Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Annoying Sound of Channel Noise

We just got walkie-talkies, excuse me, two way radios, at work.  So, when I need to contact the machine operator (or yardmaster, as I've dubbed him), I no longer have to call him on his cell phone.  It makes things run so much more smoothly! 

The only problem is that we can't seem to get them to work correctly.  The first day everything was great! The next day, we started hearing a lot of squelching and interference. Then we started hearing strange things on the radio-someone just kept calling out car makes and colors. You'd hear this static, then "Blue Toyota...Black Lexus."  Huh???   What would someone even be doing with that information?

We realized that we had to change the channel.  That was another learning curve.  We figured out how to do that, but then only one radio worked.  I could call the yardmaster, and he could answer, but when he called me, I couldn't hear him.

THEN, I started hearing him making noise, moving around etc.  It seemed as though I had my radio on an intercom mode.  Was there such a thing?  I called the toll-free number provided in the owners manual (why are there still toll free numbers anyway?  Doesn't everyone have unlimited calling these days?  Sorry...rabbit trail).  Anyway, a very disinterested young woman (how do I know she was young?...sorry, another rabbit trail) answered and I wondered if she actually knew anything about walkie-tal...uh, two way radios. Turned out she did!  We discovered that I had somehow put the radio on Vox mode...whatever that is. She walked me through the process of turning the Vox off.  I was so proud of myself!  I'd fixed the problem!  

The yardmaster came to get his radio, and tested it out.  He pushed the talk button down and said, "Can you hear me, Mary?"  Yes, I could hear him.  He was standing right next to me.  He went outside and asked the same question.  Yes, I could hear him.  He was standing right outside the door.  Could I hear him over the radio?  Nope!  I figured I needed to call my disinterested, yet knowledgeable friend again. She had me remove the battery pack and asked if I had 8 AAA batteries to test the units.  Now why would I have 8 AAA batteries? Guess what? I did!  I put those puppies in and voila!  They worked! We could now send AND receive!  We had a defective battery pack.  She is sending me new ones.  

How is your connection with God?  

Dead battery pack
Do you feel like only one transmitter is working sometimes? Maybe you feel like your prayers are hitting a wall, like He can't hear You.  You're hitting that talk button, but you're not hearing a response and wondering, "Is He even receiving this?"... God, can you hear me?  Are you there, God? Come in, God! Maybe you're battle weary, or exhausted from daily life.  Your battery pack is not so much defective, but dead. Take heart, oh weary soul, for the Lord says, Call to me and I will answer you; and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3).  How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you (Isaiah 30:20). Maybe you just need to recharge.  Give yourself a break, rest your weary soul and tune in to Him.  He is listening and He wants a two-way connection.

Are you getting a lot of squelching? Look at this definition of squelch from Wikopedia: squelch is a circuit function that acts to suppress the audio (or videooutput of a receiver in the absence of a sufficiently strong desired input signal. Squelch is widely used in two-way radios to suppress the annoying sound of channel noise when the radio is not receiving a transmission. Squelching is like white noise.  If there is no signal present, you get squelching, static, white noise...the "annoying sound of channel noise." 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. We desire a strong signal from God; we desire to send a strong signal to him, but sometimes the white noise of life squelches the desire, squelches the signal. Sometimes, we have to adjust our controls until the channel just shuts off, until we no longer hear the static, the chaos.  Until we are still and hear His still small voice. He is not found in the wind, or the earthquake, or the fire, but in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11-12, paraphrased).   That's when the stronger signal can be received. Oh, it can be so hard to quiet ourselves, to be still.  But it is only when we turn down the volume and are still that we can hear that whisper.

I guess you could think of interference as what I just said...the chaos and noise of life.  But this kind of interference relates to multiple users being on the same channel. How often have you sought out advice of others? Trusted friends? Counselors? Mentors? Mature Christians? And we've all had well-meaning people offer advice when it wasn't sought.  Some of those people may be on the same channel as us, and some not.  But what usually happens is that we end up more confused than when we sought out the advice.  Interference.  

Tone squelch, or selective calling allows the user to eliminate interference by using a code-the audio turns on only in the presence of the correct selective calling code. This is akin to the use of a lock on a door. A carrier squelch is unlocked and will let any signal in. Selective calling locks out all signals except ones with the correct code. Isn't that cool??? It keeps the unwanted signals out and only allows the one in with the correct code!  Jesus is the only one with the correct code.  We can go to our trusted resources, but only Jesus knows what is truly best for us.  I am the Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go (Isaiah 48:17).

Lord, God of Heaven; King Jesus, may we always be tuned in to you.  Recharge us.  Help us to turn off the annoying static and chaos of life and to listen for Your whisper. Keep the unwanted signals out of our lives and guide us in the ways that are best for us. 

Blessing Along the Path,

Song(s) of the Day:
You Speak (Audrey Assad)
Call on Jesus (Nicole C. Mullen)

Wikopedia-Squelch--for further reading

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