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Author Topic: Just bought wireless mic - now I am told it is illegal  (Read 12757 times)

Bob Charest

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Re: Just bought wireless mic - now I am told it is illegal
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2011, 01:47:35 pm »

So let me see if I have this straight. Somebody bought the air that my wireless mic uses and now if I use that air, I am commiting a crime? Who decided they owned this air to sell it? I would think whoever that is needs to buy me a new wireless. I never agreed to this sale, so I will continue to use the air needed to run my wireless unit.
I agree that you're wrong, period. I had an entire setup that I had to replace due to the spectrum reallocation, but I did my homework in advance, and with much appreciated help from a number of people on this forum, I made the change and got a big improvement in the reliability and ease of use of my system. It was financially painful, but my old system had "earned its keep".
Just because I don't agree with a law doesn't mean that I can break it with impunity. I believe a 10k fine per unit per occurence would be a pretty unhappy thing for you (or anybody.) I second Tim's question: Is it really worth it? Not for me, my business, or my reputation, aside from adherence to the law.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 08:35:35 pm by Bob Charest »
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Just bought wireless mic - now I am told it is illegal
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2011, 12:46:10 pm »

So let me see if I have this straight. Somebody bought the air that my wireless mic uses and now if I use that air, I am commiting a crime? Who decided they owned this air to sell it? I would think whoever that is needs to buy me a new wireless. I never agreed to this sale, so I will continue to use the air needed to run my wireless unit.

There are very good reasons for regulating of the electromagnetic spectrum. Among these are public safety and an orderly flow of information. It is necessary to license the various spectra to provide for coherent communication; with no regulation chaos would reign and confusion would result. Imagine that you are a television broadcaster and you could not reliably get your message across because every other joe in town was using the same frequency for whatever. Your target audience would not receive your signal clearly; if your local government needed to use your station to broadcast emergency information they could not.

The FCC does recognize that the average consumer has a need for wireless communication, be it for computer networks, cordless landline telephones, your garage door opener, or yes, your wireless microphone. Since the average consumer does not have the resources, financial or otherwise, to apply for and receive a license for these devices, the FCC has allocated certain spectra for unlicensed use. Most of these devices are designed to work within the unlicensed spectra.

In the case of most UHF wireless microphones, they are designed to operate in the "white spaces" -- unused bands -- between TV channels. Note that these TV channels are licensed bands so, therefore, your use of them without an FCC license is technically illegal. Since the FCC typically operates in a complaint-driven manner, as long as you don't interfere with a licensee's usage of the band, you will get away with it. Even before the vacation of the 700MHz band, unlicensed use of microphones in that band was subject to the "fine for interference" doctrine and you could have been in big trouble had your wireless rig caused interference.

However, with the vacation of the 700MHz band primarily for emergency communication use, the FCC has implied more aggressive enforcement of licensing for this band. (Some portions of the band have been leased to private companies. It's possible that they will sell or lease equipment to emergency services providers, relieving the ESPs from the regulatory burden of licensing.)

The good news is that the FCC is allocating certain spectra specifically for unlicensed use of wireless microphones in performance venues. I don't know much about this plan, but I'm sure Mr. Cohen could fill us all in.
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Henry Cohen

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Re: Just bought wireless mic - now I am told it is illegal
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2011, 01:57:19 pm »

The good news is that the FCC is allocating certain spectra specifically for unlicensed use of wireless microphones in performance venues. I don't know much about this plan, but I'm sure Mr. Cohen could fill us all in.

As long as the equipment is FCC type approved or certified, operates in the core VHF or UHF TV bands and does not exceed 50mW RF power output, it can operate under unlicensed Part 15 rules.
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Henry Cohen

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Re: Just bought wireless mic - now I am told it is illegal
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2011, 01:57:19 pm »


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