June 12, 2010

700 MHz Wireless Mics Illegal as of Today

My Audio Technica wireless mic operates in the 700 MHz Band, which was never a problem until the switch to digital TV allowed the FCC to auction off the 700 MHz frequency band for $19.5 billion in 2008. As a result, it is illegal for anyone to operate their 700 MHz wireless mic as of today.

From the FCC announcement:

Certain wireless microphones have operated in frequencies that are needed for public safety. When these microphones were first designed, the frequencies they used were in between the frequencies that television stations used to broadcast television programs. With the completion of the digital television (DTV) transition on June 12, 2009, television stations no longer use the frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz (the 700 MHz Band) for broadcast. These frequencies are now being used by public safety entities (such as police, fire and emergency services) and by commercial providers of wireless services (such as wireless broadband services). The wireless microphones that had been operating in the old TV broadcast channels can cause harmful interference to these public safety and wireless consumer services. Therefore, all users of wireless microphones (or certain low power auxiliary stations) that operate on any of the frequencies in the 700 MHz band – including both licensed users (under Part 74) and unlicensed users – now have to stop operating in this band.

So, what to do with now-useless (or at least now-contraband) wireless microphones? Audio Technica has a trade-in program offering 15% off the purchase of a new AT mic (Sennheiser has a similar program, as do other manufacturers). I'm not ecstatic about having to buy a new wireless system despite the old one working fine, but I suppose this tech stuff doesn't last forever anyway.

Anyone else have a 700 MHz microphone brick?

[via DV Culture]

Your Comment

7 Comments

I have a 700mhz brick but sold it a year ago before this was common knowledge. Felt kind of bad about it, but knowledge is power...

June 12, 2010 at 10:38PM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM

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Joe

I assume that this law applies to the UK and Europe as well,or else you could sell them on Ebay UK ;)

June 13, 2010 at 4:51PM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM

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Leighton Gill

Leighton -- great idea, why didn't I think of that?

June 13, 2010 at 5:29PM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

So did they become illegal, or is the frequency actually jammed so the devices no longer work?

January 18, 2011 at 12:31PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

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Marshall

The former.

January 19, 2011 at 10:33AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

I just purchased a Sennheiser freePORT FP12 not knowing it was in the 700 MHz range (which I am pretty sure it is)... dumb me!

Anyone know if it is illegal?

March 7, 2011 at 12:30PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

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Grant

This is BS!!! There should be a class action lawsuit brought on by "we the people" and (never mind the 15% rebate, thank you) we all should be compensated fully for our loss. Then Google and Microsoft can have the remaining balance. And i would include broadcasters as well, who invested way more than I have in audio. This sounds like corporate raiding backed by the Government, doesn't it? It's funny how even years before this change to digital happened, I was getting interference on my mics at events and didn't realize that it was one of the big cell phone companies overpowering the frequency I was on until one day while playing my guitar on a small amp with my nephew. Suddenly the amp started freaking out as my mic did at times, and then his cell phone rang. It was an "Aha" moment. Why didn't Cinglar Wireless get clipped for infringing on FCC rules? Not enough complaints? Well, now look who moved in! Big Corporate and Big Govt.
Just thought I'd finally vent.

November 15, 2012 at 5:27PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

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Joe