600 MHz is gone

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sawdust123

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 10, 2006
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Ventura County, CA
Well folks, the time is upon us. The 600 MHz spectrum is essentially gone for wireless mic use in 5 days (July 13) in all US markets. There are exceptions of course. Here are some details.
  • 608-698 MHz is the actual spectrum that has now gone away
  • The spectrum has been purchased for broadband and smart phone use and is already occupied in most markets
  • There is a guard band for unlicensed wireless mics between 614-616 MHz
  • There is a duplex gab from 657-663 MHz that can also employ unlicensed wireless mics
  • The duplex gap from 653-657 MHz is reserved for part 74 licensed wireless mics only (DJs don't qualify)
  • Mic transmitters operating in the guard band or duplex gap must be less than 20 mW in power level
  • Mic transmitters cannot be tunable to protected frequencies (608-614 MHz, 617-652 MHz, 663-698 MHz
The fines for violating this are $10K/day/transmitter.

What if you don't want to comply? Will you get caught? Will it still work?

The worst thing you can do is operate outside of the allowed frequencies. You will get increasing smart phone interference as the carriers complete their networks. The cell phone carriers monitor for interference as well and are very protective of their spectrum. They have prosecuted churches in the past.

It is impossible for anyone to know if your system is tunable outside of the allowed frequencies unless they are looking at it. However, systems that can operate outside the allowed bands could be overwhelmed with adjacent band noise from the smart phones. They may require external filters for the antennas. Not all wireless systems have provisions to add such filters.

If you are operating at too high a power level in the allowed bands and are working inside, it would be hard for people outside the building to know this. However, you could create problems for cell users within the building.

Given our current times, illegal wireless mic worries are simply a luxury for those that have gigs.
 

steve149

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Yea, I've been posting about this for the past few years ..


Ignoring the "can't use it if it's tunable outside the gap/guard bands" for a moment, there actually supposed to be 2 bands usable for unlicensed mics .. a guard band at 614-616 MHz, and a dual gap band at 652-663 MHz with unlicensed and WSD use between 657-663 MHz.

I'm going to stick with my AT3000 systems in that space for now. I have a couple mics that will work in the 500MHz space, but I like the AT3000 units and generally don't have a need for more than 1.
 
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steve149

Shine on you crazy diamond
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steve149

Shine on you crazy diamond
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BTW, many vendors STILL have rebates available for 600 MHz trade-ins. Most were to end last year, but they keep getting extended. Buy a new wireless unit outside the 600 MHz band and send back one (unit+mic) that is in the 600MHz band .. details on the specific forms. If I recall, the Sennheiser 500 series were good deals ...

Sennheiser (available for wireless mics bought through 7/31/2020


Audio Technica (available for wireless mics bought through 9/30/2020


Shure (available for wireless mics bought through 10/31/2020

 
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steve149

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For example .. a nice Sennheiser EW500 G4 with a 935 capsule can be gotten for $770 - a $200 rebate = $570.

An Audio Technica System 10 Pro Dual handheld (2.4GHz) can be $636 - $150 rebate = $486 .. and that's 2 channels.
 
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Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
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I'm going to delay any wireless purchases for at least another year. If Biden wins - the entire spectrum will be prohibited for pubic use. :)
 
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steve149

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I'm going to delay any wireless purchases for at least another year. If Biden wins - the entire spectrum will be prohibited for pubic use. :)
Gee .. I really HOPE so .... :embarrassed:
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
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I got to ask this question since I don't understand all of this and we have a wedding coming up to do. I have Samson dual cordless Concert series 288 mics that we use. Is it ok to use those mics? Please explain the situation so I can understand.

Bob you need to pray Biden wins or all hells going to break loose if Trump is reelected.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
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I got to ask this question since I don't understand all of this and we have a wedding coming up to do. I have Samson dual cordless Concert series 288 mics that we use. Is it ok to use those mics? Please explain the situation so I can understand.

Bob you need to pray Biden wins or all hells going to break loose if Trump is reelected.
I think both of your concerns defy explanation.

