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The Radio Mic petition

Stewart Newlands

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Update from the petition site.


Spectrum allocation and assignment is a matter for Ofcom, and - the Government agrees with the regulator's proposal to allocate spectrum via technology-neutral auctions.


However, we - acknowledge the particular circumstances of the Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) sector. For this reason we welcome Ofcom's PMSE consultation, issued on 20th June 2007.The consultation proposes that spectrum should be awarded to a band manager with the incentives and expertise to manage the spectrum efficiently for wireless microphone users and others, and it sets out a number of options for achieving this.


These include holding a 'beauty contest', or comparative selection process, which would involve Ofcom choosing an organisation to manage the use of the spectrum for these and other users. The licensee would pay fees reflecting the amount of spectrum they use, and have incentives to use it efficiently. Another option is to award access to the spectrum by auction after a pre-qualification process that ensures bidders have the skills and expertise needed to manage the spectrum for users in this sector.


We will continue to listen to interested parties on this matter, in the light of Ofcom's latest consultation which will run untill 31 August 2007.

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So in summary:


"Sorry - it's nothing to do with us (we're just the government) so your petition will be essentially ignored. But don't worry: Ofcom will probably sort you out. We're confident that giving control of the radio waves to a private company will be just as successful as when we sold out the railways..."


Oh how cynical I've become!



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  • 5 weeks later...

It seems from the OfCom website (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/pmse/responses/ ) that nobody has bothered to respond to the latest PMSE consultation (me included) that closes on 31st of this month (August). Maybe everyone has requested that their response is private! :rolleyes:

It's up to us to reply or we have not got a leg to stand on when they shaft us!!


I'm going to do mine this afternoon

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  • 2 weeks later...

The consultation closes today with only 9 visible replies!

Either Ofcom is hiding the replies (mine has not appeared nor has the JMFG one) or we are not concerned.

Don't bother complaining later if you do not like the outcome!!

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  • 1 year later...

Found from the JFMG website today;


26/09/08 Foreign interference to Channel 69

Back in December 2007 Ofcom’s Digital Dividend statement confirmed that Channel 69 would continue to be available for PMSE use under the current licensing arrangements. But in their recent consultation on the DDR band manager award, Ofcom announced they wish to investigate alternative frequencies to Channel 69 with users.


The main reason is the gathering momentum within Europe for the creation of a harmonised mobile broadband cluster in channels 61 – 69. When Ofcom made their statement in 2007 it seemed unlikely that this would happen, but as the months have passed it appears that more countries are supporting the initiative.


At Ofcom’s band manager stakeholder meeting on 17 September, they explained that Channel 69 would be included in the band manager’s licence to be awarded at the end of 2009. However, they stated that the likely cost of the licence for the band manager would be extremely high because of the high value of the alternative use (mobile broadband). Whilst the full cost would be phased in over some years, this coupled with the fact that 69 would be isolated from the remaining wireless mic allocation come 2012, could mean it would be beneficial for PMSE users to migrate somewhere else in the long run.


Whilst no decision has been reached, it is important for Channel 69 users, including Shared UHF Wireless Microphone licensees, to be aware that continued use may be at risk in the long-term.







To paraphrase - we're not out of the water yet! I was under the impression that an agreement had been reached and that we were safe for the time being - apparently not. It looks like the decissions OFCOM made were local, but Europe now appear to have their hand in the choices as well.


Wait and see is the answer I think!

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Also noteworthy that the American PMSE industry lost their battle to have their needs identified with the opening of (as far as I can tell) pretty much all the unused TV bandwidth ("white spaces") available for use with unlicenced new fangled gizmos.


To be fair, the American PMSE folks never actually had a legal place to go, and so they just went pirate all over the TV spectrum, and were never prosecuted for it.

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and so they just went pirate all over the TV spectrum, and were never prosecuted for it.


I think that's is what will happen in the UK.

Our 50mw will not interfere with the main users so we will just find a quiet space and use that. Even more so if the fees for legit frequencies increase much.

I can forsee that the main people to buy a license will be large theatres and public arenas, the small pub, club and local theatre will take a chance and possibly use frequency agile kit as they replace. Even so there are going to be thousands of existing 69/70 kit around for the next 20 years. People will not scrap perfectly good working kit just because the rules change.

We regularly still use our Senn BF1083U kit which is I think are 15 years old and shows no sign of age.


We have 16 licenced Senn kits, all in good order, are we going to replace them @£400 each just because the regs change?

No chance!, if they don't get interferred with by TV or other new user signals, they are staying in use!

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Trying to find a 50mw signal that just about makes it out the building, is only used outside office working hours and irregular,

They wont even bother to look for it unless it causes interference to a main user, which at that power level is most unlikley.


All they can do is try and stop the sale of new equipment in the restricted bands and wait until the end of natural life for existing kit.

Even now, the makers of wireless mics are still pushing ch69/70 kit in the full knowledge that it might well be unusable (legally) in the near future. In their defence, no one knows or has known since this all started several years ago, which frequencies can definately be used. Even now, at this late stage with the DRO having started, the goalposts are moving and band managers still not appointed.

The normal HMG short sighted c**kup


Sorry /rant, it gets on my wick!!

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I'm rather certain that the legal licensed users amongst us will be the targets of a mail compaign. Once they re-allocate the band, then we will be in possesion of equipment for which a license is not available - effectively making us pirates, and in the eyes of the law a bad case - even if we don't cause any harm, so I'd suspect pirate radio size fines - AND they know our names and addresses. Unlicensed operators bought equipment legally, because it was possible to get a license (or use the unregulated channels) - if they ever get caught, they'll simply claim they didn't know, and although ignorance of the law isn't a defence - any non-technical magistrate is likely to feel for them and dump it!
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  • 3 weeks later...

Today I tried to renew my license for Ch69 shared radio mics through JMFG web site

They have removed the option to buy/renew any UHF shared license, only VHF ones are available.

Therefore I'm left high and dry, can't legally use 4 of my radio mics, can't buy a license and don't know what freqs I can use (apart from CH70) and the digital switch over occurs here in November.

Well done Gordon!


Just contacted JMFG, glitch on system, they are looking into it.

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  • 2 months later...


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