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Car phones in 1946


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Perusing an old trade magazine from February 1946, we see an announcement by Philco Corp regarding the production of mobile radio telephone equipment for cars.  I'm not sure of the technology, but suspect the service would be within a short distance.  Not sure what strength of an FM signal could be generated.

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I remember the first time seeing a guy talking on a car phone while driving. It was probably in about 1972 or 1973 on Highway 8 heading towards the beach in San Diego. Some guy in a red Porsche was on this phone that was the size of a brick! Being an architectural type, I noticed that his license plate said, "ARK TEK".

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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They were basically a two-way VHF radio system that connected to a base station with a mobile operator, who would then dial the land line number and "patch" the radio audio to the land line.   Service was generally limited to major metropolitan areas due to the relatively short range of the radio signal, which depended on terrain and how high the base antenna was located.

I wasn't around them a lot, but I don't remember being able to dial directly from the mobile system, seems like you always had to go through the mobile operator.

 

Keith

 

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Interesting. In my tube stock I have a Philco FM-1000 vacuum tube. Rare tube, not used in much equipment. Didn't say it was valuable.....?

 

I did see dial radio telephones offered by C&P Telephone (the local Bell Telephone here, Chesapeake and Potomac) installed in cars back in the 60s. I do not know the manufacturer. They operated around 170 MHz (MC back then...) and I could hear conversations on a MonitorRadio that tuned around there. No fancy scrambling of the audio!

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My uncle worked for the Department of Highways and had one in his car.  It was the Mobile Telephone VHS system as explained here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Telephone_Service

 

I recall the prefix on his mobile was 'XJ'.  There were ten available lines, and one had to wait until one was free before making the call.  The receiver itself was made by Motorola, but the phone receiver and cord was a common Western Electric unit as I recall.

 

I do recall a phone shown in an interior photo in a 1970 Ford Thunderbird brochure.  The note at the bottom of the page stated 'Telephone available from outside sources.', or something to that effect.

 

Craig

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The 1954 movie "Sabrina" starring Audrey Hepburn Showed Humphrey Bogart as Linus Larrabee in the back of his limousine using a mobile phone conducting business from his back seat office. One of the earlier cultural references to the coming age.

I am fairly sure I saw a somewhat earlier movie showing mobile phones. However, try as I might, I can't recall what movie it was?

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Had one in a 1949 Ford company car.. The business end took up the whole trunk then it had a big

Leece alternator too.  I still dream about that car a grey 4dr, spotlight, overdrive ,super silent V8 .

The phone was not used for blabbing like today only used for main office payroll use...... 

 

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10 minutes ago, GK1918 said:

Had one in a 1949 Ford company car.. The business end took up the whole trunk then it had a big

Leece alternator too.  I still dream about that car a grey 4dr, spotlight, overdrive ,super silent V8 .

The phone was not used for blabbing like today only used for main office payroll use...... 

 

Even by the late 1960's, the trunk unit was still almost the size of a breadbox.

 

Craig

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My first exposure to hand held car phones came in 1988 and was a direct outgrowth of the "Plan and Spec" bidding process for construction contractors. Every bidder would be on their way to deliver the sealed bid for a job with the bid document open on the front seat and phone in hand, waiting for the last minute to fill in the bid amount. "Radar" was on in search of competitor's bid numbers to the last moment. You filled in your number, signed, and sealed the bid in front of the bid depository.

 

I am pretty sure that is how car phones got a practical kick start. No one cared about the base bid as long as we knew the spec writer had the competency to give us a lot of change orders.

Bernie

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