Non ICASA approved radios

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Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by FHV » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:39 pm

I'm not sure if this topic has been covered before, so forgive me if it has.
I am seeing an increasing number of non-ICASA certified radios (such as TURNIGY ) making their appearance at the 4 SAMAA registered fields I regulary fly at.
It concerns me that; (a) these devices have not been proven safe by undergoing the pre-requisite ICASA certification and (b) that the presence of such devices at our SAMAA registered fields compromises our insurance coverage.
Has SAMAA got any firm resolution on this issue, because the prevaling attitude at the clubs seem to be that there are so many transgressors that "we'll just turn blind eye". That attitude just doesn't sit well with me.
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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by LionelBrink » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:23 pm

Hi,

This is a very difficult issue to control & I suspect that the very reason why we are seeing a proliferation of these cheaper sets is the desire for all individuals to migrate to the less interference prone 2.4Ghz technology without the penalty of top brand names. However, like everything else in life, you gets what you pays for & as such everyone should realise by now that not all 2.4Ghz systems are alike & some are as prone to interference as 35 Mhz & other "fixed" frequency modes. I suspect that this was the reason that Japan outlawed the initial 2.4 offerings on fixed (albeit dual) frequiencies in favour of dynamic / frequency hopping techologies, Europe is following this approach too now & I suspect that eventually the US will also look into this but the vast numbers of older 2.4 sets there are difficult to offset.

SAMAA approached ICASA on this issue more than 3 years ago. ICASA verbally admitted that they cannot control the influx of imports & as such request that local retailers/distributors are required to "type approve" the products they import for commercial purposes. Part of the statement made to SAMAA included the point that an individual importing less than 4/5 sets a year, for personal use, are not going to be followed up by ICASA for type approval. So ICASA will unlikely prosecute individuals with these sets - even if they went to the effort of trying to identify them. As sole regulator of radio spectrum in SA, this is obviously an area of concern for SAMAA & as pointed out in your message above, a number of aeromodellers too.

In the event of an incident, SAMAA requests specific information about the Tx / RX & SAMAA have clearly stated that the onus rests on the user to ensure that this set is type approved by ICASA, as the Insurer (NOT SAMAA) is very clear about only covering accidents where the sets that are ICASA type approved! This does not prevent the individual from using the set, but the risk of not being covered by insurance must be considered by the RC pilot. Verifying legal compliance is is considered a standard practice in the insurance industry - anyone who has been involved in an accident will attest that the first thing the assessor looks at is the cars' license disk & amount of tyre wear - even if your vehicle was parked/stationary at the time of the accident!

There are also other aspects to consider: local suppliers/repair shops are in no way liable for supporting the imported grey and/or non ICASA approved sets, so you pays your monies & the risk is entirely on you if it stops working, this includes even the brand names. Support via local channels is also unlikely, so again optimising setups, community feedback to the supplier/manufacturer etc., are no longer possible & I suspect that these sets will eventually become less "sought" after when backup, support & quality are more valued than price.

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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by tanglefoot » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:17 pm

Hi Lionel,

Aren't you maybe mixing up a couple of issues here :?

As I understand it the onus is on the user to make sure that a set will PASS an ICASA type certification if required to do so. If one chooses to import a "grey" radio that meets ICASA specifications then there should be no problem with SAMAA insurance :?:

As far as I am aware even the "fixed" frequency JR Spektrum radios sold by dealers have (had) ICASA approval. If the local Hobbyking agent gets ICASA approval for Turnigy radios does that suddenly make Turnigy a better radio :?:

At the end of the day the SAMAA insurance is a bit of a 'red herring'. As you said, you get what you pay for, and SAMAA insurance is VERY cheap.
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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by bloogyct » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:55 am

So called 'Type Approval' is IMHO purely a money making racket by ICASA.

