FCC deadline looms for 700MHz wireless mic users

The proverbial minute hand on the 700MHz wireless mic clock is approaching midnight, giving users of the devices a little more than two weeks to vacate the spectrum and retune or replace existing equipment.

FCC rules call for users of wireless mic systems and other devices using 698MHz to 806MHz to halt using the band no later than June 12. Before the DTV transition, which was completed nearly a year ago, wireless mics operated on vacant TV channels in the 700MHz band.

However, with the completion of the transition, the users of wireless mics operating in the 700MHz band are being required to stop their use of the band to make way for public safety communications by police and firefighters as well as commercial providers of wireless services.

By requiring wireless mic users to vacate the 700MHz band, the FCC is heading off the likelihood that interference from the wireless mics will harm the transmissions of the public safety community and wireless services industry. According to the commission, 700MHz wireless mic users who fail to vacate the band may face stiff penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

Additionally, users of other devices, collectively known as low-power auxiliary stations, operating in the 700MHz band must cease using the equipment by the deadline. These devices include wireless intercoms, wireless in-ear monitors (IEM), wireless audio instrument links and wireless cueing IFB equipment.

The commission has set up a website for those who are uncertain whether their wireless mic system is required to be retuned or replaced. The website includes model-specific information arranged alphabetically by manufacturer name.