For all the talk we do here at Premier Guitar about high-end cables and the tonal beauty of a physical connection with an amp, we can’t forget that there’s an entire segment of players and musicians who have permanently escaped the chains that conspire to keep us in one place. Whether you’re looking to prowl a festival stage or finally pull off that backflip during rehearsal, wireless technology provides the freedom to express yourself through more than just notes.

Unfortunately, most wireless devices used by musicians also operate in bands of the frequency spectrum currently undergoing big changes. Broadcasters in the US are in the midst of a transition from analog to digital transmissions (due to be completed by June 12, 2009). Meanwhile, the FCC has auctioned off and set aside a portion of the frequency spectrum, known popularly as the 700 MHz band, for both emerging wireless technologies and public safety use. With these changes, a combination of regulatory murkiness and general misinformation has sent waves of fear through communities relying on wireless technologies. Come June 12th, will your wireless systems still work? Will they work clearly? Will they be illegal?

It is a question we’ll explore in two parts to help you understand the implications of all this changewhat the coming digital transition means most immediately for your wireless setup, and what you can expect to happen in the future as more advanced wireless technologies begin using the already-crowded frequency spectrum.