Churches, your wireless sound equipment may stop working soon
Kenny Lamm, Guest Column
May 14, 2018

Churches, your wireless sound equipment may stop working soon

Churches, your wireless sound equipment may stop working soon
Kenny Lamm, Guest Column
May 14, 2018

Many church wireless microphone and in-ear monitor systems operate in the 600 MHz frequency. Due to the increasing needs for more of the broadcast spectrum by wireless providers, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently auctioned off much of the 600 MHz frequencies to companies, including mobile phone providers.

T-Mobile spent $8 billion on 45 percent of the licenses and is aggressively expanding their wireless data network in the 600 MHz spectrum.

Any of your church’s 600 MHz devices that operate outside of a very narrow band of frequencies (listed below) must cease operating no later than July 13, 2020.

However, these devices may cease to operate effectively at any time depending upon when a wireless broadband company begins to use their newly-acquired frequencies.

These companies may use their newly-acquired frequencies at anytime. There are many cases where a microphone worked great one week and the next week the entire 600 MHz system was rendered useless due to a new transmitter coming on line in the intervening week.

Don’t assume you are safe to use your equipment until July 13, 2020. Consider it unreliable.

Bottom line

Replace all your wireless devices working in the forbidden frequencies as soon as possible. They may not work next week. Seriously.

There are only a few frequencies in the 600 MHz spectrum that still may be used for unlicensed wireless operations:

  • 614-616 MHz
  • 657-663 MHz

Note that the manufacturing, import, sale, lease, offer for sale or lease, or shipment of wireless microphones or similar devices intended for use in the United States that operate on the 600 MHz service band frequencies (617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz) is prohibited after October 13, 2018.

What will happen to our current audio equipment?

You will first need to verify whether or not it operates in the 600 MHz spectrum (other than 614-616 and 657-663). If it doesn’t, you have no worries.

If it does, first see if your equipment has a function to select a different frequency – one that may be allowable. If not, you will need to replace your equipment.

Many companies are offering trade-ins with discounts toward replacement systems. Below is a list of companies with trade-in/rebate programs and the dates by which you have to apply for the promotion.

Promotions run $50-$500 depending on the systems. Note that some expiration dates are only a few weeks away

  • Sennheiser, June 30
  • Samson, June 30
  • Lectrosonics, Aug. 30
  • Shure, Oct. 31
  • Audio-Technica, March 31, 2019

Do not delay taking care of this matter. Your equipment may fail at a very bad time!

(EDITOR’S NOTE – This article first appeared at renewingworshipnc.org. Used by permission.)