While I have been sitting here at work eyeing up a server that appears to be complete toast, I have been mulling over the use of PL tones..
I would almost think it would be a good idea to discourage the use of tones totally. Tones are great to limit that noise from your fridge or computer at home, but for all the communication troubles they would cause, why bother?
Think about how land mobile works with multiple users on one channel. Your mic is on hook, and your receiver is quiet. You take the mic off hook, which takes the RX PL off. You make your call. The other user takes his mic off hook to answer, it deactivates his PL. Both users can now hear the open channel. Users in their group hear the conversing stations but no one else.. but the users that are talking actually listen to the open channel before they talk. This is the primary reason that most land mobile radios break the RX PL when the mic is off hook. This ENCOURAGES good radio procedure by setting the stage for not interfering with other users.
FRS radios, with their "always on" PL, do nothing but encourage users to "step on" each other. Only the user with the right tone will get through, so who cares about who else is talking on channel. This is NOT what PL was designed for!
Can you imagine the outcry from other hams if we ran around with PL on 146.52 with the same frame of mind that FRS radios encourage?? YIKES!
If we are going to encourage proper operating, we should really make "tone" and "PL" taboo words and strike any references to them.
I think FRS is wonderful... but I think the marriage of FRS and PL tones is a bad one.
Just my $.02 worth.