UAS Operators Must Comply With FCC Rules

In a June 5, 2018 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Enforcement Advisory, the Enforcement Bureau cites an increase in websites that market and sell noncompliant radio accessories, particularly audio/video (AV) transmitters. AV transmitters require FCC certification to show compliance, unless they are only capable of operating on a frequency allocated for use by amateur licensees. If a transmitter is capable of exceeding the amateur frequency and power limits, it is illegal to operate in the U.S. Even if the device operates exclusively within the amateur parameters, the operator must comply with all FCC rules and is required to obtain an amateur license.

What does this mean for you?

Consumers purchasing radio frequency devices need to look for those labeled as FCC Part 15 compliant. Keep in mind, radio equipment designed for use on amateur frequencies does not have to be certified and labeled by the FCC and is legal for use in the U.S., but you must have an amateur license to use such equipment. In particular, when making purchases from international retailers, be vigilant on the capabilities and specifications of transmitters. Radio equipment manufactured for use elsewhere may not meet FCC regulations. The following frequencies in the Amateur Radio Band are some typically used by modelers to control the aircraft:

  • 50 MHz (CH01–CH09)
  • 53 MHz (53.000 MHz–53.900 MHz)

Typical FPV video transmitters operating on:

  • 5.8 GHz (5.650 GHz–5.925 GHz)

AMA Document 590  and a recent Model Aviation article by AMA Flying Site Coordinator Tony Stillman provide additional guidance for FCC regulations and model aircraft.

We will let you know any additional information as it becomes available.  In the meantime, please reach out to us at 765-287-1256 if you have any questions or concerns.


AMA Government Affairs Team

Additional Resources:

U.S. Frequency Allocations

U.S. Amateur Radio Bands