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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


Carrier squelch

A carrier squelch or noise squelch is the most simple variant of all. It operates strictly on the signal strength, 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 can be adjusted with a knob, others have push buttons or a sequence of button presses. This setting adjusts the threshold at which signals will open (un-mute) the audio channel. Backing off the control will turn on the audio, and the operator will hear white noise (also called squelch 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. If you hold the squelch open you will also get a lot of noise.

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.

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