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Home / Expert Tips / Helpful Reminder for Radio Mics and Frequency Licensing in the UK
Helpful Reminder for Radio Mics and Frequency Licensing in the UK

Helpful Reminder for Radio Mics and Frequency Licensing in the UK

If you’re thinking about using wireless microphones or other wireless systems in the UK, you’ll find that there is a lot to contemplate before purchasing- the ease of use, colours, size, and battery life may be important in your decision making process- however, one of the most important things to consider is the radio frequency that your system will operate within.

There is a lot of information on the internet that is contradictory, and may leave you questioning what frequencies are available for free use, and which are appropriate for your personal or business situation. Rest assured, this article will help you to know what UK radio frequencies are free for use, and help you to make an informed choice on your equipment.

Contents:

  • Microphones, radio signals and recent changes.
  • What radio microphone frequencies are there?
  • UHF Frequency Chart
  • What Radio Frequencies are legal in the UK?
  • Wireless Radio Licensing in the UK.
  • What happens if I am on the wrong channel or frequency?



Microphones, radio signals and recent changes.

Traditional microphones work by converting sound into electric signals and are sent to the sound system using a cable or a lead. However, wireless microphones convert audio to radio signals and use radio frequencies, to help transmit this to your sound system to help you to convey your message in a convenient and wire-free way.

Despite wireless microphones becoming more popular, radio and microphone frequencies in the UK have been subject to many changes. This was largely affected in 2013, by the UK Government selling the 800MHz in order to allow 4G and help speed up mobile broadband speeds.and cleared the spectrum for digital TV


What radio microphone frequencies are there?

The most popular radio microphone frequencies are split into 2 groups:
Very High Frequency (VHF) (30 MHz - 300 MHz) - All license free. 173.8 - 175MHz
Ultra High Frequency (UHF) (300 MHz - 3000 MHz)

Frequencies are separated into bands that are described as channels, for example channel 38 represents 606 - 614 MHz in the UHF band.

Many wireless radio microphones are connected to and work on the UHF frequency. The UHF is used worldwide and indicates which frequencies are available for use in different regions by dividing the UHF into channels 21 to 70. From these frequencies there are only a select few that are legal for public use in the UK, therefore it is crucial to know what frequency you are operating your radio microphones on.

UHF Frequency Chart 

Channel

Frequency

Channel

Frequency

Channel

Frequency

Channel

Frequency

21

470 - 478 MHz

34

574 - 582 MHz

47

678 - 686 MHz

60

782 - 790 MHz

22

478 - 486 MHz

35

582 - 590 MHz

48

686 - 694 MHz

61

790 - 798 MHz

23

486 - 494 MHz

36

590 - 598 MHz

49

694 - 702 MHz

62

798 - 806 MHz

24

494 - 502 MHz

37

598 - 606 MHz

50

702 - 710 MHz

63

806 - 814 MHz

25

502- 510 MHz

38

606 - 614 MHz

51

710 - 718 MHz

64

814 - 822 MHz

26

510 - 518 MHz

39

614 - 622 MHz

52

718 - 726 MHz

65

822 - 830 MHz

27

518 - 526MHz

40

622 - 630 MHz

53

726 - 734 MHz

66

830 - 838 MHz

28

526 - 534 MHz

41

630 - 638 MHz

54

734 - 742 MHz

67

838 - 846 MHz

29

534 - 542 MHz

42

638 - 646 MHz

55

742 - 750 MHz

68

846 - 854 MHz

30

542 - 550 MHz

43

646 - 654 MHz

56

750 - 758 MHz

69

854 - 863 MHz

31

550 - 558 MHz

44

654 - 662 MHz

57

758 - 766 MHz

ISM

863 - 865 MHz

32

558 - 566 MHz

45

662 - 670 MHz

58

766 - 774 MHz

1G8

1785 - 1795 MHz

33

566 - 574 MHz

46

670 - 678 MHz

59

774 - 782 MHz

1G8

1795 - 1800 MHz



What Radio Frequencies are legal in the UK?
Radio microphone frequencies are limited to channel ISM 70 (863- 865 MHz) and channel 38 (606- 614 MHz). When researching the reasons for this it can be complex and technical, but if you operate and use wireless microphones, this information is important so we’ll try and simplify it.

Wireless Radio Licensing in the UK
Channel 70 / ISM (863 - 865 MHz)

  • Free for use in the UK, and is deregulated and requires no license.
  • Maximum of 4 microphones in this radio system to avoid interference.
  • Channel 70/ ISM is a shared space- this can mean that if other people are using the same frequency nearby that there may be interference and issues.
  • Channel 68 ( 846 - 863 MHz) is used for 4G mobile internet. This may mean that some users towards the lower end of the Channel 70 spectrum could experience some interference.


Channel 38 (606.5 - 613.5 MHz)

  • Requires a yearly fee to be paid to Ofcom of £80 or £155 for two years. (If bought directly from the Ofcom website prices are less at £75.00 for one year, or £135 for two years).
  • Similar to Channel 70, if there are other people using the channel nearby, there can be interference.
  • Channel 38 has a larger space, meaning that it is possible to comfortably fit 10 microphones without interference.


What happens if I am on the wrong channel or frequency?
A lot of people operate their radio microphones on the wrong frequencies, however this is illegal and is against the law, and you can be liable for prosecution. Operating equipment without a licence can lead to communications from Ofcom, official warnings, the potential of a penalty of up to £5000 and/or serving a prison sentence, including seizure of such equipment.

Within the UK Ofcom is responsible for monitoring and ensuring that the spectrum and radio frequencies are being used correctly. For equipment to use radio frequencies they need to be licensed or have a specific exemption from a license and Ocfom have issued licenses to avoid interference and so that they can be coordinated.

Getting back onto the right radio frequency

If you're unsure about how to get your radio microphones back onto the right frequency let our team know and we'll gladly help you. During our services and maintenance packages we check that your radio microphones are legally set up on the right frequency and are ready to go. 

For a no obligation chat or to book in for your system to be serviced ring Livewire Systems on 01254 377007, or email us hello@livewiresystems.co.uk.

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