1966 FCC HELP Proposal


Fifty years ago, the FCC was considering a new radio service which never came to fruition. This was the Highway Emergency Locating Plan Radio Service (HELP), which was petitioned for by the Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. Described in the June 1965 issue of Popular Electronics, the plan called for two channels within the existing CB band, 27.235 and 27.245. For those familiar with 23 channel CB radios of the day, these were the mysterious channels 22A and 22B, which were included on the dial, but disabled.

HELP would be a new radio service, but would allow existing Class D CB operators to operate on thos channels for motorist assistance. The idea was the vehicles would be equipped with radios for these channels, for use in summoning help in an emergency. Land stations would be allowed 30 watts, with mobiles using 5 watts.

A March 1966 FCC order looked favorably on the proposal, and FCC staff was tasked with researching it further. However, it never came to fruition.

1966AvcommManufacturers were apparently eager to get on board with the HELP service. As mentioned above, most 23 channel CB radios included channels 22A and 22B. In the 1965 ad shown above, Heath advertises this 25 channel CB transceiver, including the 2 HELP channels. An asterisk next to the description of those channels points out that the FCC petition is still pending.

And shown here in the April 1966 issue of Radio TV Experimenter is a 200 milliwatt handheld, the Mark 1 HELP Transciver from the Avcomm Division of what the magazine calls “a company with the unlikely name of Ajax Floor Products Corp.”  The crystal controlled radio would operate on any frequency between 25-50 MHz.  The company promised coverage of up to a mile in tall buildings or heavy traffic areas, up to five miles line of sight, and 7 miles in open country or over water.  The receiver was a superhet, and the magazine opined that it looked “like a good bet to toss in the glove compartment if you want the reassurance of having a rig along with you on a trip without having to make a permanent installation.”

An interesting discussion of the HELP proposal can be found at RadioReference.com.


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