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Pumpkin drop event

FCC Amateur Operators Liscence for FPV gear?

#1
I'm look to get another FPV set up. Perhaps one with 200mw output. RMRC has a warning:
This product requires an amateur radio license to operate legally in the US. Please read the Amateur Radio Info before purchasing.
Is an amateur radio licence needed??
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#2
Yes. That would be a technician class HAM operators licence.

It is required for radio operation over 25mw or for any non FCC certified gear. That limits you to a handful of vtx that are rated for 25mw but actually radiate more like 5mw which is totally useless for any fpv beyond a tiny whoop in your livingroom.

Take a look at

https://hamstudy.org
 

ElectriSean

Eternal Student
Mentor
#3
Technically (and legally) an amateur license is required for all transmitters not certified by the FCC regardless of power levels. I flew for 3 years without it and never heard a peep from anyone but "that guy" in our club... You know who "that guy" is ;) As long as you aren't interfering with other people you can probably get away without a license forever, but it's definitely worth learning the material to pass the test.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#5
I spent about 10 hours studying over the course of a week (all free study materials and practice tests) and passed the Technician test first attempt. YMMV but I found it really interesting and not that difficult. Depending on how much electronics experience you already have, you might be surprised at how much you know.
 
#6
The HAM test question bank is released in advance, there are no surprises. You get a test of 35 random questions from the bank of over 400, one from each study section. There are phone apps, YouTube videos, and a variety of web pages to help you study. Local HAM clubs may offer study sessions. Tests are offered pretty much every weekend within driving range of most people. The test is usually free, but a small administrative fee can be charged.

I used a YouTube series and phone app to study with, I was ready in about 2 or 3 weeks, and I passed on the first try. The basic goal of the test is to set the minimum level of knowledge, provide a basic understanding of rules, and them encourage experimentation; this is why the questions are released in advance of the exam. This isn't one of those tests where they dig the most obscure reference from the deepest, darkest paragraph in a footnote buried in the appendix.

Besides common 5.8GHz FPV use, HAM opens up a wide variety of frequencies for our hobby, such as long range control in 433 and 900MHz and long range video in 1.2 or 2.4GHz. There are inexpensive 400MHz tracking beacons that can easily be added to aircraft to greatly minimize the chance of a lost model. HAM opens up many more options than just park flying FPV planes. Even if you don't want to fly long range, these still come in handy in Rf noisy environments where the 2.4 & 5.8GHz bands may be saturated.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#7
Honestly, the HAM radio license isn't hard to get at all. I studied for a month, off and on, just taking practice tests from the HAM question bank, over and over again. I think I got 4-5 questions wrong, but still passed.

I'd say to take the test. It's good for 10 years, and it only costs $10 - or it may even be free if the HAM Radio clubs in the area are covering the costs. SANDARC, the San Diego Amateur Radio Council, offers free monthly testing for all levels of HAM radio operations; there may be something similar in your area of the country.

It may seem like an annoyance, but what's the harm? You get it, you're covered legally, and who knows? Maybe you find another interesting hobby! :)
 

Bricks

Well-known member
#8
Right or wrong I have never had one and really do not plan to get one. But and I say but where I fly and live not much chance of ever having any issue. If I was flying in or around a large city where you get a lot of busy bodies I would consider getting a Ham license then.
 

JennyC6

Well-known member
#9
Right or wrong I have never had one and really do not plan to get one. But and I say but where I fly and live not much chance of ever having any issue. If I was flying in or around a large city where you get a lot of busy bodies I would consider getting a Ham license then.

Same here. I live, RC out in the sticks where it doesn't matter. I've got a 600mW VTx in my scale truck...mostly so I can brute-force a 5.8g signal through several layers of obstructions...and I'll probably be blasting my FPV signals out from my aircraft at that kind of power level as well.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#10
I am in my fifties and in my youth I considered getting my HAM licence. How involved is it to obtain such licence, do you know?
I know it's kind of cliche to just throw up a link to people, but I have to be honest, the ARRL (National Association for Amateur Radio) says it better than I could here. It's as easy as finding the links, signing up, MAYBE paying $10 (As I said earlier, SANDARC offers it for free in San Diego County), and taking a test. Now, the webpage recommends taking classes before you take your test, or buying a study guide; I opted not to do that and instead just reviewed the questions and answers for the test through practice quizzes online. You may benefit from the classes; for me and my learning style, I did the tests instead (and because the classes, for me, weren't at a time I could make it from work).

Here's the link to the ARRL:

http://www.arrl.org/getting-licensed
 
#11
I took the sample test yesterday and got a 70%. I have dabbled in various electronics over the years and have picked up knowledge on multiple subjects but I am the master of none. With that being said, most of that test was common sense but I just guessed on a few of the questions. Its worth taking a look at the test.
 

slipshift

Active member
#12
This sound pretty much like the drone "issue". Everything is fine until a few people screw up. A tech license isn't that hard to get.

Jim
 
#13
It does bug me that the whole FPV has the fact that you need a Technicians ticket to legally operate a FPV rig on you drone or fixed wing and it is not a well known fact. The FCC could have a field day at Flite Fest.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#14
It does bug me that the whole FPV has the fact that you need a Technicians ticket to legally operate a FPV rig on you drone or fixed wing and it is not a well known fact. The FCC could have a field day at Flite Fest.
It's actually printed on most FPV gear, on most drones that require it, and in the manuals. Says it right on the packaging for the Inductrixes with FPV, and on my Blade Conspiracy, that I needed a HAM radio license. Now, if the equipment is FCC certified, like most of the DJI equipment, you don't need it, and most people figure that applies to everything.
 
#15
Well, I guess I stand corrected. I missed the warning on my FXT and my Fat Shark sets. But it did take the RMRC site to make me aware. I would be willing to bet REAL money that most folks are unaware of the FPV rule.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#16
Well, I guess I stand corrected. I missed the warning on my FXT and my Fat Shark sets. But it did take the RMRC site to make me aware. I would be willing to bet REAL money that most folks are unaware of the FPV rule.
It's one of those things that is funny - half the people at my field that fly FPV have a HAM radio license; the others look at us and ask, "Why'd you bother going through with the test?" The guys who have the test are mostly ex-military, and said that they got the requirements when they were in the service, and just decided to keep renewing it. They got it because it was an easy way for them to study their Morse Code, which was a requirement several years ago to get the Technician license. It's no longer a requirement, but they figured, "Hey, if I already know all that's required for the test, why not go through and just get the license?"

In addition, I've heard that it might become a requirement in the future for MultiGP, so...I figure I'll just get it to be safe.
 
#18
I really want to get mine for the end of the world and cause i love to listen to ham radios and scanners and not be able to blab on there.
I have 3 baofeng's...i would like to dable in long range and actually understand more about RF. I wouldn't get it cause i had to but would like to get it to be more knowledgeable and the end of the world thing as well.
 

ElectriSean

Eternal Student
Mentor
#19
I really want to get mine for the end of the world and cause i love to listen to ham radios and scanners and not be able to blab on there.
I have 3 baofeng's...i would like to dable in long range and actually understand more about RF. I wouldn't get it cause i had to but would like to get it to be more knowledgeable and the end of the world thing as well.
Check out David Cassler on YouTube, he has tons of instructional videos on all kinds of ham topics.