June 12, 2010 - what will happen to my wireless microphone?

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On Saturday, June 12, 2010 your ability to use 700MHZ wireless systems (those with frequencies from 698-806MHZ) – legally – will expire.

Earlier this year, the FCC handed down a ruling that stated that all users must abandon the use of wireless microphone devices operating in this range on or before this date.  In just a few days, that deadline will become a reality and you may be faced with a decision about what to do.

Many users of wireless microphones have already chosen to replace what they have.  That's smart.  Some people have no idea that they need to make a change.  Some are taking their chances on not getting caught while continuing to use their 700MHZ systems – not smart.  And some are already affected with interference issues and don't even know why.

Here are three very good reasons to figure out whether you need to make the change and then to make it, if necessary.

A few people that we've talked with think that wireless microphones that operate in this range will continue to work perfectly and that they'll just try not to get caught.  Aside from possible legal penalties, the reality is that is that 700MHZ wireless systems will stop operating reliably at some point in the near future.  That's reason #1.

Will it be June 12?  No.  For my own church in Columbus, OH it happened July 13, 2008.  The interference rendered one of our wireless microphones obsolete.  For another client, as they were trying to decide whether to spend money for all new wireless systems in late 2009 or in the new 2010 budget year, someone else made the decision for them.  One weekend service, the systems worked flawlessly.  The next weekend, they couldn't find a workable set of frequencies and the music pastor called to make an purchase the very next day.

These changes will happen at some point in the future - count on it.  Communications companies have paid the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) billions of dollars for the right to use this chunk of the radio spectrum; they're not going to not use it.  Yes, I know, I used a double-negative.  More simply, the wireless companies are going to use the radio spectrum that they've paid for - as soon as they can, and as heavily as they can.  Your 15 milliwatt wireless microphone transmitter doesn't stand a chance.

Are you affected? Click the Read More link below for the rest of the article.

 

Chances are that if you've purchased a wireless microphone in the last 4-10 years that you are, at least to an extent. 700MHZ systems were the defacto standard for most wireless microphones sold during that time period.

To find out whether you have wireless microphones that are affected, here are some options.

1. Turn your wireless microphone units on and see whether any frequencies show up in the display.  Anything between 698.000 - 806.000 should not be used after June 12, 2010.

2.  If your unit has a numeric display for channel numbers like 00-99 or 1-10 or anything that's not frequency-specific, please call us at 800-747-7301 or check this list at the FCC site.  We can translate most frequency codes (like 57V, 59R, U1, U2, etc.) into the actual frequency in megahertz (MHZ).  The list at the previous FCC link is inclusive of all affected models and also specifies whether there's a remedy from the manufacturer to have the units set to new frequencies.

I am affected - what are my options?

Most manufacturers have rebate programs that offer discounts to get you to purchase new equipment from them.

That's reason #2 - there are generous rebates available from most manufacturers.  Most of those programs require action prior to June 30, 2010, so time is of the essence.

Reason #3 - It's the law.  Very simply, if you use 700MHZ wireless microphones and want to continue to use wireless microphones, you are required by law to replace what you have.

A myth - We've heard some rural users speculate that they'll be able to get away with using their wireless systems since they're so far outside cities with the latest wireless services, and they expect deployment of the new services to not ever reach them.  Just a couple weeks ago, a client who's truly in the middle of nowhere (geographically) called to say that they had been hit with new interference to their 700MHZ wireless systems, and that they had been hoping to "get away" with not making the change.

As it turns out, what do you think the most effective way to deliver broadband services is to those rural areas?  Hint: it's not stringing miles of cable up and down the backroads.  Wireless communications are the future and rural areas may end up almost equally affected to city areas.  That church is buying new wireless microphones.

So what are others like me doing?

Right now, we're selling a lot of wireless microphones and are experiencing some shortages for certain models.  We have lots of wireless microphones in stock in all price ranges, and we can offset a large portion of those costs through rebates and other special offers.

Here is a list of the rebate offers that are available.  Many programs have run their course and have not been renewed.  There's no indication that any of the available programs will be continued past June 30, 2010.  Please don't wait.

Audio-Technica and Shure have been most-directly involved with us in helping get the word out, so we'd like to further show what both offer in various price ranges.

Audio-Technica features systems from $99.95 to about $1500 per system, and provides professional features at prices that are hard to beat.  Click here to see all of the Audio-Technica wireless systems on our site.  All other Audio-Technica systems are available by calling.

Shure systems have long been the benchmark for radio reliability in the music industry.  Shure is the only company from which you can buy its legendary SM58 in wireless form.  Click here for a listing of all Shure wireless systems on our site.  All Shure wirelss systems are available.  Please call for information on models not listed.

Thanks for reading about your options for replacing your existing wireless microphone systems and saving money while doing so.  Right now, is the very best time to make a change, if you're affected by the FCC decision.

Multiple systems to replace?

Please call for special pricing and professional integration assistance and frequency coordination.

If you have questions and/or would like our recommendations, please feel free to call (800) 747-7301.