A continuation of the article - Wireless Systems and The Problems They Create
..also need to be purchased with a good idea up front which frequencies will work in your area.
This starts to get tricky. It’s easy enough to find out what TV stations are within interference distance of your facility, and what frequencies they operate on. But, it’s harder to know what other systems might be in use in your community.
If you’re in a busy area, there are lots of opportunities for interference, and that interference may come and go as those RF systems are turned on and off.
We have one microphone that will work fine for our early service but may act up during second. We'll look for a new free frequency during the week, only to have a similar problem a few weeks later.
If you live in a busy area, investing in better systems that have many more frequencies available to them will help future-proof your investment and give you more options as the RF situation in your area changes over time.
And if you are operating a large number of wireless systems, the configuration process to select frequencies gets even more complex. Just selecting an apparently "open" frequency isn’t sufficient.
Seemingly isolated frequencies can interfere with each other through properties of physics I don't understand myself; this is where getting the help of a consultant well experienced with these issues will help, and probably save you money by ensuring you buy systems that will work in your area.
It's not just wireless microphones that can have issues.
The problem at our church that I alluded to has to do with our wireless in-ear monitor systems for the band. We get a lot of noise that sounds like RF interference despite having researched frequencies and selecting free bands.
However, our systems are all stacked next to each other, using their own individual antennas.
I’ve just read about how this is a major no-no they either need to have a couple feet of space between them or be connected to a singly antenna distribution system to avoid them interfering with each other.
This is something that a consultant could have told us up-front had we used one, instead of taking the "do it yourself" approach.
While doing things yourself has the ability to save you money, it can also turn out to be a poor stewardship decision by ending up with a system that does not work right or doesn’t really meet your needs.
So, these are just some of the types of problems a wireless system can have. Hopefully this coveys the fact the wireless isn’t as simple as it appears, and equipment selection should involve people who well understand these complexities and take them into consideration with your specific needs and RF situation in mind.
Jim Kumorek is the owner of Spreading Flames Media, providing video production, photography and writing services. He has also been an editor at Church Production Magazine and Worship Facilities Magazine, and a church technical director responsible for audio, video and lighting systems. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.