ticket…why did I just plunk down $79 for a Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio?  And then a further $22 for a K40 K-30 35″ 300 Watts Stainless Steel Magnet Mount CB Antenna to go with it?

We’re going to take the car, looks like, and therein lies an interesting tale.  At the risk of offending everyone who’s a ham, let me explain:

Elaine and I are planning to spend a month, or so, up in the Seattle area on a mixture of business and pleasure.

The business part is pretty simple (making money, yada, yada, and maybe a stop at the East Bay on the way home to work on the “secret robotics project” with a client and yes, I may have some equity interest there…but another story for someday/maybe.

The “pleasure” part is somewhat muted by dad always seeming to be the one picking up the check, but that goes with parenthood.

We have been eyeing the decision between airplane and driving.  Airplane would be fun, but everywhere we go, we’d be limited to airport courtesy cars (usually they’re out) and then there’s the rental car at the other end.

Really minor nits in the Big Picture.  What’s problematic is what I need to take as freight/cargo:  There will be three laptops to begin with:  Mine, Elaine’s and the new server.  Then there will be backup software and an external hard driver or two.  And then books on the server and about a dozen reference books I’ll need when I lock myself into a writing frenzy. 

This payload in itself will come in about 75-80 pounds.  And then there’s 100-110 pounds of personal gear:  Clothing, shoes, gifts, vitamins, toiletries…enough for a month+ and social occasions that will range from one or two fancy-schmantzy to (hopefully) a couple of rounds of golf.

And if we’re doing that, why my bring my old sticks that I haven’t touched in 9-years?

There’s no way to get all that in the airplane (and still do anything more that a high speed taxi, lol).  And no, I am not going to ship all that stuff UPS or FedEx because that’s just one more thing to go wrong and….and….

So we’ll likely take the car.

And now comes the reason for the CB radio.

It’s terribly hard sometimes (even for me) to put aside my prejudice against CB.  In ham radio circles there’s a reason that it’s called “Children’s Band” and using “Ancient Modulation” (instead of the more proper term Amplitude Modulation, or AM).

But the fact of the matter is that on this trip (though not all) the car wins over the airplane even though they are about even (until you count rental car costs for a month) on a cost basis.

The CB will be the “tool of choice” on the road since channel 19 is inhabited by truckers.  And, since listening to their chatter is impossible without a radio, we now come down to the desire for a radio.

IMG_4431So there we were coming down into Wendover Utah on our last trip (fall 2013):  And I wanted to know more about the place.  What better means than simply monitor a CB?  I could have figured in advance what was going on at Bonneville out on the Salt Flats without pulling into the rest area, though my co-pilot was intrigued by the trees there…I was still wondering about the casino payouts at Wendover…was the Pepper Mill or the Rainbow paying better?

Elaine’s generally keen on the idea of me putting a radio in the old Lexus, although she (years ago at the height of the rage) had a CB handle when she drove truck for a few months, long-haul with one of her boys.  (There’s a finite supply of women who’s been in the army, qualify expert,  has been a masseuse, and can handle a Kenworth gearbox and drive an 18-wheeler, and is a hellavah dancer, an impossibly rare mix…so not wanting to drive her off, there’s no big HF radio or antennas in her car.) 

But she definitely knows the lingo  of trucks and CB and give the Midland also has all the NOAA weather/all-hazards channels, she understands that the radio can be useful.  Most important, once the trip is over, there won’t be bonding straps in the trunk, static arrestors wicks, and a big serious mobile antenna mount on her car.  The radio is portable, the antenna is a mag-mount and that will be that.

Except, she’ll have to be the one putting the mag-mount on because back when we had our old Daewoo, I put a four-magnet monstrosity of a ham antenna on the car and it must have moved while I was rolling through West Texas at 9-over the (then) speed limit of 80 out west.  The discussion of the minute scratches in the trunk lid eventually died down after, oh, four-years, or so.

Light antennas don’t slip and slide as much.

Sure, we’ll have a 2-meter ham rig with us, but in all of our cross countries I have yes to make a contact on it. 

Periodically, I go through delusions of whipping out the cheap and handy ARRL Repeater Directory 2014/2015 Pocket Size ($12) and making a few contacts from our hotel room.

Even this, however, has proven difficult.  There are the issues of structural steel, enough man-made noise to drown out an EMP blast, and then there’s the matter of programming either of my (Chinese or Japanese) 2-meter radios.

“Why not just plug in the programming cable, Ure…for heaven’s sake!”

“Oh?  That’s down in the car, I just has two slugs of night-night juice, and it’s raining.  Hand me the clicker and let’s see what’s on TV.  You figured out how to use the sleep timer on this one?”

There aren’t any hard and fast numbers on how many CB users there are in America.  Many millions, for sure.  On the ham radio side? 725,216 in June according to the AH0A website.

Finding someone to talk to is not a problem on ham radio in a big city.  But on VHF once you get up around Trinidad, Colorado, or up into the hills northwest of Albuquerque?  Uh…lil different deal up thataway.

After (65-13=) 52 years of dissing other radio services, including and especially children’s band, I’m finally picking up a CB but strictly for long-haul trips in the car.  RVs on 13, truckers on 17 (north-south) and 19 (east-west like I-40 or I-80) and channel 9 for emergencies, it’s cheaper than making random cell phone calls.

About the only thing missing is a good “handle.”  (Elaine’s the “Mink Box”)  I’m thinking 6-Geezer (knowing it will be mispronounced) but suggestions are welcome…

Over, over, come back?

