CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia mother is seeking a recall of a popular walkie-talkie after her 3-year-old’s toy apparently intercepted a profanity-laced conversation between truckers about drugs and strip clubs.
Deborah Pancaro, 34, said she contacted Fisher-Price after she heard a conversation in which a man said “10-4” and other things that led her to believe the device was relaying a CB radio conversation.
“They said we should go smoke some weed, and were talking about being in a strip bar, some really explicit things,” Pancaro said Thursday.
The walkie-talkie is sold exclusively at Wal-Mart and allows children to role-play animal rescues like the Diego character does on the cartoon series “Dora the Explorer” and “Go, Diego, Go!”
The walkie-talkie is supposed to have a range of about 20 feet, but Pancaro said she heard one of the voices say he was driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, about 275 miles north of Huntington.
Pancaro, who bought the toy on Aug. 2, said she sent a letter to Fisher-Price, urging it to either fix the toy so it wouldn’t pick up CB chatter or pull the product from the shelves.
Fisher-Price apologized for Pancaro’s “disappointing experience” and has made two unsuccessful attempts to contact her since Wednesday, spokeswoman Juliette Reashor said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
With a limited number of operating frequencies available for radio-type walkie-talkies, she said they occasionally will pick up transmissions from other products.
Though the product has not been recalled, Wal-Mart says on its Web site that it is being discontinued. A spokeswoman for the company based in Bentonville, Ark., said Thursday she would look into the matter.
Pancaro said she planned to return Fisher-Price’s call later Thursday.
“It’s not about the money. I’d just hate for little kids to be hearing things like that, and I thought maybe they didn’t know.”
Here comes the science!
1. Most low-end and toy walkie-talkies, including radio control toys, are limited to the 27 and 49MHz ranges. CB Radio is limited to the 27MHz range.
2. 27MHz is an AM band, which will bounce off the ionosphere, creating what is known as "skip". Transmissions which should not have the range of but a few miles can be picked up and responded to from hundreds to thousands of miles away.
3. We're currently at the start of the 11-year sunspot cycle, where the sun acts wierder than usual and has the side effect of charging our ionosphere. Skip becomes more common than usual.
So, if that woman needs to sue anyone, it's the sun.
 During the last sunspot cycle, I had a nice conversation over the CB with a fellow in Quebec, which was neat considering I was on the border of Mexico in Arizona.