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Legality of Range Extenders?

Galileo 1

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Hello Group, I live in the US and I recently purchased a 4hawks range extender for my MA to boost signal strength. Since I neither the patience or the steadiest hands in the world to do the modification I reached out to a local site to see if they could do the modification and was rebuffed has it would violate FCC rules? I searched Google and did not see anything that states that, so I am reaching out before I unbox the 4hawks. Appreciate all inputs.
 

Mossiback

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The rule they are probably referring to is to keep it in visual line of sight (VLOS) and their assumption is that you want to fly it past that. It is easy to do since the Air is so small.
 

Prospero

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Don't range extenders basically boost the signal? If so, one could argue the intended use was to achieve a better signal in an rf-noisy environment, rather than fly the thing beyond VLOS.
 

Mossiback

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Don't range extenders basically boost the signal? If so, one could argue the intended use was to achieve a better signal in an rf-noisy environment, rather than fly the thing beyond VLOS.
Definitely. That is why I like Occusync on my MP. I am pretty much guaranteed to maintain connection within VLOS no matter where I fly. The Air may need a little help with connections within VLOS in certain circumstances and an antenna booster could provide this. NOTE: I do not have an Air or antenna booster so am only speaking hypothetically.
 
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PT_Mavic

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I reached out to a local site to see if they could do the modification and was rebuffed has it would violate FCC rules? I searched Google and did not see anything that states that, so I am reaching out before I unbox the 4hawks. Appreciate all inputs.
I didn't do a deep dive into the specs, but a quick check of their website seems to indicate this is a tuned antenna array designed to focus the transmitted (and probably received) RF energy - it does NOT seem to be amplified. As such, I don't think it violates any FCC rules; you can tweak antenna designs and even the simple slip-over parabolic reflectors do essentially the same thing but are not as sophisticated.

Using an amplifier to boost the transmit power is technically illegal but I've never heard of that being even reported, much less enforced, for drones. But still..................

I'm not an FCC rules expert, attorney or antenna engineer, nor do I play any of those on TV, and I'm only considering rules in the USA - so there's your disclaimer.

I don't see any legal issue with using the 4Hawks antenna mod, but I'm pretty sure it would void your controller's warranty by opening it up. Note that antenna tuning like this would make the signal much more directional (that's sort of the point), so you'll need to pay attention to antenna orientation toward your Mavic for best signal and to get the most out of the mod. The stock antennas on the controller are pretty much omnidirectional in a doughnut-shape around the vertical axis - pointing them flat and parallel to the ground improves the connection to a Mavic directly far overhead for that reason.
 

ac0j

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Pretty much every electrical device needs to pass a FCC certification test to make sure it is within the limits of spurious emissions and will not interfere with other technology that is in the same frequency range or any harmonic of that frequency. I think even my new toaster has a FCC certified label on it.
I doubt that amp setups from "Larry, Curly, and Moe's range modification page" posses these certificates.
That being said, I dont think you will ever get into trouble using them.
amplification can increase range, but more importantly it can make for a MUCH more stable connection at short range in a RF noisy environment.
 

abadrs

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I've found that after putting the DBS antenna mod on my Phantom 3 Standard and testing in a extremely rural setting the battery was the limiting factor. I see reasoning for a better signal in a city setting as it did help my Phantom 3 signal. But unless your trying for some world record distance test I don't see the point of the amplified ones.
 

gjmphoto

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I have a Titan Switch that I use with my MPP. I have tested it in an "intent-of-the-law-but-really-not-legal" setting (flying it out over water where, although I couldn't see my anti-collision lights after a while, I could definitely see if there was a helicopter or low flying plane in the area) and found that my battery ran down and wanted to RTH long before I lost contact through the antennae. So the distance is great, but the real advantage is in the ability to fight through the local interference. The powered omni directional antenna setup can really improve your signal in and around obstacles and signal detractors. It FEELS safer and more reliable. Personally, I like flying with the powered antenna...and even though the Switch allows you to fly unamplified, I fly with the amplified omnis, even if I'm not interested in distance.
 

Wilbur&Garth

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I didn't do a deep dive into the specs, but a quick check of their website seems to indicate this is a tuned antenna array designed to focus the transmitted (and probably received) RF energy - it does NOT seem to be amplified. As such, I don't think it violates any FCC rules; you can tweak antenna designs and even the simple slip-over parabolic reflectors do essentially the same thing but are not as sophisticated.

Using an amplifier to boost the transmit power is technically illegal but I've never heard of that being even reported, much less enforced, for drones. But still..................

I'm not an FCC rules expert, attorney or antenna engineer, nor do I play any of those on TV, and I'm only considering rules in the USA - so there's your disclaimer.

I don't see any legal issue with using the 4Hawks antenna mod, but I'm pretty sure it would void your controller's warranty by opening it up. Note that antenna tuning like this would make the signal much more directional (that's sort of the point), so you'll need to pay attention to antenna orientation toward your Mavic for best signal and to get the most out of the mod. The stock antennas on the controller are pretty much omnidirectional in a doughnut-shape around the vertical axis - pointing them flat and parallel to the ground improves the connection to a Mavic directly far overhead for that reason.
Really? Is this because of the VLOS rule, or something else? I'm just curious as I really don't have much knowledge on the FCC and its various rules.
 
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