(But if you prefer grown-up high speed CW/Morse, we can meet up on 14.020 where I’m still AC7X who’s still aghast that Morse isn’t required for a ham ticket, anymore.  There would be a lot few hams of course, but that would make the hobby a lot more like fishing…waiting for the rare ones…)

Thursday at the WoWW

OMG:  World of Woo-Woo is back!  Reader Sharon reports in…

Hi George!

Today’s WoWW hit the ‘now I’ve got to tell button’, so here goes.

Background.  I have been psychically open and aware all of my life with a vast array of experiences and have traveled through the Land of WoWW on many pathways.  In my thirty’s I worked with teachers and activated my awareness to a much higher level.  I taught classes, held conferences and conducted personal psychic readings and past life readings for a number of years all around the US.  I stopped when I realized that people just wanted a quick fix and were unwilling to do the work that was needed to actually take charge of changing their lives.  They wanted me to just make it all better then business as usual.

In all of my prior experiences, both in this realm and others, I have noticed the same things happened before that are happening now. 

It started about a month ago.  I was in bed starting to move into the sleep state and began to hear a conversation between at least two voices.  I couldn’t hear what they were saying.. it was distant and faint, but I could tell there was a discussion somewhere that was carrying to my bedroom.  I live in  a ‘burb of Houston, quite a way out of town, on a double cul-de-sac, in a gated community.  We get very little traffic or traffic noise.  In fact, I can’t hear anything going on outside of my house even when there are emergency responders in the area.  Since the voices continued, I got up and went to the windows in my bedroom that face onto the street.  There were no people to be seen.  I lay back down and in a couple of minutes it started again.  I got back up and went to the other windows in the front of the house and still nothing.  I went back to bed, didn’t hear anything else and went to sleep.

I thought it was odd, but forgot about it until a couple of weeks later.  It started again right as I was dropping off to sleep.  It surprised me so much and was loud enough that I sat straight up in bed looking around.  Then got up and did the window drill.  Nobody on the street, nothing to be seen.  It stopped by the time I lay back down.  This was a Friday night.  The next day I worked in the yard and garden all morning and then decided to lay down for a short nap in the afternoon.  As I began to drift off, the voices started talking again… actually louder than before, but still unable to understand what they were saying and was under the impression that they were speaking a language that I do not understand.  Since it was daylight, I had to get up and look.  Still an empty street and o one around my house on the outside in the front.

When I got up from my nap, I went to my sister who lives with me and told her I’d had something weird happen and told her the story.  She immediately said, “Oh thank God, I thought I was losing it!”  She had started hearing the same thing about the same time I did… and had even heard it again the night before like me.  Her bedroom is on the second floor of the house, at the very back of the house.  My bedroom is in the very front on the bottom floor.  She had also gotten up and gone to all of the windows and looked out… both the top front and top back windows.  There was nothing to be seen.  No people, nothing. 

Since we talked about it, neither of us have had the experience again, but I will not be surprised if it happens again.  There is definitely a thinning of some barrier that exists between our conscious world and what lies beyond.  I’ve experienced it on several levels, but this is the most vivid at this time.  Please understand, I am VERY conscious of how entities and people who are in other realms communicate with us… and I have a lifetime of stories about what both my sister and I have experienced from that type of communication… but it is not the same type of experience as what we’ve both just encountered now that we seem to be able to eavesdrop across some time/space barrier.

The young woman who went to the garage because she heard voices talking was probably experiencing the same thing.  Something has changed and those who ‘have ears to hear’ are beginning to hear.

Just as a side note… I’ve typed this email 3 times now.  Each time I’ve typed it before, something has interrupted me in the middle of it and the email disappeared.  This one might make it… and I hope it does because I think you and the readers of the WoWW need to know this is in play.

Thank you for your great website and astute observations.

All the best,

Wow!  Is this interesting, or what?

OK, need you to work on figuring out the language…if it is Spanish, it would be a (literal) Hello Houston, we have a problem moment because it could be a combination of ELF and cell phone signals attempting to control the public.

OR it could be the other two options:  One being a jolt to a higher plane (did you two share any foods in common, new kind of water that’s more pure, or anything like that?).

The third way out of the box is you are both experiencing a breakdown in the hemispherical barrier that keeps both halves of the brain from fully communicating with one-another.

On this last point (a result of some thinking I’ve done on the whole topic of bicameralism (introduction to the subject  here) it occurs to me that if the right and left brain were able to communicate at a preconscious level (below your conscious thought noise floor) they might easily have evolved their own unique language and thus, a good case for why the voices may b e heard as speaking in voices and tongues you don’t (or can’t) recognize.

Please take this last bit as Thursday Morning’s Wild-Ass Conjecture, but it would certainly explain why under certain conditions of drug overdose (and religious ritually-induced euphoria) that people”speak in tongues” and why religious visions (replete with voices) accompany the events… because the two halves of Brain, talking in their own unique voices, may be able to work out “whole-brain” solutions to the world that don’t otherwise seem apparent to the lone sphere dominant in waking states.

Time to send a note over to Chris at for his input on this…

Meantime I gotta hornswoggle a preview of the Project August summary out of him, too… 

Just saying…

Write when you break-even, or when you crack that language and determine if it is interpersonal and is the backbone for the Universal Subconscious Mind…

George  (who has given up on shorter columns, but one of these days….)