A.K.A - I CAN BE LIKE A DOG WITH A BONE
[I DON'T FORGET]
Here we are in 2019. But first, let's look at what I wrote 10 years ago -
WAS IT OR WASN'T IT DEPT.
In 2001, I wrote about this unique T.I. CB, and wondered if anyone had ever seen or owned one. I never got a reply from someone who did. But the saga continues:
TEXAS INSTRUMENTS, the Calculator/IC manufacturer was supposed to introduce a new CB in the late 70's (1977/78), model number SM-172/mobile SM-173/Base. This was a unique radio: Remote mount with all the controls in the mike-head.
"Hey" you exclaim, "There's nothing unique about that". This is true my friends, but this is the only one I know of that was AM AND SSB! The other interesting feature was the "Auto-Tune" clarifier.
TI said that it would auto tune your SSB signals for you and maybe that's why I don't recall seeing more than just a picture of one (How in the world would is determine which SSB signal you wanted clarified?).
If you remember those first handheld TI calculators with the little red LED display then you recognise the "look" of this am-ssb-in-the-mike rig. If anyone actually OWNS one, send me an e-mail with some photo's and your comments!
Every day, information is easier than ever to find on the Internet, and especially so in GOOGLE Books. I was doing a search (unrelated to TI) on Citizens Band Radio when I happened across a treasure trove of Popular Mechanics magazines, on GOOGLE BOOKS, that went back beyond the birth of CB.
So now I was curious to see if their coverage of the "new" 40 channel radios had any further mention of the TI CB and hit pay dirt! While this was not an in-depth article on the TI radio, it did offer further details:
First of all - does anyone else think this guy looks like a young Donald Trump? No? Okay. Moving on...
After the 23 channel radio blood bath (which forbid selling non-40 channel radios after January 1977), "review" articles appeared in many CB magazines extolling the virtues of the new rigs.
In November 1977, Popular Mechanics had a several page article detailing the new SSB sets on the market, as well as transceivers that would soon come out.
One such rig was the Texas Instrument SM-172/173 series of computer aided transceivers.
The mobile unit was to sell for around $300, with the base station only $100 more. For either rig, the handheld microphone was the heart of operations. Featuring a LED channel display you could change channels easily as well as select your mode of operation (AM-LSB-USB). The complete features on the microphone were:
- Channel selector
- Mode selector
- Volume up/down
- Keypad with direct channel input
- Clear channel scan
- SWR Check
- Selective call
The selective call idea was nothing new to CB radio however TI's approach was. It would only work between two different TI transceivers with each radio having its own unique digital identifier so only another identifier loaded in memory could break squelch
The SM series also offered automatic frequency clarification. When the microphone was keyed it would send out a very brief two-tone signal which would be used by another SM series radio to get exactly on frequency - negating the use of a clarifier when two of these transceivers communicated.
While innovative to the max, it's easy to see how this CB would have failed. Their closed system architecture, while futuristic, was predicated with the knowledge that it could only work between one TI CB and another.
Could this be why the TI system never saw the light of day, and was quickly killed off by Texas Instruments itself?
Unless any new info comes my way we will have to assume the answer is "YES", or, another update in 2029?