Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Are You Aware of Wireless Mic Regulation Changes?

image This is a preaching blog, not a tech blog, but the one piece of tech that most of us use is a microphone.  And for many (most?) of us, it is a wireless mic. 

My music/worship minister has been sounding the alarm for several months.  As of Feb. 17, 2009, ALL wireless microphones in the 700 MHz range will become illegal to use.  That is A LOT of microphones.  I purposefully work to not know a lot about our soundboard & mics (lest I end up having to run them by default). But if you use wireless mics and are not aware of this, you or your church tech people need to be.  You can find the government regulation changes here.

Second, just running out and buying new wireless mics isn’t quite the answer.  They are talking about enforcing the laws requiring all users of wireless mics to have obtained a broadcast license with the FCC.  WHAT!?! 

Here is how one newsletter puts it:

The FCC requires all operators of RF transmitters (TV & radio stations, ham radios, wireless mics and IEMs) to have a license to operate on a given set of frequencies. I don’t know about you, but I know of no one who actually has a license to operate a wireless mic. This is because the transmitting power of a wireless mic is so much lower than a TV station that it’s laughable to think a wireless mic would cause interference. Since the only other devices operating in the same spectrum as wireless mics were TV stations, and TV stations obviously have the power advantage, the FCC left us unlicensed (and technically illegal) wireless mic operators alone.

This could all change if the FCC decides to open up the “white spaces” (the open frequencies between TV stations in any given market) to other low-power RF devices (to deliver broadband internet, for example). Presumably these devices would be licensed by the manufacturer, and could be the victim of interference by a wireless mic.

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, and/or complaints filed against wireless mic operators by any new devices, we could be in a lot of trouble.

This may not seem as critical as correct exegesis and relevant application, but if you preaching using a wireless mic and you have not checked this out…well, let’s just say… you have been warned.

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