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back to article Wireless mics get national frequency early

Channel 38 will be available for wireless microphones, nationally, three months earlier than planned. Channel 38 (which lies at 607.25MHz) is where Ofcom would like wireless microphones to hang out indefinitely, and the regulator had already promised to get the frequency clear by the end of 2010. That's been achieved early …

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Troll

It's the Y2K problem all over again

A sudden surge in jobs --- as channel-69-to-channel-38-retuner. Sweet.

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Boffin

Channel is 8 MHz wide

Channel 38 is an 8 MHz wide chunk of spectrum between 606 and 614 MHz. 607.25 MHz is just the frequency of the vision carrier of any analogue television transmitters in the channel - except there weren't any, because it was used for radio astronomy.

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Radio astronomers?

Radio telescopes are receivers. Why did they have, or need, a particular frequency allocated to them?

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@anonymous John

Erm - do you really want radio astronomers to pick up all the wireless comms???

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Boffin

VLBI

Its used for Very long baseline interferometry, where they use a range of frequencies on a large number of geographically widespread receivers, then manipulate the data to form an effective radio telescope that can be as big as the globe. The "channel 38" frequency range (as well as some others) is cleared for radio astronomy in lots of countries, so they can directly use the results from all these countries with a minimum of interference.

In fact , the Radio Astronomers are not being "kicked out" of this channel from what information I can find, they have instead downgraded their needs to a ban on the use of this channel within specific geographical locations, and to limit its use to low powered transmitters. Within the ban areas, radio mikes can be retuned to channel 39 or 40 without need for additional licensing.

Heres the consultation laying out the restrictions:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/clearedaward/clearedaward/

And a handy map of the "banned" channel 38 areas

http://www.ukdigitalswitchover.info/channel_38_users.html

And a page where you can look up what channel to use on a per-location basis

http://www.jfmg.co.uk/JfmgEcom/Wireless/Public/MicrophoneSh600.aspx

The article seems to be a little light on this information, and implies that Radio Astronomy is getting the shaft.

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thank you

Thanks very much for posting this. I was much less interested in wireless mic specs than I was in the implications for astronomy, and I was disappointed by the subhead once I'd read the article.

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Troll

Costs

"What would really smooth the process would be some clarity on the amount that PMSE users can expect to receive to cover the cost of the replacement kit, as they are the ones being asked to move. But Ofcom kicked that question to the treasury back in April, and these days the UK's treasury is a little preoccupied to worry about wireless microphones."

They just need to send their bill for change-over to Ofcom. Ofcom can then keep what is left after selling the bandwidth that they free-up.

Any short-fall can come out of the pocket of the goon at the top, and once his money has dried up, take the rest in blood.

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More people looking for handouts in a recession ...

"What would really smooth the process would be some clarity on the amount that PMSE users can expect to receive to cover the cost of the replacement kit, as they are the ones being asked to move."

I expect them to get just the same amount as all those people who had to buy new equipment for the digital switch-over i.e. diddly squat. This isn't a new idea, so why would anything thinking person have been investing in narrowband kit? That's just plain silly.

In any case, businesses have another two years to write off the asset, which is probably based on a maximum 5 year write-off period (seriously, does this stuff really last that long when used for professional PMSE?). So, if I was the troll in charge, I'd say you could have the fraction of the asset remaining on the books after 2012 (based on a sensible write-off period), but only for kit bought before the consultation started two years ago. And, of course, only for the radio or other parts that have to be changed.

And just remind me, how much do the PMSE users pay for the spectrum that they've been camping on for the last few years? Around £4.25 per channel per day IIRC. Perhaps Ofcom should let them stay at channel 69 and charge them the going rate which is around €15000 per MHz per day, if Germany is anything to go by. (€0.5 billion for 5 MHz spread over 20 years, if I got the calculation about correct.)

Or maybe we should go ahead with the auction and pay off some of that ridiculous national debt that the government is responsible for.

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