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FCC - $2.8M fine against Hobby King for 'booster' amps


Jul 1, 2016
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facts attached. Time to consider if a booster amp is worth the trouble it may cause. Enforcement advisories are usually issued to let everyone know they are about to come down on a particular activity, whether it is cellphone jamming or whatever. Well anyway the FCC has kicked-off the booster-amp enforcement spectacularly. The "advisory' is below, but take all 3 articles to see how and why Hobby King has got the FCC all up in their business.

Enforcement Advisory
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
Internet: Federal Communications Commission
TTY: 1-888-835-5322
DA 18-581

June 5, 2018
Enforcement Advisory No. 2018-02


The Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has observed a
growing number of websites that advertise and sell noncompliant radio accessories, specifically
audio/video transmitters (AV transmitters), intended for use with drones. Noncompliant AV transmitters
are illegal, and they have the potential to interfere with public safety, aviation, and other operations by
Federal agencies. Because AV transmitters are intentional radiators, retailers may not advertise or sell
them, and no one may use them, unless the FCC has approved such transmitters under its equipment
authorization process (or unless the devices operate exclusively on frequencies authorized for use only by
amateur licensees). Anyone advertising or selling noncompliant AV transmitters should stop
immediately, and anyone owning such devices should not use them. Violators may be subject to
substantial monetary penalties.

What Should You Know?

The Bureau has observed a surge in websites advertising and selling drone AV transmitters that are not
authorized in accordance with the Commission’s rules. Generally, electronic devices that intentionally emit radio waves are required to be certified by the FCC prior to advertising, sale, or use. AV transmitters intentionally emit radio waves to transmit images or video from drone-mounted cameras back to the operator. Accordingly, these devices require FCC certification to show compliance with our rules, unless they are subject to an exception (see below). This certification requirement ensures that equipment that intentionally emits radio waves complies with technical requirements to avoid interference with federal government operations, private licensed operations, and other equipment. Equipment that does not comply with the technical requirements cannot be certified and thus cannot be advertised, sold, or used. There is an exception to this certification requirement: If a device is only capable of operating on frequencies that the FCC has allocated for use by amateur licensees, it does not require FCC equipment authorization, and an amateur licensee may use his or her license to operate model craft (including the use of AV transmitter accessories that also transmit on such frequencies). However, many AV transmitters that purport to operate on amateur frequencies also operate on frequencies that extend beyond the designated amateur frequency bands.7 If an AV transmitter is capable of operating outside of the amateur frequency bands, it cannot be advertised, sold, or operated within the United States without an FCC equipment certification.
Even if an AV transmitter operates solely within the amateur frequencies, the operator is required to have
an amateur license to operate the device and must otherwise comply with all applicable rules.9 The
Bureau will take very seriously any reports of failures of drone operators to comply with all relevant rules
and requirements when using devices in the amateur bands.

What Happens If Manufacturers, Retailers, or Operators Do Not Comply with the FCC’s Rules?
Violators may be subject to the penalties authorized by the Communications Act, including, but not
limited to, substantial monetary fines (up to $19,639 per day of marketing violations and up to $147,290
for an ongoing violation).

What Should You Do?

The FCC rules governing radio frequency devices and amateur operations are designed to minimize
interference to all authorized spectrum users, including important government and public safety
operations. Retailers and manufacturers should take the time to learn the FCC rules governing equipment
authorization and comply with them. When buying drone accessories that either are electronic or have
electronic components, operators should ensure that such devices or components are properly labeled as
FCC-compliant. Individuals without an amateur license may not use such radio equipment if it is designed solely for use by amateur licensees.

Need more information?

For additional information regarding equipment marketing and amateur rules, please visit the FCC
website at https://www.fcc.gov/engineering-technology/laboratory-division/general/equipmentauthorization
and Amateur Radio Service,
Media inquiries should be directed to Will Wiquist at (202) 418-0509 or
[email protected].
To file a complaint, visit FCC Complaints or call 1-888-CALL-FCC.
To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files,
audio format), send an e-mail to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at
(202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY). You may also contact the Enforcement Bureau on its
TTY line at (202) 418-1148 for further information about this Enforcement Advisory, or the FCC on its
TTY line at 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) for further information about the aviation radio rules.
Issued by: Chief, Enforcement Bureau


  • booster-amp-advisory_DA-18-581A1.pdf
    123 KB · Views: 4
  • FCC news release DOC-351279A1.pdf
    161.4 KB · Views: 3
  • FCC-accusation-the-NAL-FCC-18-71A1.pdf
    283 KB · Views: 2

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