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I want to ask actual musicians and sound guys who work in Europe and use radio IEM systems. At the moment me and my mates use wireless IEM systems which work on 500-810 mHz bands. I read some articles and heard from several people, that now I can not use any systems but those working on 863-865 mHz. So if I go on tour in Europe:

  1. Can I use my wireless systems in that range (500-810 mHz)?

  2. If yes, should I buy some kind of licence before using it in Europe?

  3. If no, is there any option, or we'll have to rent something on-site or buy systems with different frequencies bands?

  4. Based on your experience, which wireless systems and frequencies ranges do you or bands in Europe use in general?

  5. Does anything change if we play on a big open-air fests instead of small venues (1k ppl. or less)

I mentioned only IEM systems, but actually my question applies for all kind of wireless stuff: guitar systems, microphone, etc.

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Sennheiser maintains a compilation of available frequency ranges and whether particular license is needed, country by country: https://en-us.sennheiser.com/sifa named “Sennheiser International Frequency Advisor (SIFA)”. Hint: Scroll down to “To Start please select a country:” and choose an area of interest.

Although it still requires going through country for country, it is in English and on the same page.

It seems that EU countries differ in the need for a license to use white spaces between the TV transmitters.

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For Denmark, rules (band assignments) for PMSE will change 2020-04-04 (between 3. and 4. of April). The "700 MHz" band, primarily used for 'Digital Terrestrial TV' (DTV, from transmitters placed on the earth, not satellites) is handed over to cellular networks (4G?, 5G?). This reduces the available bandwidth for PMSE in the 700 MHz band to 2 guard bands (protecting TV's from mobile devices, and in a FDD duplex gap between cellular uplink and downlink. These are now primarily for PMSE across Denmark.

The authority seems only to publish the overview of available PMSE frequency bands in Danish. They are at https://ens.dk/ansvarsomraader/frekvenser/traadloese-mikrofoner-og-kystradio

From 2020-04-04 and onwards it looks like this for UHF:

  • DTV whitespaces in 470-695 MHz, depending on location
  • 695-703 MHz
  • 733-736 MHz
  • 823-832 MHz, max. ERP depends, mostly 100 mW
  • 863-865 MHz, max 10 mW ERP
  • 1785-1804.8 MHz max 10 mW ERP

Note: It is claimed that there are a combined amount of bandwidth of 80 MHz anywhere in Denmark in the white spaces between the DVB-T2 transmitters.

The power limit regarding 823-832 MHz is given in "Tabel 1." in "00 025", "Bilag 10" (both in-band and out-of-band limits apply here). The limits in sub-band 826-832 MHz (the major part) has the in-band limit at 20 dBm/100 mW regardless of handheld or otherwise. The remaining sub-band 823-826 MHz differs between body-worn transmitter and handheld transmitter, 20 and 13 dBm 'in band' EIRP respectively. 20 mW EIRP for handhelds and 100 mW for body-worn transmitters.

All of that is free for all to use, without any special user license.

I have not heard of special rules for big events/large audiences, but that is only a worry if you run out of white space. The only major downside to the 3 bands above 800 MHz is if there is not enough space for simultaneous channels. (given no other PMSE equipment is active nearby, on your choice of band, there's no need to change channels from venue to venue) The only downside to using white spaces is that available bands (TV channels) differ from place to place, and thus all transmitters/receivers may need new frequency assignments at each venue.

Regarding standardisation across Europe, or at least EU, I guess it may be 823 to 832 MHz, 863 to 865 MHz and 1785 to 1805 MHz for wireless audio PMSE use. Plus white spaces, that most countries allows to be used for PMSE.

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In France (as of February 2020) you can use PMSE audio equipment in the band 470-694 MHz with a power less than or equal to 50 mW. Notice that you are considered as a secondary user on this band, primary users being mostly DTV transmitters.

It is therefore your responsibility to find an appropriate channel where there are no DTV carrier in the area you are operating (or other PMSE users) so that you have a clean transmission path and you are not disturbing users trying to receive primary services.

Rules are different in the UK.

There might be other rules inside Europe, although I think (but couldn't find an authoritative source) that the rules in the UE are similar to the French ones.

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