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Old March 17th, 2009, 04:46 PM   #1
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Are the new UHF wireless mics safe to use?

I'm referring to the FCC issues with band width that now is reserved.

I'm consider a new Sennhesier or Sony. Which freq should I buy?

Is it the same answer for anywhere in the U.S? I shoot in CT and FL.

Thanks
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Old March 17th, 2009, 05:30 PM   #2
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Link to the Freq Tables

Go to this link: Lectrosonics-Switch Settings versus Frequency Charts

Use the freq blocks lower than 27, anything above will be in the range to avoid.

If your wireless units are other than Lectrosonics then use the link and check your specs.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 05:31 PM   #3
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More info...

Auctioning of the “700MHz band” (698-806MHz). As of June 12, 2009, this portion of RF spectrum will be available to be used by the companies that won the auctions, and will no longer be available to Part 74 users (i.e. wireless microphones).
At the same time, analog TV stations will shut down and only DTV stations will be in operation. Because the 700MHz band will no longer be available to TV broadcasters, the few that are left will have to move to a lower range.
Thus, our blocks 27, 28 & 29 will have new (as of yet unknown) transmissions operating, while our blocks 21-26 may have a few new DTV channels when compared to today, depending on the local market.
The FCC has approved the development of unlicensed consumer products that will use the “white spaces” (remaining unused spectrum between existing TV transmissions). Here’s what that means
These new devices will be required by the FCC to employ “Spectrum Sensing” technology that will determine what, if any, other users may be present in the RF spectrum, including TV transmissions and wireless microphone systems, among others.
These devices will also use a geo-location system (GPS) along with a database f known signal sources, such as TV broadcasts and high-profile wireless mic users to avoid interference.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 06:21 PM   #4
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Mark, does this mean we should be looking for mics that use blocks 17-20 and avoid the higher ones?

Do the new products from Senn, Sony and Lec already include “Spectrum Sensing” and geo-location?
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Old March 17th, 2009, 10:50 PM   #5
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Check your specs

Check your specs for the Frequency range, especially when buying off of Ebay.

B&H and pro audio stores like Trew Audio will not sell you a unit with the out of range frequencies.

You need to make sure you do not get a "Special Deal" on a off the shelf wireless unit that has been in stock for the last few years in a closeout sale.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 08:58 AM   #6
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Mark:

Very impressive, you definitely have a handle on what is going on. I subscribe to Pro Sound News and they have had a couple of different writers on this ongoing story and I have interviewed Lectrosonics and Sennheiser reps for an article I wrote for HD Video Pro Magazine.

The overall story is that we don't know exactly what is going to happen with wireless mics. What we do know if that this entire issue (white spaces) was basically sneaked through by the outgoing FCC chairman without due process and is another typical case of special interest lobbyists conspiring with a government authority to circumvent the entire inconvenient "public hearing and opinion" portion of the process. The white spaces consortium (Google, Intel, Microsoft, all of the usual suspects) stand to make billions of dollars of revenue with this new technology and I don't blame them for wanting to do it anyway that they can, but it was a gross failure by the government as far as how this was handled and hopefully lawsuits are being filed against the FCC for their shameful way of handling this issue.

The wireless microphone industry was basically misled by the FCC, in that we as wireless users were, in theory, supposed to be registered users under part 74, but how many people do you know who ever did register their wireless mic systems? Lectrosonics gave the numbers and it is something .008% of users are registered. Because we are technically illegal users, we have no rights. It makes me wonder how many years back this entire plan was put into motion. If the FCC has never enforced wireless mic registration, we basically have very few rights as users as the airspace is taken away and whittled down. The wireless manufacturers are reacting as best they can to develop new technology to skirt these issues and the issues will not instantly come to light, they will gradually fade in as the wireless consortium slowly develop and release new products into the market.

If I was buying new wireless systems today, I would do so, realizing the conundrum we are in. It has never been more important to have a higher quality system, the days of buying a $500.00 wireless and thinking you are set are over because in the near future, all of the remaining operating bands will become more crowded and better quality systems will have better noise rejection and cleaner, clearer signal. But on the other hand, high quality wireless systems cost thousands of dollars per channel. Investing throusands of dollars per channel into equipment which may soon become close to useless, depending on your location and usage situation also seems crazy. The FCC is in charge of regulating the new White Spaces technology and the testing that has been conducted so far by the FCC and the wireless manufacturers has been a dismal failure, the white space devices trample all over operating wireless systems in the area. The beacon testing, the self-notification of the wireless devices have all had close to 100% failure. It doesn't give me a lot of confidence when I know that whether or not I will be able to use my multi-thousands of dollars worth of wireless systems with any sort of confidence a year from now is totally dependent on the good old FCC. They are the ones on charge of whether or not my wireless mics will be viable to even try to use.

Hate to say it, but wired mics may make a big comeback in the near future. Reality television will never be the same. Sounds like a good Saturday Night Live sketch, "Reality Television with Wired Mics". Reality actors are tripping and getting strangled by errant XLR cables as they fight and quarrel. Hilarity ensues.

Dan
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Old March 18th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #7
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What if they started sending a digital signal like a wireless router that the receivers pick up?
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Old March 18th, 2009, 10:28 AM   #8
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This may sound stange...

This may sound strange... when everyone is buying wireless UHF sets the older VHS wireless sets now have a less crowded frequency band. I traded in my Lectrosonics VHF units and purchased the newer adjustable UHF block 25 unit (in the Seattle area block 25 is one of the preferred frequency).

The UHF bands are now becoming more crowded and the older VHF bands are becoming less.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 01:44 PM   #9
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That's exactly what Lectrosonics told me. VHF may gain some new life? That would be too funny.

Dan
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Old March 18th, 2009, 02:33 PM   #10
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Is UHF inherently better than VHF, or was it popular simply due to less traffic?
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