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CB’ing it all the way to Guate

Three months from now we’ll be on the road bound for Guatemala. One of our main concerns is our safety and making sure we have as many ways as we can to stay connected to the local communities we pass through. Ideally we thought we’d have the Mad Max mobile loaded with a GPS unit, police scanner and radar detector but last night after speaking to Victor Miles at the Art Deco Weekend By The Bay exhibition, I got another idea!

Miles has been collecting old AM radios and restoring them to their original state for over 20 years. He’s got some beauties over the years and knows a lot about ancient electronics. We were reminiscing about all the oldies AM radio shows and soon started discussing shortwave radio. He mentioned something called a Reims Adapter that you add to your car stereo and it receives shortwave frequencies. I looked it up and the BMW forums had this great entry:

“A Becker Reims adapter for short-wave reception which was attached to the lower portion of the radio under the speaker cabinet. In Europe, parts of Asia and North Africa the long-wave band (150-280 KHz) is used for broadcasting. Radio sets from this part of the world have the LW (long-wave, LF) and the BC (AM or MW) band and the short-wave band in use. The long-wave band is very interesting because long distance reception during the day and DX (very long distance at night) is possible. In America and Australia the long-wave broadcast band was not in widespread use so the car radios built for export did not include it. Around 1958 as technology advanced, the heavy power supplies were first replaced by smaller solid-state transistorized units. In the early 1960s the electronic parts got small enough that the power supply was being included with the tuner and amplifier as a self-contained unit. By 1962 tubes finally disappeared from automobile radio design altogether.”

When I mentioned shortwave to Brad he connected the dots and said, “Why not just get a CB radio? They broadcast on shortwave!” Of course! I had totally forgotten how many CB’ers there are all over Mexico and Latin America. Of course, this video helped bring it all back:

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