May 28, 2024

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Retro Gadgets: The CB Cell Phone

Retro Gadgets: The CB Cell Phone

There was a time when one of the benefits of obtaining a ham radio in your automobile (or on your belt) was you could make telephone phone calls using a “phone patch.” In the 1970s, calling another person from within your parked automobile turned heads. Now, of study course,  it is an daily incidence thanks to mobile telephones. But in 1977, mobile phones ended up nowhere to be discovered. Joseph Sugarman, the effectively-recognised founder of JS&A, noticed a have to have and desired to fill it. So he offered the “PocketCom CB” which was billed as the “world’s smallest citizens band transceiver.” You can see the full-web page advert from 1977 below.

Recall that this is from an period when ICs that could work at 30 MHz ended up not the norm, so you have to mood your anticipations. The minimal device was 5.5 in by 1.5 in and significantly less than an inch thick. Which is actually not poor, but you had — optimistically — 100 mW of output electric power. They claimed the N cell batteries would last two weeks with regular use, but we picture a lot less as quickly as you commence transmitting. The pounds was 5 oz, but we suspect that is with out the batteries.

The device experienced a crystal for channel 14, and you could obtain a different crystal to get a 2nd channel. Supplied that the unit was selling for about $40 to $20, it was telling that the added crystal value $8. We heard that more than 250,000 of these were being sold. The advertisement duplicate mentions they have been used on the Television clearly show Charlie’s Angels, but we can’t image how that took place. It also mentioned it can be employed as a pager, an intercom, a telephone, or a safety product.

In operation, the products were being really simple. The 40″ antenna, when pulled out, would make the unit a little bit extra cumbersome. We identified a somewhat modern review on the CB Gazette from another person who picked up two of these on the utilised industry. Appeared like they did work, although they had been most likely no much better than a kid’s walkie-talkie.

Lots of hams change CBs to the 10-meter band or even the 6-meter band, and we surprise if a crystal would pull these to 10 meters. Ahead of mobile telephones, people today imagined we required even larger towers, additional energy, and far more channels. Turns out, it is just the opposite.