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The new 2.4GHz Band radios are creating a stir in many countries and the following may provide some useful information about the position for modellers in the U.K. on this radically different system in the R.C. field. I was asked if it is for aircraft only but no, this band is an I.S.M. Band (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) like the 27MHz band and can be used for all types of model and many other purposes, such as wireless computer links, to name but one common use.
The early transmitters were limited in power and range due to the permitted maximum power of only 10mW. The UK Radio Control Council discussed this with our Ofcom contact and, as a result of their actions, the limit was raised to 100mW in December 2006. This brings us in line with many other countries, although some are still on the 10mW maximum at the moment, notably France, and others allow higher power, most importantly, the USA.
Because the sets are selling like hot cakes at present we know some people keen to get hold of one are purchasing from across the pond. However, the sets sold in the USA which meet FCC requirements may not be legal in Europe because of their higher power outputs - and we know that at least one manufacturer is producing these high power sets for sale in the USA. To operate legally in the UK you must use a set that meets the European standard and it should have the CE mark somewhere on it. If it doesn't, then you should be extremely careful to make sure that your set is operating to UK power output standards, not US ones. All very annoying but that is the position I'm afraid and using an illegal transmitter could have serious legal and insurance implications.
What does the modeller need to know about this new band? Well forget about crystals and frequency flags - although some aircraft clubs that use the 'peg on' system are putting a named peg on their board to indicate a model in use. For those who have that annoying twitch from electric motors and such, these sets can be the answer. They are also immune to ignition interference, microwave interference and are likely to be very resistant to any on board 'metal to metal' interference.
The only point you need to take care with is the aerial. We are use to having one a couple of feet long but at 2.4GHz the length is only 30mm. The receivers now come with two aerials and you need to take a little care positioning them at right angles and away from metal or carbon fibre which might reduce the signal - check the instructions! In boats do not place the receiver too low as water may also affect the signal. Make sure you switch on the transmitter first to enable the receiver to 'lock on'. Do not point the transmitter aerial directly at the model, adjust it to stay at a right angle when operating. Apart from that you will find it little different to any other modern set on the frequencies we know and love!