The Ticking Reblock

The FCC deadline on selling legacy wireless equipment is the end of September. Though you will be able to continue to use older equipment (as long as it complies with legal frequencies and power output), manufacturers will not be able to sell any components that have not been recertified by the FCC, including the components that are necessary for moving your wireless to a different frequency.

Bottom line: if you need your older Lectrosonics or Zaxcom wireless gear reblocked, make arrangements as soon as possible. 

Lectrosonics
is already booked through August and they've specified that the following gear will not be able to be reblocked after September: HH, HM, UH, UM400a, and UT. Here's our guide to Lectro reblocking pricing and which frequencies need to be changed.

Zaxcom has not created a specific list, but assume reblocking any of their discontinued wireless products is subject to the same September 30th deadline. Here's our guide to Zaxcom reblocking pricing and which frequencies need to be changed.

Spectrum in the Hands of an Angry FCC

What do you need to do to make sure your wireless equipment works in the face of the oncoming 600 MHz onslaught? We've put together a handy chart to reblocking your equipment from Lectrosonics or Zaxcom. (If you're interested in the trade-in programs, info is here.)

The prices include the labor and parts required to change the frequency, as well as $25 shipping and handling per unit to and from Lectrosonics or Zaxcom from the Gotham shop in NYC or Atlanta. Any parts beyond the frequency change will incur an additional fee.

Don't Freq Out

The Get Your Freq On seminar on navigating the spectrum upheaval as a wireless mic operator occurred last weekend and went reasonably well, if we do say so ourselves. Special thanks to Howard Kaufman of Lectrosonics, Colleen Goodsir of Zaxcom, Ben Escobedo of Shure, and everyone who attended either online or in person!

If you missed it, we've posted the video online and made the speakers' presentations available in PDF format here:

Or if you prefer the TLDR version, the most salient points are below the jump.

Don't Freq Out

It's an uncertain time to be in the wireless business. With the finalized results of the spectrum auction, production use of frequencies above 617 MHz will be illegal in 2020 and impractical in many markets much sooner - some mobile carriers have announced deployment in the 600 MHz band starting this month.

However, the good news is that the wireless manufacturers have been assiduously devising systems that can continue to transmit and receive clean, reliable signal under the new rules and offer the flexibility to keep you working when the rules change again.

Presenters will include:

The seminar will take place on Sunday, September 10th from 12pm-3pm EST at Gotham's NY shop in Long Island City, but will also be broadcast live on livestream and our facebook page.

Light refreshments will be provided.

The event is free, but RSVP here or on our facebook event to help us get a headcount.

RF Spectrum April 2017 Update

The long-running FCC spectrum auction finally ended bidding last week. It won't officially close for a few weeks, but this milestone does finalize some of the details vital to wireless microphone users:
 

What's changing about the available frequencies?

470-608 MHz will remain open to wireless microphone users; 609-698 MHz will no longer be available. The 90 MHz loss is obviously not great, but this is a relatively good result - a much larger section of spectrum was on the offering block.
 

What does the transition period look like?

Starting soon, there's a thirty-nine month period for the change over, so we're looking at the sold frequencies being totally unavailable sometime in early 2020. That said, the new owners will be testing equipment with transmissions in the 609-698 MHz range during the transition period, so you may find increasing amounts of interference in those frequencies.

Things might also be changing in the 470-608 MHz bands since part of the transition involves 'repacking' television stations (i.e. moving channel assignments) within the entire spectrum, so you might find formerly good blocks occupied.

Long story short, extra diligence and preparation when working with any wireless equipment will be warranted.
 
More info about futureproofing your equipment and protecting yourself after the jump.

Who's Down with FCC?

The dreaded FCC auction looms ever closer, when we'll get to see exactly what parts of our precious wireless spectrum will remain usable by the film, television, and broadcast industries. Lectrosonics Technical Representative Howard Kaufman gives a current view of the situation in the video above and we wrote up a summary when the FCC adopted the relevant reports, but here's some quick tips for making your kit future-resistant:

  • Buy wideband wireless systems, such as the Lectrosonics L-Series and SSM Transmitter. You'll need access to as much spectrum as possible, especially if your kit travels widely. It looks likely that the spectrum will remain clearer under 600 mHz, so we recommend sticking to Blocks A1 and B1. B1 might be especially useful, since there's a good possibility of some spectrum being permitted around TV channel 37 (608 to 614 MHz).
     
  • Get a part 74 license. I know we say it a lot, but it's still good advice. Many of the protections will be in place only for licensed users and unlicensed users are likely to have to deal with interference in crowded markets, such as New York. Local 695 has a good guide to getting yourself a license here.

Stay tuned for more updates as we have them and feel free to contact us with questions.

Reading the FCC Tea Leaves

Yesterday's FCC meeting had two items of particular import to wireless microphone users:

  1. Public Notice on the incentive auction for wireless spectrum.
  2. Report and Order 14-165 concerning unlicensed (Part 15) and licensed (Part 74) wireless mic operation in the TV and 600 MHz bands

A third item, Report and Order 14-166, concerning other spectrum bands that wireless mics can operate in, was deleted from the agenda, and was adopted prior to the FCC meeting.

More about the auction and our best guess as to how this will affect licensed and unlicensed wireless microphone operators below the jump.

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