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FCC and non-approved video Tx

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by A Higher Perspective, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. A Higher Perspective

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    I recently learned that most (or many) Tx for 5.8GHz video do not have FCC approval and so need a license to be operated (legally). Any Tx that is approved carries an FCC number. I have a couple of quads that transmit the video signal via a 5.8GHz Tx that do not carry any FCC marking. Most commercial drones that I'm aware of be it DJI, DIY or other have FPV capability and certainly not all carry the FCC approved transmitters. So my questions are: How many are aware of this, how many have FCC licenses and how many didn't know?

    FCC Concerns | Model Aviation
     
  2. Kelly

    Kelly Member

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    I for one didn't know about this. I have had FCC licenses in the past. CB when they were required and my Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit from my Radio days, but didn't know about this. Seems like every time I stick my hand in my pocket, I notice that their's is already there!!
     
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  3. B_Dawson

    B_Dawson Well-Known Member

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    If you look at the Appendix in the DJI manuals, there is a statement that says "This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC rules... yada yada yada". I don't have access to a Phantom right now, but I would think that in order to sell these in the United States it would have to have that FCC "approval" sticker that you always see on electronics that emit RF. The appendix also lists the radiated power on each frequency...and you can find the FCC ISM limits here... AFAR Communications Inc. - Outdoor Wireless Networks and TDM over IP Access Gateways -www.afar.net

    I guess since the Phantoms don't have replaceable TX antennas on the quad, and it's power is less than the limit, they should have the FCC approval.
     
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  4. A Higher Perspective

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    Agreed DJI drones carry the FCC approval, I was not disputing that, however not everyone that is operating commercially is using them. I'm pretty sure that many of the commercially used quads are either DIY or modified to include FPV systems that use these unmarked Tx units. The heavy-lift Turbo Ace Matrix that I started with came with the RC Immersion 5.8 GHz Tx that is shown in the article linked above and noted as "not approved". I checked, and that one and a 3DR DIY kit I built also contained an unapproved Tx for the video. I just upgraded the Matrix to a DJI A3 and LB2 system, so I'm pretty sure it's approved, but the 3DR quad is definitely not legal for me to use with FPV with it's current setup. The license is not that big a deal to get, just a little studying and a 35 question test. I started this thread because I had never heard a thing about this and was certainly never informed by TurboAce or 3DR that I might need a license to operate the equipment I purchased from them.

    It's not only commercial pilots that need to be aware of this, since many racing drones are also DIY or kits and may contain these unapproved units. I would really like to hear from more commercial pilots about what they are using for FPV and if they are aware of this seemingly little-known fact.
     
  5. B_Dawson

    B_Dawson Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I had no idea about it until I read it on some forum a while back. It's kinda like you just have to know somehow.

    I'm sure most of the stuff from eBay and China isn't approved but most people operating them probably have no idea that's it illegal.
     
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  6. David Boulanger

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    There is a difference between 5.8 WiFi and 5.8 analog transmitters. You are supposed to have a ham technicians license to use 5.8 analog . Like Boscam, Fat Shark, Immersion etc. Most don't and have not heard of people getting busted for it. There is a very low wattage setup that does not require a license but it is not of much use in the real world
     
  7. Martin Carter

    Martin Carter New Member

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    Yes, I JUST found out, too. More knowledge is never a bad thing, but most race drones broadcast less than half a watt. The FCC lumps us in with ham radio that can broadcast up to 1500 watts.
    I've always tried to follow the rules, but this just seems like annoying GOV incompetence. This is a 5.8 gig signal used at short range for command and control of a race drone not broadcasting a message long distance. It seems like the FCC ought to have a special exception for this or simply an online acknowledgment of rules especially for hobbyists.
     
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