2.4GHz Radio Control Systems - SAMAA

Post date: 07-Feb-2011 09:20:45

Flying 2.4GHz Radio Control Systems: Latest Report

In the July- August 2010 SAMAA Newsletter we informed SAMAA members that all 2.4 GHz radio control equipment operating in South Africa must comply with technical specifications determined by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (ICASA) and that type approval was necessary for all 2.4GHz radio control systems imported into the country.

After more discussion with ICASA we are pleased to confirm that all 2.4GHz radio control equipment with a maximum output of 100 milliwatt and 20-dBm gain (radiated power), is legal to fly in South Africa. The SAMAA insurance claims will therefore be valid on all sets conforming to the 100 milliwatt specification.

Equipment exceeding the ICASA specification, like some imports from America with an output of 200 milliwatt, do not comply with specification and are considered to be illegal by ICASA, and as such can be confiscated by ICASA and the user prosecuted. It may also impact on the SAMAA insurance in case of an accident claim.

Please note, this is an ICASA ruling and we respectfully request all SAMAA members to adhere to this ruling. The United States of America is the only country that we are aware of that have adopted the 200 milliwatt limit and not all their equipment is at 200 milliwatt that is why we stress some imports.

Of importance to our members, is that during a recent meeting between ICASA and the South African Revenue Services it was decided that, individuals may import five of an item at one time or one of an item five times per year without needing to obtain or produce type approval for 2.4 GHz radio control equipment used exclusively for models provided they conform with ICASA’s 100 milliwatt and 20-dBm gain specification.

Anyone importing more than five of a item at one time or during the year must apply for type approval at a cost of R4,000 per set. Type approval stickers are available from ICASA to distributors who have type approval certificates. Note, the ICASA issues over a thousand type approvals per month for an assortment of electronic communication appliances and they have informed SAMAA that it is impossible for ICASA to inform the SAMAA which importer were granted type approval for 2.4GHz radio control equipment used exclusively for models. Dealers and importers will therefore, in future have to inform the SAMAA of their type approval for publication in the newsletter & to enable advertising of type approved radio sets.

Whilst not conclusive, independent tests conducted have shown that equipment with dissimilar outputs of 10 to 200 milliwatt, operate harmoniously together. The set with the lower output will not experience interference, but will have a reduced range in comparison to the greater powered sets.

To ensure compliance with ICASA’s specifications, SAMAA recommends that members obtain 2.4 GHz radio control equipment from recognized dealers in South Africa, that stock ICASA approved sets with type approval stickers attached to them. This will be a 100% guarantee that the equipment conforms to ICASA specifications and is legal. Members that have purchased sets from registered dealers without type approval stickers need to apply for their ICASA stickers from the original dealer. Please notice that members purchasing sets without ICASA type approval assume responsibility for ensuring that their equipment conforms to the required ICASA specifications.

Also note that the SAMAA recommendation of a maximum of six aircraft flown in circuit simultaneously is not for technical reasons; it is simply a safety recommendation for Clubs and is equally applicable to any other approved radio frequency.

Please don’t hesitate to send me an email at fraserrc@global.co.za should you need more information.

Allen Fraser

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