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Telephone Style CB's and Handsets

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Dawn

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Back in the day, you could sell a telephone style handset wired to a cb for a premium. It was sort of the accessory everybody seemed to want and "play" mobile telephone in their vehicles. Most of the manufactures went from hot to cold on this over the years. My dad's 60's vintage Sentry II mobiles that were in the work trucks had green telephone handsets wired into them factory. That was a factory option on the Companion II base he had and later the Guardian series.

That would come and go as companies would either offer a telephone handet and mobile cradle to units with a cradle as part of the unit and looked a little like a mts/imts mobile phone. Handsets were pretty much standard on older am marine radios and marine communications then handmics, but not so much in commercial where it was pretty rare and usually as a last resort with some pretty dense users that for some reason couldn't master a handmic. Don't laugh. That's really true. Hard to believe today, but there were a lot of people that never used a radio that couldn't listen, then grasp push to talk, let alone speak into the mic directly or some coordinated effort of the three functions in sequence.

Virtually every cb company at one time or another sold a mobile and/or base unit like that. RS sold a compatible handset for a short period and then came out with a 23 channel mobile that was sold out before we could stock the shelves with them when I worked there. They followed that with a 40 channel version that I guess had similar sales. Pearce Simpson always had a cradle/handset primarly for their marine base available. One of the few Lafayettes I ever seen was a telephone style unit as was a a box of Johnson units that showed up at our shop they took in as part of a trade in for real commercial gear.

I guess it's a moot point nowadays with cellphones and the novelty of a handset...think about it nowadays ...what's a handset as most people don't even use a corded handset phone anymore. Some of those older unified, mobile telephone style cb's were pretty cool for their day. I always thought that Johnson's looked closest to a real mobile phone control head. Radio Shack's was pretty neat. Johnson's base looked much like a telephone style desk radio remote head. Some of the others looked more like integrated answering machine/telephones.

Remnants of a bygone era and irrelavant today.

Any of you have a vote for what you thought was the best looking unit or had one?

Just another thought though. Besides telephone style, we can't forget the console/tapredeck style that I brought up with the Hygain thread. That too is another form factor lost to history. And very popular in it's own right during the old days.
 

CaptDan

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In NJ - back in the 1960's and even into the early 70's many police agencies had the telephone style handset in their vehicles. They were wired so when the handset was removed from the cradle the normal speaker would be turned off and the audio was heard in the speaker in the handset. This was done primarily for privacy - if the dispatcher wanted to talk to the officer without anyone else in the vehicle hearing the transmission.
 

prcguy

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In the early 1970s a good friend of mine went ga ga over the Johnson Messenger 130A 23ch CB with telephone handset and traded his Colt AR-15 rifle for one. A few years later he was feeling pretty stupid and today that rifle is probably worth $1,000 and the CB maybe $5.
prcguy
 

Darth_vader

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"Remnants of a bygone era and irrelevant today."

Nope. It's still possible to find two-way radio sets that use telephone-style handsets today. C-Tran and Tri-Met busses use them with the Motorola 800 MHz trunk rigs. Copied from the standard Western Electric G3 handset, with no push-to-talk key (the radio uses a voice-activation thing.)

And thank you for remembering to use your "Enter" key more often.
 

Cunnerman

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My great-grandmother had one in her car circa 1980. The radio I believe was older than that, transferred from an earlier vehicle. I don't know the brand, and can barely remember it. It looked exactly like a telephone receiver, the kind that everyone used to have sitting on a desk or table someplace in your home. But the CB/radio itself looked more like a base station than a mobile. I want to say that the handset and base were (mainly) tan and I don't think there was any woodgrain or chrome or anything like that. The accent or contrast color may have been brown or black. That's all I can recall about it.
 

MeddleMan

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today

To bad you can't use that in trucks today. Might be deemed "not hands free." Cobra had a wired and now a blue tooth head set device that allows for hands free OP of CB.
 

NYRHKY94

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Here's a picture of a Johnson Messenger 132 CB desk phone I picked up on E-bay. Still works too. Gotta love the 70's!
 
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NYRHKY94

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Cunnerman:

If the old Johnson was used in the car by your Grandmother, it may actually have been this model below. Mine above was designed for desk operation.
 
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Cunnerman

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NYRHKY94:

Okay now seeing that has gotten me sort of confused. I think you're right on it being the second one as it looks more like the desk/table style house phones everybody had back then. But the first photo really clicked with me too. Must be the 30+ years ago part fogging things up...
 

wheelerg

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It makes me think of the old "Cannon" TV show, William Conrad in his Lincoln calling the mobile operator..... ah memories
 

AZScanner

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It makes me think of the old "Cannon" TV show, William Conrad in his Lincoln calling the mobile operator..... ah memories
That, or the radiophone Squad 51 always used to call the hospital on "Emergency!" I loved that show growing up, although today when I watch it all these years later I can't help but wonder 2 things:

1. What kind of medical school did the doctors attend where all you needed to do was look at an EKG strip and have the paramedics give the patient lactated ringers regardless of what was wrong with 'em?

2. Why did the cop who always showed up for crowd control at the big raging fire that happened at the end of every episode wear a motorcycle helmet? He drove a patrol car!

Good times.
-AZ
 

Dawn

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Since this thread seems to be having some traction, I thought that I would throw in another sub-variant of this that had some minor popularity but never really took off the ground with CB, but sure did with commercial by the mid 70's.

There were several companies such as Data Signal that was later famous for making ham autopatches and now still is around making portable game calling devices for hunters that made a telephone type local remote control head for mobile use as did Bramco. Many of these were based on Nortel telephone flat chassis although other companies like SYT, Secode, and CPI base units used the Western electric extended desk set (looked like the Johnson 132) or the standard telephone desk set with a speaker grill for the dial.

