In Broadcast - September 2017 - 75

75

www.inbroadcast.com | Vol: 7 - Issue 9 | September 2017

InUSA

Wireless Equipment
'Buyers Beware'
Contributing Editor Michael Grotticelli warns of the impending problem with
600MHz band wireless equipment in the U.S...

F

or anyone considering purchasing a
wireless microphone, transmitter,
intercom system or other wireless
device in the U.S., the government
has issued a caveat emptor: wireless
products that operate in the newly
created 600MHz service band will not
be able to use those device as of July
13, 2020. And, they could be required
to cease operation sooner if they cause
interference to new wireless licensees
that plan to use licensed spectrum in
the 600MHz service band.
This
government
(Federal
Communications Commission, FCC)
edict is the result of the broadcast
spectrum auction in the U.S.,
which was completed on April 13,
2017 and raised more than US$19
billion. The FCC allows the use of
wireless microphones on a licensed
and unlicensed basis, depending
on the spectrum band, technical
characteristics, and user eligibility. For
example, most wireless microphones
that operate today use spectrum in
the TV bands - that is, the VHF and
UHF bands allocated for television
broadcasting - which includes TV
channels 2 to 51, (except channel
37). Wireless microphones also
may operate on other spectrum
bands as well, depending upon
the manufacturer and application
targeted.
Wireless Expansion
This deadline was imposed because
spectrum auction winners want
to begin expanding their wireless
services. A significant portion of the
TV band spectrum in the 600MHz
band, including most (but not all) of
the spectrum on TV channels 38 to 51
(614 to 698MHz), has been repurposed
for the new 600MHz service band
for use by wireless services, and
will not continue to be available for
wireless microphone use. The FCC
said spectrum would continue to be
available for wireless microphone
use on the other TV channels 2 to
36 (TV band frequencies that fall

below 608MHz), on portions of the
600MHz guard band (the 614-616 MHz
frequencies) and the 600MHz duplex
gap (the 653 to 663 MHz frequencies),
and in various other spectrum bands
outside of the TV bands.
In 2015, the Commission established
the rules for the operation of
unlicensed wireless microphones in
the TV band spectrum in a Report
and Order. Addressing this, wireless
mic and intercom manufacturers
have developed products that safely
operate on other frequency bands on
an unlicensed basis. These frequency
bands include the 902 to 928MHz
band, the 1920 to 1930 MHz band, and
the 2.4GHz band.
Many (if not most) wireless
microphone users today operate on
an unlicensed basis in the TV band
spectrum. This unlicensed use of
the TV band spectrum is subject to
certain restrictions: including having
to operate at lower power levels than
licensed operations; they may not
cause harmful interference; and they
must deal with any interference from
other users that operate in the band.
Transition
The FCC has invoked a transition
period of up to 39 months to help ease
the transition as wireless microphone
operators obtain new equipment
and transition out of the repurposed
600MHz service band to other
spectrum. During the transition period,
which ends on July 13, 2020, these
operators may continue to access the
spectrum that has been repurposed
to 600MHz service licensees under
certain conditions.
Wireless microphone users, whether
licensed or unlicensed, may continue
to operate on a secondary basis in the
bands that continue to be available
for and used on a primary basis by
broadcast television (TV channels 2 to
36). Use of these TV band frequencies,
which fall below 608 MHz, remain
available for wireless microphone use
after the incentive auction. Licensed

Wireless systems
that operate in the
600 MHz band, like
the Shure ULXP124
58 ULX, are no longer
being sold. Rebates for
new replacements are
available

wireless microphones may also
operate on the specific frequencies
in the 600MHz duplex gap (652 to
657 MHz), and unlicensed wireless
microphones may operate on a portion
of the 600 MHz guard band (614 to
616 MHz) or a portion of the 600MHz
duplex gap (657 to 663 MHz).
Trade-Up
Going forward, anyone selling a
wireless microphone or other device
designed to operate in the restricted
600MHz wireless service band (617
to 652MHz / 663 to 698MHz) will be
required to notify buyers at the point
of sale that the device may no longer
be used after July 2020. They also have
been mandated to stop selling such
products by October 13, 2018.
To their credit, many wireless
products manufacturers have already
begun to inform their customers.
Wireless system makers like Shure
Incorporated are offering a rebate
programme of up to US$500 per
channel on the purchase of new Shure
wireless microphones and personal
monitor systems accompanied by the
trade-in of wireless systems operating
in the 600MHz frequency band.

Products from Shure and from other
wireless manufacturers are eligible for
the trade-in programme. The company
said its rebate is effective until April
30, 2018.
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
700MHz Band (i.e., 698 to 806 MHz).
This 700MHz band formerly had been
allocated for TV broadcast services,
and has been repurposed for wireless
broadband and public safety services.
The manufacture, import, sale, lease,
offer for sale or lease, or shipment
of wireless microphones or similar
devices intended for use in the U. S. in
the 700MHz Band was banned by the
FCC in January 2010, and use of the
devices in the 700MHz Band also was
prohibited as of June 12, 2010.
So, buyer beware: Discuss the
wireless products you intend to buy
with your sales rep and make sure
that they'll be able to be operates in
the U.S. three years from now. Strict
fines will be levied to those not in
compliance.


http://www.inbroadcast.com https://www.fcc.gov/general/wireless-microphones-0

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - September 2017

Contents
In Broadcast - September 2017 - Intro
In Broadcast - September 2017 - Cover1
In Broadcast - September 2017 - Cover2
In Broadcast - September 2017 - Contents
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 4
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 5
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 6
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 7
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 8
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 9
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 10
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 11
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 12
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 13
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 14
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 15
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 16
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 17
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 18
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In Broadcast - September 2017 - 21
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