Wireless Microphones and the Digital TV Transition

Youth Specialties
January 13th, 2009

If you live in the United States than you know that on February 19th, 2009 all television stations are converting their signal to digital. And while that transition may seem benign to the average church there is something happening on that day which may cause concern. Beginning on February 19th, 2009 the FCC will allow new devices to begin using the frequencies currently occupied by broadcast television and wireless microphones. You may not realize this but most wireless microphones use frequencies that are between broadcast TV channels, they call them “white spaces.” What does this mean for you? In the typical church this likely doesn’t mean much immediately. But as devices come out, microphones using the UHF/VHF bands (basically every wireless mic on the market) may begin to pick up interference. (static, buzzing, etc.) Additionally, if you use older 700 MHz microphones you may need to replace them in the near future.

<em>The FCC had proposed earlier that wireless microphone operations in the 700 MHz band should cease in February 2009, but a final transition date has not been announced. link

There is a lot more to this as well. If your church has other businesses or residences within 1 kilometer of your church, you’ll need to register your frequencies with the FCC to help avoid other devices from using your frequency. Here’s why. Starting soon, wireless broadband and other consumer electronics devices will begin broadcasting on your white space channels. These new devices are required to geolocate (like a GPS) and make sure that they avoid frequencies within 1 kilometer of a known user of that frequency. While that database isn’t available to register your frequencies in just yet… just know that it’s on the horizon. Long story short, if you use wireless microphones at your ministry they will continue to work just fine. But to avoid interference you may need to take action soon. I’ve just scratched the surface on this issue. Here are some more resources.

Youth Specialties

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