There were a few marketed to CB. Data Signal sold a mobile unit that had an accessory mount targeted to the CB and Amateur market. They simply plugged into the radio mic connector and speaker for a "mobile phone experience". Audio came through the speaker until the handset was lifted and a led lit up during transmit and rx audio was trimmed by an L pad. No electronics really. Since these were also sold to commercial users with subaudible tone hang-up switching and some cases dtmf pads, they weren't cheap for the guy owning a $150 cb and these sold for over half that.

There was another company that may be the same as the one that made all those pedestal base mounts for sears,lafayette,radio shack, and oem'd for other companies. That's the flat base that took a mobile with power supply on the side.

A variant of that sold well during the early days of 800 mhz trunked radio for control stations that were usually 5 watts or less mobile units. The radio sat on the flat pedestal that was adjustable and had the little power supply on the right to make a base package. They came out with one that had a telephone handset laying on a hook switch on the left and placed a front firing speaker on the power supply for a compact base control unit. Those came out around the early 80's and probably too expensive for a CB'er that would have probably preferred a big box base anyways.

Last thought goes back to Johnson. They may have marketed the two units above in telephone dress like lafayette,cobra,radio shack, and everyone else, but they also had one of the mobiles that used the horizontal rotary switch that had a built-in selective call unit and a horizontal handset holder with wired in handset. I remember seeing it in an article in S9 I think as a complete factory integrated unit. The article mentioned that the selective call unit "rang like a telephone bell". I don't know the model and really never worked on that many Johnsons, but it had to be concurrent with the above units betwen '72-'75 when I got the magazine and Radio-Electronics that also featured company press releases of new products.

I used to do service for a local marine outfit that didn't want to bother with cb's they sold. While Pearce Simpson/Gladding sold "marinized" cb's for a harsher marine enviornment under the Shakespeare label towards the end of the 70's, they also sold most of their regular cb's through marine channels down here since they were historically a marine radio and marine electronics company.

They sold one of the mid featured AM set in a telephone handset cradle mounted below a regular radio as a marine oriented unit. That was nothing new for PS though, My dad's Sentry II's had wired in green handsets and it was an option for his business base Companion II during the 60's.

Any of this evoke any memories?

Oh, how the hell could you watch Emergency and not be paying attention to Nurse Dixie. Only thing I remember radio was later in SWAT where the opening seen had all those Radio Shack UHF Hi/Low scanners sweeping the channel lockout buttons. Didn't one of the characters on Hill Street Blues also show up to any scene wearing a motorcycle helmet even though he drove a car. Wore glasses IIRC.
 

sphipps

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Here's a picture of a Johnson Messenger 132 CB desk phone I picked up on E-bay. Still works too. Gotta love the 70's!
First base CB my father bought in '75. He quickly lost interest in CB and as a little kid I hooked anything that was metal up to it to use as a makeshift antenna... fence wire, music stand, etc... and the thing was indestructible. Still worked like new when I eventually cleaned house and gave it to Goodwill.
 

wheelerg

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1. What kind of medical school did the doctors attend where all you needed to do was look at an EKG strip and have the paramedics give the patient lactated ringers regardless of what was wrong with 'em?

2. Why did the cop who always showed up for crowd control at the big raging fire that happened at the end of every episode wear a motorcycle helmet? He drove a patrol car!

Good times.
-AZ[/QUOTE]

Cant answer those questions but I do know Dixie was a cougar...... she died back in 2000 at age of 74,
 

prcguy

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The phone in the Cannon Lincoln appeared to be an actual VHF telephone of the time. They used to film that series in my town and I met Mr. Conrad on location once and his personal car was a similar Lincoln. He was an avid CB'r on ch16 SSB and he gave me his CB QSL card which I misplaced over the years.
prcguy

It makes me think of the old "Cannon" TV show, William Conrad in his Lincoln calling the mobile operator..... ah memories
 

Dawn

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Boy, that one evoked a memory! Show with weekly scenes of a morbidly obese man running in a suit with a snub nosed pistol in his hand sweating bullets chasing somebody. Even if they used a stand-in, I'm surprised he didn't drop dead during the show for the few scenes he actually had to physically exert himself.

Amazing times many of us have lived through. Up to the moment I've been thinking about how difficult it would have been to explain the cb boom or the latter 70's disco/cocaine cowboy era to someone young today. Now try to imagine explaining some of those old tv shows like Cannon and Supertrain. I'm sure they would think that the national water supply had been compromised with some kind of hullucinagen.

Gee, historical fact can be stranger then fiction

To think I cut my young tech teeth working on those old MTS and later IMTS behomoths like the moto tld 1100 & 1400 series mobile telephones of the day. White plastic control heads with wood grain eschutcheons and a rotary dial with the cradle across or below the dial....oh yeah, they all had a key lock in on them. Most off those rich @$$hats that had them, which you could only load a system with just so many, unlike a cell system were paying bills in excess of $300-$400 a month between rental and service. It was just for the few, privledged to have a mobile phone that anyone could listen to with his portable public service band/am/fm radio (something else that's vanished) or a crystal controlled scanner. There were a few tunable UHF receivers too. Again, multiply that figure by 4.5 to get that in today's dollars. Add an 8 track player to that multiband ps radio while you're at it.

Wow, we really were drinking something in the water back then. Imagine the look on some kids face that his doctor was paying $1575 a month to have a cell phone and charged bucks by the minute on the air. Could a tv program with a 400lb sweaty detective chasing bad guys without having a heart attack on every episode fly nowadays on network tv? How about explaining that president's wife is secretly talking on the cb with the handle of "first mamma" knocking back a bottle of vodka while strung out on prescription meds?

Amazing what we lived through already.
 
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