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Friday, 08 June 2018 13:17

Are Your Wireless Microphones Breaking the Law?

Written by Steve Russo, Director of Operations

 

If you own a wireless microphone, you might be breaking the law! In 2010, the FCC prohibited the operation of wireless microphones and similar devices (e.g., wireless intercoms, wireless in-ear monitors, wireless audio instrument links and wireless cueing equipment) in the 700 MHz Band (698 - 806 MHz). In 2017, the FCC prohibited the operation of these same devices in the 600 MHz Band (609 - 698 MHz).

 

Why did the FCC regulate wireless microphones?

The FCC put those frequencies up for auction to cell phone carriers and the winning bidders now have exclusive rights to those frequencies. If you have a microphone that falls within those frequencies, it is illegal to use and could cause interference with cell phones.

 

What should I do now?

Old Microphones:

WirelessMicsNot all hope is lost though. You can still use the unlicensed gap frequencies of 614-616 MHz or 657-663 MHz. These fall within the “guard band” and “duplex gap” locations. Tune your microphones and receivers to these frequencies and you are safe for now. However, be aware you are in a small gap that almost everyone is likely using as well. Imagine you are on a subway train at rush hour. Now try not to bump elbows with anyone! Not going to happen. This is the same as your chances of not bumping into another microphone using the same frequency. In addition, because you are in a small gap you might not be able to change frequencies to avoid any other conflicts.

In addition, there is a limit to how close to the illegal frequencies you can tune your microphones. No devices shall operate in the upper 1 MHz (616-617 MHz) adjacent to the downlink block.

New microphones:

The result of all this is most likely a need to replace your microphones with new ones using broader frequencies. There are several digital wireless mics in the 2.4 GHz range. 900 MHz is also an option. NewTV recently purchased the Sennheiser AVX camera-mountable digital wireless handheld and lavalier set. This set works in the 1880 MHz to 1930 MHz range. We plan to replace all 22 of our wireless microphones over the next 2 years, but for now they are all legally operating within the frequency guard and gap bands. You can see how quickly the limited space will fill up with 22 microphones. Many microphone manufacturers offer rebate incentives to trade in your illegal mics and purchase new ones. Meanwhile, you can ride along in the frequency gap with NewTV, just keep your elbows pointed in.

Additional Information:


Here are some fun facts:

• Unlicensed wireless mics must not be operated at a power level in excess of 50 milliwatts when operating in the TV bands, and no more than 20 milliwatts when operating in the 600 MHz guard band or duplex gap.

• 653-657 MHz is reserved for licensed wireless microphone operators.

• 657-663 MHz duplex gap is a shared space between unlicensed wireless microphones and white space devices. (e.g., wireless intercoms, wireless in-ear monitors, wireless audio instrument links, and wireless cueing equipment).

 

Here is a list of frequencies where wireless microphones are allowed:

• 470-516 MHz

• 516-558 MHz

• 566-608 MHz

• 614-616 MHz (Guard)

• 657-663 MHz (Unlicensed Use Gap)

 

Here is a link to the complete FCC info:

https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/mobility-division/wireless-microphones

Read 5500 times Last modified on Friday, 08 June 2018 13:28

Comments  

#1 Faizul Hamid 2018-10-11 09:37
very useful, thank you
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