That’s a Big 10-4

Jackie Gleason as Buford T. Justice

Sunday was October 4th. It was 10-4 day. I was tagged by about 10 friends in pictures from Smokey and the Bandit on Sunday. Those pictures featured Jerry Reed and Burt Reynolds. I figured I should find a good picture of Sheriff Buford T. Justice with his CB, hence the picture above.

In the 70’s and 80’s, there were no cell phones. CB radios were a big thing! Smokey and the Bandit and the Dukes of Hazzard probably helped the craze a lot I would imagine. We had CB radios in our car and one at our house. Many of my parents friends they met from knowing them on the CB.

The car units were small and mounted on the dash, above the dash or under the radio.

Mobile CB Radio

Truckers used CB radios a lot, but in the 70’s and 80’s, it wasn’t odd to see cars with CB antennas that sat on top of their roofs, or huge “whips,” as they were called to get a farther signal.

On the CB, you had a handle. It was your CB nickname. My mom was Apollo 1. My dad was Johnny B. Goode. My grandpa was Double Bogey. I was B-Flat (cause I was a trumpet player). My folks had friends who were The Italian Stalion, Booby Trap, Arabian Knight, and countless others.

My dad played in a wedding band for years (guitar – hence the Johnny B. Goode handle). I remember my mom talking with him on the CB until he got to the gig and staying up to talk to him on the way home. We had a huge antenna on the roof of our house, but it certainly wasn’t as big as some of the ones I’ve seen. I will never forget that CB and the big silver microphone the home “base” unit had. I was lucky enough to find a picture of the exact microphone below.

Home Base CB unit

If memory serves me right, the radio above was the exact radio my folks had at home.

CB radios had 40 channels on them. The most popular channel was 19. You always hear folks saying “Breaker 1-9. Breaker 1-9.” I don’t recall what channel my folks hung out on, but I know you could go to 19 and ask where the cops were (a smokey report) and check traffic, etc…

Somewhere you can find a list of CB codes (all started with 10) and they all meant something:

10-4 meant simply that you received the message.

10-7 meant you were turning off your radio and going “out of service”

10-10 meant you were done talking and standing by.

Your 10-20 was your location.

10-100 meant you had to go to the bathroom.

Putting the Hammer down meant you were going to speed up.

Got your ears on was asking if you had your CB on.

Kojak with a Kodak was a cop with a radar gun.

A Choke and Puke was a place to stop and grab greasy food.

There were all kinds of slang terms that worked their way into the language because of CB radios.

Do you remember any more?

Did you have a CB? What was your handle?

6 thoughts on “That’s a Big 10-4

  1. My wife Jennifer’s birthday is 10-4…and guess what her father did for a living in the 70’s? You guessed it…truck driver. Cool Post.

    Love the jargon

    Liked by 1 person

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