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Consent Decree Settles FCC Noncompliant Drone Transmitters Marketing Case


The FCC Enforcement Bureau has entered into a Consent Decree with Horizon Hobby, LLC to resolve a case involving the marketing and sale of noncompliant audio/video (A/V) transmitters intended for use on drones. The Consent Decree was attached to an FCC Order released on August 16. The Enforcement Bureau said the transmitters violated the FCC’s equipment marketing and Amateur Radio rules.

“These laws ensure that radio frequency devices comply with the Commission’s technical requirements and do not interfere with authorized communications,” the Enforcement Bureau said. “Because the noncompliant A/V transmitters could operate in bands that are reserved for important operations, including Federal Aviation Administration Terminal Doppler Weather Radar, they must not be marketed or operated by anyone. Moreover, entities that rely on amateur frequencies in operating compliant A/V transmitters must have an amateur license and otherwise comply with all applicable laws for such operation.”

In the Consent Decree, Horizon Hobby concedes that it marketed A/V transmitters that did not comply with FCC equipment marketing rules. The company has agreed to implement a compliance plan and to pay a $35,000 civil penalty.

On December 20, 2017, the Bureau’s Spectrum Enforcement Division issued a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) to Horizon Hobby, directing it to respond to a series of questions relating to its marketing of A/V used with drones in the US. “The investigation revealed that some of the A/V transmitters Horizon Hobby marketed were capable of operating outside of the authorized Amateur Radio Service bands, but were not certified or otherwise compliant with the Rules. These A/V transmitters are considered intentional radiators and must comply with the Equipment Marketing Rules.”

The FCC said that after it received the LOI, the company stopped marketing the noncompliant A/V transmitters.

A privately held limited liability company, Horizon Hobby advertises and sells fully assembled drones through several websites, as well as parts and accessories for those systems.




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