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FCC proposes $2.8m fine against Hobbyking for marketing non-compliant drone transmitters

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Ben B05/08/2020 13:20:25
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Personally I think the onus should be on the user. My FPV transmitters can emit at power levels I'm not allowed to use and on frequencies I cannot use. So I don't use them. My car was sold in the UK yet it can do significantly more than 70mph....

Attacking hobbyking will do precisely nothing other than damage Hobbyking (which is probably the sole intent and probably related to Trump's attack on China. People will just buy their stuff from Banggood etc who certainly don't care about things like FCC approval, intelectual property etc etc. And are also a Chinese company....

Many "modern" fpv transmitters now just come with solder links or ways of "unlocking" them. Even the much beloved DJI HD goggles can work at >1W by virtue of a widely available and very simple unlock. What's the difference?

It's a silly fine- it will do precisely nothing.

Erfolg05/08/2020 13:28:29
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Barrie, I am not seeking to compare specifically PRC with us or anyone else. Particularly I do not know enough (anything) with respect to PRC. I am alluding to a fact that comparisons are difficult to make. Principally as the facts used tend to be highly selective, often taken out of context. There is often an assumption that all aspects of an economy or society are the same as our own, and all people want the same things

Steve, I thought there was an issue with respect to Spektrum compliance as interpreted by the EU, which was quietly resolved. If I am wrong, I am wrong.

In general I take a view that if you do not, provide Joe public what they want, success will allude you. With respect to tax and issues that are similar, there is often a fundamental difference of how individual see the situation. Many will arrange their affairs to minimise what they must pay. Others take a view that such actions are reprehensible. Personally I cannot see the logic of paying maximum tax, indeed that is why we have some ISAs. I also note that most business is run to make money, often doing something that they enjoy. If money cannot be made or some aspects become to onerous, the business is more often than not closed, or never started.

HK do seem to give the general Modeling public what they want, they are here to make a profit, I also believe that they pay the taxes that they must, taking what ever measures are available to stay legal and profitable.

Barrie Lever05/08/2020 13:57:16
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Posted by Ben B on 05/08/2020 13:20:25:

It's a silly fine- it will do precisely nothing.

Ben

Without wishing to inflame an argument, why is it a silly fine that will do precisely nothing?

I am just trying to see another side of the coin and hope that you maybe able to explain.

B.

Frank Skilbeck05/08/2020 15:51:35
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Posted by Ben B on 05/08/2020 13:20:25:

Personally I think the onus should be on the user. My FPV transmitters can emit at power levels I'm not allowed to use and on frequencies I cannot use. So I don't use them. My car was sold in the UK yet it can do significantly more than 70mph....

So you are saying manufacturers/importers don't need to ensure products meet the local market regulations but the end user should?

Martin Harris05/08/2020 16:16:57
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I don't think a product should be sold in this country that doesn't comply to the local regulations without modification but it's unreasonable to hamstring a global supplier by having to make completely different equipment for each market. If a user chooses to take a soldering iron to his equipment then that is a matter for his conscience and the local authorities. Much in the same way that drilling out the barrel of a non-functioning firearm and modfying the firing mechanism is possible but not acceptable.

Very often, the onus seems to be on the end user to comply - remember CB...you would if you were flying on 27 MHz. We were lead to believe that there was no offence committed by advertising, selling or buying a set but their use was illegal. In these days of easy self-importation, you can buy almost anything from anywhere. Surely the focus should be on better detection and higher penalties for deliberately flouting the law?

Edited By Martin Harris on 05/08/2020 16:18:09

Barrie Lever05/08/2020 16:25:49
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Posted by Martin Harris on 05/08/2020 16:16:57:

it's unreasonable to hamstring a global supplier by having to make completely different equipment for each market.

Martin

No it is not unreasonable to have to make different specifications of equipment for different markets, that is the price to be paid to trade at a Global level.

I am not sure what you are saying but do you suggest that if a product meets standards for one market it should be allowed to be sold in all markets?

B.

