Selcall is short for Selective calling. It is a type of squelch protocol used in radio communications systems, in which transmissions include a brief burst of sequential audio tones. Receivers that are set to respond to the transmitted tone sequence will open their squelch, while others will remain muted.
Selective calling is akin to the use of a lock on a door. A radio with carrier squelch is unlocked and will let any signal in. Selective calling locks out all signals except ones with the correct "key", in this case a specific digital code. Selective calling systems can overlap; a radio may have (group call) and DTMF individual calling. Selcall transmits a burst of five in-band audio tones to initiate the conversation. This feature is common in European systems. In a simplex system, the 5-tone just opens the speaker of the desired partner. In a repeater system, another CTCSS or tone-burst or 5-tone is needed to activate the company's repeater, depending on the systems design. If the called radio is within reach of the sender, it answers the incoming call with its stored receipt tone. Sometimes systems using Selcall are referred to as CCIR or ZVEI, specific tone encoding schemes used in Selcall systems. On the continent, people use the ZVEI scheme while in Great-Britain the CCIR is very common.