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.
Latest Update – October 2012
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:
VHF or UHF?
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…
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)
Frequencies / Frequency Channels
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:
Data correct as of October 2009
you can see, there are lots of frequencies, but apart from channel 70
all of them require a license.
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!
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
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.
Frequencies in 2012
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
Example Sets of
Usable Frequencies in Channel 70:
are 2 example sets of 4 usable frequencies in the free/unlicensed
bands (channel 70) that have been tested for intermodulation:
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!
information was compiled from various resources and is thought to be correct at
the time of writing (December 2012).
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