FCC Swats HobbyKing for High RF Levels in Drone Device

The FCC proposed a $2.8 million fine against HobbyKing for apparently unlawfully marketing 65 models of devices used to relay drone video to amateur drone operators. The devices were not certified and could apparently transmit in unauthorized RF bands at excessive power levels, according to the agency, which warned they could interfere with government and public safety transmissions.

Amateur equipment used to “telecommand” model crafts are limited to 1 Watt (1000mW). Three of the transmitter models included in the action apparently operate at significantly higher power levels of 1500mW and 2000mW, according to the agency.

The FCC investigated HobbyKing after receiving complaints; it ordered the company to provide marketing information on its AV transmitters, but the Enforcement Bureau said it initially received no response. After the probe escalated, HobbyKing told the FCC it does not market to U.S. customers, which the agency disputes. In fact, the Commission warned in its Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture that consumers who own these HobbyKing devices should stop using them or risk enforcement action for operating equipment in violation of the Commission’s rules.

HobbyKing has 30 days to comply or risk further enforcement action.

June 7, 2018

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