Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

We find that we get a lot of the same questions asked regarding items carried in my store. Here we'd like to answer some of the more frequently asked questions.

Q1: I’m new to flying RC planes, how do I get in to flying FPV?

Q2: I want to start flying FPV. I’ve been flying RC for a while already and feel comfortable with it. What should I do?

Q3: I’ve never flown FPV before. I saw a video of a guy online flying XX km/miles and I want to do that. What should I buy?

Q4: What frequency should I use for my FPV system and why?

Q5: What are the shipping prices?

Q6: Do you ship outside the United States?

Q7: I am about to make an order that is shipping outside the United States, can you mark the package as a gift and leave off the company name?

Q8: I’d like to talk on the phone, is there a number I can call to talk to someone?

Q9: I have a great idea for a (business/school/military/other) project. Can you tell me how to pull off my big idea?

Q10: I ordered an item and had it shipped to an international address via USPS Priority or First Class Mail International, why can't I see any tracking information?

Q11: What is the range of (SYSTEM)?  

Q12: What are the differences between the various antennas and why should I choose a particular antenna?

Q13: I'm new to FPV, can you give me a quote for a full blown system with all the bells and whistles?

Q1: I’m new to flying RC planes, how do I get in to flying FPV?

I get this question a lot. People see the videos posted online and want to get a piece of the action. As much as I’d love to sell you a lot of equipment, I want it to be at the right time so you don’t lose it all in a crash. I highly recommend starting out with an inexpensive trainer plane such as an Easy Star or Sky Surfer and just get some standard RC flying experience. This helps you understand how the RC planes fly, as well as getting the inevitable crashes out of your system. It also helps you get a good understanding of the hardware used for RC flying. There’s a lot to learn about batteries, RC transmitters and receivers, and how you set everything up when you go out flying. If there happens to be a local AMA flying field in your area, there are often a lot of guys there willing to help out if you join the AMA. Once you get comfortable flying standard RC planes, the next step is to move up to FPV flying. Some good resources with an amazing amount of information are the online forums dedicated to RC flying such as FPVLAB.com, RCGroups, and RCUniverse.

Q2: I want to start flying FPV. I’ve been flying RC for a while already and feel comfortable with it. What should I do?

Assuming you’re comfortable flying standard RC planes, you should be ready to take the step into FPV flying. First thing: In the US, and in most other countries, an amateur radio license is required to operate nearly all the available FPV transmitters legally. It’s easy to do. In the US, you can go to www.arrl.org for information about how to get a technician’s class amateur radio license. Now, when it comes to getting started with FPV, I suggest you start simple and work your way up. Most of the equipment is upgradeable, and many of the upgrades can be performed by adding things to your system, not replacing things, so you won’t be wasting money.

Now, pick your plane. For starting out, it’s usually best to use a stable trainer style plane like an Easy Star.

Next, pick your FPV frequency. Some countries may have restrictions regarding what frequencies are legal. I don’t know the laws for all the countries, but you should look in to this. Take a look at the FAQ section regarding frequency for additional details.

For starting out, I highly recommend one of my FPV Starter Sets available here. These systems come with everything you need to get started with a video downlink. The only thing you need to add is a viewing device such as goggles or an LCD display. Many people want to start right out with an on-screen-display (OSD), antenna trackers, or with long range equipment. I strongly suggest moving in to these items slowly. This will allow you to learn the equipment one bit at a time. The setup of many of these items requires many items to be hooked up and working properly, and without the familiarity of each component it is very easy to make mistakes that could cost you a lot of money in lost or damaged equipment.

Here are some great videos to help you get some of the basics of FPV down:

Part 1: How to be successful in FPV

 

http://vimeo.com/29642960

 

Part 2: Frequency Selection

 

http://vimeo.com/29644244

 

Part 3: Antenna selection

 

http://vimeo.com/29646978

 

Part 4: The video system

 

http://vimeo.com/29751213


Q3: I’ve never flown FPV before. I saw a video of a guy online flying XX km/miles and I want to do that. What should I buy?

FPV is exciting and a wonderful part of the hobby, but a lot of new FPV flyers see some of the online videos of people flying 5+ miles and want to do that right up front. Is it possible? Yes. Should you do this right away or expect to buy a system that works this well out of the box? Absolutely not. FPV systems are complex, and even though I offer many easy systems to use, there are still matters of installation and experience that need to be worked out before you can get to this type of range. Many people have been flying FPV for years and still don’t go that far. I personally have been flying FPV for approximately 5 years (as of 2011) and just over the past year for the first time broke 2 miles then 5 miles. All systems have to be working together perfectly and reliably. Standard RC systems do not have this type of range, so you need to also use a long range radio. Go back to the “I want to start flying FPV” question.

Q4: What frequency should I use for my FPV system and why?

Beyond the arguments and opinions available on the forums, there are some basic rules that you should apply. The most important is that you should NOT use the same frequency for video as you use for RC control. Even if it appears successful for ground testing, you will introduce noise in the video from the RC controller transmissions, and you could lose RC control of your plane once you start flying. Always use a different frequency. Also, regardless of the frequency used, it’s important to have as much distance as possible between your video transmitter and your RC receiver, and ALWAYS perform a range check both before the video equipment is on and after to make sure your RC range hasn’t been significantly affected.

