I have been very preoccupied this week with all this DTV transition stuff going on in Congress. If you haven’t heard, they tried to pass a bill this week that would push back the DTV transition date since they think that 4% of the country or less is unprepared for digital TV. The bill would have pushed the transition date back to June, and I’m pretty relieved that it didn’t go through. Although, I am still nervous that they may try to pass another bill at this point even though we’re only 19 days away at this point.
One of the big things that concerns me is the talk floating around the net that the folks who won their 700 MHz auctions are going to get started using their new frequencies come February 17th regardless if analog TV turns off. Should this happen, I’m going to find our organization in a potentially interesting position.
As I think I’ve mentioned before, the bulk of my RF mics are currently located in the 700 MHz band. The new mics we purchased operate within two bands that cover 470-578 MHz. I spent a fair amount of time this week scanning the RF space on my stage and running multiple software packages trying to see if I can fit the new mics into the existing space. The results were not very reassuring. Unless analog TV stations turn off, there just isn’t enough space in my rooms and on our campus to fit our new mics in. There might be some slots here and there, but nothing is a slam dunk.
When I run frequency coordination software minus all the existing analog stations, there is plenty of room for all our mics, IEMs, and ClearCom. It’s amazing how much room opens up. So I’m counting on the analog stations turning off in February because if they don’t and folks decide to start running and testing equipment in the 700 MHz band I’m afraid we could have intermittent RF trouble for a few months. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it’s something we’re just not prepared for so I’m working on a contingency plan just-in-case….
But hopefully this week will be the last we’ll hear of pushing things back, and we’ll be right on track for our switch in February. One of our venues has already made the move because they had room for their new mics and so far so good. Until then, I’ll just keep looking at the boxes stacked up in my office.
So how are you doing with preparations for the RF changes happening this year?