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Control Operator w/ R/C mounted VTX?

Nov 6th 2017, 20:58

jasonbrent

Joined: Nov 6th 2017, 20:22
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hello all,

Apologies if this is the wrong forum, I tried to select the best match...
Newly minted (as of 11/5) general ham here, no callsign yet.. I have a question regarding the control operator in the following scenario:

Remote controlled quadcopter (remote Tx and Rx on the quad are both outside of amateur bands and have proper FCC certifications) with a 25mW analog video transmitter operating in the 5.8Ghz band mounted on the quadcopter.

In this scenario, if I am flying the quad, I've been the one to power it up, I've powered on the video transmitter (vtx), then it is clear to me that I am the control operator of that tx for controlling the quad and the vtx for the video stream (with telemetry data overlayed on top of the video).

However, If I hand the remote control for the quad to another individual, would I still be considered the operator of the VTX? The R/C Transmitter does not have any remote controlling functions for the VTX, just for sending instructions to the RX on the quadcopter itself.

I'm just wondering what the scenario is here and trying to understand if I can allow others to use the equipment assuming I'm the one who powers it on/off, controls the frequencies it transmits on, etc.

Thank you in advance for any advice/pointers!

-j (Jason)


Nov 7th 2017, 16:51

W1VT

Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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The most important interpretation may be that of your insurance provider.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics provides insurance as a benefit to its members.
Only individuals properly licensed by the FCC are authorized to operate equipment on Amateur Band frequencies.
www.modelaircraft.org/events/frequencies.aspx

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer

Nov 7th 2017, 19:57

jasonbrent

Joined: Nov 6th 2017, 20:22
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I guess I'm honestly trying to determine the definition of "operate" with respect to a VTX that can basically "travel someplace else" once it begins transmitting.

The VTX is, in effect, completely standalone from that of the Tx/Rx falls under "2.4 GHz (utilizing spread spectrum CFR 47, Part 15)".

Insurance point aside, which is valid, I'm honestly trying to understand how "control operator" fits into this scenario. Let's assume that the other person I hand the Tx for the quad to is a member of the AMA, convered by their insurance, and is technically only operating (as best my viewpoint/opinion goes) the 2.4Ghz portion. The 5.8Ghz video transmission is payload carried on the quadcopter, but is otherwise not "operated" by the pilot of the quad.

Regardless, I appreciate the input!

-j



Nov 8th 2017, 11:40

W1VT

Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
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ยง97.109 Station control.
(a) Each amateur station must have at least one control point.

(b) When a station is being locally controlled, the control operator must be at the control point. Any station may be locally controlled.

(c) When a station is being remotely controlled, the control operator must be at the control point. Any station may be remotely controlled.

(d) When a station is being automatically controlled, the control operator need not be at the control point. Only stations specifically designated elsewhere in this part may be automatically controlled. Automatic control must cease upon notification by a Regional Director that the station is transmitting improperly or causing harmful interference to other stations. Automatic control must not be resumed without prior approval of the Regional Director.

[54 FR 39535, Sept. 27, 1989, as amended at 60 FR 26001, May 16, 1995; 69 FR 24997, May 5, 2004; 80 FR 53753, Sept. 8, 2015]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_box
I think a Buddy Box would meet the requirement for you to be the control operator and let a friend temporarily control R/C aircraft, as you could regain control by just flipping a switch on your control box.

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer

Nov 8th 2017, 12:47

jasonbrent

Joined: Nov 6th 2017, 20:22
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Ah Ha! Yes, that helps a lot. Thank you!

-j
Dec 23rd 2017, 18:15

WA8NVW

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Wait just a minute. Jason first said the video unit was on 5.8 GHz, later he said 2.4 Ghz spread spectrum. If I remember ciorrectly, 5.8 GHz is a UNII band which can't be used for long-haul outdoor communications.

Right now I don't have quick access to the specific FCC rules for unlicensed 5.8 GHz. Best that you check with an FCC person who is familiar with the applicable limitations on 5.8 GHz UNII operations. We can't trust the manufacturers to properly market this stuff.

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