Steve J05/08/2020 16:46:06
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Posted by Martin Harris on 05/08/2020 16:16:57:

it's unreasonable to hamstring a global supplier by having to make completely different equipment for each market.

I disagree. Countries are allowed to regulate products sold in their jurisdiction. What would your reaction be if I came along to your flying field and transmitted 5W over the 2.4GHz ISM band?

If you want sell in the EU, you comply with the applicable directives. If you want to sell in the US and your device emits RF, you comply with the FCC.

Ben B05/08/2020 17:29:25
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Posted by Barrie Lever on 05/08/2020 13:57:16:
Posted by Ben B on 05/08/2020 13:20:25:

It's a silly fine- it will do precisely nothing.

Ben

Without wishing to inflame an argument, why is it a silly fine that will do precisely nothing?

I am just trying to see another side of the coin and hope that you maybe able to explain.

B.

I think it's silly because it won't have any effect. It will net the US government some cash but will not stop people having easy access to equipment that breaches FCC regs and won't deter Hobbyking or others from selling them as they now tend to just have to be "unlocked" rather than allowing FCC breaches as standard. The "unlock" however is so trivial that anyone can do it should they desire and a lot of FPV fliers I know just do the unlock as soon as they get them just in case they want to use those power outputs / channels in future. I can see why the FCC felt they neeeded to do something but cannot see it have any benefit at all at this point.

Hobbyking themselves have said the fine is for old equipment they don't sell anymore. Why? Because you now have to unlock the new ones. It won't stop them selling the new FPV gear that can still breach FCC regs if you so desire. Which I don't. However out of my 5 quads only one of them is truly restricted to the max UK 25mW power output and the rest (if I wished) could do more. Which I don't- unless I'm abroad.

Though I do wish the government would increase the 25mW max output a bit. Given the law of squares 100mW doesn't go that much further (IE it would cause IF interference for only slightly more) and would allow fliers a little more range.

I'm fairly pedantic so if HK were the only ones doing it or they were currently selling prohibited equipment I'd support the fine but a few years later- I just don't see it having any impact at all. And if the fine doesn't act as a deterent why bother?

Just my thoughts anyway.

The radio module though- if that breached reg as standard I'd support the fine. FPV transmitters you have to manually select power / channel so the choice is up to the end user. I haven't seen a radio module where you can change the power output or restrict channels so there it's a breach by default. Not sure if that makes sense?

Erfolg05/08/2020 18:04:01
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Increasingly it is a software update or change that is required to modify the performance of equipment, rather than a soldering iron. I have read this is the case with the Spektum Tx.

Increasingly, the EU being an example, the use of regulations are a non-tariff barriers to importation.

I understand within the EU (I also expect the UK) the importer must ensure compliance with regulations. That in itself does not ensure you using a product is safe from prosecution, you are responsible for compliance of the equipment performance (such as a Tx).

It has high lighted many times on this forum, anything you sell in the EU must comply and show a CE mark (if appropriate). Yet I have read that you can legally buy Wi-Fi boosters (above permitted levels), yet the out put can be illegal. Many things are not as clear cut as I would like.

Now in the USA, who knows?

Richard Clark 205/08/2020 18:22:00
426 forum posts
Posted by Erfolg on 05/08/2020 18:04:01:

Increasingly it is a software update or change that is required to modify the performance of equipment, rather than a soldering iron. I have read this is the case with the Spektum Tx.

Increasingly, the EU being an example, the use of regulations are a non-tariff barriers to importation.

I understand within the EU (I also expect the UK) the importer must ensure compliance with regulations. That in itself does not ensure you using a product is safe from prosecution, you are responsible for compliance of the equipment performance (such as a Tx).

It has high lighted many times on this forum, anything you sell in the EU must comply and show a CE mark (if appropriate). Yet I have read that you can legally buy Wi-Fi boosters (above permitted levels), yet the out put can be illegal. Many things are not as clear cut as I would like.

Now in the USA, who knows?

Bear in mind that the EU 'CE' process is self-certified by the manufacturer and is not checked by anyone else. Therefore it is meaningless.

