Recent changes in how the FCC has designated the use of the 700 mHz frequency range means that lots of UHF wireless microphones are no longer legal for use.
The changes in how this so called "white space" is designated for use mean that thousands of wireless micrphones that work just like they did when new are now operating a a frequency range that the FCC has reserved for digital television transmissions and some emergency services. Your mics haven't changed, but the way you are allowed to use them has.
Major telecommunications companies have paid billions of dollars for exclusive use of this part of the broadcast spectrum and they want to be sure that low power, unlicensed devices (i.e. your wireless microphones) don't interfere with their transmissions.
In reality, it would be their broadcasting interfering with your microphone use, but the results are the same. As of June of this year, you can no longer legally use mics designed to work in the 700 mHz band.
If you are interested in the details of the FCC's ruling on this, here's an indepth article.
Shure (as well as several other wireless mic manufacturers) has gone a long way towards easing the pain of replacement by offering substantial rebates on purchases of new mics in usable frequency ranges when you trade in wireless equipment that operates in the off limits range.
You can read more about the details of Shure's offer here.
This offer has been extended once already, but Shure now says that it will end at the end of this year.
-Jeff Harrison is a sound person and special event producer who lives in works in Chapel Hill, NC. His most recent work includes producing professional school commencement exercises for the University of North Carolina.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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