I finally jumped into FPV by purchasing my first kit, a Quanum Tx/Rx/Camera package I got for around $60 from HobbyKing while it was on sale.

With it’s 600mW transmit power, it should be more than enough for some field flying, even with trees in the way. But before I fire it up, I needed to get legal. The FCC has a rule called Part 15 about “unlicensed equipment” which states what sort of emissions a device can have to be operated without a radio license. It’s rather complex and the only FCC Part 15 certified FPV systems I’ve seen are 20-25mW. So it was time for me to ante up and get my amateur radio license so I can be a legal, card-carrying operator.

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While this isn’t about anything R/C, it’s somewhat related… I recently converted a lead-acid battery powered mower to lithium-ion batteries. Anyone that is in R/C and has a lawn to mow should follow this course.

For the record, I hate mowing the lawn. It’s a useless pursuit. We’ve all got better things to do with both our time and our resources like water and land. This Washington Post article “Lawns are a soul-crushing timesuck and most of us would be better off without them” pretty much sums up my opinion.

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The purpose of upgrading to an electric mower is to get the job done faster, and without smelling like a snowblower repairman when I’m done.

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My Assault 100 helicopter came with a transmitter module that allows you to use it with any transmitter. This module is also used with HobbyKing’s Q-BOT Micro quad and FBL100 helicopter. It’s actually just a rebranded HiSky HT8 module which is used for many HiSky helicopters. Rather than have to charge this module separately and hang it off of my Turnigy 9x, I decided to build a module specifically for my 9x which would power it up and keep it safely in place.

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I’m new to helicopters, so the setup was a little daunting – especially given the fact that my transmitter has an alternate firmware (OpenTX) installed, and the Assault 100 printed manual settings for the Turnigy 9x assume you have stock firmware.

One other important detail I didn’t understand is that flybarless helicopters don’t use the helicopter functions built into the transmitter. Instead they have something similar to a quadcopter flight controller with gyro sensors to perform the stabilization function of the flybar. Rather than setting up the swash type and assigning the cyclic channels on the radio, the cyclic inputs can be sent as normal aileron and elevator controls – similar to a multi-rotor.

What still needs to be set up on the transmitter is the channel assignment, throttle and pitch curves, and reversing. That last part is extremely important and is how I broke my helicopter before it ever left the ground 🙁

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