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Licencing Radio Microphones in the UK

The licencing and allocation of radio spectrum in the UK for programme-making, entertainment and special events is managed under contract from Ofcom by JFMG www.jfmg.co.uk

As a result of Ofcom’s decision to clear the 800 MHz band there have been a number of changes to the frequencies available for radio microphones. When it is essential to have clear frequencies for a specific project a site specific licence can be purchased. However these are typically for large events, outside broadcasts and film production. For more occasional users a UK wide, shared frequency license will be both cheaper and more appropriate. This shared license operates on a frequency band known as channel 38.

As the digital switch over (DSO) process has not quite finished there are some areas where channel 38 frequencies are still being used for radio astronomy and reception may be affected until the process is complete in the autumn of 2012. Until that time you should use the channel 38 look-up tool on the JFMG website to see if frequencies are affected in your area. Most channel 38 compatible radio microphones will also allow working on adjacent frequencies and these are being made available until the switchover is complete. Full details are available on the website.

It is essential that you purchase a license as frequencies are regularly monitored for illegal use. Punishment for unlicensed use starts with confiscation of equipment and can include substantial fines and even imprisonment. The UK shared microphone license costs £75 for one year or £135 for two years when purchased online. Further information and online applications are available through the JFMG’s website. They also have an excellent helpline with knowledgeable staff who are more than happy to discuss your application and advise on licensing.

Checklist:
1.
Make sure your existing or new radio microphone tunes to channel 38 (606 – 614MHz)
2. Review the channel 38 look up section at www.JFMG.co.uk to check what frequencies you should be using if channel 38 isn’t available in your area.
3. Review what license you require at the JFMG website and either purchase online or on the phone.

Thanks to Tristan Cairns – Operations Supervisor at JFMG.
The helpline number is 020 7299 8660