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Wireless Mic Fans Ask FCC For Help

From the company that helps David Copperfield make the
Statue of Liberty vanish, to the AV manager for a New York synagogue, to
insurance salesmen, to the Texas State Senate, the FCC is hearing from a throng
of concerned licensed wireless microphone users as it bears down on a June 12
deadline for moving them out of their current home in the 700 mHz band.
That is according to a collection of filings at the FCC, which on Jan. 14
released the order
establishing that June 12 deadline
.  "We conclude that parties
have had time to know, and reason to believe, that authorized low power
auxiliary stations would not be allowed to operate in the 700 MHz band at the
end of the DTV transition," the FCC said at the time. "The DTV Act
was enacted over three years ago, and the Commission, as noted above, has on
various occasions indicated that the 700 MHz band would not be a permanent home
for low power auxiliary stations, including wireless microphones."
As of June 12, all the wireless mikes operating in the 700 mHz band would be
doing so illegally, and some may have to move sooner if they interfere with
public safety operations in the 700 mHz spectrum.
Some of those commenting are concerned about moving, fearing they will face interference
from other unlicensed devices the FCC will now allow to operate in the lower
band alongside DTV stations and wireless mikes. A number want the FCC to make
them licensed operators.
For example, in a letter Feb. 12, Clifton Terry McCauley, president of Sounds
Great Enterprises of Athens, Ohio, said that he was "greatly concerned
about the loss of white spaces that have been used for low power wireless
He said that it is impossible for Copperfield to wear anything but a wireless
"Many times his safety depends on the wireless communications of his
crew," McCauley wrote. "Once again the big companies have drowned out
the voice of small business in America,"
he said.
The FCC reclaimed spectrum in the 700 mHz band as part of the DTV transition,
moving broadcasters out of the band and auctioning it for commercial wireless
uses as well making some available for emergency communications.
"The haste to receive large sums of money from corporate giants has
jeopardized the very livelihood of local entertainment, sports, and meetings.
The technical manager for Central Synagogue in New York
says that his live streaming of services could be compromised, since they
depend on "clean and clear" channels of audio. "We need to make
sure, either by law or by license, that the channels we use are consistently
The training manager for independent insurance agents asked the FCC to consider
granting organizations like his a license so he could have some
"additional protection" from interference.
"It is essential to our day-to-day operations that the wireless devices we
use are protected from interference and that those devices are eligible for any
necessary license," said the secretary of the Texas State Senate in a
letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (all the comments were actually
letters to the chairman submitted to various dockets related to the June 12
deadline for terminating wireless mike use in the 700 mHz band.
The Senate uses wireless mikes to webcast hearings worldwide, said Patsy Spaw
in comments to the FCC.
Spaw appeared to have done her homework on the chairman, whose mantra has been
openness and transparency. "An open and transparent government is
necessary in a democratic society," she wrote, "and viewing
government proceedings is invaluable to the people of Texas."
The FCC has said wireless mic users can seek out new spectrum with the help of
the Society of Broadcast Engineers and the FCC will modify their authorization
to accommodate them.
Wireless mic fans are looking for help from the Hill as well. H.R. 4353,
introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), would allow a broad category of
professional users including churches, theaters and stadiums to register as
protected entities under the FCC's new system for allowing unlicensed devices
to operatein the DTV band.
The FCC is soliciting an outside entity to maintain a database of registered
users--like TV stations--that unlicensed devices must steer clear of.\