In this paper, we address the problem of the decoding of variable length physical layer header (PLH) codes. We take as a case study the DVB-S2X standard, and, after selecting a suitable PLH code with variable codeword length, we propose two alternative noncoherent decoding strategies. The proposed decoding strategies allow to estimate the length of the transmitted PLH field, which is unknown at the receiver, jointly with the decoding of the PLH code. We demonstrate that it is possible to achieve an excellent decoding performance while significantly reducing the overhead due to the transmission of the PLH field with respect to a standard fixed-length PLH.
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