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Old October 29th, 2016, 03:44 AM   #1
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Question re channel 38 licence to use radio mics in the UK

I run a small video production business and I have properly licenced Sennheiser G3 GB transmitter and receiver equipment operating on channel 38. I understand that this licence is for me as the operator rather than per item of equipment.

I also run an amateur musical theatre group and we have just received a donation to buy four G3 handheld radio mic systems (Senn EW 135 G3 GB) which are also on Channel 38.

The reason I chose this kit specifically is because it can integrate with my own existing G3 kit and I plan to pool our resources for concerts and cabarets, in effect to double our wireless capability.

As I will be present on every occasion the kit is used, will my licence be sufficient to cover the pooled use or should I get another licence for the theatre company?

Anyone got experience of this?

Many thanks in advance.
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Old October 29th, 2016, 09:18 AM   #2
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Re: Question re channel 38 licence to use radio mics in the UK

I think it will cover you ; I am in a similar position since my employer has a licence for their ch38 equipment , and it covers my own kit used for their business ( I also still have some licence exempt ch70 kit I can use separately ) .

If there is any doubt , you could always get the amateur theatre group to hire you for a nominal sum ( £1 or 1p ) to film or do sound for them , then your business licence would cover you .
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Old October 29th, 2016, 05:03 PM   #3
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Re: Question re channel 38 licence to use radio mics in the UK

I think that as long as there is a paid for licence to cover the use of CH38 at a designated site it does not mater who the holder is.
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Old October 29th, 2016, 05:28 PM   #4
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Re: Question re channel 38 licence to use radio mics in the UK

From the Ofcom website

What is a UK Wireless Microphone Licence?
There are two types of UK Wireless Microphone Licence.

UHF - UK wide shared access to Channel 38 (606.500-613.500 MHz) internally or externally and licensed on a non-protected basis for either one or two years.

Users can typically achieve 10 radio microphones in this range operating in the same place at the same time. However this can differ case by case.Access is not restricted to specific frequencies and users can re tune within the stated range to any usable frequency.

VHF - UK wide shared access to 15 spot frequencies in the range 175.250 to 209.800 MHz internally or externally and licensed on a non-protected basis for one year only.

These licences are popular due to the one off purchase with no requirement to notify us of where or when these channels are being used. However as the channels are shared users must be prepared to retune to alternative frequencies if interference from other local users is experienced.

What is a Standard Licence?
Standard Licences are issued when a user wishes to access frequencies that are coordinated with other users or uses.

This licence is used for equipment such as radio microphones, in ear monitors or wireless cameras.

Coordination could take place with other local PMSE frequency users, or for some equipment it will be coordinated to ensure there is no television transmitting that will affect the use.

These licences require users to book on a location by location, date by date basis. Frequencies are booked anywhere between 15 minutes to one year, however annual, long term of fixed site access is usually only permitted for the permanent resident or owner of the site.

Risk of interference on these frequencies is minimal due to the coordination process, however we will support instances of interefence on these channels.

How do licences and Notices of Variation work?
Licences are a permit to use frequencies. This means that the first time that a user requests access to frequencies, we will first issue them with a licence. Once the licence is created, the frequencies that a user wishes to access will be added to that licence.

Many short term users regularly require additional frequencies to be added to their licence. We issue a Notice of Variation (NoV) to the licence which details these changes.

We issue two types of PMSE licence - a Standard Licence and a UK Wireless Microphone Licence.

UK Wireless Microphone Licences are used for certain wireless microphone frequencies, and last for a period of one or two years. They are issued to all users who use 'shared' frequencies. The Wireless Mics and Monitors section contains details of these frequencies and licences.

Standard Licences last for a period of one year. They are issued to all users who use 'coordinated' frequencies. These are frequencies where we coordinate the use of frequencies between users, and other services.

