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Frustrating!!

aiidanwings

Senior Member
#1
C&P from today's email;

"This acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Your request has been assigned FOIA control number 2013-395. Agencies are allowed 20 working days to respond to your request, extending this period for an additional 10 working days under certain circumstances. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i) and 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B)(i). We anticipate responding to your request on 8/2/13. If additional time is needed to respond to your request you will be notified.

If you have any questions concerning this notice, please call the FOIA Office at: (202) 418-0440.

FCC FOIA Office "

For months I've been attempting to get definitive, official, written, un-contestable information regarding legal frequencies and licensing, permits, can/can't do, no-fly zone.. blah blah blah regarding FPV.

Apparently its a secret! If I actually get an answer, I'll be sure to post it here.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#3
Aiidan,

I don't think its a secret so much as no one knows everything to give a definitive answer (even the bureaucrats). The rules you're trying to define are spread across multiple agencies, each with a different levels of authority, stakeholders involved and lobbyists to contend with -- they like it grey and so should you!

The FCC guidelines should be clear as to freqs, but they do change over time and the maximum power can be speced in several ways (transmitter power, ERP, uV at 3m). The FCC regs are published and can be googled, but requires understanding a good portion of the regs to know what the case-by-case restrictions are. Additionally, The FCC is a reactive group -- they don't hunt offenders, they respond to complaints -- and have no enforcement power -- if they show up at your doorstep you can tell them to go away (not a good idea, though -- they'll switch to lawyers).

The FAA defines airspace, where they're not overridden by DHS, DoD or other agency. Fortunately for all of us they've only set up guidelines for recreational use, which fall in tow w/ AMA -- Within 3 mi of an airport, <400ft & usage agreements on freqs, and manned a/c *always* have the right of way.

The published no-fly-zones should be marked on any current aviation map. Reasons are seldom given, but usually obvious. (Wash. D.C, Military Bases, test/training ranges)

Now, the FOIA response is boilerplate. I'd expect it, even for a formal request for the opening times at the Smithsonian. It's less about finding a way to hide info and more about bureaucrats taking time to find the information (do you think the receptionist know this stuff off the top of her head?). While you've got reason to be frustrated, Most "conspiracy theories" involving bureaucracies are more bureaucratic sluggishness and grey rules that a cabal secretly trying to control the population.

(or so "they" would like you to believe . . . ;) )
 

aiidanwings

Senior Member
#4
Good points Dan. Though Mr. It's the Law if I say it's the Law Police Officer or the local Forestry Service Commando would likely respond more favorably to official forms than he would "I read it on the internet"

Recreation is frowned upon in these parts.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#5
Yeah, but even those jerks tend to get the "I don't care, take it up with the Judge" attitude. Any license/permit/membership will only matter to them if they know about it before hand.


I know quite a few officers who are level headed, reasonable officers who would likely be curious and interested. They might come up and chat, but they'd leave you alone unless someone had a legitimate gripe. Those guys are a credit to their uniform and I dare say are the majority.

Then again, there are those "Not on My Watch" bullies w/ a badge who seek out anything out of the ordinary they think they can squash. Being on the right side of the law seldom matters to them.


When a cop saunters up to you, it's hard to tell which type you'll get, but an "I'm not going to be any trouble, but take a look at this cool thing I'm doing" attitude can go a long way w/ both types as opposed to the "I'm right and you don't know your job."

Might be a true statement, but seldom wins any friends.



"Visitations" when night flying are particularly common. Recent post on RC groups comes to mind:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1891919#post25020623

You can see both types in the story, and it was good the local cop showed up.

Most officers are regular people with a tough job, and a good number of them like people, but keep seeing too much of the bad. When they see a friendly guy doing something cool, they'll likely stick around to enjoy the moment. Take advantage of it. Make a friend, share the hobby, encourage their interest. They're less likely to ask you to "move along" (and more likely to suggest better places to fly) once you've made a friend.
 

Tritium

Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
#7
It is not a matter of Freedom of Information. You have to know WHAT to ask for and WHO to ask. The government agencys do not inter-operate. Each pretty much stands alone. The FCC information is there on their site but you have to be knowledgeable in the subject first in order to understand their papers. The FAA is the same way and would know nothing about the FCC's business or visa versa. Effectively, using the Freedom of Information Act for said purpose is trying to circumvent gaining the required education to understand existing documents. Good luck but I think you will be disappointed with the reply.

