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Author Topic: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe  (Read 5829 times)

Diogo Nunes Pereira

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Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« on: February 20, 2017, 03:59:42 am »

Hi.

A colleague is getting quotes for a wireless system for a Spanish band who's embarking on a worldwide tour this spring. We's expecting to buy 1 Shure UR4D for the lead singer mic with backup, and 4/6 PSM900 IEMs + combiner for the band. Sennheiser is also an option.

The band will visit about 20 medium sized clubs in US, many large venues/arenas in South America and small venues across Europe. Plus the whole shebang of Spanish town arenas/stadiums/plazas de toros...

I've advised him to buy ranges between 500 and 600 MHz, to be future proof against US auction outcomes. I'm also recommending RF Venue antennas (1 CP Beam for IEMs, maybe Diversity Fin for the mic).

My question is about the need for licensing the use of this frequencies in the US and the other countries they're visiting. (UK, Netherlands, France...)

In Spain, under 50mW all you need to do is find open spaces in the DTV range. No license needed.

How is this handled in the US?

How about the UK? Does he need to have systems that fall into TV Ch.38 range?

I wouldn't want to have 6 IEMs and 2 Mics in the same TV Channel if possible...

He isn't worried about regulations in South America, but any valuable information is appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

D

Sent from my Xylophone using Tapatalk...

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hugovanmeijeren

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2017, 08:59:17 am »

I can only comment on the situation in the Netherlands, as far as I see regulations are quite similar to Spain.
A very large portion of the UHF band is available to wireless microphone users, without the need for a license. Given that you do not exceed 50mW.
Currently most users in The Netherlands operate in the 600MHz, but do note that 604-614 MHz is reserved for astronomical observations.

The Dutch Telecom Authority gives the following list of frequencies that are allowed for use by wireless microphones and wireless IEM's.
470-556 MHz
558-564 MHz
566-572 MHz
574-580 MHz
582-588 MHz
590-596 MHz
598-604 MHz
614-791 MHz
823-832 MHz

Be aware that DTV signals may be present, depending on your location within the Netherlands (also keep in mind that in border regions you may have to deal with Belgian and German transmitters). A list of all DTV transmitters and their locations can be obtained here: http://appl.agentschaptelecom.nl/dav/index.html
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Daniel Levi

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 11:35:05 am »

In the UK CH38 needs a shared user licence, any other channels/frequencies have to be licenced from Arqiva (who do the licencing on behalf of Ofcom) and it's done on a per site basis iirc.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2017, 12:11:46 pm »

Also in the UK it's important to get licensing issues dealt with in advance.  Arriving at the venue with your kit is the most expensive time to acquire licensing and on a weekend, perhaps impossible.  In G.B. you will find them very unaccommodating of a lack of preparation and woe be unto you if you decide to just fire up the rig and operate without licensing...
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Henry Cohen

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2017, 04:03:29 pm »

Hi.

A colleague is getting quotes for a wireless system for a Spanish band who's embarking on a worldwide tour this spring. We's expecting to buy 1 Shure UR4D for the lead singer mic with backup, and 4/6 PSM900 IEMs + combiner for the band. Sennheiser is also an option.

. . .

I've advised him to buy ranges between 500 and 600 MHz, to be future proof against US auction outcomes. I'm also recommending RF Venue antennas (1 CP Beam for IEMs, maybe Diversity Fin for the mic).

My question is about the need for licensing the use of this frequencies in the US and the other countries they're visiting. (UK, Netherlands, France...)

. . .

How is this handled in the US?

In the US, wireless microphone (the global term we give to all devices of this ilk; wireless microphones, IEMs, IFB's and intercom) licensing is quite different from Europe and parts of Asia.

First, the only two reasons to obtain a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are 1) to get protection form Television Band Devices (TVBD's) / White Space Devices (WSD's) by having the ability to register your operations in the geo-location database, and 2) to permit operations at greater than 50mW(17dBm) in UHF (up to 250mW / 24dBm). Whereas TVBD/WSD's are not exactly saturating the market, there are some installed fixed node devices in conventions centers, stadiums and arenas.

Now the bad news: Your colleague nor the band is not eligible for an FCC license for wireless microhones (and similar equipment). Eligibility is restricted to:
1 - A licensee of an AM, FM, TV, or International broadcast station or low power TV station.
2 - A broadcast network entity.
3 - A cable television system operator who operates a cable system that produces program material for origination or access cablecasting, as defined in 76.5(r).
4 - Motion picture producers as defined in 74.801.
5 - Television program producers as defined in 74.801.
6 - Licensees and conditional licensees of stations in the Broadband Radio Service as defined in section 27.1200 of this chapter, or entities that hold an executed lease agreement with a Broadband Radio Service or Educational Broadband Service licensee.
7 - Large venue owners or operators as defined in 74.801.
8 - Professional sound companies as defined in 74.801.
. . . And since 74.801 states ". . .  Large venue owner or operator refers to a person or organization that owns or operates a venue that routinely uses 50 or more low power auxiliary station devices, where the use of such devices is an integral part of major events or productions. Routinely using 50 or more low power auxiliary station devices means that the venue owner or operator uses 50 or more such devices for most events or productions", your colleague/band will not meet this criteria given the the seven channels to be deployed. Thus, your colleague/band will have to operate their seven channels as unlicensed set to 50mW or less.

