Squelch up!

March 15, 2012

Today I was talking with a friend who recently bought an oscilloscope, and the conversation reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to look up… the meaning of the squelch knob on CBs and other radios. Those of you who are too young to remember the CB (Citizen’s Band) radio craze should know that it was a phenomenon on the level of today’s text messaging. A lot of people had the CBs in their cars (usually hanging under the dash) and you gave yourself a “handle” (the equivalent of a screen name on the internet) to maintain anonymity. Today, truckers still use CBs to communicate important info (police locations  – “there’s a bear by the bridge near exit 9”).

Anyway, CBs had this Squelch knob and until today I’ve never known what it was for. It’s essentially an adjustable “mute” control. If you set the squelch to off it lets every “channel” play through the speaker, even if it’s a weak signal or just white noise. But turn up the squelch and it will only let stronger signals through to the speaker. This allows you to hear actually transmissions without all that headache-inducing static. But turn it up all too far and it will block everything but the strongest signals, which may not be desirable since you could miss a message from someone who has a weaker signal but is still discernible (and could save you from getting a speeding ticket).

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One Response to “Squelch up!”

  1. Sami said

    So, we have a police scanner at my house because my family is nosey lol… And I was playing with it like a week ago and noticed this “squelch” nob. So I messed around with it. I came up with a theory for what it was used for… Thank you for confirming my theory and making me feel wicked smaht. Lol. -sami

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