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Hobby Lobby PilotView FPV 2400 System. What happened?

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Hobby Lobby's 2.4GHz Pilot View FPV system was said to have 10mW of RF power and claimed FCC (USA) Part 15 compliance. I thought that was odd, since in the USA the Part 15 rules only allow 50mV/meter at 3 meters, which works out to be less than 0.5mW RF power with a common dipole.

I checked the FCC database several times last year and never found their FCC approval registration. I wrote to Hobby-Lobby and they said that FCC approval was achieved. Based on the information I had, I sent several customers to them when the amateur radio license related solution was not practical to the user.

Now the truth comes out. The FCC has issued a citation to them. Despite its low RF power, the equipment is * NOT * license-free and is essentially illegal unless operated under the ham radio rules.

The lesson learned is that when it comes to legal license-free use, unless the transmitter has a valid FCC registration number printed on the transmitter's case, and the required verbiage in the user manual, do not believe anything the supplier claims. Or better yet, just get a ham license (so easy a caveman can do it) and follow the amateur radio rules.

Here are the details from the ARRL Newsletter, dated today:

On July 28, the FCC issued a Citation to Hobby Lobby International (HLI)

for marketing non-compliant radio frequency devices

<http://hraunfoss.fcc...A-09-1626A1.pdf>.

According to the Commission, these devices were in violation of the

Communications Act of 1934, As Amended and the Commission's Rules, as

well as United States Customs and Border Patrol regulations.

On March 5, the Spectrum Enforcement Division of the Commission's

Enforcement Bureau sent HLI a Letter of Inquiry, initiating an

investigation. The FCC wanted to know if the Tennessee-based company was

marketing an unauthorized radio frequency device, specifically, the

Pilot View FPV 2400 video transmitter. According to the Citation,

the FCC observed that the device was marketed on the retailer's Web site.

HLI responded to the Letter of Inquiry on May 7, telling the FCC that

they began selling the Pilot View FPV 2400 video transmitter on May 12,

2008; they have sold 109 units of the device in the United States. In

its reply, the company told the FCC that the manufacturer of the

transmitter, Intelligent Flight, an Australian company, represented to

them that the device was FCC compliant. HLI admitted they imported the

transmitters, but did not file any FCC Form 740s for the imported units

(before radio frequency devices may be imported to the United States, an

FCC Form 740 [or the electronic equivalent] must be filed with the

United States Customs and Border Patrol). According to the Citation, HLI

stated that the last date that a transmitter was received was November

17, 2008, which is around the time that HLI's contact at Intelligent

Flight stopped responding to their requests for further information

concerning the device.

The FCC noted that HLI sent a unit to a test lab prior to receiving the

Letter of Inquiry. "After receiving the Letter of Inquiry, HLI contacted

the test lab to inquire about the test results and learned, for the

first time, that the device is not FCC compliant," the Citation said.

"HLI provide[d] a copy of the test results, which indicate that the

device substantially exceeds FCC radiated emission limits. HLI state[d]

that [they] discontinued selling this device as soon as it became aware

that the device was not FCC compliant."

The FCC said "it appears that HLI violated Section 302( B) of the Act and

Sections 2.803 and 15.209 of the Rules by marketing in the United States

the Pilot View FPV 2400 transmitter. It also appears that HLI violated

Section 2.1203 of the Rules by importing the Pilot View FPV 2400

transmitter without making the required import declaration."

HLI was warned that "if, after receipt of this citation, you violate the

Communications Act or the Commission's Rules in any manner described

herein, the Commission may impose monetary forfeitures not to exceed

$16,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation."

The company was given 30 days to respond to the Citation either through

a personal interview at the Commission's Field Office nearest to your

place of business or a written statement. HLI was advised that any

response should specify the actions that they are taking to ensure that

they do not violate the Commission's Rules governing the marketing and

importing of radio frequency equipment in the future.

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I thought that was odd, since in the USA the Part 15 rules only allow 50mV/meter at 3 meters, which works out to be less than 0.5mW RF power with a common dipole.

So what does that tell us about all the RF gear sold for FPV? vs frequency, without a ham license?

Can't remember but isn't that -3db with 0db being 1mw/75 ohms? (heck gettin old).

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So what does that tell us about all the RF gear sold for FPV?

Essentially none of the stuff that works well is license-free in the USA (and perhaps elsewhere). Anything that is truly FCC Part 15 approved will be short range, typically <100 meters. These RF energy levels were intended for short range within the home (room to room video senders are one example of this).

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So basically everything being sold is illegal. OR, if the modules are type accepted at 10mw, or 100mw, or 500mw, it's legal? Or am I thinking apples and oranges here?

Legal to sell but illegal to use unless one has a license beit Ham or other...

Edited by W3FJW-Ron

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So basically everything being sold is illegal.

When you consider the eBay items and internet sold off-shore / Hong Kong type transmitters, then I'd say that 98% of what is available today is illegal to sell and/or use license-free in the USA.

But if the retailer has followed the FCC requirements for importing the goods (FCC form 740 filed with customs) and has configured the Tx to use only the allowed amateur radio frequencies, then it is not illegal to market here. But, someone that wishes to comply with the FCC would need to follow the ham radio rules if they operate the device. This is often not a surprise to the customer since the good-guy retailers will clearly state that a ham license is required to use the transmitter they are selling.