As far as Transmissions go just get your Amateur Radio Technician's License (several 6 year old children have done it) and don't sweat it. As far as where you can fly and the regulations involved, it mostly depends on the FAA classification of the airspace you intend to fly in.

Thurmond
 
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aiidanwings

Senior Member
#8
Well Thurmond, that's the information I'm trying to get. Every one says to get this or that license and to obey local restrictions. But exactly what are those? Every one I ask has a different answer.

That, and the FCC/FAA instructed me to go this route.
 

Tritium

Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
#9
I am simply trying to give you the advise I myself followed. I got my Amateur Extra Ham License so ALL amateur frequencies are open to me. I just have to hang a card on my RC transmitter identifying my call sign and contact details.

I contacted the FAA field office for my region and told them the location of my property and intended modes of operation and they then gave me the regulations for my location. In my case it is uncontrolled airspace so I can do what I want in terms of RC Aircraft.

It is near an entry vector (path) used by military aircraft to enter their Military Operations Area 10 miles south of me so I also contacted the military liaison to the FAA who is responsible for the MOA requesting that their Aircraft be made aware of any potential hazard that my operations might present to their operations. The 4th Holiday has prevented any response from the Military yet.

In all cases whether radio or aircraft, safety is the top concern and the second concern is the same that happens at an unmarked intersection on the highway ( He who is first has the right of way). In all situations you may not intentionally interfere with other radio transmissions or craft.

Thurmond
 
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FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#10
Good points Dan. Though Mr. It's the Law if I say it's the Law Police Officer or the local Forestry Service Commando would likely respond more favorably to official forms than he would "I read it on the internet"

Recreation is frowned upon in these parts.
Hey!
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#12
What is the issue he has with you flying?

Here in FL, they have a rule int he state parks that says "No launching or landing of any aerial device within the state park boundaries."

Forestry, as far as anyone has been able to show me, has no such restrictions.

In areas where they're trying to manage/protect wildlife (such as along our beaches here), aircraft like we fly can cause stress to nesting birds. We have a very active restoration effort going on in our park at the moment, so I've been more aware of how sensitive some of these areas can be.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#13
I don't understand the premise of your posts in response to my efforts to acquire accurate regulations regarding my hobby.
Yes, I was drifting a bit from the OP, but trying to answer your need, not just your question. Making enemies is easy, especially if they are the aggressor (bully w/ a badge). Making friends sometimes takes tolerating people you've chosen to dislike and even swallowing your pride, but can win things the rule book never will.

The advice is free (and possibly overpriced) but I'm suggesting attacking your problem from the flank, and not attacking your enemy head on.
 
#14
I appreciate it Dan. I don't wish to consider these guys enemies, just one to be prepared for.

Flyingmonkey, this is just a power happy kid with a badge. He's probably harmless, but he does have a badge. Hasn't stopped me from flying, yet... but he does enjoy "random safety searches" which concerns me.
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#15
When he does a "safety search" what does that mean? Is he asking to view inside of your bags, equipment, etc?

If so, he's not allowed to do that. If he does it again, ask for his manager's name and contact information. Chances are they've already had complaints about him.
 
#19
HAM Technician license is the one you want. It is the first, basic license needed to open all frequencies. There are all sorts of free study guides online, and free practice tests, too. You don't need to learn morse code anymore, either.

Essentially, when you broadcast FPVideo over standard HAM frequencies mentioned here already, you are acting as an amateur television station, as odd as that sounds and therefore need a HAM license.

*edit* You are not required to even own any HAM equipment when you get a license.
 
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#20
Exactly..

Anyway, I've spent weeks sending emails, letters, making phone call after phone call. The nearest to a definite answer was from the FAA saying that basically they are still working on it and to contact the AMA who sent me a PDF dated 1981 with the recommendation to contact local authorities whom sent me from office to office then eventually said "You can't do that."

The ARRL said to get a technicians license, but couldn't confirm that it was necessary. I would like to get that, but the logistics would be extremely difficult. They also recommended contacting local authorities.

So far AC 91-57 is the only thing anyone can prove applies. The only problem with it is "etc" in the allowed locations, which can be interpreted however you want. Which is where the problem with the badge comes in.