"Stubby" published in print
|Stubby is the little
guy, the poor schmuck who gets dumped on, gets no respect, tries hard to
be something more than himself, and always seems to get the short end of
the stick. That's not to say he isn't a nice guy, for he is. He just doesn't
know much about the great wide world, so he comes off as being not as bright
as he really is. He's just sort of .......uninformed. He also has
no luck with the ladies, needless to say.
For those unfamiliar with Amateur Radio (or Ham Radio), Stubby is a very early model walkie-talkie, or handi-talkie of the 2-Meter variety (that's a VHF frequency band for Amateur Radio). He got his name because of his antenna. Early walkie-talkies had metal telescoping antennas like a boom-box radio, and they were easily broken. Then along came the flexible wire antenna encased in rubber, called a "Rubber Duckie" (like his friend, Crystal, has). Then a much shorter, fatter rubberized antenna was invented called a "Stubby Ducky". And that's where "Stubby" got his name. He was patterned after a simple kit-built Heathkit crystal controlled handi-talkie. He has only 6 preset channels, and no fancy gadgets. Stubby is a pretty simple fellow.
|Stubby's "friends" include Crystal, Synthie and Max.|
Crystal is another basic "crystal controlled" 2-Meter handi-talkie, but she has 10 preset channels. She's kind of sweet on Stubby, though she gets very flustered with him because he's not cool and high-tech like Max. Stubby isn't as worldy as Max, so she just can't help being a little infatuated with Max's suave personality. (Crystal's antenna is a "Rubber Duckie".)
Synthie is a slightly more modern 2-Meter handi-talkie. Her channels are "synthesized" by using a combination of crystal frequencies and early digital technology to produce many channels, selected by the thumbwheel on her top. Her LED digital display and custom leather case sets her apart from "ordinary" crystal controlled radios. Her vanity even keeps her from getting along with Crystal much of the time. Synthie thinks Stubby is crude and unrefined, and she has a huge crush on Max. (Synthie has a standard telescoping antenna.)
Max was the ultimate handi-talkie of the 1980's. He could go on any 2-Meter channel because he was totally microprocessor controlled, like a mini-computer. If there was a bell or whistle he didn't have, it's because it had not been invented yet. He had more buttons, keys and switches than the dashboard of the space shuttle. His digital display was LCD instead of the old LED type. He was the Amateur Radio equivalent of Inspector Gadget. Of course, poor old Stubby was green with envy because of Max's fantastic capabilities. But Max's technological superiority came with a price. For you see, like all "computers" (especially those early microprocessors of the day) Max was subject to (how shall I put this politely?).... occasional "glitches". This did not, however, seem to matter to the ladies, who thought Max was a dream.
Ready to enter Stubby's world?
Now that you know a little about the characters it's time to visit Stubby's world. The comments in red that accompany some of the cartoons can help you understand some of the "inside" jokes originally designed for the Amateur Radio audience.