Submitted by Dave Merkel
Worship Developer, Mountain Sky Conference
If your church or organization uses wireless microphones it's important to check the frequency(s) they operate at, which can usually be found labeled on the transmitter and/or receiver. If the wireless mic system is in the 600 MHz band (up to 700) it will need to be replaced no later than the summer of 2020.
The 600 MHz band is being transitioned to use largely for wireless broadband signals (think cell phones) and broadcast television. Given the rapidly growing number of cell sites, the chances for interference will increase exponentially. Given the higher operating power of tv transmitters, the potential for interference is high. Wireless mics operating in the 600 MHz band will not be allowed as of July 13, 2020, per the Federal Communications Commission.
I've had a few questions about the 700 MHz band as well; this frequency spectrum is allocated almost solely for public safety/government use.
Wireless microphone use is and will be permitted in the 902-928 MHz band, the 1920-1930 MHz, and within the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands under specified power levels and rules for operation for each of those bands. Licensed wireless microphone use is permitted on several other spectrum bands, including on portions of the 900 MHz band, the 1435-1525 MHz band, and the 6875-7125 GHz band. Any reputable seller of wireless microphones will be able to help with frequency selection for those needing to transition.
The FCC will allow wireless microphone users to continue operations on the 600 MHz service band under certain conditions until July 13, 2020. However, users must not cause harmful interference, either to the existing broadcast television operations or to the 600 MHz service wireless licensees' operations in the band. In addition, users are not entitled to any interference protection from broadcast television and 600 MHz service licensees. This means that licensees in some geographical areas are being allowed to begin using the 600 MHz band prior to July 13, 2020, causing interference with 600 MHz wireless mic systems in those areas.
For a more comprehensive explanation, visit the website for the Federal Communications Commission: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/operation-wireless-microphones