A Guide to the UK Radio Microphone Frequency Regulation Changes

Changes to UK radio microphone frequencies could affect the use of some wireless units.

Over recent years there have been a number of on-going changes to the frequencies being used to transmit signals from close range wireless systems such as handheld radio microphones, lapel microphones and headset microphones. As such regular users of such radio microphone systems have been asking questions on how the changes will affect the use of existing systems both now and in the near future. This short article will explain what is involved with these changes and how it will affect the use of radio microphones.

In the UK the radio frequencies used to transmit TV and radio signals are divided into channels, and within TV band channel 70 a small section of these frequencies are dedicated to license free use of radio microphones. These frequencies range from 863 to 865MHz and have not been affected by the recent changes. As such you will be able to continue using three or four radio microphones (depending on the Manufacturer) that operate within this deregulated frequency band.

There are however changes being made to channel 69 in which the frequencies 854 to 862MHz are dedicated to radio microphone usage. By the end of 2011 channel 69 will be cleared of all radio microphone frequencies and replaced with channel 38 which has the frequency range of 606 to 614MHz. Users of radio systems that transmit on the channel 69 frequencies are required to have a licence and may be eligible to compensation to compensate them for the investment in channel 38 tuned equipment. Equipment used on channel 69 cannot be easily retuned to channel 38 frequencies and the compensation scheme is designed to encourage users of channel 69 systems to reinvest in equipment compatible with the new frequencies.

There are other licensed frequencies available if you require only one or two additional frequencies outside of the deregulated channel 70 frequencies. The spectrum is known as the interleaved spectrum and the frequencies available are those that have been left unused by mobile internet, digital TV and other transmission equipment. Buying a licence for a single frequency from the interleaved spectrum may prove a cheaper option that purchasing a licence that allows use of any frequency in channel 38.

In addition to the UHF frequencies VHF frequencies between 173.8 to 175 MHz are also available on a licence free basis if required although they have been largely forgotten since the introduction of UHF systems.

For additional advice on the revised regulations of radio system frequencies contact a qualified radio microphone supplier to discuss the best equipment available for your requirements.


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