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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by FHV » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:46 am

Thanks Lionel for your very detailed reply. Unfortunately it does not really address my and a lot of other pilots' concerns regarding SAMAA's action WRT these"non type approved" radios. Surely it is SAMAA's duty here, (considering that as the governing body they have effectively got control of our insurance), to make a stand and say that if you do not have a type approve radio you may not fly at a SAMAA registered field. In my humble opinion, SAMAA's stance as reflected by your reply, is effectively abrogating its responsibility to ensure safe and insured operation of model aircraft. Its almost the same as saying that "so many people already take drugs and it impossible to catch them, so lets legalise the drugs or turn a blind eye to it". I also know of at least one club where the committee is unwilling to prevent unapproved radios being used due to the fact that most of the transgressors are buddies of the committee members and clamping down will cause bad blood. The rules are the rules however, and until the SAMAA insurer says its ok to have a radio free for all, the rules should be followed.
I feel very strongly that SAMAA should lay down the law and if the users of these "illegal" radios feel so strongly about it then they can make the effort (and considerable expense I'm told) to get their radios certified.
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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by LionelBrink » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:05 pm

Hi,

1. ICASA control frequencies in SA. Not SAMAA. ICASA regulated that we had to use type approved equipment (53Mhz, 35Mhz, etc) to operate RC aircraft & by not using type approved equipment implied the individual would be breaking the law. However, ICASA have also stated verbally that they will not follow-up individuals who "import for personal use" which potentially negates this "use" law, but since they have never documented this, the written law stands as is? SAMAA require that ICASA approved equipment should be used at all SAMAA registered sites (refer to the SAMAA Newsletter article on type approval - the issue number escapes me right now). I respectfully disagree with the statement of "abdicating responsibility", and counter that SAMAA do advise on safe operations and formally require all members to comply with these recommendations (refer to the SAMAA Constitution, SAMAA MoP's and SAMAA Membership Application).

2. Insurance companies provide insurance. Not SAMAA. The SAMAA Insurer from whom SAMAA has obtained our insurance policy, requires compliance with all relevant SA Laws. I will confirm this, but I understand that copies of Type Certification are rquired to accompany claims? The current written law stands that all model aircraft must be operated with Type Approved equipment but until such time that a claim is made, the Insurer does not dictate which laws are applicable. As far as I have been able to determine, type approval cannot guarantee safe operation of transmission equipment, it merely confirms that all Tx's sold by the specific distributor of "type" conform to ICASA's "<100 m Watt output" (please refer to the article by Piet on the SAMAA BLOG for the correct terminology and far more details of this). This in no way suggests that SAMAA permits the use of grey imports, which is further evidenced by the fact that SAMAA no longer permits advertising of non type-approved equipment in the SAMAA Newsletter.

I will pass the suggestion to the Compliance Committee to review the recommendation on non type-approved equipment at SAMAA registered sites as well as providing clubs with a simple mechanism to verify Type Approval status (ICASA stickers), and just like other Aeromodelling Governing bodies world wide which are being faced with the exact same issue, before any futher statements or notifications are made.

Regards,
Lionel
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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by Roger » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:48 pm

LionelBrink wrote:This in no way suggests that SAMAA permits the use of grey imports, which is further evidenced by the fact that SAMAA no longer permits advertising of non type-approved equipment in the SAMAA Newsletter.
I am not sure Grey imports should play a role. If the device has been approved by ICASA or another recognised body - it matters not how it got to our shores. Well that is my take on the below:
Approval of type
35. (1) No person may use, supply, sell, offer for sale or lease or hire any type of
electronic communications equipment or electronic communications facility, including
radio apparatus, used or to be used in connection with the provision of electronic
communications, unless such equipment, electronic communications facility or radio
apparatus has, subject to subsection (2), been approved by the Authority.
(2)The Authority may prescribe—
(a) the types of equipment, electronic communications facilities and radio
apparatus, the use of which does not require approval where such equipment,
electronic communications facilities and radio apparatus has been approved
for use by the European Telecommunications Standards Associations or other
competent standards body where the equipment complies with type approval
standards prescribed by the Authority;
and
(b) circumstances under which the use of equipment, electronic communications
facilities, radio apparatus and subscriber equipment does not require approval,
including uses for research and development, demonstrations of prototypes
and testing
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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by LionelBrink » Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:11 pm

Hi,

SAMAA cannot practically enforce all regulations at all registered model airfields. SAMAA members are expected to ensure that they comply with relevant legislation. As an aside, SAMAA's website & specifically the MOP's therein, including instruction manuals and safety guidelines, generally have provided sufficient information to members regarding this. Ongoing changes to legislation, pressures from external bodies, improvement in technologies, etc., are all subject to review, which SAMAA then incorporates into its own governance framework, or escalates to the relevant bodies to amend legislation to ensure minimal disruption to its members.

