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That’s A Big 10-4, Good Buddy

April 8, 2012
Mike Myer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Breaker, breaker! You got your ears on?

That's a big ten-two, good buddy. I got you on Channel 25.

Picture two teens or a couple of guys in business suits having that conversation on their cellular phones. OK, maybe you can't get that image in your mind.

But before cellular phones, that kind of conversation wasn't at all uncommon. That was when citizens' band (CB) radio was your best option for mobile communications.

The CB days came to mind the other day when I saw a classified advertisement for a CB in working condition. It's been a long time since I've seen such an ad, but at one time they were very common. Lots of people had CB radios in their cars and pickup trucks (this was before SUVs and minivans). Nowadays, only big rig truckers use them. In effect, it allows them to make enormous conference calls in which participants for many miles around can warn of traffic delays - or police cars.

The lingo was (and still is, I assume) unique. For example, the conversation above had one person asking if the other was receiving. The response was that yes, reception was good - but on a telephone (Channel 25), not a CB.

In some ways CBs were better than cell phones. Cell phones usually involve conversations between just two parties. When you were on the CB, you were in a community that might include hundreds of participants. One never knew when, out of the blue, someone would jump in with a comment.

One also never knew, of course, when the bears (traffic police) would be listening in. You didn't want to announce too loudly that you were putting the hammer (accelerator) down.

That was unless someone had both your front door and your back door (fellow CBers in front confirmed no police ahead and no cruisers coming up behind you).

These days, the ankle biters (small children or annoying teenagers) wouldn't be caught dead with CBs. They're just not cool.

That's a shame, in a way. For one thing, I don't know of any legislatures considering bans on CB use while driving.

Oh, well. Times change.

Been nice modulating with you, good buddy. Catch you on the flip-flop. Keep 'em between the ditches.

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