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Radio Frequency - Spectrum Changes

2012 / 2013 Change to UK Radio Mic Frequencies - How does it affect you?

Radio Tower

Overview of radio mic usage and changes (including wireless In-Ear-Monitor systems)

As part of the 2012 DSO (Digital Switch Over) for moving TV from analogue to digital transmission some of the radio spectrum has become available for other uses in the UK. This has now been auctioned off in early 2013 to mobile phone companies for them to use for the new ‘next generation / superfast’ 4G wireless phone networks. So TV channel 61-69 are now not legally useable for radio mics (previously available to users with radio mic licences) and there is now the possibility that the unlicensed (deregulated) channel 70 (863-865 MHz), although officially unaffected by the DSO (on paper), could in practice become swamped by these new high power 4G transmissions. 

Many churches and other radio mic users have for many years had the benefit of using the small deregulated part of channel 70 band (no licence required) 863-865 MHz which was ideal for general use of up to 3 or 4 radio mic systems. The risks of interference from other users were generally fairly limited especially as many churches used these only on Sundays, a time when other users (pubs, clubs, theatres etc) may not have been operating their systems. For Churches in urban / built up areas or with high local radio mic traffic (such as in central London) there was already the need to use licences (usually in channels 61-69 on 790-862 MHz) to offer more tuning options to avoid possible interference. This ‘800 MHz band’ is now owned by the large mobile phone companies following the 800 MHz radio spectrum auction by the Government in late 2012 / early 2013 for 4G mobile phone network use. Radio mics can therefore officially no longer use the 800 MHz band (except channel 70 863-865 MHz remaines ‘in use’ officially for radio mic systems). However, now it is suspected that even this is at risk from radio ‘spillage’ from these new and powerful 4G mobile phone transmissions. 

This could affect a great many existing wireless radio mic and In-Ear-Monitoring users and also has implications for new purchases of radio mic equipment. Here we have addressed these issues and offer recommendations and answer some common questions we are often asked on this new and quite complex issue.

For a more condensed downloadable and printable version of this information please click here to download our DM Quick Expert Guide on this subject.
To view more of our Quick Expert Guides please click here.



2013 RADIO MIC FREQUENCY CHECKER (click to expand)

If you already own radio mics this flow chart will help you check if you are on legal frequencies and what you need to do if you have any problems

FAQS – Frequently Asked Questions

Overview of radio mic usage and changes
Should we be worried about this radio mic licencing issue?
Why have my radio mics stopped working properly?
Are my radio mics legal?
Will my radio mics still work in and beyond 2013?
We are a small / rural church – will this affect us?
We are based in N. Ireland – does this affect us?
Can I retune my existing radio mics to use licenced channels?
What are the licencing options for radio mics – Do I need channel 38 or Fixed Site licences?
What are the costs of Radio mic licences?
Which radio mic products are suited to use with licences?
What about these new digital radio mics around the 2.4 GHz / Wi-Fi tuning ranges?
Will this affect any of the other sound / PA equipment at our church?
Are there any concessions or compensation for this upheaval with my radio mics?
How much might this all cost us if we find we have to change to licenced radio mic systems?
How do we arrange radio mic licences?
How long does it take to arrange radio mic licences for new licenced systems?
What if we cannot afford to upgrade all our radio mic systems to licenced products?
Will this all change again in a couple of years?
What should we do now?
Summary of radio mic use for 2013 onwards
Useful contact details


Useful contact details  
JFMG (Join Frequency Management Group) - Tel: 0207 299 8660 
Ofcom (Independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries)  
BEIRG (British Entertainment Industry Radio Group)   

For a more condensed downloadable and printable version of this information please also click: DM Quick Expert Guide

DM Music Ltd, Spring 2013 
tel: 01582 761122