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SELCAL Improvement


Bernardo Reis
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Not sure if this is something that would have to be changed on vPilot, the network or both.. but here it goes:

Currently, the way of handling SELCALs is the ATC sends the SELCAL trough a text message and if the SELCAL matches the one you set it in the client, it rings the SELCAL code.

My suggestion, and what happens IRL, would be for vPilot to play every SELCAL tone that's sent on the frequency. If the SELCAL sent is the one you connected, after the SELCAL tone, you would get the beep warning you.

One could further improve on this by either a setting to choose which audio alert file you prefer or look into the logged on ACFT type and have an audio file for Boeing, other for Airbus and maybe a generic file for other airplanes.

This way one pilot would login with a B738, receive a SELCAL, the SELCAL tone would play and after that the aural tone that the B737 gives after receiving a SELCAL.

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I thought about doing it this way originally, but decided against it because in real life, the pilot often has the volume turned down on the HF frequency so that they're not hearing the constant static, and thus they don't hear the actual tone (unless they're doing a deliberate SELCAL check.) So it seemed better to just play the audible warning tone, not the actual SELCAL tones.

Ideally, we would send actual SELCAL tones over the AFV frequency, not via text radio message. And we could simulate HF noise as well.

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Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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I very much would like to see SELCAL become more robust. I've only used it from the controller side, so I don't really know what pilots are running into, but I regularly see SELCALs (even on SELCAL checks when I know the pilot is there listening / watching) just not go through. I don't know if that's a pilot user error (not knowing what to expect from a SELCAL check) or a software failure. It's not uncommon but also inconsistent enough that I haven't found any patterns. Tying it to a remark in the flightplan also doesn't seem to be the most reliable way to indicate SELCAL codes either.

Something a bit more persistent on the pilot side may be nice, given that if all it does is play a tone once, then that could easily be missed by the pilot. For example, the SELCAL alert could light up until it's manually cancelled by the pilot.

The most realistic way to implement it would be to play the actual tones in AFV, and maybe wrap the alert tone and indicator into AFV too. I'm not sure if that's the best way to implement it given tha nature of VATSIM though. IRL pilots flying across the ocean have extensive training on what's allowed and not allowed and what's expected in terms of communication performance. That's very much not the case on VATSIM.

I definitely would not want HF noise to be simulated in AFV even though that would be more realistic. While pilots can turn down the volume or even mute the radio with SELCAL available, I as a controller definitely don't want to listen to white noise for 7 hours during CTP. 

Edited by Alex Ying

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Instructor // ZNY/ZWY Facility Coordinator

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The controllers (or radio operators for this matter) don't have to listen to constant HF noise as the ground stations have lots of filters. So if HF noise would be introduced, it would have to be on the pilot side. The problem is that not all addons have a good enough radio panel to turn the volume down.

Ross, I know understand why you just our own SELCAL audible, which makes sense. Would it be possible to still add the aural alert after that?

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21 hours ago, Ross Carlson said:

I'm not sure what you mean.

https://youtu.be/kfwhWOqkJkU?t=71

 

You listen to the SELCAL and then the plane gives you an aural alert. That aural alert in vPilot was what I was requesting, with the possibility to have various different alerts, depending on the type you are flying (Boeing, Airbus, generic, etc.).

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