|What it does||Determines how strong a signal must be before you hear it|
|Where to set it||Varies, commonly 9:00 to 3:00 position|
Understanding the basics of CB radio functions is key to their effective opereration, and the Squelch Control is arguably the most important control on CB radios. In fact, it's so essential, you will never find a CB without this important circuit. So what does the squelch do? It sets the threshold where sound will come out of your speaker. The higher you turn the squelch, the stronger the incoming signal will have to be in order for you to hear it. This has no affect on the receive as indicated by the meter. Turn it higher (to the right) to only hear strong signals. Turn it down (to the left) to hear weaker signals as well. For the sake of simplifying the squelch function, we will be using the word "filter" to describe it's use. This isn't exactly what's happening, but the word "filter" is a close-enough approximation of what's actually going on to help those who may not be familiar with what this control does.
First, you need to understand what your CB radio is doing when you're listening to signals. If you've ever used a CB radio before, you'll know the white-noise sound that comes from the speaker as soon as you turn the radio on. This background noise, or "static", is the result of many sources, including bits and pieces of conversations all across the planet in the form of "skip" transmissions. Other nearby electronics, power transformers, and even solar radiation, will influence or affect the amount and level of this background noise. This is why the Squelch Control is adjustable, and something you will often have to make slight adjustments to. For example, you should expect more static during the day, especially when the sun is setting and rising, than at night, due to the ionosphere being charged, and increasing the amount of "skip" signals on CB frequencies. Since this static background noise is constantly changing, you need a way to filter it out. This is exactly why your CB radio has a Squelch Control!
The RF gain is similar to the Squelch Control, in that both of these controls affect the reciever section on your CB. Click here for an explanation of the RF Gain Control. What these two functions are doing, is completely different, however. In summary, you can look at these controls like this: The squelch is a filter for what you are listening to, the RF gain is a control for how far you are listening. It's a good idea to keep your RF gain turned as far to the right as you can. The more you turn your RF Gain control to the right, the more you will hear.
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