700 MHZ

I have two Shure wireless microphone systems I use during my live performance. I bought one in Berlin and it’s 220V for the shows I play in Europe. It’s rather new and working fine. The other one I own is pretty old, 120V/USA power based and the original wall wart power supply became frayed and stopped functioning. I replaced the power cable/unit with a cheapo Radio Shack multifunction device. On it’s face you can select multiple amp settings to match your product. Long story short it’s causing some line hum and I think it’s time to just buy a new wireless mic system for the USA. I really like the Shure SM58 systems because you really don’t get any feedback with them. I jumped online to buy one the Shure PGX/SM58 combo that I decided will work for me. However, I noticed the following warning:

“Consumer Alert: Most users do not need a license to operate this wireless microphone system. Nevertheless, operating this microphone system without a license is subject to certain restrictions: the system may not cause harmful interference; it must operate at a low power level (not in excess of 50 milliwatts); and it has no protection from interference received from any other device. Purchasers should also be aware that the FCC is currently evaluating use of wireless microphone systems, and these rules are subject to change. For more information, call the FCC at 1-888- CALL-FCC (TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC) or visit the FCC’s wireless microphone website at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones.”

On further inspection I also noticed that the same Shure PGX24/SM58 system came in three options: H6, J6 or L5. I continued my Google searching to see if these microphones were about to be obsolete and discovered the FCC page discussing why and when the 700 MHZ spectrum was taken from consumer mic use and put to use for emergency services: fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones

So here’s my questions: Does the current hure PGX24/SM58 systems for sale use the 700 MHZ spectrum or are they safe to buy? I believe they are. But then why the warning on every page they are for sale on? In addition is there any difference in the options H6, J6 or L5?

Will your cordless mic stop working in February?

In the United States the FCC will kill analog TV next February (2009). Apparently anything that uses the old analog signals may stop working or run into interference. There are some cordless mics that will be affected. I own two systems (110/220V versions) both from Shure. I like Shure the best because I find they are the least susceptible to feedback. In fact, I returned another brand because it caused such a non-stop screech I thought the audience was going to kill me.

“This ruling does not address the issue of wireless microphone operations in the 700 MHz band.  The FCC had proposed earlier that wireless microphone operations in the 700 MHz band should cease in February 2009, but a final transition date has not been announced.” – Shure.com

I have a PGX system which by quickly reading the Shure website I believe will keep on working without a fuss. Am I wrong?

Mix Magazine’s Ten Wireless Tips for the transition: http://mixonline.com/mixline_live/ten_wireless_tips/

The complete FCC document is available for download: click here