My wireless microphone doesn't work anymore!

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I get the call every couple weeks, "Dave, what can you tell me about my wireless microphone? It just doesn't work anymore, and I think that I need a new one."

Over the past couple years, we've heard more and more about new devices competing for a part of the airwaves, but is digital television always to blame? Do you really need a new wireless microphone?

If you think that you're having interference issues, take a step back.  

When someone calls us with the complaint of poor wireless performance, this is what we ask...

"Do you have other wireless microphones in use?" If so, we ask people to send us a list of their wireless frequencies, nearby digital devices like effects units, digital processors, computer monitors, other devices, and their zip code so that we can develop an idea of what they're working with.

With that info, we look for conflicts and trouble spots. If we don't find any, we move on.

We encourage people to not use the default frequency. You've done it; admit it! You bought your new wireless system, unpacked it, powered it up, tested it and it worked perfectly. You're busy, so you went no further.

What if you tested the system at 2:30PM on Tuesday without realizing that the church across the street or a room in another part of the building uses the same frequency at your service time. Oops!

To stay away from local television stations, other wireless microphones and unknown sources of radio interference, some units have automatic frequency scanning to check for the clearest frequency. If you're fortunate enough to have systems that scan, make sure to use that feature in order to find a frequency that works.

Next, we encourage people to check the line of sight between the transmitter and receiver antennas. It's important to make sure that the receiver antennas are oriented at an angle from one another and that they're not buried deep inside a rack (a metal rack especially) or inside a separate room. Make sure that the antennas can "see" the user directly through the air.

To help on the user's end, it's important to make sure that the bodypack isn't in a pocket with keys, cell phone, etc. Maybe that's an obvious thing that you wouldn't do, but we still ask people to check. Metal objects and devices that send radio signals can interfere with wireless microphone performance. We like to be connected, but do you really plan to take a phone call while on the platform during the worship service?

With a handheld wireless, make sure that you don't put your hand over the transmitter antenna (typically located at the end of the transmitter).  Don't cup your hand around the end.  Hold the handle itself. 

Next, be sure that your batteries are good. You should always use fresh alkaline batteries by Duracell, Energizer or Varta when testing your wireless microphone. Those brands provide the highest initial voltage and most stable output voltage.

If you're using rechargeable batteries, that's okay, but the effective life cycle will be shorter and less predictable. Use a fresh alkaline battery when you're testing your system.

We all like to save money, but please make sure that the RF Power on the transmitter is set to the High setting so that it's putting out the strongest signal. You'll use batteries a little more quickly, but with more and more devices competing for space in the wireless spectrum, and if you're not using a dozen systems together, crank up the power.

Competing radio frequency interference (even if not a direct conflict) can cause problems, if the outside signal is strong enough.

Wireless issues are typically related to Antenna, Battery or Coordination of frequencies. Occasionally, the wireless may have a problem itself. And a repair is often much less expensive than a direct replacement.

If you have questions, need to see whether a system is worth repairing, or if you need something new, we're here. Please call us at 800-747-7301.