CQ cartoon for Aug. 2023

It looks like I forgot to post the August 2023 cartoon from CQ Amateur Radio Magazine. This is another one of those “it happened in real life” moments from the recent trip a friend and I made to the Dayton Amateur Radio Association’s clubhouse in Huber Heights, Ohio.

As always, a reminder that these cartoons are posted after they’ve appeared in CQ. If you want to see them when they’re new, and catch up on the amateur electronics hobby, why not subscribe today?

Not so funny any more

2007 cartoon that I posted for a small audience on a Usenet group

(Today’s trivia question: I’ll award one solid brass figlagee with bronze oak leaf palm to the first person who can tell me the significance of the names on the tombstone. Answer at the end of this post.)

We moved recently and I’ve been cleaning out some old files. I found this cartoon that I did in 2007 and thought I’d share it.

I used to spend a lot of time on Usenet, the pre-social media all-text message board service. Before there was Facebook, Twitter or Reddit, before even LiveJournal, Usenet was an international network of message boards. In the 1990s, it was mostly open only to corporations, colleges and universities. Somewhere in the late 1990s, America OnLine, Delphi and other Internet service providers enabled their users to access Usenet — the so-called “endless September” or “eternal September” — and the volume of traffic soon increased. So did spam, trolls, abusive conversations and everything else that has come to define our current social-media climate.

That’s right, kiddos, every time someone says “there was no way to predict that lack of moderation on social media would lead to an increase in Nazis and white supremacists,” I’m here to say that everyone on Usenet saw in, like, 2000 that unfettered Internet access to public opinion led directly to an increase in abuse, including a rise in hate groups and con artists, and eventually made Usenet almost unusable. (“Marge, my friend, I haven’t learned a thing.”)

Usenet, in other words, was an early victim of what Cory Doctorow calls “enshittification.”

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CQ cartoon, July 2023

Sorry! I realized I forgot to post my July 2023 cartoon for CQ Amateur Radio Magazine.

This month’s cartoon was a tribute to the late Al Jaffee, who contributed to Mad Magazine for an incredible 65 years before his death in April at age 102.

Jaffee was the originator of a number of long-running features in the magazine, including the “Fold-In” cartoon on the back page, and “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.”

As always, a reminder that these cartoons are posted after they’ve appeared in CQ. If you want to see them when they’re new, and catch up on the amateur electronics hobby, why not subscribe today?

CQ cartoon, June 2023

CQ Amateur Radio Magazine, June 2023

My cartoon from this month’s CQ Amateur Radio Magazine. This was inspired by a visit I made recently to the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting between Cincinnati and Dayton.

The museum is located at what was once the Bethany, Ohio, shortwave radio relay station for Voice of America, beginning in 1942. It was located there because it was built by Cincinnati-based Crosley Broadcasting Corp., which had already been doing experiments in high-powered shortwave radio and AM radio broadcasting. (The Bethany station is next to the transmission tower for WLW 700 AM radio, which for a short period of time broadcast at 500,000 watts — 10 times the most powerful AM stations legally allowed today in the U.S.)

It also was located there because it was well inland from the reach of German bombers, if World War II had ever come to that. Programming never originated from Ohio; it always came from VOA studios elsewhere, including New York City and Washington, D.C.

Although Voice of America still broadcasts on shortwave radio, those transmissions come from radio stations mostly overseas in U.S. allied countries. The Bethany station was closed during Clinton administration budget cuts in 1994.

Anyway, if you’re in the Cincinnati or Dayton area, the museum is well worth your time.

As always, a reminder that these cartoons are posted after they’ve appeared in CQ. If you want to see them when they’re new, and catch up on the amateur electronics hobby, why not subscribe today?

CQ cartoon, May 2023

CQ Amateur Radio Magazine, May 2023 issue

This week, I’ll be headed to Dayton, Ohio — actually, Xenia, a little bit to the southeast — for the annual Dayton Hamvention, billed as the world’s largest gathering of amateur radio operators, or “hams.”

