Happy New Year from OFCOM (well sort of!)
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radio astronomy ends on Jan 1st 2012 when I assume channel 38 will be available countrywide and use of 39/40 will be withdrawn from the shared licence.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).
**UPDATE Please read Paul Gill’s comment on this post which clears up the confusion…