Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"TIRED"
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I was on the way to work Monday morning, driving the S.O.W. (shack-on-wheels), and had only been on the freeway for about 5 miles when I got a lot of vibration and heard the sound of air escaping at a rapid rate. It was enough to tell me that I had a flat. I managed to get over to the narrow "safety" lane and got out of my car to see just what tire was flat and to my amazement, this is what I saw! I looked back up the freeway for some sign of the rest of the tire, but nada. In all my years of driving and various flat tires, I've never seen one like this. I'm still driving the doughnut, but will work on getting it, and possibly any other suspect tires replaced so I can make it to the Belton hamfest. *Note - I'd hate to see what could have happened if I had been driving a Suck-U-V.
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MEAT & POTATO RIGS PART ONE:
E.F.JOHNSON
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Some rigs catch your eye with bell's and whistles, colored lights or meters,etc. While others catch your attention in other ways, like quality workmanship, and performance. The E.F. Johnson CB's caught my attention that way. In many cases they weren't much to look at, and sparse on knobs, but what counted was inside the rig, and I guess Edgar F. Johnson knew that when he set the standards for his radios.
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There were plenty of flashy, chrome and woodgrain rigs to catch the crow's eye, but while my buddies were drooling over one of that kind, I was staring at the EFJ 123 and 323....plain and simple. I was into specs, and when the yearly comparison magazine came out I'd compare sensitivity and adjacent channel rejection between radios. E.F. Johnson usually came out on top of the heap.
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My first Johnson rig was the Messenger 124. I picked up a used one and selected it because the Adjacent Channel Rejection was 60+ db, as opposed to the Realistic TRC-23b with a measly 42 db.
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This meant a lot to me because the Nefarious "Bald Eagle" lived so close, I needed as much adj. ch. rejection as possible. And, you have to admit, the 124 was a good looking rig (albeit lacking the bells and whistles). It was my FAVORITE AM rig and I talked all over New England with plenty of compliments on my signal and audio. The stock hand microphone was a joy - it seemed to fit into my hand like it was custom made......but I never could understand why they put the microphone jack in the back of the radio. It wasn't so bad on the base, but it was a real bugger when it came to mobile units.
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For some reason, I was obsessed with getting an EFJ-123 mobile, perhaps it was the simplicity of it's design, I don't know. But it wasn't until last year that I finally bought one, new-in-the-box. They came out with a 123SJ, which was part black and part chrome, but it never appealed to me like the plain, black 123 did. The 323 was also something I drooled after, but it wasn't until a few years later that I really found my favorite EFJ...
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Yes, I'm talking about the E.F.Johnson Viking 352. Nothing flashy, but all black, with minimal controls, and the EFJ hand microphone that fit me like a glove was all I ever wanted in a mobile SSB rig. I received plenty of compliments on the airwaves regarding the audio quality, and I ran it barefoot, yet had no problems getting where I wanted.
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It was used on several cross country trips from Houston to San Diego, in my little MG Midget, and I can still recall driving through the desert with the top down....the cool air blowing around my friend and I - and the DX that came and went. My memory is a bit foggy on what happened to it, but I think I sold it because not too long after purchasing it, the new 40ch rigs came out and there weren't too many operators sticking by ch. 16/17, they had all moved up to 35-40.
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So what am I using in the car now?? The next best thing - The E.F.J Viking 4740, which looks identical to the 352, only it has 40 channels and a digital display...and yes, the microphone still connects in the back (Grrrr).
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So here's a trivia question for ya:
"How many SSB CB rigs did Johnson make?"
(answer in my next blog post)
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2 comments:

  1. I like your articles on johnson I still run my 4740 Iuse it for ssb nice rx very good ssb audio on tx I wish I could find another one I also run a 250 base I am trying to get my turner +3 desk mic wired up to it but can't find any info on it my 4740 also goes to 27.675 good articles take care Mike D

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  2. It looks like late the '70's Kraco CB's stole there styling from the Jhonson Viking 352.My first CB (1975) was a Jhonson Messinger 123A (with the secret 23a channel!!!) that I ran with an old car battery under my night stand.I think it rotted out the floor underneath the table.What a wonderful time it was when you could talk two towns away and that was like talking to another country.dan

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