Licensing FAQs

What happens if I don’t get a license yet continue to use my wireless transmitters?

Nothing, AT THIS TIME, as long as you only use transmitters in the two allocated channels allocated for unlicensed wireless use in the area you intend to operate.  Please note that these two channels are not adjacent, and one UHF-TV channel is only 6 MHz, meaning that only 40% of the available frequencies in one Lectro block will be usable, and as soon as you are in a different area of town, you may be required to operate in another UHF-TV channel!

Unlicensed operation outside of the two channels allotted for unlicensed wireless operation, may make you liable to be shut down, gear confiscated by the FCC, and fined up to $11,000/per channel (with a fine cap at about $80,000) along with a possible six months in jail.

Unlicensed , or overpowered operation of a TV transmitter , may make you liable to be shut down, gear confiscated by the FCC, and fined up to $11,000, along with a possible six months in jail.

Can I still use my wireless units that operate above 698 MHz (Lectro blocks 27 and higher)?

Absolutely not! These channels have been reallocated for other uses and the FCC has started to enforce the law. A wireless user has recently been fined $3,500 for operating above 698 MHz, and had their gear confiscated.

How much does a Part 74 License cost, and how long does it take?

The license fee to the FCC is $145.  You can file the application yourself or you can use the services of Bill Ruck to prepare the application for you for an additional $100.  After submitting and paying the FCC fee, you will receive your license in two to three months.

How long is the License valid and how is it renewed?

It varies according to geographic location.  The FCC renews by region, so a license may be valid from between a year to eight years, before one has to renew.  Here are the steps for renewal:  You can’t renew the license unless you’re within 90 days of its expiration.

Where will my license be valid?

Anywhere in the US, though operation near enough to the Canadian or Mexican borders must make sure that their operation will not interfere with “Primary Users” in those countries.

Is there a “downside” to holding a Part 74 License?

None, as long as you are operating under the rules.

How do I find the two channels allotted for unlicensed wireless use?

Telcordia has a web page:

Enter your location…

How often will I have to register my location and hours of operation on a database, and how do I do that?

The two database companies that have run their required tests (Spectrum Bridge and Telcordia) provided quite different on-line user interfaces.  (Must be done on the internet.) Many of the licensees in the “FCC Project” participated in these tests, and gave the database companies feedback to improve the usability of the interfaces.  The “FCC Project” encourages licensed users to participate in these tests, as both companies immediately improved their interfaces based on the feedback.  (Remember – These companies have very little knowledge as to how we operate – if we don’t participate in the tests, they never will!)  The interfaces require one to specify your call sign, the channels you will be using, the geographic coordinates, the hours of use, and the regularity of use.  Both interfaces tested also made provisions for unlicensed users.  Both companies also plan to allow regular users to create “User Profiles” to facilitate registration.  The “FCC Project” is pushing for PDA and cell-phone apps for registration.

Register your home, your company location, or the place where you test and maintain your wireless equipment once, as a permanent, 24/7, location.  (If you are like me, testing and repairs often occur at 3:00am!)

If you are working at a studio, register that location as a M-F location with the hours used set from earliest expected call to worst Fraturday.

Location work….  Register at least 24 hours before hitting the location.

ENG / EPK work…. Bit of a dilemma here, as this work can be called for on a moments notice,  still working with the companies as to how to handle this.


An example of  s registration user interface.

Spectrum Bridge:

When is the next online test of a database and its user interface?

When the next test is announced, the info will be announced via email, and will be posted on this site.