Skip to main content

W0CHP Ham Radio & Tech Musings

Stop Saying "PL Tone"

For the love of fuck, stop referring to standards as trade names.

CTCSS is the proper term for the technology and standard, yet so many ignorant hams use Motorola’s trademarked name, PL Tone. There are myriad trade names used by manufacturers out there, which are simply CTCSS implementations. This is marketing wank for their commercial customer. We’re hams, not commercial customers, folks. Stop falling for and propagating marketing wank. It’s ignorant. Wanna be a ham operator vs. a commercial user? Refer to a technology by its proper technological name and be a ham.

PL Tone, or “Private Line”, is not a standard, it uses a standard, CTCSS. Or more accurately, the RS-220A standard, from the very old (and now defunct) EIA/TIA.

Say, “CTCSS” and stop using a trade name.

Tangent

CTCSS is useless and unintuitive, it is not maintained, nor is it further developed/refined like many other standards; and needs to go away. Here’s a great article by WA6ILQ, describing the history of CTCSS.