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Please stop using 700MHZ wireless systems

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Please stop using 700MHZ wireless systems!

The banning of wireless microphones by the FCC has been coming for 5 years. The topic has been debated, signed into law and the deadline extended 3 times. We have seen many of these devices still in use in churches. I have heard clergy make comments such as “We are a church, they can’t fine us.” or “Our mics are grandfathered in.” Both of these statements are false.

Under the FCC rule, anyone who uses a wireless microphone (or similar device) that operates in the 700 MHz Band will have to stop operating their wireless microphone (or similar device) no later than June 12, 2010.

Why did the FCC make this rule?

Certain wireless microphones have operated in frequencies that are needed for public safety. When these microphones were first designed, the frequencies they used were in between the frequencies that television stations used to broadcast television programs. With the completion of the digital television (DTV) transition on June 12, 2009, television stations no longer use the frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz (the 700 MHz Band) for broadcast. These frequencies are now being used by public safety entities (such as police, fire and emergency services) and by commercial providers of wireless services (such as wireless broadband services).

The wireless microphones that had been operating in the old TV broadcast channels can cause harmful interference to these public safety and wireless consumer services. Therefore, all users of wireless microphones (or certain low power auxiliary stations) that operate on any of the frequencies in the 700 MHz band – including both licensed users (under Part 74) and unlicensed users – now have to stop operating in this band.

The FCC is only prohibiting the use of wireless microphones (and similar devices) that operate in the 700 MHz Band. You may continue to use wireless microphones (and similar devices) that operate on other broadcast frequencies. Microphones and other similar devices with cords are not affected by the FCC’s decision.

Similar devices to wireless microphones are also known as equipment for “low power auxiliary stations”. Typically these devices can transmit over distances of 100 meters. Examples of similar devices include wireless intercoms, wireless in-ear monitors (IEM”), wireless audio instrument links, and wireless cueing equipment. (aka “IFB”).

Using the 700 MHz Band for a wireless microphone (or similar device) could be extremely dangerous and could even be life threatening. Police and fire departments, and other public safety groups, use frequencies in the 700 MHz Band. Interference from wireless microphones can affect the ability of public safety groups to receive information over the air and respond to emergencies. Harmful interference to these communications could put you or public safety personnel in grave danger. In addition, use of your microphone can cause unlawful interference to consumer services provided using the 700 MHz Band.

Operation of wireless microphones in violation of these rules may subject the user to substantial monetary forfeitures and/or criminal penalties, including imprisonment. Because any operation in violation of these rules creates a danger of interference to important radio communications services and may subject the operator to severe penalties, this advisory emphasizes the importance of complying strictly with these legal requirements. 

Fines for using these devices can exceed $10,000.00.

So, please stop using these devices before you cost your church money! It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.

AVIOM

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