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FCC TV band device Second MO&O reserves two channels nationwide for wireless mics

The FCC has reserved nationwide two TV channels in the range of Channels 14 through 51 for use by wireless microphone users, including itinerant users such as electronic newsgathering crews, as part of its Second Memorandum Opinion and Order authorizing new entrants into the TV band.

The Second MO&O adopted Sept. 23 lays out the rules under which new wireless TV band devices (TVBDs) transmitting on vacant TV channels must operate. Wireless mics, wireless IFB and other electronic newsgathering-related communications technology have shared the TV band for years. As part of the Second MO&O, the commission sought to protect wireless mics while setting up conditions that will promote the entrance of new wireless devices in vacant channels.

According to the commission, the Second MO&O will “ensure that frequencies are available everywhere for licensed wireless microphones used on a roving basis to operate without risk of receiving harmful interference from TVBDs.”

The Second MO&O also establishes a nominal separation distance between TVBDs and places where a large number of unlicensed wireless microphones are used by permitting such sites to be registered in the TV band databases.

Regarding fixed TVBDs, such devices will not be allowed to operate on a co-channel with low-power auxiliary stations within .621mi of the coordinates registered for the stations in the TV band database, the MO&O says. When many licensed auxiliary stations are in use at a large outdoor venue, such as at a golf tournament, the FCC will allow the party using the stations to register the coordinates of multiple locations at the site to protect all of the wireless mics in use.

Regarding personal/portable TVBDs, the MO&O changed commission rules to allow these devices to operate on a co-channel with low-power auxiliary stations no closer than 1312ft of the coordinates registered in the TV band database.

In a press release issued the same day as the Second MO&O, wireless mic manufacturer Shure praised the commission’s work. “It’s clear that the FCC carefully considered the needs of wireless microphone users while crafting this order,” said Sandy LaMantia, Shure president and CEO, in the press release.

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.