View Full Version : So whats a keydown or break as they are sometimes called

12-03-2011, 12:40 AM
For those of you new to the hobby or just passing through Amateur radio has Field Day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_Day_(amateur_radio)).CB has keydowns.
What’s a keydown? I too scratched my head the first time I heard it. When I clicked on over to Google to find out more, I didn’t find much on the subject due to outdated websites and broken links, apparently because 90% of CB users online used the now-defunct Geocities to host their sites. When I did stumble upon a site with information, I was wading hip-deep into the cesspool that is CB slang. I had to veer off the course to find out what words like “mudduck” “Watergate tapes” “two-pill” and “swing” meant. By then, I was in too deep to not find out what the hell a keydown competition is. After all, they had their own rap song and music video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyAqzFXDMys&feature=related) about this hobby.
After I spent a few late nights delving into CB radio culture, I was intrigued at the pieces of the puzzle I put together.
Apparently, keydown competitions are where CB users gather at an outdoor location, typically in the southern states, to show off their rigs with fellow hobbyists. The rigs are usually early-model dark-colored Chevy Suburbans outfitted with a CB radio, amplifiers that sometimes occupy the entire vehicle cabin, and usually a very large vertical antenna array attached to the front bumper via a heavy-duty steel beam. These outfits require so much power that the engines are upgraded to include four or more alternators (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRDA64OegJY). These rigs are clearly intended to transmit with more than the 4 watts of power that is allowed by the FCC.
So what’s the point of a keydown competition? Contestants compete two at a time by parking at a line side-by-side, very much like the starting line for a drag racing competition. Contestants are given directions and a CB channel to tune to. The “flagger” — the person that signals the start of the competition — will raise his or her hands to signal the beginning of the competition (and to begin keying using full power) and then will lower his or her hands to signal that the competition is over and to stop keying. The loser of the competition can request his or her competitor for a rematch.
While the contestants are keying down, each contestant usually yells his or her handle into the radio (usually resulting in over-deviation). The winner of the competition is decided by which contestant can be heard over the radio, as identified by the handle they were yelling into the radio or another identifier (the winner in the embedded video above was identified by saying ONE ONE ONE repetitively). The more power, the better.
In the case that neither contestant was heard, there is usually one person designated to keep an official “Watergate tape,” which means that person records the audio of the competition. Whichever contestant is heard on the Watergate tape wins. No other tapes can be accepted as a Watergate tape.

http://www.kdsanders.com/media/2010/03/mt-12.JPG.jpegA frame grab from a keydown video. Excessive RF caused audio bleedover into the video camera and caused image distortion before the RFI forced the camera to eject the VHS tape and shut the camera's power off.

No doubt that spectators in the vicinity will get sterilized by the thousands of watts of power that their reproductive organs are being exposed to during competition. In a lot of the competitions, the sheer abundance of RF produced by both competitors can cause interference to video cameras, and in some cases, will force the video cameras to eject the tape and power down (http://www.bigradios.com/2005/video/1998/).What does the winner receive? Depending on the event, the winner will receive a cash reward or a trophy, but he or she will always win the bragging rights. There are indeed contestants with targets on their backs — the Brett Favre, the A-Rod, the Dale Earnhardt of CB radio. “Sha Sha,” “Blue Gill,” and “T-Bird” seem to be the people to beat. You can view a video of Sha Sha beating T-Bird here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h7GILsLzV0&feature=related).
While a lot of my colleagues in the amateur radio community can easily discount CB’ers (or “chickenbanders” as they may affectionately call them), generally, the engineering and creativity that keydown contestants surprised me. The know-how required to modify radios, amplifiers, and vehicle engines to achieve such outrageously illegal accolades is impressive. I don’t condone violating FCC regulations, I’m not the one doing such things, but really, I was surprised to see this level of engineering. That’s just my opinion, and I’m sure that my amateur radio buddies are grinding their teeth right now reading this.
Regardless, I found this activity intriguing because of it’s simplicity and relative unfamiliarity here in the northern states. It would be interesting to see these vehicles and to watch a few competitions — but I would have to bring a lead apron along.

Thanks to kevin sanders for this article visit his site here

High Voltage Mobile NJ
12-05-2011, 01:31 AM
it funny aint it !!!!! :)

12-05-2011, 09:47 PM
Yeah got to love the keydowns. Especially when you see the sad faces when you pick up the trophy

12-05-2011, 10:50 PM
I buy too much crap at the keydowns.. lol

High Voltage Mobile NJ
12-05-2011, 10:59 PM
Yeah got to love the keydowns. Especially when you see the sad faces when you pick up the trophy

lol lol lol haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :)

D-MAX 2112
12-06-2011, 08:52 PM
I need to see a keydown sometime. That van sounded pretty stout in the motor dept.

01-15-2012, 05:13 PM
Thanks for clearing that up! I've seen the term "keydown" a few times and I was wondering what the heck it was. You would think I'd know since I live in the south, but I've been out of the loop for several years. Last time I was into CBs was when I lived up north.

Mistah Gravy
04-04-2012, 11:00 PM
thanks for that bit of info.i knew what a keydown was but that cleared up some questions.i'd definitely like to show up to check one out!

02-12-2013, 02:54 PM
I belive in march there is one planned for long island new york by the celebrity himself "man of war"

02-12-2013, 03:28 PM








04-18-2013, 10:38 AM
Man Of War, our host and celebrity, has scheduled another keydown and get together on June 8th a Saturday at Hempstead Lake Park in Nassau County off the Southern State Parkway Exit 18 I believe. For the Northeast Corner, New Jersey, New York and of course Connecticut. Anyone else in area who is interested please stop by will be runnng from approximately 11:00 AM-5-6 PM at least.

05-20-2014, 02:33 PM
Believe June 7 at Hempstead Lake Park again. Get the details and post again. Pretty sure going to meet for breakfast at buffet place on Hempstead turnpike will get more details. Or if anyone else has them feel free to post.