Changes for churches using wireless microphones

December 5, 2017

Thanks to Scott Nowlan at West Market Street UMC in Greensboro who shared this news with the conference.

If your church is currently using wireless microphones in the 600 mhz service band, you will be required to cease operations no later than July 13, 2020 (or earlier if they cause interference with new licensees).

Please read the notification below:
Wireless Microphones
Wireless microphones are used to transmit sound to an amplifier or recording device without need of a physical cable. Their use provides many important functions that serve the public interest. For instance, they play an essential role in enabling broadcasters and other video programming networks to serve consumers, including helping electronic news gathering (ENG) activities at locations in the field and the broadcasting of live sports events. Wireless microphone users include theaters and music venues, film studios, conventions, corporate events, houses of worship, major sports leagues, and schools. Wireless microphones can include hand-held or body-worn wireless microphones, in-ear monitors, devices used for cueing on-air talent, and intercom systems for backstage communications.
There are a wide number of wireless microphones available, serving different needs. Some meet high technical standards to achieve the performance purposes for which they are used, while others do not require such high-end technical capabilities for their particular purposes. Wireless microphones may operate in various spectrum bands. The technical rules under which wireless microphones operate will differ depending on the spectrum band in which they operate. Wireless microphones may be designed to operate on discrete frequencies within a spectrum band, or they may operate over a range of frequencies in band.
The FCC allows the use of wireless microphones on a licensed and unlicensed basis, depending on the spectrum band, technical characteristics, and user eligibility.  Most wireless microphones that operate today use spectrum in the TV bands - that is, the VHF and UHF bands allocated for television broadcasting - which has included TV channels 2-51, (except channel 37). Wireless microphones also may operate on other spectrum bands as well.
Changes beginning in 2017 concerning operation on 600 MHz frequencies.  Beginning in 2017, the amount of TV band spectrum available for wireless microphone use is decreasing as a result of the incentive auction, which was completed on April 13, 2017.  A significant portion of the TV band spectrum in the 600 MHz band, including most (but not all) of the spectrum on TV channels 38-51 (614-698 MHz), has been repurposed for the new 600 MHz service band for use by wireless services, and will not continue to be available for wireless microphone use.  Specifically, wireless microphones that operate in the new 600 MHz service band (the 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz frequencies) will be required to cease operation no later than July 13, 2020, and may be required to cease operation sooner if they could cause interference to new wireless licensees that commence operations on their licensed spectrum in the 600 MHz service band.  FCC 14-50, FCC 15-140, DA 17-314  Spectrum will continue to be available for wireless microphone use on the other TV channels 2-36 (TV band frequencies that fall below 608 MHz), on portions of the 600 MHz guard band (the 614-616 MHz frequencies) and the 600 MHz duplex gap (the 653-663 MHz frequencies), and in various other spectrum bands outside of the TV bands.  FCC 15-100, FCC 15-99
Bands outside of TV bands that are available for wireless microphone use.  In 2015, the Commission provided for new opportunities for licensed wireless microphone operations in spectrum outside of the TV broadcast band, including in the 169-172 MHz band and portions of the 900 MHz band, the 1435-1525 MHz, and the 6875-7125 MHz bands.  Unlicensed wireless microphone operations are permitted in several bands outside of the TV bands, including the 902-928 MHz band, the 1920-1930 MHz band, and portions of the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.   FCC 15-100

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