In addition, there are ADS licences which have an additional restriction in Schedule 1 noting that licensees must also hold a Broadcasting Act Licence

A Licence is generally made up of the following sections:

The Licence which contains general licensing terms and conditions.
Schedule One which describes the terms and conditions specific to the frequencies listed in Schedule Two.
Schedule Two which includes a list of the frequencies that have been assigned, with technical characteristics, the location or area of operation and times and dates.
What are the costs of the UK Wireless Microphone Licence?
UHF (Channel 38)
£85.00 for one year and £155.00 for two years.

If users decide to purchase this type of licence there is a discount for purchasing direct from our website:

£75.00 for one year and £135.00 for two years.

VHF (15 pre defined frequencies)
£85.00 for one year.

If users decide to purchase this type of licence there is a discount for purchasing direct from our website:

£75.00 for one year.

For more detailed information, see our fees section.

Who should hold the licence?
Usually it is the user of the equipment who must hold the licence. There are only two exceptions.

Licence exempt equipment.
Licence exempt equipment includes some wireless microphones and some video equipment. Details can be found in the Equipment section of our website, and full details of all licence exempt equipment is available from Ofcom.

UK Wireless Microphone Licence
Any licensee that holds a UK Wireless Microphone Licence may hire or loan equipment to their customers. Providing the licensee supplies their customer with a written permit, the customer may use the equipment under the licence issued to the hirer. We provide a model form of permit to all licensees.

What do I do about interference?
Licence exempt and shared frequencies may be subject to interference from other users on the same frequency.

This should not happen with coordinated frequencies as these are carefully managed by us.

However, interference can come from many sources such as lights, computers, atmospheric conditions and illegal users. This means that interference free operation cannot be guaranteed.

If you suffer from interference please contact us as soon as possible. We can offer technical support to help quickly resolve interference suffered by licensed customers.

If you were able to resolve the issue yourself, please contact us to report the issue. This may help us identify a long term issue and help prevent a reoccurrence.

What is fixed site use?
An indoor fixed site is a location where the frequency impact of the proposed use would be such that the same frequency could be used at an adjacent site or airborne (though we will normally avoid such assignments).

Permanent (annual) assignments are possible at indoor fixed sites where the owner / occupier of the site is directly responsible for the use of the equipment.

An outdoor fixed site is a location where the frequency impact of the proposed use extends to an area beyond the boundaries of the site such that use of the same frequency within the area is not possible.

Permanent assignments will be individually assessed.

Fees for occasional use can be capped at the 'Area' rate if appropriate.

Where have high powered links moved to, now that Channel 69 has been removed?
The frequencies which you can licence high powered links on are in Channel 38.There are two specific channels that can be used which are 606.700MHz and 607.000MHz

Users are not covered to access these high powered links with a UK Wireless Microphone Licence for Channel 38.

A high powered link is classed as an audio link or an amplified wireless microphone with a greater power than 10mW (50mW body-worn) but not exceeding 1W.

What frequencies can be used without a licence?
Some equipment that is manufactured can tune into frequencies that do not require a licence to operate. There are several licence exempt areas for PMSE use.

The UHF licence exempt range is 863.100-864.900 MHz. This is within Channel 70.

Channel 70 is adjacent to use of mobile in the 800 MHz band. There should not be any interference however this is the risk taken with the licence exempt channels.

The power on channel 70 is limited to 10mw for handhelds and 50mw for body worn transmitters both internally and externally.

There is no limitation to how many frequencies can used in this channel as long as users stay within the confines of the band. On average users would probably be able to use four units at one time.

There are currently no plans to remove access to Channel 70; it will continue to be licence exempt for PMSE users.

There is also a VHF licence exempt range which runs from 173.700-175.10MHz.

A licence exempt WiFi band runs from 2.400-2.4835GHz and is free to use for audio equipment below 10Mw, manufacturers suggest that up to 70 radio microphones could be used at one time in the range, however there are many other uses of this band such as WiFi networks, Bluetooth short range links and microwaves.