Edited By Richard Clark 2 on 05/08/2020 18:30:37

Jesus Cardin05/08/2020 19:58:12
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Posted by Martin Harris on 05/08/2020 16:16:57:

it's unreasonable to hamstring a global supplier by having to make completely different equipment for each market.

That is just what top brands like Futaba, Spektrum, Multiplex and Graupner do and, sure, one more reason for their upper prices.

What makes Chinese manufacturers shouldn't also do it? that they produce cheaper radios as an advantage for us? That´s total unfair competence in the global market.....

Edited By Jesus Cardin on 05/08/2020 19:59:42

Erfolg05/08/2020 21:29:20
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Jesus

Non tariff barriers are there to deter manufacturers from exporting to your market. It is the non essential hurdle, constructed for protectionism, that is designed to protect the domestic market from producers that can produce at lower cost, often with a superior product. The possible up side is that your citizens have a job, the down that the cost to your citizens is higher (potentially much) than it could be.

Another down side is that your producers can become flabby, overly complacent, that more often than not, in the longer term are swept aside by superior or cheaper products. Your job then disappears.

Historically there are many examples of events overtaking rigged markets. Some you will be aware of, others we do not quite recognise as we are living through them.

In the case of HK they have been a disrupter to many markets around the world. As an outsider I sense that all is not well with HK, so much out of stock, a customer facing interface that is less than optimal.

As has been suggested they could also be collateral damage in a USA battle with PRC, and a USA model hobby trade seems well past its zenith.

Here in the UK I am hopeful that that the continuation of HK as a viable eternity will be part of keeping our hobby (at all levels) honest. what ever others think and believe, HK has helped in keeping our hobby going at grass roots level. I look back to my youth, where the pigs at the trough told everyone, that Super Markets should be kept out of our borough, as we the consumer did not want or need them. The arrival of Tesco, allowed my mother to "make ends meet" whilst the councilors with their corner shop down graded from their fancy houses and Rovers, to a Mini and eventually closing the corner shop. Not all change is bad for ordinary people.

Edited By Erfolg on 05/08/2020 21:30:22

Martin Harris05/08/2020 22:32:45
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Perhaps I didn't make my point clearly? What I was saying is that a manufacturer could reasonably make equipment where common PCBs or software can be configured for specific markets. These could then be modified by users but I was certainly not advocating doing so!

My own radio might be considered on the higher end and is from a well regulated and responsible manufacturer.  It's manufactured in the EU and as an example, before harmonisation there was an option to select the French version of its software with its limited channel availibility.  It was obviously possible for a French user to do the opposite and therefore break the law of their country by transmitting beyond their allocated channels.  The hardware sold all over the world was the same.

Edited By Martin Harris on 05/08/2020 22:52:18

Graham Davies 305/08/2020 23:04:28
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Posted by Richard Clark 2 on 05/08/2020 18:22:00:
Posted by Erfolg on 05/08/2020 18:04:01:

Increasingly it is a software update or change that is required to modify the performance of equipment, rather than a soldering iron. I have read this is the case with the Spektum Tx.

Increasingly, the EU being an example, the use of regulations are a non-tariff barriers to importation.

I understand within the EU (I also expect the UK) the importer must ensure compliance with regulations. That in itself does not ensure you using a product is safe from prosecution, you are responsible for compliance of the equipment performance (such as a Tx).

It has high lighted many times on this forum, anything you sell in the EU must comply and show a CE mark (if appropriate). Yet I have read that you can legally buy Wi-Fi boosters (above permitted levels), yet the out put can be illegal. Many things are not as clear cut as I would like.

Now in the USA, who knows?

Bear in mind that the EU 'CE' process is self-certified by the manufacturer and is not checked by anyone else. Therefore it is meaningless.

Edited By Richard Clark 2 on 05/08/2020 18:30:37

Sorry Richard, that's not entirely true. Whilst CE is self certified by the manufacturer, it must be backed up by a technical file. CE is a good, regulated mechanism to ensure compliance to relevant standards. It is entirely reasonable for consumers to expect manufacturers, importers and distributors to comply.

