Saturday, 30 December 2017

10 – 10 till we break again

One of the latest book reviews from Hyperallergic introduces us to the unknown but rather familiar radio subculture of citizens’ bandwidth (CB) operators of 1970s and 80s UK.
Employing handles and coded toponyms that could be easily at home in the hobbyists’ current mode of communication, operators navigating the airwaves and sounding out fellow-enthusiasts wanted to remain anonymous—up to a certain extent since there was celebrity in these circles as in every endeavour, especially for the authorities—because while it was permissible to own such a radio receiver (subject to a licensing-fee, I imagine), it was against regulations to broadcast and considered piracy to do so.
Nonetheless, these networks of scofflaws persisted and sometimes arranged community gatherings so they could meet and mingle in person. To maintain aloofness from potential self-incrimination, attendees had calling-cards printed up to pass around with their handle and a bit about their broadcasting habits and haunts—eyeball cards or eyeballing the exchange was called to signify a face-to-face encounter. Be sure and check out the link above to learn more about these radio renegades and the profiles of the operators behind these aliases and the publication that is part of the new Four Corners Press Irregulars series.