What are the legitimate uses of PMSE frequencies?
Type of Activity Included Purposes Excluded Purposes
Production of a Television or Radio Programme, either at a permanent Studio or a temporary location, - whether or not it takes place at a public or private event. Radio facilities directly involved in the production or control of the programme material.

As required for the holding, managing, running and termination of the event at the event location and site management, the following activities or personnel:
Management staff
Contractors’ staff
Security
First Aid (in both cases, excluding any Safety of Life purpose)
Catering
Crowd marshals
Traffic marshals
Car parking
Barriers and Signs
Construction
Maintenance
Co-ordination with emergency services or local authorities. Advertising
Public or private event, at any location, eg
Sporting
Music
Theatrical
Religious
Political
Hobby
Corporate
Retailing
- whether or not the event is to be broadcast. Radio microphones.
Communications provided for exclusive use of participants.
(Incidental reception of these channels by the public is permitted, subject to the agreement of the licensee)
Vision and sound links for distribution to loudspeakers or video screens, and for public address.
As required for the holding, managing, running and termination of the event at the event location and site management, the following activities or personnel:
Management staff
Contractors’ staff
Security
First Aid (in both cases, excluding any Safety of Life purpose)
Catering
Crowd marshals
Traffic marshals
Car parking
Barriers and Signs
Construction
Maintenance
Co-ordination with
emergency services
or local authorities Advertising
Broadcasting for reception by audiences or the general public.
Linking of programme material from one fixed site to another fixed site Annual links (designated frequencies only)
30 day links (designated frequencies only)
Occasional use tariff (all other frequencies where available) Broadcasting for reception by audiences or the general public.
Audio Distribution System (ADS) For direct reception by a closed user group within a small defined area, typically a sports stadium or conference hall, of audio content such as a referee's comments, conference translations, audio descriptions for the visually impaired etc. ADS licensees must also be in possession of a valid ADS-RSL Broadcasting Act licence Community radio station
Radio restricted service (RSL)
'Included purposes' are those activities for which we can issue a licence.

'Excluded Purposes', are those activities which we cannot licence. Please contact Ofcom for appropriate frequencies.

Can I use my frequencies abroad?
Information on UK frequency can be found at:

The European communications office can provide information on national contacts and Ancillary to program making and broadcasting applications.

European conference of postal and telecommunications administrations

European broadcasting union

Penalties
We issue licences so frequencies can be coordinated and interference avoided. By using unlicensed equipment you can cause interference to licensed users.Please make sure you have the right type of licence. If you operate equipment without a licence, you can face a fine of up to £5000 and/or serve a prison sentence. Your equipment may also be seized. If you’re unsure whether you need a licence, please contact us.

Related Content
Technical info - PMSE spectrum and equipment
6 Feb 2015
Major events for PMSE licensees
10 Feb 2015
Contacting Ofcom
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Old October 30th, 2016, 12:45 AM   #5
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Re: Question re channel 38 licence to use radio mics in the UK

Thank you all for your replies - very useful. I had, of course, checked the paperwork before asking the question, but it didn't really address the point of whether the licence would cover me for using equipment not owned by me.

I currently hold a UHF Channel 38 non-protected Wireless Microphone licence. That means (unless I have completely misunderstood it and have been doing it wrong all this time!) I can tune to between 606.500 and 613.500, shared with anyone else in the area, but I do not have to notify where or when the equipment is being used. As such, my licence isn't for a specific designated venue (which would be no good for me anyway as I rarely shoot in the same location twice!

I think the point you make, Derek, is what will cover me. I will get the theatre group to 'employ' me as their sound guy. I'm not trying to sneak out of paying a licence if it's a requirement, but I hate to waste money - especially as it's the funds of a struggling amateur musical theatre group that I would be using!