Good, reliable EU distributors will not place non compliant goods on the market. The issue is we are all in a 'race for the bottom' and will go for the slowest price regardless of the implication. This means we buy the cheapest Chinese product from the cheapest Chinese distributor. Whilst this does not necessarily mean poor quality, it does mean that your quality or compliance is not regulated. If the consumer takes this route, you have to be careful what you wish for...

Graham Davies 305/08/2020 23:05:07
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Doh

Lowest price, not slowest...

It's late...

Barrie Lever05/08/2020 23:27:22
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Posted by Erfolg on 05/08/2020 21:29:20:

Here in the UK I am hopeful that that the continuation of HK as a viable eternity will be part of keeping our hobby (at all levels) honest.

Erflog

This is an absolute contradiction in terms, HK have been proven in a court of law to be dishonest lawbreakers, it is now a case of understanding what over regulations and laws they break.

Tell you what lets start with them lying on customs declarations and take it from there.

I am not imagining this stuff, it has happened or is happening, like I said just think about it next time someone you know is using services provided by tax revenues Hospital, Doctor, Child Benefit, Pension, Maternity leave etc etc.

I will say here and now that I hope HK go bust over the FCC fine, and that post Brexit the import restrictions with 'That country' are tightened up to restrict the likes of Bang Good.

B.

john stones 105/08/2020 23:44:22
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Reckon you will be disappointed Barrie.

Simon Chaddock06/08/2020 00:19:57
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I suppose it is no way possible that the FCC have been prompted by political pressure from the Whitehouse to further the president's current anti China policies.........

Richard Clark 206/08/2020 03:30:23
426 forum posts
Posted by Graham Davies 3 on 05/08/2020 23:04:28:
Posted by Richard Clark 2 on 05/08/2020 18:22:00:
Posted by Erfolg on 05/08/2020 18:04:01:

Increasingly it is a software update or change that is required to modify the performance of equipment, rather than a soldering iron. I have read this is the case with the Spektum Tx.

Increasingly, the EU being an example, the use of regulations are a non-tariff barriers to importation.

I understand within the EU (I also expect the UK) the importer must ensure compliance with regulations. That in itself does not ensure you using a product is safe from prosecution, you are responsible for compliance of the equipment performance (such as a Tx).

It has high lighted many times on this forum, anything you sell in the EU must comply and show a CE mark (if appropriate). Yet I have read that you can legally buy Wi-Fi boosters (above permitted levels), yet the out put can be illegal. Many things are not as clear cut as I would like.

Now in the USA, who knows?

Bear in mind that the EU 'CE' process is self-certified by the manufacturer and is not checked by anyone else. Therefore it is meaningless.

Edited By Richard Clark 2 on 05/08/2020 18:30:37

Sorry Richard, that's not entirely true. Whilst CE is self certified by the manufacturer, it must be backed up by a technical file. CE is a good, regulated mechanism to ensure compliance to relevant standards. It is entirely reasonable for consumers to expect manufacturers, importers and distributors to comply.

Good, reliable EU distributors will not place non compliant goods on the market. The issue is we are all in a 'race for the bottom' and will go for the slowest price regardless of the implication. This means we buy the cheapest Chinese product from the cheapest Chinese distributor. Whilst this does not necessarily mean poor quality, it does mean that your quality or compliance is not regulated. If the consumer takes this route, you have to be careful what you wish for...

The same guys who decide to just put the sticker on can easily produce some 'technical' mumbo-jumbo to 'prove' the article is ok.

CE marking is just another EU non-tariff barrier. One that doesn't even work as the whole thing,, is not checked by any 'official' body.

And the sticker has become so wide ranging in its scope that official testing is impossible, though some scam companies have sprung up who say they will do the certifying process for you,

The EU does this sort of meaningless nonsense all the time. Here' a 'reverse' example. Because burning wood for heat is very popular in eastern EU countries the EU officials recently 'deemed' that wood does not emit any carbon when it is burnt.

Tony Richardson06/08/2020 03:40:03
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Simon Chaddock, you must be a golfer, you just scored a hole in one with that statement..

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