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Many modern telemetry systems which use phase-shift keying (PSK) have receivers which derive a coherent reference from the fully modulated PSK signal itself and thus conserve the energy which otherwise would be allocated to a discrete reference signal. In this paper, an optimum receiver structure for estimating a phase reference from the PSK signal itself is derived and its realization discussed. It is shown that at low signal-to-noise ratios, the optimum detector can be realized with a Costas loop. Since a Costas loop and squaring loop exhibit identical performance, it follows that either of these simple devices gives optimum performance for low-input signal-to-noise ratios.