Get Your Freq On Seminar

The Get Your Freq On seminar on navigating the spectrum upheaval as a wireless mic operator featured Howard Kaufman of Lectrosonics, Colleen Goodsir of Zaxcom, Ben Escobedo of Shure and covered the wireless spectrum situation as of September 2017.

Here's the videos of the presentations and Q&A session:

We've made the speakers' presentations available in PDF format here:

Or if you prefer the TL:DR version, here are the most salient points:

What's changing and when?

  • Use of most frequencies from 616 to 698 MHz (TV channels 38-51, Lectro/Zaxcom blocks 24-26) will be illegal after July 13th, 2020.
  • However, T-Mobile and other companies that bought spectrum are deploying immediately in many markets, so 600 MHz frequencies may become impractical soon in some regions. (Scheduled transition dates by city.)
  • The two TV channels currently reserved for wireless mics are being removed. Alternative ranges have been opened, but most require some sort of license or coordination and have some limitations:
    • 169-172 MHz (Part 90 licensed users)
    • Guard Bands: 614-616 MHz (all users, output power limited)
    • Duplex Gap:
      • 653-657 MHz (Part 74 licensed users, output power limited)
      • 657-663 MHz (all users, output power limited)
    • 941.5-960 MHz (Part 74 licensed users)
    • 1425-1525 MHz (must be coordinated with AFTRCC agency)
    •  6875-6900 & 7100–7125 MHz (short range broadcasting)

What was that about a Part 74 license?

  • We strongly recommend getting a Part 74 license, which gives you priority over unlicensed operations, the use of power up to 250 mW, the ability to reserve channels, and access to additional frequencies.  
  • Unlicensed users are limited to 50 mW and have no protection in the case of interference.
  • Most sound mixers already qualify for the license under the “producers” definition and qualifications have been extended to large sound operations (defined as regularly using at least 50 channels of wireless), opening licensing to rental houses and venues.
  •  Here's Local 695's guide to getting licensed

What about my gear?

  • Make sure your wireless equipment is prepared for the change (and beyond). Manufacturers are offering trade-in and refreq-ing programs to help. (Details below sorted by manufacturer)
  • October 2018 is the cut-off for modifying or buying legacy equipment. Legacy transmitters will still be legal for use after 2020 if they cannot tune above 616 MHz. 
  • Get your equipment modified as early as possible. Right now, the turnaround is fairly fast at most manufacturers' factories, but that will increase exponentially as we approach the October 2018 deadline.
  • When buying new equipment, look for features that will keep your gears' tuning flexible and reliable to help futureproof it as much as possible, including wideband frequency ranges; transmitters with built-in recording; digital wireless, which allows much tighter channel packing; and automatic frequency switching to avoid interference.
  • Look to move your less-vital comms and IFBs to lower or higher channels to free up space for your mission critical transmitters.




Other trade-in programs

Feel free to contact us with other questions or concerns at [email protected].

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