2012-08-30 / Lifestyles

Signing off, ten-four

Lois A. Corcoran

It seemed like a good idea at the time. While friends enjoyed their high tech cell phones, my Better Half and I resurrected citizen’s band radios from the 70s. No call waiting or quick dial for us Neanderthals. No sirree...

I remember the windy, harrowing day Dan installed the antenna on the roof of our house. The eyesore rose 45 feet in the air, the better for us to tune in each other. Then he stationed a base unit at our shack in Stonington, setting the stage for regular communication.

Or so we thought.

Plenty of static greeted us the first time we tried to make contact. After a few adjustments, we attempted it again. “Can you hear me now?” Dan asked – a phrase he’s uttered so much, it may be chiseled on his grave.

I actually did hear him with crystal clarity one time when conditions were right. The atmosphere held not a trace of humidity, the moon aligned with Venus, and the Packers won the Super Bowl.

But hearing my honey was not an option when skip came up. As I understand it, “skip” is interference from transmitting devices all over the planet. Thus we heard garbled conversations courtesy of everything from TVs to baby monitors.

Thanks to skip, CBers have been known to hear snippets of chatter all the way from Australia. At least till the whistles, hums, and other weird noises drown them out. When he first heard the din, my then 3-year-old said, “It sounds wike outer space.” Personally, I wished I could skip the skip.

But other conditions proved annoying, too. Like when one of us – I won’t mention his name – changed channels and forgot to turn them back. specialistOn rare occasionsschedulewhen Septembermy signal got through, my Better Half would be off fishing or chopping wood. Where’s an answering machine when ya need one?

Dan’s timing wasn’t much better. Often he’d call while I was knee deep in a project. “How ‘bout that Tootsie?” I’d hear when halting wasn’t an option.

Back in the 70s, chatting on the CB, with its comical jargon, proved a fun pastime. But you don’t hear much “ten-four”-ing any more, and raw language took the glitter out of the game.

Not long ago, Dan dismantled the whole shebang, officially marking2012:Layoutthe end 1of an8/era.28/2012So this4:23 is Tootsie, signing off

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