The U.S. government Thursday filed a civil action in federal court in Portland against drone distributor HobbyKing to collect a $2.8 million fine for selling and marketing unauthorized communication devices for drones.

The Federal Communications Commission determined that HobbyKing marketed to U.S. customers at least 65 models of audio visual transmitters that were not certified by the federal agency and would not have a legitimate amateur radio use.

Source: Feds go to court in Portland to collect $2.8M fine against HobbyKing for marketing unauthorized drone transmitters – oregonlive.com

Hobby King intentionally sold RC transmitters to the general public and RC hobbyists that used frequencies allocated for GPS, aircraft transponders and other services – and operating at above regulated power levels. Hobby King thought they had a loophole (they did not) to engage in this illegal activity, arguing they could be sold and used on licensed Amateur Radio bands (by licensees only). However, most of the equipment did not operate within the Amateur bands and even exceeded power levels authorized for Amateur remote control operations.

Here’s a story from June 2021 that goes into detail.

HobbyKing has repeatedly argued the loophole defense – and even said they might continue to sell such products in the future.

By EdwardM