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THAKUR INSTITUTE OF AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

(Instructor: Vinay Singh, Email: v.l.singh320@gmail.com , Mo: 08108304735)

SYNOPSIS : SELECTIVE CALLING SYSTEM (SELCAL)

Introduction:
 SELCAL is an acronym for Selective Calling.
 SELCAL is a selective-calling radio system that can alert an aircraft's crew that a ground
radio station wishes to communicate with the aircraft.
 SELCAL uses a ground-based encoder and radio transmitter to broadcast an audio signal
that is picked up by a decoder and radio receiver on an aircraft.
 The use of SELCAL allows an aircraft crew to be notified of incoming communications even
when the aircraft's radio has been muted. Thus, crewmembers need not devote their
attention to continuous radio listening.
 They have been in use on most long range aircraft since 1970 and are still in use today.
 SELCAL operates on HF & VHF. In India it operates only on HF.
 An individual aircraft has its own SELCAL code.

Diagram:

SELCAL Encoder SELCAL placard in the cockpit


Operation:
 To initiate a SELCAL transmission, a ground station radio operator enters an aircraft's
SELCAL code into a SELCAL encoder. The encoder converts the four-letter code into four
designated audio tones. The radio operator's transmitter then broadcasts the audio tones
on the aircraft's company radio frequency channel in sequence: the first pair of tones are
transmitted simultaneously, lasting about one second; a silence of about 0.2 seconds;
followed by the second pair of tones, lasting about one second
 The code is received by any aircraft receiver monitoring the radio frequency on which the
SELCAL code is broadcast. A SELCAL decoder is connected to each aircraft's radio
receiver. When a SELCAL decoder on an aircraft receives a signal containing its own
assigned SELCAL code, it alerts the aircraft's crew by sounding a chime, activating a light,
or both.
 The crew will then set their volume control higher to listen to the voice traffic and, using
ICAO recommended radio procedures, assure that the message is intended for them.

Other Useful Information:


 The code is technically assigned to the owner-operator of the aircraft rather than the
aircraft itself; if an aircraft is sold, the new owners-operators must apply for a new code
to SELCAL code registrar, Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc. (ASRI).
 There is a critical shortage of possible 4-letter codes, which has required re-use of the
same code by more than one aircraft. Duplicate codes are usually assigned to aircraft
operated in widely separated areas of the world, and usually do not have the same HF
radio frequency assignment. However, there are occasions when two or more aircraft
having the same code may be operating in the same general area, and will respond to the
same transmission. Therefore, SELCAL should not be used as a substitute for proper
voice identification procedures.
 The letters are chosen from a subset of the Latin script comprising A to S,
excluding I, N and O. The code is a sequence of four letters, written or transmitted as an
ordered two sets of two letters each (e.g., AB-CD).
 A given letter can be used only once in a SELCAL code; letters may not be repeated
(e.g., AB-CD is allowable, but AA-BC and AB-BC are not).
 Each letter designates a specific audio tone frequency. E.g: A-312.6Hz, B-346.7Hz,
C-384.6Hz.