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The importance of wireless microphones

Wireless microphones are essential to modern production values. From live performance to big events, corporate conferences to your local church, wireless systems are everywhere.

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Clean spectrum

For wireless microphones and in-ear systems to work we need access to clean RF (radio frequency) spectrum; this is fundamental rule number one.

But not just any spectrum

Wireless microphone systems have long operated in UHF bands IV & V (470 – 854MHz). UHF spectrum is the preferential space to operate in and has become open to exploitation by other services in recent years.

Why UHF?

These UHF bands offer the largest quantity of high quality spectrum required for large professional events.

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What’s happening to UHF?

As you've probably guessed, it's related to your mobile. The last 15 years have seen the explosion of mobile phones, and then, in rapid succession, the growing demand to have ever faster and reliable wireless internet access available on these devices.

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Mobile phones in isolation aren’t the problem…

…The problem stems from the recent expansion into next generation 4G data services and how this affects the UHF spectrum used by wireless microphones. To understand this, we need to understand the Digital Dividend Review (DDR).

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Mobile phones now and then

Phone Statistics

It’s no wonder UHF spectrum is in such high demand

They are best suited to provide excellent coverage thanks to their propagation characteristics.

What does this mean for you?

With the 800MHz band now cleared for 4G mobile data services, the mobile sector has now set its eyes on the 700MHz band as well.

Eating up the spectrum

Diminishing Spectrum animation

Consequences

Rights and licenses to use spectrum are now big business. If the trend continues, there may soon be insufficient amounts of spectrum available to reliably operate wireless audio systems in the UK.

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The Ironic thing is…

Wireless microphones use UHF spectrum daily to produce content, the very same content that is streamed to millions of smart phones using the very same spectrum! If wireless microphones do not have clean spectrum to operate in, the audio will be interrupted and the production values of UK events will be significantly diminished. For example, try to imagine the Olympic ceremonies or your favourite artist, but you can’t hear them properly!

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One thing is certain

Electromagnetic spectrum is a national resource, just like gold or oil, there is only so much of it. And, if the Government continues to clear more UHF spectrum, we will eventually run out.

Spectrum Update

Since Losing Your Voice launched a year ago, the spectrum landscape has continued to change as the debate surrounding the future of UHF spectrum continues. In the videos below, we uncover two major changes: 1) The recently confirmed clearance of the 700MHz band. 2) The announcement of Whitespace Devices and how they affect users of wireless microphones.

Keep up to date with future spectrum developments by subscribing at the bottom left of this page.

What's happening to the 700MHz Band of RF Spectrum?

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What are whitespace devices?

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