The Technical Trends Committee
2018 has come and gone, and so has much of the spectrum “real estate” we have used for wireless mic use. After the Spectrum Incentive Auction, not only did we lose the 600 MHz band, but the allowable FM deviation for any transmitter made after September was reduced from 75 KHz to the EU standard of 50 KHz. As each broadcast UHF station that operated in the 600 MHz band is “re-packed” into the 500 MHz band, we lose another 6 MHz of usable spectrum.
Scanning the spectrum one wants to use before turning transmitters on should be considered mandatory. If one is using transmitters in the 600 MHz band, be on the lookout for a sudden loss of usable spectrum due to broadband use (primarily T-Mobile), and if one is using transmitters in the 500 MHz band, be on the lookout for a digital UHF station going on the air.
Anecdotally, here in Los Angeles, on December 12, 2018, my company was shooting splits, I had thirteen transmitters operating in the 500 MHz band (Lectro A1 & A2, blocks 19 through 22) and all was well. Came back from dinner and two channels in Lectro block 20 were unusable! An hour earlier all was fine, but while we were eating, a digital UHF station, re-packed into UHF 24 (530 MHz to 536 MHz - KPXN) started transmitting. I scanned and saw the channel, and with the help of FrequencyFinder, found two other slots that were free and didn’t present IM issues. Los Angeles is also set to lose UHF 25 (536 MHz to 542 MHz - KVEA), which straddles Lectro A1 & A2—blocks 20 & 21.
Lastly, where this column usually ends with the shout “Get your Part 74 license!” to my knowledge, the FCC has not issued any new Part 74 licenses since the auction. The Local 695 web pages for applying for the license are down, pending a successful application under the new codes being issued. When the pages are once again active, it will be announced, and these pages will be open for all professionals in the entertainment field who use transmitters in UHF, union and nonunion. Local 695’s membership feels that obtaining a license is so important that it happily makes these pages available to all.
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