Operation of wireless microphones and similar devices certified as “low power auxiliary stations” operating in frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz (the 700 MHz Band) is prohibited. This includes use in theaters, churches, schools, conference centers, theme parks, sports stadiums and by musicians. Although wireless microphones devices were once allowed to operate on unused broadcast channels in the 700 MHz band, such use today can cause harmful interference to public safety and wireless services.

Use of wireless microphones outside of the 700 MHz Band is currently allowed.

What is a 'similar device' to a wireless microphone?

Similar devices include equipment for a “low power auxiliary station,” which typically can transmit over distances of 100 meters. Examples include wireless intercoms, wireless in-ear monitors, wireless audio instrument links and wireless cueing equipment.

Unlicensed operations

Users of wireless microphones and similar devices may operate the equipment on an unlicensed basis, subject to certain restrictions that stipulate the device: 

  • May not cause harmful interference.
  • Must not be operated at a power level in excess of 50 milliwatts.
  • Must be operated in a way that accepts any interference that may be received.

Most wireless microphones are designed to operate with 50 milliwatts or less, and most users – such as theaters, churches, schools, conference centers, theme parks and musicians – are unlicensed. Users are advised to consult their owner’s manual or other materials provided by the manufacturer or distributor to determine the output power of their wireless microphone.

Licensed operations

Under FCC rules, specified entities – such as licensees of AM, FM or TV stations, broadcast networks and cable television system operators – can operate with fewer restrictions, using higher power levels with interference protections, if they first obtain a license.

Part 74 licensees

Licensees under the Commission’s Part 74 rules may operate in the  non-700 MHz Bands identified in their licenses, including in the core TV bands (i.e. channels 2-51, excluding channel 37). View more information about wireless microphone rules.

Determining if your equipment is operating in the 700 MHz band

Some wireless devices are marked with the frequency the device uses. If information on the device indicates that it operates on frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz, then the device uses the 700 MHz Band and may not be used. You may contact equipment manufacturers for more detailed information about wireless microphone equipment.

Consequences of using a 700 MHz band wireless microphone

Using the 700 MHz Band for a wireless microphone or a similar device could be extremely dangerous and could even be life threatening. Police and fire departments, and other public safety groups, use frequencies in the 700 MHz band. Interference from wireless microphones can affect the ability of public safety groups to receive information over the air and respond to emergencies. Harmful interference to these communications could put you or public safety personnel in grave danger.

In addition, use of your microphone can cause unlawful interference to consumer services provided using the 700 MHz band.

Operation of wireless microphones in violation of these rules may subject the user to fines and/or criminal penalties, including imprisonment.

Reporting interference on devices operating on licensed 700 MHz spectrum

Public safety licensees may contact the FCC Operations Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (202) 418-1122, or FCCOPCenter@fcc.gov to report interference.

Consumers may report interference on their devices operating on licensed 700 MHz spectrum by filing a complaint with the FCC.

Filing a complaint

You have multiple options for filing a complaint with the FCC:

  • File a complaint online
  • By phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322); ASL: 1-844-432-2275
  • By mail (please include your name, address, contact information and as much detail about your complaint as possible):

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

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File a Complaint with the FCC

 

Visit our Consumer Complaint Center at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov to file a complaint or tell us your story.

Request Accessible Format

To request this article in an accessible format - braille, large print, Word or text document or audio - email fcc504@fcc.gov, or write the address or call the phone number at the bottom of this page.

Consumer Help Center

Learn about consumer issues - visit the FCC's Consumer Help Center at www.fcc.gov/consumers.

 

Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Monday, March 6, 2017