The FPV Fall Classic drone race is upon us, and pilots were asking about the setup requirements for the race. As VTX Director and Technical advisor I will try to summarize the race setup and requirement for the pilots and for all racers. The below article should be used as a template for all races organized in Canadian airspace. The below setup will add legality for using the FPV raceband frequencies in a race setup in a legal manner and under the supervision of a licensed amateur radio operator. Please note, the VE3FPV call-sign (below) is designated for this event only and belongs to the VTX director. This call-sign can only be used for this event and only in the presence of the call sign owner.
First let’s get through the legalities. As all of you know, using ANY FPV transmitter in Canada requires a Radio Amateur Certificate or in other words a “HAM license”. This is valid for Canadian, USA and International pilots as well. You are operating in Canadian air space, you have to follow the Canadian regulations for operating radio frequency equipment.
Due to the fact that many of our pilots do not have a HAM license, the race setup will be set up and supervised by an Advanced Amateur Radio Operator – the VTX director, who will be present all the time while FPV transmissions occurs. To operate the FPV transmitters legally, all pilots who do not have their own Amateur Radio Certificate will operate under the VTX Directors call sign designated for FPV events – and this will be:
Pilots operating FPV transmitters at this event will be handed Raceband FPV transmitters operating on 5.8Ghz band allocated for amateur radio use. Pilots DO NOT have the right to change frequencies, neither to use any transmission devices other than the VTX’s handed to them by the VTX Director. All other video transmitters will be grounded, impounded, for the duration of the event.
The only frequencies used in the race will be the 5.8Ghz Raceband frequencies, on 25mW or 250mW transmitters (which of these two will be determined later. The VTX Director is responsible for making sure the Raceband transmitters operate within the frequencies allocated to Amateur Radio (HAM) operators, that these do not exceed the power levels of the allocated/allowed.
There will be a total of 8 flying stations. During the test races we might decide to roll less than 8 pilots in a race to allow better frequency separation in case we detect issues with interferences or certain frequencies not performing well. The 8 flight stations will be set up before the race, the pilots can bring their own goggles to connect it to the diversity receivers at each flight station.
Each of the 8 stations will have its own frequency allocated and should not be changed throughout the race. The frequencies will be as follows:
For best performance, the transmission polarity will be alternated from one station to the next. The above frequencies have been verified to comply with the current Radio Amateur Frequency Allocation Charts for Canada. These frequencies will be used exclusively for racing at this event.
Please note at this time we do not know if we will be able to provide goggles or not at every station. Our recommendation is that everybody will need to bring and use their own goggles for racing. The video feed provided will be through a standard Fatshark/Immersion AV cable terminated in a 4 position 3.5mm jack. The pinout for attaching your own goggles (if not Fatshark) is displayed below:
Transmitter Pinout Requirements:
To attach the transmitter provided by the VTX director to your racing quad, standard ImmersionRC type 5 position Molex type connectors will be used, just like in the picture below. The cable connector set is composed of 2 different connectors.
One is a 2 position Molex connector supplying power to the video transmitter (VTX). The Black is ground (battery negative) and the red is the positive voltage coming from your battery, up to 16V. The second is a 5 position connector and the signal pins are as follows: RED – +5V out from the transmitter, supplying power to the camera, BLACK – ground connection, YELLOW – Video signal coming from the camera, WHITE – Audio left, GREEN – Audio right. Depending on what type of camera you are using the schematic of connecting the camera will change.
For 5V Cameras:
If you use 5V cameras from Fatshark – or with cables compatible with them, you can just simply plug those in to the transmitter. In this case your camera already comes with a connector matching the transmitter. For any other 5V cameras, if you do not have one, you can purchase an Immersion RC wIre-set from here and wire it up yo your camera as the signal lines describe below:
From the 5 Pin connector: You will need the RED – 5V to power your camera, BLACK – ground to the camera, YELLOW – video signal from your camera. You can ignore the audio signals if you do not have them.
From the 2 Pin connector: You will need to wire up the RED to your battery positive lead and the BLACK to your battery ground lead – with this supplying battery power to the VTX.
For 12V cameras:
In case you use a 12V camera for your setup, you cannot use the RED (+5V) supply line form the transmitter to power your camera. In this case your camera will have to be powered separately, and you only needc to bring in the Video and Ground signal to the raceband VTX:
As you can see the camera power is not even represented on this image due to the fact that is separately handled on your own installation. On the 5 pin Molex connector the only two signal lines required are the Video out from your camera (YELLOW) and the ground (BLACK). On the two pin connector the RED is connected to your battery positive lead and the BLACK is connected to your battery ground.
All transmitters will be provided with strong Velcro strips attached, and mating patches will be provided for each quads.
If you have any further questions ab out the race setup, camera, VTX and/or other requirements, please contact us at https://fpvracingevents.com/team/