As far as being "future proof against US auction outcomes", that is simply not possible, at least not for another few months, and then only in certain markets. Although we know the auctioned spectrum is from 617-698MHz, we don't yet know what the "repack' will look like in the various markets (cities and their immediate surrounding areas). The "repack" is the reallocation of currently vacant TV channels below 604MHz to those TV broadcasters who have to move out of 614-698MHz; we won't know that mapping (on a market by market basis) until the FCC issues their channel number reallocation public notice expected around early summer. That said, it won't be until about late 2017, early 2018 before the first of broadcasters begin to repack into the vacant 500 and VHF channels.

No question low 500's is the least worst bet, but I would also suggest carrying a channel of VHF ULXD just in case.
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hugovanmeijeren

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2017, 03:25:28 am »

woe be unto you if you decide to just fire up the rig and operate without licensing...

I am not in any way suggesting to anyone that they should break the law, especially when working abroad. But to be honest, I am wondering how this licensing would be enforced. What I mean is, our wireless microphones generally transmit at so low power, that hardly any signals would pass outside the walls of say a theatre building or music venue. Even if I were to share a frequency occupied by DTV, their transmitters would be so much more powerful that we would not interfere with their signals (it's the other way around).

I get that the point of licensing is, that there can be a central coordination of who is using what frequencies in a particular area, as to minimise the changes for interference to any of the users. However, given the frequency bands that wireless microphones generally use and their output power, changes of any harm done to other users (DTV) are virtually non existent.

Do they have Wireless Microphone Detector Vans in the UK?
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Diogo Nunes Pereira

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2017, 05:26:04 am »

I can only comment on the situation in the Netherlands, as far as I see regulations are quite similar to Spain.
A very large portion of the UHF band is available to wireless microphone users, without the need for a license. Given that you do not exceed 50mW.
Currently most users in The Netherlands operate in the 600MHz, but do note that 604-614 MHz is reserved for astronomical observations.

The Dutch Telecom Authority gives the following list of frequencies that are allowed for use by wireless microphones and wireless IEM's.
470-556 MHz
558-564 MHz
566-572 MHz
574-580 MHz
582-588 MHz
590-596 MHz
598-604 MHz
614-791 MHz
823-832 MHz

Be aware that DTV signals may be present, depending on your location within the Netherlands (also keep in mind that in border regions you may have to deal with Belgian and German transmitters). A list of all DTV transmitters and their locations can be obtained here: http://appl.agentschaptelecom.nl/dav/index.html

Thank you very much Hugo for the info in your post and the links.

I wish the Spanish telecom agency had TV channel data per area publicly available. Spain was "kicked-out" of Shure's WWB6 country list due to the lack of information regarding occupied TV channels. The only 3rd-party database I know for spanish TV data is this site:

Regarding the frequency assignment in the Netherlands, I wonder about the reasoning for the 6Mhz blocks, with 2 Mhz guard bands? Do people actually take this into account?

It's easily done as an inclusion list in WWB... (included as an attachement - just change the extension from .txt to .ils)

Cheers

Diogo





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Diogo Nunes Pereira
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Diogo Nunes Pereira

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2017, 05:39:56 am »

In the UK CH38 needs a shared user licence,

OK, no need to stuck to ch.38. Good to know...

Quote
any other channels/frequencies have to be licenced from Arqiva (who do the licencing on behalf of Ofcom) and it's done on a per site basis iirc.

Thanks, I'll check this Arqiva corporation to see what this is all about.

So, does the "any" in your statement means even a travelling musician wireless transmitter for his instrument has to be licensed on a per-site basis nowadays in the UK?

Also in the UK it's important to get licensing issues dealt with in advance.  Arriving at the venue with your kit is the most expensive time to acquire licensing and on a weekend, perhaps impossible.  In G.B. you will find them very unaccommodating of a lack of preparation and woe be unto you if you decide to just fire up the rig and operate without licensing...

Thank you for the heads up. I'll tell him to be prepared.

Cheers,

Diogo
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Diogo Nunes Pereira
elraval@gmail.com
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Diogo Nunes Pereira

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2017, 06:09:10 am »

...
Your colleague nor the band is not eligible for an FCC license for wireless microhones (and similar equipment).
...
Thus, your colleague/band will have to operate their seven channels as unlicensed set to 50mW or less.

No need for licenses then. No protection therefore... But it's only a handfull of IEM channels and a mic.

