Wireless Microphone FrequenciesWireless microphones are split into two types - some are freely available for the public to use, but some require the purchase of an operating licence from Ofcom to use legally.
Do you need a licence to use your wireless microphones?
- All VHF Frequencies (173 – 175 MHz) can be used without a licence. You can only use two frequencies at the same time in the same place as the frequency band is narrow and any more would interfere with one another. These are usually at the cheaper end of the scale. The frequencies are also used by other low power equipment so can be subject to interference.
- UHF Channel 69 (854 - 862 MHz) became illegal to use in the UK at the end of Dec 2012 when Ofcom sold off this bandwidth to the mobile phone 4G networks. If you have an old system operating on this range you will probably find it's not giving good results, and this is why.
- UHF Channel 70 (863-865 MHz) can be used without a license. You can only use four wireless Channel 70 microphones at the most in the same place at the same time because the available bandwidth is quite narrow. E.g. you can use two of these dual systems at the same time Chord NU2 wireless system.
- UHF Channel 38 (606.6 - 613.5 MHz) requires you to purchase a licence from Ofcom, but you can use many wireless microphones at the same time and you will get less interference and drop out than those above. Licences are available from £28 per microphone per year and a shared licence for a fixed site with up to 10 microphones is around £75 per year.e.g. IMG Stageline package
- UHF 624-697 MHz microphones are also available in the UK and you can use many wireless microphones together within this range. Again, you will need a licence from Ofcom to operate them. e.g. IMG Stageline TXS-646 wireless system
- The 700 MHz band (694 MHz– 790 MHz) will be discontinued in Q2 of 2020 as Ofcom is selling it off to the mobile phone networks. We don't recommend buying any wireless systems which operate only on these frequencies as their life will be short-lived. The Government were offering compensation to owners of products in the 700 MHz band purchased before 23 August 2018, but claims had to be submitted by 26 April 2019 via pmsefunding.co.uk. Successful claimants could offset the cost of new equipment by claiming at least 60% back against newer equipment, plus an additional 10% in administration charges against the total claim value.
More About Licences
If your microphones are on any frequencies other than 173 – 175 MHz and 863 – 865 MHz you will need a licence to operate them legally.
As at Sept 2018, it's £28 per year per microphone for a fixed site indoor licence and £75 per year for a shared licence covering up to 10 microphones.
VHF and UHF Shared frequencies can be used anywhere in the UK once licensed. The licence can also cover anyone hiring from the licencee.
Co-ordinated frequencies are licensed at a specific site for short or long term. They provide the best protection against interference.
How to buy your licence
Ofcom control the licensing of wireless microphones and monitors. Their website is very confusing and it's sometimes easier just to call them! However, please click here for the correct section on the Ofcom website.
Please note that it is cheaper to buy online than to call them.
Alternatively you can contact the PMSE department as follows:
Should I buy wireless microphones with fixed or changeable frequencies?Some UHF wireless systems offer tuneable frequencies allowing you to select your frequencies within a range.
This is a useful feature because you'll find that some frequencies work better than others in your area. If a frequency doesn't work well or has a lot of interference it can dropout, sound crackly, or even sound like it's underwater! Change a few MHz and it will be as clear as anything. See UHF tuneable frequency mics on our website