CB interest is alive and well in Paynesville

This article submitted by Nosza Piotrowski on 4/7/98.

Even though interest in CBs might have peaked in the 70s, they are far from being obsolete. For those that use them on a regular basis, they have expressed their interest in the topic much as one would express interest in the subject of telephones and their operation. In the words of one CB operator it is ďNo big deal.Ē But to those unfamiliar with CB equipment it remains a mystery.

CB users vary in age, sex, and other aspects as well. They are not all truck drivers, although they do rely on CBs. Tracy Hickman of Paynesville uses her CB to keep in touch with her husband. Dan Vander-Beek of St. Martin mainly got into CBs because of the fun factor, but has on occasion had to use his for emergency purposes, such as a flat tire, running out of gas, calling for help when someoneís stuck in a ditch, etc. And for others it is just a hobby.

Besides practical usage, CBers in Paynesville play CB tag. This is a game where CBers choose one person to hide from the rest of the group (in their vehicles) on public property. That person has to provide three clues to the rest of the group as to their whereabouts, when the CB meter has a higher reading they know they are approaching the person they wish to discover. They do it for fun, but say that after playing it so many times, they run out of spots to park and sometimes have to resort to the backyards of the CBers.
Most CB operators are aware of the rights and wrongs of CB use, they know that swearing is prohibited, although opinions differ on how much goes on. Some say all the time and others say it happens now and then.

There are 40 CB channels. Channel 8 is the most popular for Paynesville, channel 23 for St. Cloud, and channel 9 is used exclusively for emergencies.

CB technology very well might have been the forerunner of the cell phone, the pager, and the Internet. Yet unlike these technologies, CBers are more heavily regulated by the FCC. Users practically relinquish their rights to privacy, since CBs are meant to broadcast their message indiscriminately, because of this, language termed foul or indecent is prohibited. Verbally harassing others or being indecent over the airwaves can mean a fine of up to $100,000 or up to two years in prison.

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