Happy New Year from OFCOM (well sort of!)

Posted by on January 4, 2010 in Channel 69, Radio mic frequencies | 2 comments

JFMG have sent emails today (4th Jan 2010), following on from letters last week to Channel 69 Wireless Microphone Licence holders.

The email is less clear, but the letters say that all shared Channel 69 licences issued from today will also include shared use of Channel 38 (606-614 MHz). There are however still areas where Channel 38 is not available in order to protect radio astronomy (Cheshire and Cambridgeshire). JFMG are providing a web check tool to help identify these areas, additionally in these areas frequencies from Channels 39/40 will be made available but you must check in advance which frequencies are available in a particular location. Protection for radio astronomy ends on Jan 1st 2012 when I assume channel 38 will be available countrywide and use of 39/40 will be withdrawn from the shared licence.

It’s not clear whether anyone who currently has a licence for channel 69 can swap this for a new channel 38/39/40/69 shared licence at no additional cost – unless they have recently renewed a licence that was due to expire on or after 4th Jan 2010.

No mention is made of when or what funding will be available for the change over. I can’t imagine that many freelancers will want to hand over their channel 69 mics in exchange for funding (assuming this is how it will work) before channel 38 is available all over the country or am I missing something?

I’ve heard that at least one person has got very confusing information when calling JFMG and being told they need two licences – one for 69 and one for 38 at additional cost. It does seem rather unfair if new licences will include all the frequencies but the old ones cost the same but don’t. All the relevant letters are available online (links below).

Channel 69 Shared Licence letter
Channel 69 Co-ordinated letter
Channel 38 letter
Channel 40 letter

**UPDATE Please read Paul Gill’s comment on this post which clears up the confusion…



  1. I hope we haven't confused anyone. There was an initial period where we needed to seek clarification from Ofcom ourselves but the position is that:

    1) Any new or renewed licence issued from 4th January will include Ch69 and Ch38 (with alternative if Ch38 not available).

    2) Anyone whose licence expired after 4th January but had already renewed it will be able to request a free replacement.

    3) Other Ch69 licensees requiring use of Ch38 before their licence expires will need to buy a new licence.

  2. Paul represents JMFG I believe.

    Thank's Paul for taking the time and trouble to post here and clearing that up. Your working is a lot clearer than that in the original letter.

    I'm still a little puzzled as to why OFCOM have chosen to do it this way but I realise that it's JFMG who have been left at the sharp end having to implement this decision. OFCOM who look set to alienate a lot of people over the “funding” debate could have at least been a bit more generous over this which would have cost them very little.

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