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Your Editor got caught out even knowing that certain persons had been pushing for it for a year or two (even read about it some time ago in a set manual) Information from Oz arriving when it did a day before the newsletter was printed gave no time to get some information. One mistake made was the number of channels it would effect. This from the set manual re CTCSS, so it might make it all a lot clearer:- You may activate CTCSS on as many channels as you wish except for channels 1 to 8. CTCSS is automatically disabled on repeater channels. CTCSS is a squelch quieting system that uses one of the 50 preset sub-audible (very low frequency) tones (user selectable) to open the squelch on your radio The system applies a continuous low level tone to your transmission, and a matching tone decoder to your receiver’s squelch.

When CTCSS is engaged, the channel remains quiet until someone transmits using the selected tone. When the transmission ends the channel (as far as the CTCSS user is concerned) becomes quiet again. By using different tones, several people can share the same channel without disturbing each other. Most CTCSS sets allows CTCSS to be enabled or disabled on individual channels, in addition the CTCSS tone frequency used is user programmable. Please Note that the CTCSS tone selected will be used for all CTCSS enabled channels.

Hope this has helped. What it says is, you can select all or a lesser number of channels, other than the repeater channels, to use CTCSS on. The set has 50 preset tones and are user programmable. Transmitting and receiving stations must be programmed with the identical tone. Only CTCSS sets with an identical tone can break in on a CTCSS transmission. CTCSS can be user disabled to turn the set back into a standard set. CTCSS allows more than one CTCSS (different tones) user, also standard sets to use the same channel without disturbing the others.

The catches here are:- 1. A standard set (can’t be heard by CTCSS enabled sets) transmitting on a channel will, when a CTCSS starts transmitting on the same channel, be closed out by the CTCSS transmissions.

2. The first CTCSS set to transmit holds the channel until finished. Other CTCSS sets with different tones are frozen out from transmitting on that channel until the holder is finished.

CTCSS advantages:

1. You can sit on a channel and not hear any transmission no matter how many persons have been using that channel. Gives you peace and quiet (no idiot blabbering away half the day) until someone transmits your identical tone.

2. A possible advantage where there are only a few sets in the area.

3. Will be an advantage to a very few. These mostly out in the country such as farmers and contractors where there are very few sets outside of their own people.

4. Business may consider CTCSS an advantage to them, as they think they will only have to transmit to their people and they will answer. This would only be an advantage if only they are using CTCSS on that channel. Many, where there are a great number of operators and businesses, CTCSS could prove to be a big disadvantage.

Some may classify the fact that other CTCSS sets with different tones and standard sets can use the same channel as an advantage but I for one wouldn’t, as we can do that now with the standard sets


1. Once an enabled CTCSS set transmits, they shanghai the channel for as long as they want.

2. With a CTCSS transmission, although you can hear the conversation, nobody can break in except with a similar toned set.

3. No enabled CTCSS set will know if the channel is being used or is clear if other CTCSS sets are using it with different tones.

4. Enabled CTCSS sets when they transmit their tones will over ride all transmitting standard sets.

5. Community clubs normally have 16 channel sets for their work. If too many enabled CTCSS sets mostly use from channel 9 to 16, community club transmissions will be frozen when using any channel used by CTCSS users. This would cut out the clubs - schools - or other organisations general transmissions or any priority transmissions relating to public or competitor safety.

6. Will definitely compromise public and competitor safety at many public and community events. 7. Could prevent urgent emergency help being obtained

8. Nothing to stop certain persons from eventually toning their set to any other persons or business tones. (Don’t say it won’t happen. You only have to try up to 50 tones, a piece of cake really).

9. Nothing to stop a person having a CTCSS set in standard mode from enabling the CTCSS and playing music by the hour.

10. If we are to police ourselves and official enforcement remains almost non existent as at present, in many areas PRS will become useless for the hobbyist and community group users.

There are other disadvantages and the disadvantages effect all the advantages except one, that is number 1. This is the only true advantage. If CTCSS and T&T was introduced here then RFS would have to properly enforce the Radio Regulations. The same applies, even more so if it is not allowed here. Customs would have to assist and both would need to work together properly. This means that the RFS will possibly take the line of least work whether it is in the interest of a few and against the interests of the many.

We have contacted RFS by email re CTCSS and have put some very pertinent questions to them. They replied the following day stating they had also just heard about it being released in Oz. They are considering the implications. Will formally respond once they have clarified a range of technical and policy matters. (It doesn’t smell good at all)

We have had reports back from 5 clubs and quite a few operators both members and non members. All reports received are against CTCSS being introduced. There are quite a few operators out there on the net. What about e-mailing me whether you are for or against any introduction. So far we have received nothing supporting the systems, so at present, we must presume the majority are against it. If that is correct, we must give serious consideration of getting a petition up, to allow operators to signify their opposition. We need something like that to really show RFS the amount of opposition to it. We will also require one, if we desire to go to the ombudsman or Government, to attempt to overturn any granting. It would be prudent to be prepared for the worst.

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Last updated: 16th January 2008