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Radio Microphone Channels in the UK are changing…

The Deadline for switching is 31st December 2012

This change is caused by the UK Government’s decision to sell off, by auction, the frequency spectrum previously used by analogue TV in the UK for mobile telephone and Mobile broadband 4G

Since the cessation of Analogue TV in the UK, most of the Radio Spectrum from Channel 21 to Channel 69, with the exception of Channel 38, is being reassigned, with effect from 31st December 2012.

In the UHF Frequency Band (CH70) the licence exempt (deregulated) frequencies (863-865 MHz) are still available to use, but CH69 frequencies can no longer be used.

  The new CH38 sets now require a licence from (http://www.jfmg.co.uk/) for all available frequencies; there are no licence exempt frequencies in CH38

  Licence information & applications should be made to: http://www.jfmg.co.uk/


Latest Update – October 2012

This article has been updated to cover more about the 2012 switch off of Channel 69 (854 MHz to 862 MHz) – some points to note are:

You need to check if your radio mics can use the allowed frequencies.
You need to use Channel 38 (606.5 MHz to 613.5 MHz, with a license) or Channel 70 (863 MHz to 865 MHz for free, if usable for you)

VHF or UHF?

Firstly, this page is about UHF microphones rather than VHF microphones. UHF (Ultra High Frequency) radios operate between 822 MHz and 870 MHz whilst VHF (Very High Frequencies) operate between 173 MHz and 220 MHz. Manufactures are tending to put less effort in to VHF systems, and pretty much your baseline system (eg from Shure, Sennheiser etc) will be using UHF. Cheaper systems may be using VHF, do be careful when buying cheap systems, as you really do get what you pay for – at least purchasing the entry level systems from the top brands is a good place to start – eg Sennheiser G2 series…

If you are using VHF, then all I can say is that these frequencies: 173.80 MHz, 174.10 MHz, 174.50 MHz, 174.80 MHz, 175.00 MHz will be the ones to use, as they are license exempt and can be used free of charge. (be careful with 174.80 as it tends to have intermod problems. If you want to use frequencies other than these then you will need a license (more info about Intermod and licenses below)

Radio Microphone Frequencies / Frequency Channels

When radio frequencies are talked about, they are often referred to as their channel number, eg “channel”. Here is a simple table describing the channels that are often used for wireless microphones:

Channel

Frequency Range

Information

 

450 – 469.999 MHz

Shared with lots of talkback radio systems, (only high end radio mic systems can access this band)

Channel 21-34

470 – 581.99 MHz

Shared with television, limited availability, used for fixed audio links as well as microphones

Channel 35

582 – 589.99 MHz

Shared with television, limited availability, used for temporary audio links as well as microphones

Channel 36

590 – 597.99 MHZ

Shared with radar services

Channel 37

598 – 605.99 MHZ

Shared with television, limited availability, used for temporary audio links as well as microphones

Channel 38

606 – 613.99 MHz

Radio microphones (Also shared with radio astronomy)

Channels 39-68

614 – 853.99 MHz

Shared with television also used for talkback systems as well as microphones

Channel 69

854 – 862.99 MHz

Radio Microphones and other point to point audio links (Unusable from 2012)

Channel 70

863 – 864.99 MHz

License Exempt Radio Microphones

 

865 – 959.99MHZ

Only high end radio mic systems can access this band

Data correct as of October 2009

As you can see, there are lots of frequencies, but apart from channel 70 all of them require a license.

Free frequencies:

Channel 70, 863 MHz to 864.99 MHz are license exempt. This frequencies can be used without a license – remember though that lots of your neighbours may well be using these same frequencies so watch out for picking up other people’s audio!

logo Radio Microphones   Legal and Usable FrequenciesPurchasing Frequencies

You can purchase license to use frequencies. For about £75/year (or £135/2 years) you will be licensed to use up to 14 channels… The organisation that manages frequencies in the UK is JFMG. They will assign you frequencies to use that are specific for your area – this ensures that even if your neighbour purchases a license they will be given a separate set of frequencies and you won’t clash. If you use frequencies out side of Channel 70, then you are committing an offence under the Wireless Telegraphy Act! More info from http://www.jfmg.co.uk

Intermodulation

When multiple frequencies when used together, eg if you have more than one radio microphone, the frequencies can sometimes form additional frequencies that are outside the original ones used and cause problems – it’s best to avoid this and therefore pick your frequencies carefully. This is called intermodualtion, ot intermod for short! It’s worth noting that you can mix UHF and VHF systems without having them interfering with each other as there is a big enough gap between the UHF and VHF frequencies.

Unlicensed/Free Frequencies in 2012

As already said, channel 70 (863 -864.99MHz) is unlicensed and will be remaining so after 2012. Wireless microphones that are currently licensed to use Channel 69 will need to be replaced with units designed to use Channel 38 (with a license from JFMG).

Example Sets of Usable Frequencies in Channel 70:

Here are 2 example sets of 4 usable frequencies in the free/unlicensed bands (channel 70) that have been tested for intermodulation:

Mic 1

863.250 MHz

 

Mic 1

863.100 MHz

Mic 2

863.750 MHz

 

Mic 2

863.900 MHz

Mic 3

864.625 MHz

 

Mic 3

864.500 MHz

Mic 4

864.990 MHz

 

Mic 4

864.900 MHz

 If you are wanting to use more than 4 radio microphones then you have no choice apart from purchasing a license and use Channel 38.

You would only use one of these groups – choose either the blue or the green group!

Closing Notes

This information was compiled from various resources and is thought to be correct at the time of writing (December 2012).

 

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Last modified: February 02, 2013 18:57 -0000 avsglos Gloucester UK.