The White Space Dilemma...

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    Since the dawn of time, wireless microphone and intercom systems have been operating perfectly in the UHF television spectrum from 470 to 806 MHz.  The few years surrounding June 2009 will present greater changes to this band than at any other time in the history of radio on our planet.  This is because wireless audio devices will be forced to operate in less than 60% of the spectrum that we have always had.  The F.C.C. has auctioned off everything above 698 MHz to high power broadcasts.  Digital Television has energized.

    In June of 2009, several other events transpired.  The complete changeover from Analog to Digital Television will take place.  All high power transmitters must be broadcasting and all auctioned spectrum will be unusable to the professional audio industry.  Currently, it is still possible to operate RF all the way up to 806 MHz.  The high bidders of the radio spectrum would like the FCC to make it illegal for wireless microphones to operate there.   In fact, you can be sued for using equipment in this band.  It will belong to large corporations and the local Police, Fire and Rescue services. 

    Actually, you can be sued now by the organizations that already own the RF bands.  This includes the use of the upper end of the TELEX C-6 splits.  Qualcomm owns TV channel 55 (716-722 MHz) and they are already broadcating "media flow" services in this band.  Remember, if you disrupt their services, you are in violation of FCC regulations.  And, I am sorry to say, are subject to a $10,000.00 fine.  Contact TELEX regarding having your RF PL modified to custom RF bands which are not yet auctioned.

    In addition, on November 4, 2008, election day, the F.C.C.  passed a ruling allowing wireless internet devices to begin transmitting in what will be left of the "production" radio spectrum.  This would end wireless microphone and intercom usage in the professional audio and production communities as we know it.  Google, Dell, Hewlett Packard and Motorola all have been lobbying the F.C.C. for use of the VHF and UHF TV bands.  They all would like to introduce miniature, portable broadband devices into the radio spectrum that we have called home since the introduction of wireless microphones in 1962.

    There are a handful of organizations that consider this a major threat to the professional audio industry.  At the top of this list is Shure, Incorporated.  In my opinion, every wireless manufacturer in the United States should be attending every F.C.C. meeting on this subject.  I attended the F.C.C. meeting  regarding real world testing of the proposed "White Space"  devices.  The experience taught me that if we do not act as a cohesive production community now, we may as well say goodbye to our beloved wireless.

    There are many actions that we can take now to preserve the portion of the radio spectrum that we have shared with television broadcasters for over forty-five years.  Fortunately, Shure Incorporated has a web page with some instructions to follow.  For more information on what you can do, please click: