Super Piston Slap: New Tricks For an Old Car Phone? (Part II)

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
super piston slap new tricks for an old car phone part ii

Sajeev writes:

I wasn’t expecting a “Part II” for this story: converting an analog phone to digital sounds comically nonsensical these days. But did you know that people once spent big money, back in the day big dawg money, so a (car) phone they’ve trusted for years lived to see another day…in the digital age?

Such a story landed in my Inbox. You know you wanna click ‘dat link to learn more!

Steve writes:


How this article brought back memories. I once worked for a wireless carrier, who shall remain nameless, during the turn of the digital wireless age. I was a “Wireless Device Technician” AKA the guy that fixed crap. As technicians we were responsible for many things, including but not limited to installing hands free kits into patron’s vehicles.

Now at this particular juncture in the wireless world, you had those who refused to convert and so the games begin.

We were first and foremost responsible with attempting to make those individuals change over to a new wireless plan, including a new device such as a Motorola Startac, which had an exceptional hands free kit we could install to your late-model vehicle.

Long story short, it was likely that if a person owned a vehicle that already had a phone in it, they weren’t going to buy another one.

The conversion wars began. Patrons would pay for new digital boxes and conversion kits, plus install labor just to use the old device. Several hundred dollars later, you had a satisfied wireless device user who probably was only on their phone for 20 mins a month. But, nonetheless, they had service.

At least it wasn’t as bad as the one day a guy brought in one of these bad boys, asking if it can be repaired and used still.

BAG Phone: the true wireless device.


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2 of 17 comments
  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jul 03, 2013

    Much of the difference was because an outside antenna was hard mounted to the vehicle, giving an almost ideal situation. A handheld device inside the vehicle isn't going to work as well, but the companies, once they built out the cellular network, could go to a lesser radio for the customer-and no company wants to have to hire folks to cut up customer cars en masse. I recall the old analog phones, roaming charges (D0'h !) and the fact any geek with a scanner could hear you...not good. Now, if you would mount an antenna for my digital phone.....

  • Risrae Risrae on Jul 10, 2015

    So this is doable. Are there any shops or anyone that does this. My level of geek is moderate but not sure I could do this.

  • Fred Remember when radios were an option? Do you know you can use your phone to listen to any radio station in the world? This is just a whole waste of time.
  • Pig_Iron ASTC 3.0 AM radio was successfully demonstrated at CES. It is a common standard shared with terrestrial television, so the audio equipment is commonized for broadcasters. And no royalty fees to pay, unlike HDRadio which has been a less than stellar success. 📻
  • Art Vandelay Crimes that are punished with fines encourage abuse by those enforcing them. If it is truly dangerous to the public, maybe jail or give the offenders community service. People’s time tends to be very valuable to them and a weeks lost work would certainly make a high earner think twice. If it isn’t a big danger why are police enforcing it (outside of raising money of course). Combine it with a points system. When your points are gone you do a week imitating Cool Hand Luke.
  • Cha65697928 High earners should pay less for tickets because they provide the tax revenue that funds the police. 2-3 free speeding tix per year should be fair.
  • Art Vandelay So the likely way to determine one’s income would be via the tax return. You guys are going to be real disappointed when some of the richest folks pay no speeding fine the same way they minimize their taxes