Curious: If all hell were to break loose - how would we recognize that ?
 

sawdust123

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 10, 2006
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I don't think Biden really cares one way or another. The public has been demanding more and more broadband spectrum. A lot has opened up recently in C-band (4-8 GHz) for new WiFi services and that has created numerous headaches, even for the military.

The UHF band is particularly attractive for mobile devices due to its transmission qualities. And let's face it, we never came close to fully utilizing that band for UHF TV. The early TV transmitters had so much out-of-band leakage that few could exist in the same market. Before that problem was solved, cable TV started gaining in popularity. Now streaming is more popular than cable so it only makes sense that more airwaves are dedicated to broadband.
 

sawdust123

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 10, 2006
535
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Ventura County, CA
I got to ask this question since I don't understand all of this and we have a wedding coming up to do. I have Samson dual cordless Concert series 288 mics that we use. Is it ok to use those mics? Please explain the situation so I can understand.
The current Series 288 operates from 518-566 MHz so it is legal to use. However, you should check what TV stations are in use in your market. That is where most interference will come from.
 

steve149

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The current Series 288 operates from 518-566 MHz so it is legal to use. However, you should check what TV stations are in use in your market. That is where most interference will come from.
Mix needs to check his actual boxes, since they may not be current units.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
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I'm serious about not buying anymore wireless gear.
For my purposes, a decent wireless mic system is a $5,000 outlay - and I've found it simpler to revert back to cabled systems in 75% of applications where I had been using wireless. When and where I have to do wireless I can rent top level stage systems for as little as $100 per channel and easily build that right into my invoice.
 
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sawdust123

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I used to sell those $5K wireless systems but in actuality, the smallest system that made sense was an 8-channel system ($40K). That was a fun job. My main market was broadcast studios.
 
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steve149

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I have no need for a $5K per mic system .. the only benefits would be spectrum management, which I really don't need for 1 or 2 mics. $500-$800 systems are sufficient for my needs, and I would guess most here. I'll probably replace 1 or 2 of my 600MHz AT3000 systems and call it a day.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
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Thanks for answering my question. Now Bob what mobile DJ do you know spending 5k for a wireless microphone system? Some DJs don't have that much invested in their gear they use to DJ with. I know with all the gear ee have we're well above that. Just counting powered speakers alone the cost is close 4k. That's just the 2 Yamaha powered speakers and Yorkville subs.

I get it if you're talking about a radio station spending that kind of money (at least certain ones). Only way I would ever own one of those is if I steal it and don't get caught.
 

steve149

Shine on you crazy diamond
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Sep 26, 2011
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Thanks for answering my question. Now Bob what mobile DJ do you know spending 5k for a wireless microphone system? Some DJs don't have that much invested in their gear they use to DJ with. I know with all the gear ee have we're well above that. Just counting powered speakers alone the cost is close 4k. That's just the 2 Yamaha powered speakers and Yorkville subs.

I get it if you're talking about a radio station spending that kind of money (at least certain ones). Only way I would ever own one of those is if I steal it and don't get caught.
For larger production events, it's important .. you may have 20-50 wireless devices staged for performers .. so being able to manage all that comes with a price. Bob does production events, so it may be important to him. For mobile DJs, it's pretty rare. $400-$1000 per mic is more typical, with $500ish being a sweet spot. Less than that and you get lower quality builds (mainly plastic handheld mics) that will fail if handled roughly, little to no diversity reception and less tolerance to things like handling noise and noise rejection.

The whole reason for this thread is to make sure EVERYONE is aware that if you have a wireless mic that operates in the 600-700 MHz region, it probably will have issues going forward unless you are very precise in what you do or very lucky.
 

djrox

Sir Wyzazz
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Aug 12, 2006
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Thanks for answering my question. Now Bob what mobile DJ do you know spending 5k for a wireless microphone system? Some DJs don't have that much invested in their gear they use to DJ with. I know with all the gear ee have we're well above that. Just counting powered speakers alone the cost is close 4k. That's just the 2 Yamaha powered speakers and Yorkville subs.

I get it if you're talking about a radio station spending that kind of money (at least certain ones). Only way I would ever own one of those is if I steal it and don't get caught.
Gear worth well above 5K including 4k powered speakers for 1/2 a dozen free and 2 or 3 beer money gigs a year...
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