Thanks again all.
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Old October 30th, 2016, 03:05 AM   #6
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Re: Question re channel 38 licence to use radio mics in the UK

To put it into perspective I used to work for Arqiva who used to manage the spectrum and half the time they had forgotten to get the correct licence.

Ofcom now manage it again and if you have a valid licence to show them or one of the busybodies who seem to feel that they act on their behalf (usually another licence holder such as the BBC etc) then you will have no problems. Besides I don't recall any single case of anyone being prosecuted for such a serious crime of the realm.

Oh and if any other busybody tried to claim they have preference over ch38 then tell them to F off as all licence holders for the channel are equal in the eye of the law.

BTW I don't have a ch38 licence as I find that my old G2 radio mic's are quite useable in the free to air spectrum of ch70.

;0)
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Old October 30th, 2016, 02:43 PM   #7
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Re: Question re channel 38 licence to use radio mics in the UK

Cheers Gary! I recently had a lively discussion with someone who was running a very small seminar event in a room next door to where I was shooting some interviews. He was unable to get a clean signal and assumed I was the culprit. He insisted I change my frequency because I was only using one mic and he was using three. Yeah, right . . . . but being a true gent I offered to take a look at his kit, which was brand new and only just taken out of the original packaging. All three mics were tuned to 606.500. Sigh . . .
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Old October 30th, 2016, 06:39 PM   #8
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Re: Question re channel 38 licence to use radio mics in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Stark View Post
Thank you all for your replies - very useful. I had, of course, checked the paperwork before asking the question, but it didn't really address the point of whether the licence would cover me for using equipment not owned by me.

I currently hold a UHF Channel 38 non-protected Wireless Microphone licence. That means (unless I have completely misunderstood it and have been doing it wrong all this time!) I can tune to between 606.500 and 613.500, shared with anyone else in the area, but I do not have to notify where or when the equipment is being used. As such, my licence isn't for a specific designated venue (which would be no good for me anyway as I rarely shoot in the same location twice!

I think the point you make, Derek, is what will cover me. I will get the theatre group to 'employ' me as their sound guy. I'm not trying to sneak out of paying a licence if it's a requirement, but I hate to waste money - especially as it's the funds of a struggling amateur musical theatre group that I would be using!

Thanks again all.
There is a clause in the licence , which states that kit can be loaned or hired to another party with the licence still in effect .

I also rely on my employer ( fire service ) having taken out a two year licence to cover all of our ch38 kit , which comprises of several sets with receivers installed in racks in fixed locations , plus three ENG kits which we use for production or live events out and about . We also still have a fair number of licence exempt ch70 kit , which is now completely unusable in some locations ( mostly cities ) where there is a lot of 4G traffic on nearby frequencies , but can still be fine in other places .

I personally still have a couple of ch70 kits which are mostly fine for doing 'homers' , although the terms of the licence would seem to cover me if I were to borrow ch38 kit from work .

Mind you , most of the time I will use a wired mic in preference to a radio if the circumstances permit .
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Old October 31st, 2016, 01:46 PM   #9
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Re: Question re channel 38 licence to use radio mics in the UK

Thanks Derek. Not sure that clause works in this case though. The other organisation owns the equipment and they do not have a licence. I want to know if my licence covers the use of their equipment when I am operating it. They won't use it at any other time.

What I think I am going to do, just to make sure both parties are covered, is to get the theatre group to give me a letter stating that they have bought the equipment for me to use on their behalf. I will, after all, be storing it, maintaining it and the only person actually operating it!
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Old November 2nd, 2016, 05:59 PM   #10
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Re: Question re channel 38 licence to use radio mics in the UK

Hi Ian ,

I think the best idea is to get the company to employ you to do sound at their events - you then hold a licence for your equipment , and I doubt anyone will nit pick between equipment you are using , whether you bought it or someone else did .

The only other thing might be to get them to hire the equipment to you for your production of the event - covered by your licence .

These are just my thoughts and I am no legal expert .
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