Honestly, this has been beat to death on the various forums. Over and over again. There's even a active discussion on rc-groups as we speak. Lately, just about everyone that attempts to suggest that a ham license is needed is burned at the stake as a frightful witch. So, I don't pull out the soap box on the FCC thing anymore; I'm basically done with promoting the concept of operating legally since there is no audience for that in the FPV forums. But, as a wireless A/V equipment retailer, I follow the FCC requirements to the letter (or so I believe). I don't need the stress of being investigated by the FCC and the net profits are waaaay too low to justify such silliness.

Not that I have studied it closely, but it seems that Hobby Lobby received the citation because they simply failed to follow the regulations. No FCC Form 740 was filed with customs and apparently the Tx exceeded the RF levels that are allowed for the non-ham bands. They could easily retool and make the system legal under Part 97 or even Part 15. But, given that they only sold ~110 systems for the entire year, and already wasted several thousand dollars for FCC compliance testing (that reported the system was not FCC legal!), and have a FPV supplier that won't respond to their inquiries, I doubt they are willing to continue selling it. That would be insane.

... if the modules are type accepted at 10mw, or 100mw, or 500mw, it's legal?

Except for some new digital video systems, there are no FCC certified wireless video transmitters that have effective power levels above 0.5mW. BTW, there's so much more to this than the radiated RF power levels, which is why registered license-free equipment is tested for FCC compliance by an independent test house. It is more complicated than just measuring the radiated RF power.

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Thanks for sharing your knowlege. I for one, appreciate it. Have held a Ham license for 55 years. Guess I'll renew it again when it comes up in 2012 that is, unless the Mayans are right.

Edited by W3FJW-Ron

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I just noticed that the Hobby Lobby FPV system is for sale again and now has a valid FCC ID. With the demise of the original supplier (Intelligent Flight), a new supplier in the UK (Firstpersonview) seems to have taken over the product. The Aug 2009 FCC test report is available online (FCC ID XMAF2400).

From the photos on file at the FCC, I see it uses an Airwave AWM651TX or related derivative. The average RF power reported for the 3-meter field strength test is stated at about 89dBuV (-17dBm), so it might be the 1mW Airwave module (or the 10mW version, given the lower performance antenna on it).

I assumed this product was permanently retired after the FCC issued the citation in July 2009. But, it's back! If anyone owns the new one (maybe Santa will bring it), please post links to your flight videos.

Here's the Hobby Lobby catalog link: FPV2400

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I just noticed that the Hobby Lobby FPV system is for sale again and now has a valid FCC ID. With the demise of the original supplier (Intelligent Flight), a new supplier in the UK (Firstpersonview) seems to have taken over the product.

I had heard of the problems with their FCC ID, and also noticed nobody was talking about DragonOSD anymore. Got any links that give details about their shutdown? Fate of other products? Their website is just dead now.

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I had heard of the problems with their FCC ID, and also noticed nobody was talking about DragonOSD anymore. Got any links that give details about their shutdown? Fate of other products? Their website is just dead now.

They don't talk about Dragon OSD anymore because Intelligent Flight is now closed. Mark got overwhelmed at the end for a one man operation with a full time job (software enineer). Dragon OSD still lives and the new version will be available soon by us.

John

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Dragon OSD still lives and the new version will be available soon by us.

Pardon my ignorance, but who is "us"? Link, name, something to go on?

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Pardon my ignorance, but who is "us"? Link, name, something to go on?

Here is a link for more info.

http://exposureroom.com/members/DanielWee/57c0ab39a0c54a5bbae5cf75066c8a08/

http://exposureroom.com/members/DanielWee/0609e0b23ca041b788b3a825e547e05f/

http://www.forum.tsebi.com/viewforum.php?f=7

We are still working on a manual for this plus current sensor is not available on this batch of OSDs but really easy to make. This was just due to the timing of when our OSD PCB was manufactured and the unavailability the new Allegro sensor. Another link to make your own current sensor (takes a few minutes ;) ) by modifying Dean's Attopilot current sensor.

BTW..new company website is still under construction. :)

John

post-2240-126527101014_thumb.jpg

post-2240-126527102226_thumb.jpg

post-2240-126527103695_thumb.jpg

Edited by JMS

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The Dragon OSD Plus is now on sale here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1211816

For tonight I am offering the first 15 at 99 dollars USD, but no current sensor or GPS. I recommend the GPS be purchased from DPCAV http://www.dpcav.com/xcart/home.php?cat=250 since Thomas has the best selection and price and the $20 Attopilot current sensor by Dean can be purchased at www.sparkfun.com

John

post-2240-126916156518_thumb.jpg

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The discussion is getting way off topic and highly commercial (please see forum rules). So, let's return to the OT.

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Looks great to me....and that thing she is holding looks good to ;)

Terry

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The discussion is getting way off topic and highly commercial (please see forum rules). So, let's return to the OT.

Sorry about that Thomas and thanks Terry... long time no talk!

John

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Yep not heard much from you for a while John but good to see your very active in the hobby. I dont seem to have as much time as I would like either.

Terry

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Yep not heard much from you for a while John but good to see your very active in the hobby. I dont seem to have as much time as I would like either.

Terry

I hope it's for a good cause Terry for you and Thomas has always been one my mentors. You should be in the developing sector like in your past and sharing your cutting edge concepts. Anyhow hope to see you make a come back soon and wow us again!

John

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