SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - "Ya Got Yur Ears On?"

By Bob Weaver

In this day we have lots of instant access devices, texting, twittering and Facebooking - the world wide web.

In days, now long ago, we had CBs for interpersonal communication.

I returned to the CB radio airways for "old-times sake," by placing an antenna on the house, we concluded not much has changed in our 30 years of disconnect.

The first CB'er we heard said "Ya got yur ears on?" and a few "10-4's, shortly followed by "Ya got that right!" a statement widely used in days gone by, along with "good buddy."

The wild and crazy handles are still the same, with lots of down home conversation, although cussing now seems acceptable.

I first ventured on the CB airways in the 1950s while a student at Calhoun High School. The first was a Class B high-frequency radio adventure in 1957, small square boxed transceivers manufactured by Vocaline, operating near 450 mc, with an output of 1/3 watt.

I learned you could talk to the moon with 1/3 watt on UHF, provided there were no obstacles. We did talk from Hur to Colt Ridge, on the other side of Spencer.

A short time later came Class D on 27 MHc, with 5-watt radios, first with a single channel, later 23 channels, now there's 40.

The first radio we purchased was a single-channel Hallicrafters, quite a monster, hooking it to a ground plane antenna, after getting a license - 19W5869.

There were few CB operators in West Virginia at the time, and you could talk to anyone you heard. No problem with skip, talking to Africa and Texas.

Over the years we upgraded, placing mobile units in the family cars, and constructing a 128 foot antenna on our hill to "get out better."

Later we used a beam antenna, and was able to talk on a ground signal to Akron, Ohio and White Top Mountain in Tennessee, using just 5 watts.

Another innovation was to remote a transceiver on our highest hill, using a remote controlled base at the house.

Some of it was likely illegal, but now you don't even have to have a license to broadcast, and many operators use high-powered transmitters.

My dad Giff - "Mountain Man" - got into CB'ing after I left home and developed relationships with other operators all over West Virginia and Ohio.

He even helped form a CB radio club in Calhoun, whose members would picnic and travel together.

He could talk to my mom on the road coming and going to her job at the sweater factory in Spencer, being assured she was safe and secure.

Then came millions of operators, cramming the airways with thousands of signals merging into a constant roar.

The use of CB radio exploded, becoming the instrument of America's truck drivers.

Still, it was a social tool for my dad, checking in with his friends most every night.

Some CBers took to broadcasting their own musical talents late at night, some tuned up with some extra spirits.

Then the craze faded, passed by more advanced technology. Passing away at 87 in 2000, Giff would be pleased that we have installed a CB radio on our hill, once again.