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Electro-Voice wireless microphone products and the FCC “White Space“ legislation

February 15th, 2009

A notice to our valued customers:

A recent FCC ruling specifies that wireless microphones, wireless intercoms, and personal monitors may continue to operate in the UHF television band between TV channels 14-51 (470-698 MHz), and in the VHF television band between TV channels 7-13 (174-216 MHz).

All Electro-Voice wireless microphone products are manufactured to utilize bandwidths below 698 MHz, and have been for some time.

Operation of ALL Electro-Voice wireless microphone products can continue with a great deal of confidence, given the details of the FCC report on the use and operation of white spaces devices.

The FCC “White Space“ legislation:

On November 14, 2008, the FCC released the full text of its Second Report and Order approving the use of the “White Spaces“-the TV channels that are not actually occupied by a broadcast station-to deliver wireless broadband internet and other services to consumer wireless devices. The FCC report provides details of the technical, operational, and regulatory requirements that white space devices will be subject to, including the protections aimed at safeguarding wirelessdevices, such as wireless microphones and wireless intercoms, from interference.

The following is a summary of the “white spaces“ ruling:

White space devices are allowed to go on sale on February 18, 2009, but in reality, it will probably be much later. Before new devices can be marketed, they will have to pass FCC certification tests, the results of which will be open for public review and comment. It is not expected that any white spaces devices would be offered for sale until the end of 2009 OR beginning of 2010 (given that that ALL of the testing of white space devices FAILED).

All white space devices are required to avoid transmitting on TV channels being used by TV stations, wireless intercoms, wireless microphones, and other users. Before transmitting, the device must determine its precise location and consult a database of TV channels that are safe to use. If the device is within one kilometer of a location where wireless microphones are known to be in use, the device must move to a different channel or cease transmitting. Devices must check the database at least once per day, whenever they are powered on, and whenever their location changes.

Wireless intercom and wireless microphone and other users may register the location, time, and TV channels used for a program or event in the database. One-time, recurring, and permanent wireless microphone use will be accommodated. The FCC will solicit proposals from entities interested in creating and administering the database. According to the FCC ruling, “Sites with significant wireless microphone use at well defined times and locations may be registered in the database.“ This is aimed at protecting the wireless intercom and wireless microphone operations at venues such as National Football League and Division 1 football games, theaters, live mobile, and fixed TV and movie production and others.

As a secondary protection measure, all devices must also utilize spectrum sensing to detect and avoid TV stations, wireless intercom and wireless microphones, and other users of the spectrum, whether or not they are registered in the database.

Only fixed white space devices may operate in channels 2-20, and they may not use adjacent channels. These “open“ channels will effectively be protected from white space devices and should therefore be especially desirable for general wireless intercom and wireless microphone operation.

Again, operation of ALL Electro-Voice wireless microphone products can continue with a great deal of confidence, given the details of the FCC report on the use and operation of white spaces devices.