How to Trade in Your 600 MHz Wireless System

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The frequencies they are a-changing. If you followed the unfolding drama of the FCC Incentive Auction, in 2016 and 2017, this comes as no surprise to you. If "FCC Auction" doesn't hold special meaning to you yet, you need to prepare for some important news. Anyone currently using wireless systems that operate in the 600 MHz band should pay close attention to avoid breaking laws and proper functionality. It's quite possible, and even likely, that you'll have to trade in your current system. Many wireless mic systems operating in the 600 MHz band will be prohibited from use by July 13, 2020, though the changeover may be necessary much sooner. Will yours be illegal? It depends on the precise operating frequency of your equipment. For example, 617 to 652 MHz and 663 to 698 MHz will be treated with "No Trespassing" rules to wireless microphone users. I encourage you to read Andrew Eisele's highly informative article about the auction results and new bandwidth details, and continue reading here for instructions on how to make the transition. Whether you want a new system from Sennheiser, Shure, or Audio-Technica, each manufacturer has simplified the trade-in process as much as possible and accepts multiple makes and models of older systems.

Sennheiser is offering a trade-in program until March 31, 2019. So, if you've been eyeing its line of wireless products, here's what you'll need to do. Start by finding the operating frequency of your current system. If it falls neatly in the range of 470 to 608 MHz, you can continue using your gear without worry of breaking the law! However, if the operating frequency is above 608 MHz, you must pursue a trade. Upon confirming that your equipment must be turned in, the next step is to harness some purchasing power. Pick up a new qualified Sennheiser wireless system that operates in an FCC-approved frequency range. Finally, ship your eligible old system—Sennheiser accepts units from any manufacturer—with the requisite forms and UPCs. As expected, you must pay attention to the company's specific instructions (e.g. send original UPC codes, not copies) and wait six to eight weeks for the processing of the trade-in and the mailing of the rebate check.

Shure's trade-in program runs until October 31, 2018, and grants rebates on eligible products from Shure and many other manufacturers. Be sure to follow these recommended steps outlined on Shure's website. Use the Eligibility Tool to find out if your devices qualify for a trade-in. That's crucial! Next, review the terms and conditions—the fine print matters. After that, put a "Sold!" sign on a new eligible Shure wireless system, then fill out the required paperwork and include it when you ship your old system to Shure. Following eight to ten weeks for delivery time, you'll have your rebate check and a thicker wallet.

Audio-Technica is offering a "Trade-In on Your Terms" program until July 13, 2020. It allows you to have new components while continuing to use your existing system. Once you make the switch and send your old system to Audio-Technica, you'll get your rebate on a qualified single- or dual-channel system. The steps are straightforward. First, verify that your system (from any manufacturer) operates in the 600 MHz band. Next, purchase a qualified Audio-Technica wireless system and register it online. Finally, send in your old system along with the required documentation to receive your rebate. Of course, there are many variables concerning qualified units and rebate values. Audio-Technica has all relevant information for trade-ins accessible on the Web.

In short, going down the trade-in path isn't about exercising options, it's about following the law and ensuring proper operation for your system now and in the future. I know, I know—there is much information to digest. Thankfully, wireless system manufacturers are doing everything they can to simplify and expedite the procedure. Just remember the basics. If your system operates in between 614 MHz and 698 MHz, you must do this! Check manufacturer-provided resources to determine if your model qualifies for trade-in, then pick out a new eligible system. Proceed with necessary paperwork, ship your old devices, then wait for money. Don't get left behind!

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