Sennheiser UK anticipates Channel 69 eviction

AUTHOR: Inavate

Sennheiser UK has addressed the forthcoming eviction from Channel 69, launching its new G3 GB systems.

In response to the impending need for UK wireless microphone and in-ear monitor users to move from Channel 69 (854-862 MHz) to Channel 38 (606-614 MHz), Sennheiser UK’s G3 GB frequency range variant covers all of Channel 38. Furthermore it accommodates as many ‘future proofed’ interleaved frequencies above Channel 38 as its 42 MHz (from 606-648 MHz) tuning range will allow.

As previously stated in July, Channel 69 remains available nationally for wireless microphone use and continues to be licensable. However, the current Ofcom timetable will see access to channels 61-69 inclusive (790-862 MHz) cease during the second half of 2012. This means that any Channel 69 equipment purchased now will have a steadily reducing window of usability for most of its tuning range, with just over two years the longest period for which it will continue to be usable.

863-865 MHz (two MHz of Channel 70) will continue to be available for use by ‘wireless audio devices’ after 2012. This will support a maximum of six wireless microphone links (subject to range variant and local conditions), but is generally not considered suitable for professional use.

Channel 38 (606-614 MHz) has been assigned by Ofcom as the replacement band for Channel 69, however some geographical restrictions on its use currently apply. In these areas it is supplemented, where available, with additional spectrum in Channels 39 or 40.

In an improvement to the previous schedule, Ofcom has announced that Channel 38 will effectively be available for both indoor and outdoor use by wireless microphones across the UK from September 21, 2011 - more than three months earlier than was previously indicated.

It is important to note that there is no de-regulated spectrum within the tuning range of G3 GB, therefore all G3 GB systems require an operator’s licence. One shared licence per user covers multiple systems operating on the shared frequencies. Licences are available from Ofcom-appointed spectrum management company JFMG - 0207 299 8660 - www.jfmg.co.uk.

Operation of equipment in either Channel 69 or Channel 38 requires the user to hold a valid shared user licence (available from www.jfmg.co.uk). During the period of transition this licence also covers parts of Channels 39 and 40, where geographically appropriate. Operation of any wireless gear on frequencies from 470 - 862 MHz without holding the appropriate licences is an offence under the terms of the Wireless Telegraphy Act.

Update on Goverment/Ofcom compensation
August 2010 saw the terms of a proposed compensation scheme for wireless microphone users released. Equiniti, on behalf of Ofcom, will administer the scheme. There is a dedicated website relating to the scheme, which can be found at www.pmsefunding.co.uk. And details on how the proposed scheme will work can be found there.

This scheme has still to be finally approved by the UK Government. This will not be done until all claims have been received. At time of writing it is stated that once the scheme has been approved, no payments will be made until March 2011 at the earliest.