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Audio Video Designs Blog

Is your organization's wireless microphone system FCC compliant?

Rob Rogers - Monday, October 01, 2012


In January of 2010, the FCC banned the sale of wireless microphones or similar devices intended for use in the United States in the 700 MHz Band. Use of any devices in the 700 MHz Band became illegal as of June 12, 2010. Still today, many systems in theaters, churches, schools and conference centers may not be compliant. To avoid penalties from the FCC, those responsible for their organizations AV equipment need to make sure their current wireless system is not in the 698-806 MHz range. 

Why did the change occur? Well, the FCC believes the 698-806 MHz frequencies should be reserved for public safety purposes such as police, fire and emergency services. From the FCC's website:

"Certain wireless microphones (and similar devices) have operated in frequencies that are needed for public safety. When this equipment was 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 (and similar devices) that operate in the old TV broadcast channels can cause harmful interference to the new services on those channels. Therefore, all users of wireless microphones (and similar devices) that operate on any of the frequencies in the 700 MHz Band – including both licensed users (under Part 74) and unlicensed users – 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 similar devices with cords are not affected by the FCC’s decision."

How can you tell if your system is not compliant? Some systems are marked with their operating frequencies on the outside of the unit or within the display when turned on. The FCC also provides a way to check your specific brand here: http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/wireless-microphones-manufacturers-equipment-list.

If you need assistance determining whether or not your organization's system is compliant and how to upgrade, we'd be happy to assist you. Give us a call at (800) 893-7555.

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