AES Section Meeting Reports

District of Columbia - December 7, 2017

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We face a growing range of challenges when specifying and selecting wireless microphones. We are consistently asked to address two key end-user expectations, whether working on a broadcast studio, a performance/recording space, or a live venue: high channel counts in the face of shrinking available spectrum and aesthetic demands that compromise wireless operation.

At 7pm on December 7, the Washington Regional section of AES held our bi-monthly meeting at WTOP in Washington D.C. There were 25 attendees, including members of AES, SBE, and SMPTE. With a topic of wireless mics and a spectrum update, there was broad interest across many audio disciplines.

Todd and Troy gave an in depth presentation about the FCC & Spectrum Update.
Why we are here - another frequency auction just came up, government is freeing up space for telecommunications that is currently used by us for free.

Smartphones changed everything in the UHF Spectrum Allocation, the 2008 auction brought in $20B. In 2008 white space rules were adopted, in 2010 the DTV transition was completed, and in 2014 the FCC adopted the Incentive Auction Report and Order

We are interested in UHF, particularly 600MHz band. It's in transition now, by 7/3/2020, there will be no access above 614MHz, Those whose wirelesss overlaps 616-653, will have to relocate, as those frequencies will be occupied by tv.

Changes - there used to be two reserved TV channels for wireless mics, now there are no reserved channels. Also there was no co-channel operation within 70 miles of an antenae, now co-channel operation is okay greater than 4 miles from station contour.

T-Mobile has already moved into some areas and are pushing out anyone using wireless where they have purchased those frequencies.

In the new hierchy, TV Stations and licensed wireless operators will have priority over unlicensed wireless.

Those who are eligible for a license include broadcasters, educational TV, cable networks, tv and film production, venues and sound companies (50+ channels) theaters, houses of worship, convention centers, theme parks, educational centers, and government locations.

Licensed users have use of protected channels,

Post transition, available frequencies include 1.9 GHz, and 2.4GHz, along with some space at 900Mhz (for licensed users only), VHF is still available and has lots of space, as is UHF 300 MHz - 1 Ghz, which may be the sweet spot of wireless range.

Many companies are offering a 600 MHz rebate, you have until 2020 in most areas, but it may be worth doing the transition now.

Todd went on to describe the Axient Digital system.
Todd and Troy concluded at 8:40, followed by networking among our members and members of SBE and SMPTE

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