Quote
As far as being "future proof against US auction outcomes", that is simply not possible, at least not for another few months, and then only in certain markets. Although we know the auctioned spectrum is from 617-698MHz, we don't yet know what the "repack' will look like in the various markets (cities and their immediate surrounding areas). The "repack" is the reallocation of currently vacant TV channels below 604MHz to those TV broadcasters who have to move out of 614-698MHz; we won't know that mapping (on a market by market basis) until the FCC issues their channel number reallocation public notice expected around early summer. That said, it won't be until about late 2017, early 2018 before the first of broadcasters begin to repack into the vacant 500 and VHF channels.

He will just have to scan and coordinate properly before every gig, and hope for a tiny chunk of available spectrum for his units ranges (or good venue isolation). I imagine the repack will make white spaces even more scarce.

I'll be tutoring him on using WWB and the RF Explorer (he's a FOH engineer) when they set up for rehersals next month, so he should be fine.

Quote
No question low 500's is the least worst bet, but I would also suggest carrying a channel of VHF ULXD just in case.

I imagine that would have to be rented locally, as I don't believe Shure is selling VHF units in Spain yet.

Also, VHF spectrum availability (for PMSE systems) acording to the spanish regulator body is restricted to eleven 200kHz channels at this specific frequencies:

174,100 MHz; 174,300 MHz; 175,500 MHz 176,300 MHz y 179,300 MHz 188,100 MHz; 188,500 MHz; 189,100 MHz; 189,900 MHz; 191,900 MHz y 194,500 MHz

Here's the link to the document]http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2009/03/02/pdfs/BOE-A-2009-3565.pdf]document I got this from.

Thank you Henry for your knowledgeable answer.

Diogo
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hugovanmeijeren

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2017, 10:26:02 am »

Regarding the frequency assignment in the Netherlands, I wonder about the reasoning for the 6Mhz blocks, with 2 Mhz guard bands? Do people actually take this into account?
Hi Diogo,

To be honest, I don't know. I tried looking it up in the official frequency plan, but I do not really see it mentioned. So, for a clear answer you'd have to contact the Agentschap Telecom...

Btw, you should be careful using WWB to give you a list of nearby DTV transmitters (at least in The Netherlands). I've tried it out, but the outcomes in WWB were incorrect, it came up with transmitters that are in a different part of the country as well as overlooking multiple transmitters close-by. The information listed in the link above (this one: http://appl.agentschaptelecom.nl/dav/index.html) is correct and up-to-date.
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Andrew Outlaw

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2017, 10:23:23 pm »

Figure I might as well piggyback on this thread since it's relevant. I have a show coming up in Paris, and my reading seems to indicate that in France the situation is similar to the US where you can use wireless microphones unlicensed in the UHF tv band, is that correct? I have a fairly low channel count (≈10) so I'm not concerned about finding or reserving enough usable spectrum, just want to be sure I don't need a license.
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Pete Erskine

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2017, 11:10:44 pm »

Figure I might as well piggyback on this thread since it's relevant. I have a show coming up in Paris, and my reading seems to indicate that in France the situation is similar to the US where you can use wireless microphones unlicensed in the UHF tv band, is that correct? I have a fairly low channel count (≈10) so I'm not concerned about finding or reserving enough usable spectrum, just want to be sure I don't need a license.

When I did Katy Perry there a year ago there were no issues and licensing was not needed.
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Diogo Nunes Pereira

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2017, 01:11:02 am »

Figure I might as well piggyback on this thread since it's relevant.

Further investigations made me find this document from the the APWPT.

Contains recently updated (February 2017) information regarding frequencies and licensing for the following countries:

Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,  Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, UAE and United Kingdom

Cheers,

Diogo
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 01:13:40 am by Diogo Nunes Pereira »
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Daniel Levi

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2017, 03:32:03 am »

and if you are looking for local DTV transmitters in the UK then the UHF stations map here: http://tx.mb21.co.uk/mapsys/google/uhftv.php (also has lots of nice photos of them if you are into that sort of thing)
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2017, 11:47:37 am »

and if you are looking for local DTV transmitters in the UK then the UHF stations map here: http://tx.mb21.co.uk/mapsys/google/uhftv.php (also has lots of nice photos of them if you are into that sort of thing)

However MB21 does their web page, it locked up Firefox for Linux....
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Andrew Outlaw

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2017, 08:44:04 pm »

When I did Katy Perry there a year ago there were no issues and licensing was not needed.

Thanks Pete!
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Pete Erskine

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2017, 04:10:48 pm »

Further investigations made me find this document from the the APWPT.


Wow, Thanks Diogo.  This is a great resource and I have added it to my RF Coordination web page.
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Diogo Nunes Pereira

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2017, 08:19:56 am »

Wow, Thanks Diogo.  This is a great resource and I have added it to my RF Coordination web page.
My pleasure.

Sent from my Xylophone using Tapatalk...

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Re: Wireless licensing US vs. Europe
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2017, 08:19:56 am »


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