(My show this Saturday will be produced and broadcast from Hamvention, and I’ll be talking to some people at the convention. However, this week’s show will only be on Tube City Online Radio, because WRCT will be off the air due to a scheduled power outage on the Carnegie Mellon University campus. Plan your Saturday afternoon accordingly, ha ha.)

A lot of people think that “amateur radio” is what I do on Saturdays, but “ham radio” is not broadcasting — it’s transmitting messages from point-to-point, or from one person (or group of people) to another.

In fact, there are special frequencies set aside for amateur radio, and a license is required to use them. People with an amateur radio license are specifically prohibited from using those frequencies for “broadcasting” to the general public. (There’s nothing to stop you from listening to those transmissions, of course, but the person sending messages on those frequencies is not supposed to be sending them primarily for amusement or entertainment.)

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CQ cartoon, April 2023

Cartoon from the April 2023 issue of CQ Amateur Radio Magazine

(As always, a reminder that these cartoons are posted after they’ve appeared in CQ Amateur Radio Magazine. Why not subscribe today?)

This is true: Remember the freak-out a few months ago when a Chinese “spy balloon” was observed crossing into U.S. airspace, and Republicans and Fox News (but I repeat myself) lost their ever-loving minds, demanding that Sleepy Joe Biden do something and the military was ordered to shoot down any more “spy balloons”?

Well, at least one of the “spy balloons” shot down by the U.S. military in February was apparently an observation balloon launched by a ham radio club.

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CQ cartoon, March 2023

Probably everyone who’s ever been married or in a long-term relationship knows the most perilous question you can answer is, “What are you doing right now?” closely followed by, “How do I look?” and “What should we have for dinner tonight?”

(And in all fairness, I’ve done it to my wife more than once, and she’s then found herself dragged to some ham radio or record collector event.)

Sunday afternoons are made for listening to the radio, reading, and napping. (Is there a better nap during the week than the one after church and a big breakfast?)

Cartoons are posted after they have already appeared in the magazine in print and digital form. To see the cartoons when they’re new, why not subscribe?

These cartoons are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without express written permission. To get permission to use a cartoon in a non-profit club newsletter or other format, email jaythurbershow@gmail.com.

CQ cartoon, Feb. 2023

CQ Amateur Radio Magazine, Feb. 2023

From time to time, for my monthly cartoons in CQ Amateur Radio Magazine, I draw a “dubious moment in radio history.” It’s almost always based on some actual momentous occasion, but with a dumb anachronistic punchline.

For instance, in 2012, a Georgetown law student testified to Congress in favor of legal access to birth control. Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Dozens of sponsors pulled their advertising from his show.

I quickly drew a cartoon for CQ‘s then-sister publication, Popular Communications, which depicted legendary old-time radio announcer Graham McNamee getting in trouble in the 1930s for referring to a woman who wore trousers as a “harlot”:

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Like it so much, I’ll doodle some more

(Optional soundtrack for this post.)

I suppose the fact that my real name isn’t “Jay Thurber” isn’t a surprise to a lot of folks. I picked the DJ name more than 20 years ago as a tribute to my favorite writer and cartoonist, and it just kind of “stuck.” But I use my real name everywhere else (including the talk show I produce for WEDO and WZUM), and on the cartoons I draw each month for CQ Amateur Radio Magazine.

I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a crayon, and took some summer art classes in high school, but I’m more or less untrained, and it sometimes shows. I didn’t learn how to use a lightbox until very recently, and I stuck to an old-fashioned metal pin and inkwell for much too long. I still haven’t learned to use a digital tablet and stylus.

I did editorial cartoons for the college paper, as well as a weekly comic strip, but after graduation, I more or less went back into the art closet, so to speak, for about 10 years, rarely drawing anything. (For a short time in the 2000s, I was freelancing editorial cartoons for a small chain of weekly papers in New England, but the editor who was buying them had … shall we say … a difference of opinion with the owners, so that ended that.)

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