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What are the penalties for operating an fpv system above 200mW?

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#1
I know that a ham radio license is required to legally operate an fpv system exceeding 200 mW in the US. But, if one did operate without a license, what are the penalties? How likely would it be that anyone would be aware of it in the first place?

I am not advocating operating outside of the law, but am asking purely out of curiousness.
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#2
$7,500.00 to $10,000.00 a pop. Plus you're equipment is confiscated.
As far as people noticing, I guess that depends on the number of hams in your area. Odds are good that you will be caught, though.
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#3
It is my understanding that fpv systems 200 mW and below are exempt from needing a ham license. But, while looking into that today, it doesn't seem to be that clear.

So, why doesn't a wireless network require a ham operator's license? Does cell phone traffic interfere with ham radio? What about wireless CCD security systems? I'm not arguing, I'm just trying to understand the link between a temporary, weak video transmission and amateur radio.
 

lobstermash

Propaganda machine
Mentor
#4
Someone has asked whether fpv comes into the correct use for ham operation and whether a licence actually allows you to operate on ham frequencies. I don't think I've ever seen it answered. In australia we have free use of 2.4 and 5.8 up to 2w without any need for documentation.
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#5
Why would anyone have a reason to suspect someone didn't have a license? I mean, who is going to take the time to track someone down? Again, I'm not arguing, I'm trying to understand the environment.

How would someone find you? How do you triangulate a continuously moving target?
 
#6
The reason HAM bands didn't turn into the cess pool that Citizens band did is because the HAM operators police their areas, and still do. If they sniff you out, they will keep watching for you and track you down. It's best just to follow the rather easily attainable license IF, and I have no idea, it applies to your application.
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#9
Why would anyone have a reason to suspect someone didn't have a license? I mean, who is going to take the time to track someone down? Again, I'm not arguing, I'm trying to understand the environment.

How would someone find you? How do you triangulate a continuously moving target?
It's not that hard. Most hams have equipment that is much, much more sensitive than the equipment you have on your plane. They are going to check for you to broadcast your callsign, and when you don't, they will notice.

As far as what is the legal cutoff, from what I understand, you can only broadcast on a part 15 device, and that limits your wattage A LOT. http://www.fcc.gov/guides/low-power-broadcast-radio-stations#PART15
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#10
Someone has asked whether fpv comes into the correct use for ham operation and whether a licence actually allows you to operate on ham frequencies. I don't think I've ever seen it answered. In australia we have free use of 2.4 and 5.8 up to 2w without any need for documentation.
Yes, a ham license does allow you to use those bands for FPV in the US. It is quite clearly spelled out in the ARRL publications.
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#12
Part 97 specifies that you identify every ten minutes, I believe. In this case, because you are using a one way transmission for remote sensors, I suppose you don't need to identify at all. Just make sure that your equipment doesn't interfere with someone else.
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#13
Part 97 specifies that you identify every ten minutes, I believe. In this case, because you are using a one way transmission for remote sensors, I suppose you don't need to identify at all. Just make sure that your equipment doesn't interfere with someone else.
I was wrong. I checked into it, and the answer is "A label indicating the licensee’s name, call sign and address must be affixed to the transmitter"
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#14
I'm still trying to understand the transmission stuff...

So, if I transmit on a frequency that ham radio operators use, will it interfere with them? And, more importantly, can their signal obliterate my video signal?

I'm just trying to come to terms with all of this.
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#15
It may interfere with their signal. That would be a bad thing. They will ignore it once or twice, but after that, you will probably be reported. Their signal can, indeed, interfere with your video signal. That said, you won't find a ton of ham traffic on the 2.4 ghz ISM frequencies that are commonly used. The 900 MHz (33 CM) band is usable on a secondary basis, which means that you can use it, as a ham, as long as you don't walk all over the signal from a primary user. It is also an ISM band, but is more commonly used for communications than the 2.4 ghz band.
 

IamNabil

Senior Member
#16
Wait a minute, is this because of that 23 CM band FPV setup you posted about? The 23 CM band is pretty popular. You will almost certainly see hams on that band.
 
#17
Here in Sweden the rules are clear - but not so easy to acquire as you have to source them from various locations.

2 goverments and the military to be precise :D
 
#20
browsing the government page for my country there was a simulation test for a HAM license, I took it and passed on first try :D didnt even studied, just used common sense.

maybe ill sign myself for a HAM license soon :D