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The CB Boogy-Man

Some ham's remain bitter about the events of the past 10 years. Many think that the code requirements should never have been changed and should have remained at 5, 13, and 20 WPM there shouldn't never have been a no-code license. The debates about whether code serves as an effective "LID filter" or that it builds character have been debated endlessly and continue on to this day. These types of arguments usually end up with somebody saying that amateur radio is becoming just like CB radio and that's where the discussion usually ends.

I find it odd that even today, CB remains the pariah of amateur radio. Among hams it's the poster child of disgust, where many view it as a frying pan labeled "this is your brain on CB". Like Rodney Dangerfield, CB get's no respect and worse yet, CB users are often faced with downright hatred, discrimination and bigotry by the ham population. A lot of hams who formerly experimented with CB won't admit to having a former life as a foot warming DX'er or an avid freebander. For many it's mentioned only in the kind of hushed secrecy that one might use when talking about having smoked pot back in high school. Then, to top it off, are some arrogant hams who want to make sure that everybody knows that "I was never a CB'er..." as if it were some sort of badge of honor. I wonder however, "why all the fuss?".

It seems that if one were to ask a group of hams to characterize the typical CB'er, you could expect to hear adjectives like: "stupid", "outlaw", "immoral", and "not to be trusted around children, sheep and garbage cans". The ironic thing is that I've often thought the same thing while listening to 40 meters! Some will be quick to point out that what I heard on 40 was a direct result of the reduction of the code requirements but then I mention that I heard this back in 1988! We have met the CB'er, and he is among us.

In a recent QRZ poll, over 8,000 of the respondents, 72% of those voting, indicated that CB was still "a problem that needs to be better regulated". I'm nothing short of amazed at this figure and at the number of hams who perceive CB as a threat. What do these voters want or expect the FCC to do? Prison? The electric chair?

Where's the problem? Driving around the Phoenix metropolitan area, one seldom sees a CB antenna anymore. The CB'ers don't seem to be encroaching on our spectrum and they never make the 6 o'clock news. Just exactly where is this dangerous threat anyway? Why do so many accomplished hams with proven and certified technical and Morse code skills continue to fear the dreaded CB boogy-man?

And finally, to quote Rodney King, "why can't we all just get along"?

-Fred AA7BQ