However, considerable ambiguity exists following the statements made by the ICASA representative regarding excemption of limited "personal use" imports. SAMAA have been following up this matter with ICASA for some time, but have been frustrated to date with no formal confirmation of the statements made, yet similarly, to date we have not received any formal denial of these either. At this time I see no alternate but for SAMAA to obtain legal consel on this matter.

As soon as I have any relevant feedback on this matter I will report it back to the forum & through other SAMAA communication channels.

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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by tanglefoot » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:54 am

Hi Lionel,

While you are about it you may want to get legal counsel on the temporary importation (and local use) of transmitters for international competitions held in South Africa.

Would be rather embarrassing if the cops pitched up and confiscated all the foreign competitor's TX's :D
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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by Roger » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:02 pm

Have dropped a link to this topic under the ICASA section here on AvCom. It is monitored voluntarily by a contact we made at ICASA.
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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by Peter.L. » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:38 pm

Hi Guys,

The contents of the above postings have been duly noted, with thanks to Skybound for directing my attention to the sub-forum. It is not one I check very often as normally there are no topics concerning radiocomms licensing. I do not propose to answer in depth at the moment as I need to make sure that all my ducks are in the right row before committing myself to paper, however, I will respond in full ASAP, possibly by the end of the week or early next week.

In the interim and just to provide a little info regarding the legally assigned frequencies for model aircraft flying, there is only one band exclusively assigned for model aircraft in RSA and that is the 35 MHz band, i.e. 35.000 - 35.250 MHz. The channel spacing on that band is 10 kHz, effectively providing 25 channels, and the maximum power output is 100 milliwatts. Lionel Brink has already alluded to some of the problems associated with the use of other bands, including the 2.4 GHz band which is already more than a little cluttered with all manner of radio systems and gadgetry against which you, as model owners and pilots, have almost no protection whatsoever in terms of the existing legislation. However, I have also noted that 35 MHz is less and less popular with manufacturers and as most, if not all, equipment in use in RSA comes from outside our borders, it is becoming more and more difficult to acquire "legal" equipment.

This, along with other aspects, will be addressed in due course once I have given it some in depth thought and consideration. Please bear with me for a while and I will post a response as soon as I possibly can.

Regards,

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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by Peter.L. » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:12 am

Hi Guys,

Just wanted to let you know I have not forgotten about this topic, however, I am also suffering from the same problem that you all have experienced, i.e. a lack of response from upper management. As soon as I can get clarity on the 35 MHz aspect I'll post it here. ](*,)

Regards,

Peter
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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by clivem » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:08 am

Peter.L. wrote:Hi Guys,

Just wanted to let you know I have not forgotten about this topic, however, I am also suffering from the same problem that you all have experienced, i.e. a lack of response from upper management. As soon as I can get clarity on the 35 MHz aspect I'll post it here. ](*,)

Regards,

Peter
thx for the update peter :D
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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by Piet Le Roux » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:43 pm

I don’t think there is anything to update about 35MHz. The current ICASA band plan states that 35.000 to 35.500 are for exclusive use by model aircraft. This band is utilized by all countries in zone one, this includes Europe and Africa. The only difference is that South Africa has the biggest 35MHz band: 500 KHz. This was not a wise choice because it made single conversion receivers susceptible to interference if the highest and lowest channels were utilized but this should not be a problem anymore because very few people use this band and no synthesized TX goes above 35.300 MHZ and the crystals are not being sold anymore. ICASA may consider to make the band smaller but they cannot remove the band while we are part of the International Communication Union’s zone one.
Remember it’s only the 35MHz transmitter that has to be ICASA approved not the receiver. I use JR equipment for TX on 35MHz and Corona for RX.
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Re: Non ICASA approved radios

Unread post by Randmental » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:45 am

Peter.L. wrote:Hi Guys,

Just wanted to let you know I have not forgotten about this topic, however, I am also suffering from the same problem that you all have experienced, i.e. a lack of response from upper management. As soon as I can get clarity on the 35 MHz aspect I'll post it here. ](*,)

Regards,

Peter

Do we have any new information on this, given that a new draft regulation for type approval was published in the Goverment Gazette of 28 Dec 2012?
The cost will be R4000 per type approval, valid for 5 years.
Last edited by Randmental on Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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