HAM Radio License for FPV

Discussion in 'Safety & Regulation' started by Spork, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. Spork

    Spork Well-Known Member

    Hey folks,

    While reading up on FPV and building drones, I've come across several YT videos where the pilot mentioned getting a HAM radio license because he got into FPV racing. I think one of them was Mr. Steele, but I could be wrong. I also get a few blog articles when I google for it.

    I've seen some varying opinions ranging from a) it's unlikely it will be heavily enforced so I didn't bother to b) better safe than sorry, plus it helps for when it does become an issue. Since I don't relish paying a heavy fine if I did get unlucky, I looked into the process and it looks like it's pretty painless for the entry level Technician license and it's only like $15. So I'm kind of leaning towards getting one at some point.

    I know if you are using equipment sold in the US it is supposed to be FCC certified, but what about all the Chinese based parts that many of the builders on youtube make. In the dozens of build videos I've watched, I only recall seeing one guy that FCC logos on his parts. Of course, I may just not have seen it on some parts.

    What are your thoughts? Did you already or do you plan to get a license? Inquiring minds want to know.
  2. Spork

    Spork Well-Known Member

    For those so inclined, last night I found this site that provides a free study guide for all three levels. I read through the Technician level PDF in about an hour and was able to pass a practice test.

    To be fair though, I did study electronics 30+ years ago, and while I remember very little, remembering Ohm's law and basic component symbols on schematics was very helpful. I imagine that wouldn't add much time to someone wanting to pass the test.
  3. mozquito1

    mozquito1 Well-Known Member

    I use a TBS Greenhorn 25mw in my local park. I have a few 200mw TS58 models which I fly out the way on a golf course or @the beach. I just orderd an immersionRC Tramp 600mw to go with my Duo 4.1
    15 times over the limit in blighty.
    I was thinking about a licence but I'm going to fly as I see fit. If it's close proximity in a park then 25mw it is.
    If I'm out in middle of nowhere then with a license or not I'm going to run @ 600mw
    & stay well within my height limit of 400'
    While also checking THE local NOTAM.
    My 220 with the TBS is my rock & my tweaker is about to get slammed even more with an AIO fcb I might be able to get the stand offs down to about 12mm.
    Im seeing ppl getting 4km with my setup.
    I haven't a factual range of my fsi6.
    I seen YT vids & ppl getting 2 miles with no mods. It says 300m on the box I think.
    I plonked mine down @ the beach & walked a mile marker. My wife waited by it, & I had 46%errors. But it was a very hot day. Beaming sun. So soon I will be able to know the range of my tx/rx over a few tests hopefully,with help from the vtx.
    Spork likes this.
  4. Steven Campbell

    Steven Campbell Well-Known Member

    Given the low power for transmission, I would not expect it to be an issue.

    I have some basic HAM handheld radios, I will eventually get my license, I can listen in on the local tech nets and they usually broadcast daily when the offer the testing for the local areas.
    Spork likes this.
  5. GJH105775

    GJH105775 Avid Linux User, and U.S. Air Force 1C6 Moderator

    Most of our equipment technically requires a HAM license. Those that don't are basically worthless due to the restrictions in an FCC certified device.

    As long as you are not interfering with something you likely will never be called out for not having a HAM license.
    mozquito1, Spork and Steven Campbell like this.
  6. Spork

    Spork Well-Known Member

    I appreciate the input, but I figured I’d go ahead and get the Technician license since I’d already spent time looking into it. Happy to say I passed the test yesterday. Pretty painless and I learned a lot more about antennas - which I feel will pretty useful info.

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