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Frequency Coordination at the 2012 Political Conventions

The FCC issued Public Notice (DA 12-1028) this week announcing that all short-term auxiliary broadcast use under Part 74, without exception, within a 100 km. radius around the location of the Republican National Convention August 27-30, 2012 in Tampa Fla.; the location of the Democratic National Convention, Sept. 2-5, 2012 in Charlotte N.C., and the location of the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., Jan 20-26, 2013, shall be coordinated in advance through the POLCOMM-2012 coordinator, Louis Libin. Geographic coordinates for the locations and contact information for Louis Libin are listed in the Public Notice. 

Aeronautical mobile operations are not authorized. The local coordinator in these areas will provide assistance and database access to all local and non-local Part 74 licensees as well as all Part 78 and Part 101 licensees sharing spectrum available under Part 74. 

Finding frequencies for wireless microphones and IFB will be a challenge. TV frequencies above 698 MHz were still available for use at the 2008 conventions as the analog shutdown had not been completed. The FCC granted a request from POLCOMM-2012 for a waiver to the distance separation requirements of Section 74.802 of the FCC rules. With the waiver, low-power auxiliary stations not exceeding 2 watts of power can be used on channels allocated for TV broadcasting where the nearest operating station is at least 40 km from the event locations. These low-power stations will be operated only inside the venues and the majority of the facilities will not exceed 200 milliwatts. In the waiver request, POLCOMM-2012 stated that each of the potentially affected stations has been contacted and is supportive of this request, and that POLCOMM-2012 “has done analysis and RF measurements at each venue to confirm that the proposed low power operation would not adversely affect these stations.” The FCC waiver applies to all Part 74, 78 and 101 licensees sharing spectrum available under Part 74 and operating in the designated areas covered by the FCC's action. 

In the Public Notice, the FCC states, “By this action, we facilitate the ability of broadcasters and cable network-entities to cover these important events. Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) stations, which are licensed under Part 74 of the Commission’s rules, make it possible for television and radio stations and networks to transmit program material from the sites of breaking news stories or other live events to television studios for inclusion in broadcast programs, to transmit programming material from studios to broadcasting transmitters for delivery to consumers’ televisions and radios, and to transmit programs between broadcast stations.”

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.