Spurious Signals Cartoons

“Ham radio on the moon in 2069,” cover illustration

“Spurious Signals” is a cartoon that appears monthly in CQ Amateur Radio Magazine and previously in Popular Communications Magazine until 2013.

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.

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?

Opinions expressed at jaythurber.com and jaythurbershow.com and on “Radio 9” are not those of CQ Amateur Radio Magazine, CQ Communications or its staff or contributors, and this page is not controlled or endorsed by CQ Communications.

CQ cartoon, Jan. 2023

I often do a “CQ Predicts” cartoon for the first issue of the new year. It helps to have a working familiarity with The Amazing Criswell. I wish I had enough hair to comb it into a spit curl. Criswell: Cartoon: (Cartoons are posted about a month after they appear in the magazine. To see…

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…

CQ cartoon, Jan. 2022

Like a lot of the “Spurious Signals” cartoons, this is based in fact. I did go back to Season 1, Episode 1 of “M*A*S*H” and start watching the show all the way through, and I did try to figure out if Radar’s radio was a real piece of military equipment or just a mock-up built…

CQ cartoon, Dec. 2021

Another cartoon somewhat based in reality. Ever since I was a kid, I did want a Zenith Trans-Oceanic portable radio, but they went out of production when I was very small. By the time I got interested in radio, the remaining Trans-Oceanics were becoming rare and very collectible. Even scruffy examples were selling for hundreds…

CQ cartoon, Nov. 2021

The “mountain-top guru” is one of the oldest cliches in American cartooning. I decided to do my own spin on the trope. Why did the guru climb the mountain? He wasn’t seeking enlightenment, he was trying to win a DX contest.

CQ cartoon, Oct. 2021

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When all you have are radios, everything looks like an antenna.

CQ cartoon, Sept. 2021

This may be the most popular cartoon I’ve ever done for CQ magazine. It was picked up by several web forums and hobby blogs and went viral for a few days. Some from a U.S. government laboratory emailed me to say it was being widely circulated among the electronics techs there, which blew my mind.…

CQ cartoon, Aug. 2021

The National Hamfest is one of the United Kingdom’s largest radio hobbyist events. It’s held in the fall in Nottinghamshire. My wife is blessedly tolerant, but I’ve never really planned one of our vacations around a ham radio event. (I have been known to take a shortwave radio with me to see what I can…

CQ cartoon, July 2021

Lots of people ask me, “I just bought a vintage radio” or guitar amp or record player or hi-fi or whatever, and they want to know if they can just plug it in and turn it on. It depends on your tolerance for fire. Old-time radios are full of capacitors (sometimes called “condensers”) — components…

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