Wireless Sennheiser A1 band 470-516 Mhz

JD

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Jan 1, 2005
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North Wales PA
Noticed the push from vendors for the new A1 band from Sennheiser. I am wondering if this is a general response to the potential demise of the B band. The bigger question is just how free and clear the 470-516 Mhz area is? Most of what I am running are A band (518 Mhz) with a few B band units mixed in. I noticed a few vendors offering ONLY the A1 band.
Considering the cost of picking up a couple is, well, high for me, I figured I would thow this up here and see what feedback can be offered about the new band.
(As compared to, Oh Wow! I wish I had known that!)
 
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MRW Lights

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I don't think it's going to be helpful, but the answer is probably it depends. Ideally there shouldn't be anything else in that range other than wireless microphones, but we know we work and live in reality. The 400's are becoming more popular the more that the upper ranges are being auctioned off. I can use wireless here in my space and be fine, but if I take those same channels 20 blocks south they might be toast. With an antenna distro and an awareness of what's nearby, you should be fine. You shouldn't lose any quality from changing bands. If you want to get really fancy there are some high end wireless companies that have been doing wide band wireless that can span close to 100mhz for a while now. Those are great, but they definitely come with a price tag.
 

FMEng

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That's North American TV channels 14-21. With the UHF TV repack coming, any channel that is empty now might not be in a couple of years. Hopefully, we'll know what the new channels assignments will be within a few months, but don't hold your breath. I recommend waiting to make a purchase, if you can.

VHF TV channels should be pretty stable. I see Shure is making VHF systems in a couple of their higher end products. Keep in mind that both transmit and receive antennas will be larger.
 

MRW Lights

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The FCC spectrum has been in a constant auction up and down for the last 10 years, if you wait 2 years you'll wait another 2 years and so on... there are still spaces I come across operating in the 700mhz range and that was sold off years ago. If you're not waiting for a new product, I wouldn't wait on the government....
 

FMEng

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The FCC spectrum has been in a constant auction up and down for the last 10 years, if you wait 2 years you'll wait another 2 years and so on... there are still spaces I come across operating in the 700mhz range and that was sold off years ago. If you're not waiting for a new product, I wouldn't wait on the government....
Let's get the facts straight. First, they juggled TV stations onto new channels for HDTV, in spectrum that we get to borrow for mics when it isn't used for its primary purpose. Then they took away a chunk of spectrum above 700 MHz ONCE. The current auction is taking away a chunk of UHF TV spectrum for expansion of wireless data. Congress did it because they were dazzled by shiny things.

The good news is that the frequencies left for TV and wireless mics, after this auction, are not very attractive for the carrier companies because efficient antennas become physically too big to fit into a phone or tablet. The remaining frequencies also don't penetrate into buildings and cars as well as we're used to. In this auction, for the first time in history, the carriers were offered spectrum and they didn't want all of it and more. They are not interested in gobbling up anything below channel 38 for the reasons I listed above. I really doubt we'll see more auctions. I think we'll have some stability for the foreseeable future.

As for mics still using channels above 698 MHz, users are getting away with it because they are generally not competing with strong signals. A cop's 10 Watt handheld radio, a mile away, won't interfere with a signal generated 50 feet away. Simple physics. The big difference with the auction is that a puny, 0.1 Watt wireless mic will suddenly have to compete with a 1,000,000 Watt TV transmitter that landed on top of the whole bank of channels. Huge amounts of power flips the distance advantage. Ignore the post-auction changes at your own peril.
 

JD

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Jan 1, 2005
Location
North Wales PA
Sometimes, the whole topic makes me want to set up a giant Marconi era Spark Gap transmitter and broadcast via a giant antenna array shaped to look like a giant middle finger.....
Would probably be the last thing I did right before the drone strike.
... Ahh! We can dream, can't we? ;)
 
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TimMc

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Feb 15, 2017
Let's get the facts straight. First, they juggled TV stations onto new channels for HDTV, in spectrum that we get to borrow for mics when it isn't used for its primary purpose. Then they took away a chunk of spectrum above 700 MHz ONCE. The current auction is taking away a chunk of UHF TV spectrum for expansion of wireless data. Congress did it because they were dazzled by shiny things.

The good news is that the frequencies left for TV and wireless mics, after this auction, are not very attractive for the carrier companies because efficient antennas become physically too big to fit into a phone or tablet. The remaining frequencies also don't penetrate into buildings and cars as well as we're used to. In this auction, for the first time in history, the carriers were offered spectrum and they didn't want all of it and more. They are not interested in gobbling up anything below channel 38 for the reasons I listed above. I really doubt we'll see more auctions. I think we'll have some stability for the foreseeable future.

As for mics still using channels above 698 MHz, users are getting away with it because they are generally not competing with strong signals. A cop's 10 Watt handheld radio, a mile away, won't interfere with a signal generated 50 feet away. Simple physics. The big difference with the auction is that a puny, 0.1 Watt wireless mic will suddenly have to compete with a 1,000,000 Watt TV transmitter that landed on top of the whole bank of channels. Huge amounts of power flips the distance advantage. Ignore the post-auction changes at your own peril.
That's pretty much the history in a nutshell. The FCC should be issuing an initial report for public comment in the next 90-120 days, followed 30-60 days after comments close with a final Report & Order that will begin the TV station re-pack and issuance of construction permits to the auction winners. From the issuance of the Report & Order it will take about 39 months to complete the re-pack and have all new licensees operating, testing or building their new infrastructure. It would be prudent to wait until the R&O is issued before making purchases.

In some locations there will still be a fair amount of spectrum left but in others there will be precious little and, as indicated above, locations where moving a mile or 2 could yield more or less spectrum. This will also be discernible from the final R&O.
 

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