AskDefine | Define squelch

Dictionary Definition



1 a crushing remark [syn: put-down, squelcher, takedown]
2 an electric circuit that cuts off a receiver when the signal becomes weaker than the noise [syn: squelch circuit, squelcher]


1 suppress or crush completely; "squelch any sign of dissent"; "quench a rebellion" [syn: quell, quench]
2 make a sucking sound
3 walk through mud or mire; "We had to splosh across the wet meadow" [syn: squish, splash, splosh, slosh, slop]
4 to compress with violence, out of natural shape or condition; "crush an aluminum can"; "squeeze a lemon" [syn: squash, crush, mash, squeeze]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. In the context of "transitive|US": to halt, stop, eliminate, stamp out, or put down, often suddenly or by force
    Even the king’s announcement could not squelch the rumors.
  2. (radio technology) to suppress the unwanted hiss or static between received transmissions by adjusting the gain of your receiver.
  3. In the context of "intransitive|UK": to make a sucking, splashing noise as when walking on muddy ground
    The mud squelched underfoot; it had been raining all night.
  4. In the context of "intransitive|UK": to walk or step through a substance such as mud
    The mud was thick and sticky underfoot, but we squelched through it nonetheless.


Derived terms

Extensive Definition

In telecommunications, squelch is a circuit function that acts to suppress the audio (or video) output of a receiver in the absence of a sufficiently strong desired input signal.
Squelch excludes undesired lower-power input signals that may be present at or near the frequency of the desired signal. Squelch is a noise gate that only allows signals at a specified strength over a threshold to be played through the speaker. As an example, general static (with no transmission) is squelched out. (Contrast with noise suppression.)

Carrier squelch

A simple carrier squelch or noise squelch operates strictly on the signal strength of the signal, such as when a television mutes the audio or blanks the video on "empty" channels, or when a walkie talkie mutes the audio when no signal is present. In some designs, the squelch threshold is preset. For example, television squelch settings are usually preset. Receivers in base stations at remote mountain top sites are usually not adjustable remotely from the control point.
In devices such as radiotelephones (also known as two-way radios), the squelch threshold is set with an adjustable knob marked squelch. This setting adjusts the threshold at which signals will open the audio channel. Backing off the control will turn on the audio, and the operator will hear white noise if there is no signal present. The usual operation is to adjust the control until the channel just shuts off - then only a small threshold signal is needed to turn on the speaker. However, if a weak signal is annoying, the operator can adjust the squelch to open only when stronger signals are received.
A typical FM two-way radio carrier squelch circuit takes out the voice components of the receive audio by passing the detected audio through a high-pass filter. A typical filter might pass frequencies over 4,000 Hz (4 kHz). The squelch control adjusts the gain of an amplifier which varies the level of noise coming out of the filter. The audio output of the filter and amplifier is rectified and produces a DC voltage when noise is present. The presence of noise creates a DC voltage which turns the receiver audio off. When a signal with little or no noise is received, the voltage goes away and the receiver audio is unmuted. Some applications have the receiver tied to other equipment that uses the audio muting control voltage as a "signal present" indication.

Tone squelch and selective calling

Tone squelch, or other forms of selective calling, are sometimes used to solve interference problems. Where more than one user is on the same channel (co-channel users), selective calling addresses a subset of all receivers. Instead of turning on the receive audio for any signal, the audio turns on only in the presence of the correct selective calling code. This is akin to the use of a lock on a door. A carrier squelch is unlocked and will let any signal in. Selective calling locks out all signals except ones with the correct code.
In non-critical uses, selective calling can also be used to hide the presence of interfering signals such as receiver-produced intermodulation. Receivers with poor specifications — such as scanners or low-cost mobile radios — cannot reject the strong signals present in urban environments. The interference will still be present. It will still degrade system performance but by using selective calling the user will not have to hear the noises produced by receiving the interference.
Four different techniques are commonly used. Selective calling can be regarded as a form of in-band signaling.


CTCSS (Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System) continuously superimposes any one of about 50 low-pitch audio tones on the transmitted signal, ranging from 67 to 254 Hz. The original tone set was 32 tones, and has been expanded over the years. CTCSS is often called PL tone (for Private Line, a trademark of Motorola), or simply tone squelch. General Electric's implementation of CTCSS is called Channel Guard (or CG). RCA Corporation used the name Quiet Channel, or QC. There are many other company-specific names used by radio vendors to describe compatible options. Any CTCSS system that has compatible tones is interchangeable. Old and new radios with CTCSS and radios across manufacturers are compatible.


Selcall (Selective Calling) transmits a burst of five inband audio tones at the beginning of each transmission. This feature is common in European systems. In the same way that a single CTCSS tone would be used on an entire group of radios, a single five-tone sequence is used in a group of radios.


DCS (Digital-Coded Squelch) superimposes a continuous stream of FSK digital data, at about 134 bits per second, on the transmitted signal. In the same way that a single CTCSS tone would be used on an entire group of radios, the same DCS code is used in a group of radios. DCS is also referred to as DPL tone (for Digital Private Line, another trademark of Motorola), and likewise, GE's implementation of DCS is referred to a Digital Channel Guard (or DCG). DCS is also called DTCS (Digital Tone Code Squelch) by Icom. Radios with DCS options are generally compatible provided the radio's encoder-decoder will use the same code as radios in the existing system. Be aware that the same 23-bit DCS word can, for example, produce three different valid DCS codes.


XTCSS is the newest signaling technique and it provides 99 codes with the added advantage of 'silent operation'. XTCSS fitted radios are purposed to enjoy more privacy and flexibility of operation. XTCSS is implemented as a combination of CTCSS and in-band signalling.


Carrier squelch was invented first and is still in wide use, especially in the amateur radio world. Squelch of any kind is used to indicate loss of signal, which is used to keep repeaters and commercial repeaters from transmitting continually. Since a receiver cannot tell a valid carrier signal from a spurious signal (noise, etc) CTCSS is often used as well, as it avoids false keyups. Use of CTCSS is especially helpful on bands prone to skip and during band openings.
Family Radio Service (FRS) and PMR446 radios often use 38 different CTCSS tones, usually erroneously called "sub-channels". While these do not add to the available number of conversations which can take place at once in a given area, they do reduce annoying interference experienced by users. However they do NOT afford any privacy, no matter what the sales literature says. A receiver in carrier squelch mode hears everything.
Professional wireless microphones use squelch to avoid reproducing noise when the receiver does not receive enough signal from the microphone. Most professional models have adjustable squelch, usually set with a screwdriver adjustment on the receiver.


See also

Noise gate

External links

squelch in Danish: Squelch
squelch in German: Rauschsperre
squelch in Japanese: スケルチ

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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