If you are using 2.4GHz for RC control, it’s important to note that you should be using a full range receiver and not a park flyer receiver. For Spektrum, you should be using an AR7000 or higher model. If you are in an area where there will not be interference from 2.4GHz sources such as RC radios, Wifi, or other similar wireless equipment, then often 2.4GHz offers the best picture quality and excellent performance. Most people don’t live in this type of area, so other frequencies may be useful. Here’s a summary of my opinions regarding the various frequencies available:

900MHz: Can offer some of the best range. A wide selection of antennas are available and in most areas it does not have much outside interference. Can penetrate obstacles such as trees and walls better than higher frequencies (but you still should maintain line-of-sight when flying). It may not be legal in some countries, and is restricted to one channel (910MHz) in the US. Some of the antennas can be large because of the wavelength at this frequency. It can cause some servos to jitter due to improper filtering in the servo.

1.2-1.3GHz (1200-1300MHz): Offers excellent range and also seems to be mostly clear of interference in the US and in other countries. Can penetrate obstacles such as trees and walls better than higher frequencies (but you still should maintain line-of-sight when flying). It may not be legal in some countries, and is restricted to one channel (1280MHz) in the US. This is personally my favorite frequency here in the US.

2.4GHz: Offers excellent video quality and sometimes stereo audio depending on the equipment. In areas without interference, 2.4GHz can work amazingly well and is the favorite of many. Although it will penetrate some obstacles, it is absorbed more than some of the lower frequencies and care should be taken to avoid flying behind obstacles. It may receive interference from the abundance of 2.4GHz devices available, and cannot be used with 2.4GHz RC Systems. Some goggles have built in 2.4GHz receivers, which can make an amazingly portable FPV system.

5.8GHz: Has the benefit of using newer technology in the RF module designs similar to 2.4GHz, but there is almost no interference on this frequency band. Very clear video and often stereo audio is included. Will not have the same range given the same power output, but still can be good for flying longer distances with the proper antennas. Will not penetrate obstacles well and the video may go away abruptly if you fly behind a tree. Also seems to be more sensitive to multipath interference in some situations. Some goggles have built in 5.8GHz receivers, which can make an amazingly portable FPV system.

Q5: What are the shipping prices?

If you add items to your cart, you can enter your location while viewing the shopping cart and you will be presented with many shipping options and prices.

Q6: Do you ship outside the United States?

Absolutely! Some items may be restricted from a few countries, but as a general rule items can be shipped worldwide. Due to the large amount of fraud attempts, I can not ship to Vietnam and possibly some other countries.

Q7: I am about to make an order that is shipping outside the United States, can you mark the package as a gift and leave off the company name?

Unfortunately, we cannot mark items as a gift for customs, and ReadyMadeRC will be listed on all shipping labels. If you have any other special requests for what is to be put on the customs documentation, please leave that in the order comments or send an email.

Q8: I’d like to talk on the phone, is there a number I can call to talk to someone?

This is one area where a small percentage of people may not agree with our policy, but overwhelmingly it has been an efficient and successful method of doing business. There are some stores that like to make their store sound like it’s a superstore, when it’s really just one guy running the store out of his home or small shop. Others really are huge superstores with no “experts” available when it comes to FPV (or other equipment for that matter). We'd like to be straight up and honest with our customers. When you deal with Ready Made RC, LLC, you’re dealing with a company started by and operated by a long time FPV enthusiast, Tim (AKA Mr.Pibb on the forums). We are expanding, and we now have a larger warehouse and quite a few full time employees, but our resources are limited and we're always looking for the right combination of best service (our primary goal) and efficiency.

For the first couple years, ReadyMadeRC was the owner's "second job". During that time, we adapted the policy of only offering support through email because of trying to work a full time job, manage the business, and spend at least a little time with family. Phone calls typically take up massive chunks of time, and available time was usually only available in small bursts throughout the day. It turned out to be a remarkably efficient way of doing business, and even most people that initially wanted to talk on the phone were very happy with the detailed answers and service we were able to offer.

Now that the business has expanded, we've realized that if it was an efficient way to do business then, then it is still an efficient way to do business now. The business is always changing, and we want to offer the best level of customer service possible to ALL our customers, and not spend a disproportionate amount of time talking to people that want to use the phone instead of email. We do apologize if you feel that this is not satisfactory, but we think our string of happy customers speaks for itself. You may feel that it is better to "talk through" a problem, but often phone calls only scratch the surface of troubleshooting, and when things are written out in our support system it's much easier to step through questions or problems systematically. We try to do our best to answer our support system as quickly as possible and help as much as we can. We also like the fact that with our support system both you and us can look back and see the conversation and not talk in circles.

Ask around if you have any questions about my customer service. We're confident you’ll get good reviews regarding how we take care of my customers.

Q9: I have a great idea for a (business/school/military/other) project. Can you tell me how to pull off my big idea?

We get questions like this from time to time. Some people have a great idea for a large project they want to pull off, and they seem to have no problem asking me for the full solution to their complex idea. We are more than happy to offer some advice regarding some particular components that will help you achieve your goals. What we can't do is solve the entire problem for you. If it's a business or military project, there are companies that charge large amounts of money to solve similar problems (the owner used to work for one!). As a business or government agency, you need to be willing to spend the time and money to understand the goals you are trying to achieve, and we can't just give that to you for more than the most basic projects. If you are doing this for a school project, you are probably supposed to be learning about how the various equipment works together. Again, we can offer advice, but we can't (and shouldn't) solve the problem for you. Much of this equipment requires the user to understand how it works and why things work for long term reliability.

Q10: I ordered an item and had it shipped to an international address via USPS Priority or First Class Mail International, why can't I see any tracking information?

Although we have tried to be as clear about these shipping options as possible in my shipping terms and conditions, it seems that sometimes this gets overlooked. For international shipments, the First Class Mail International or Priority Mail International options do not provide tracking or delivery confirmation, and these shipments are often not scanned at all after they are picked up. This is totally normal and should not raise any concern.

Please note that delivery times for USPS international shipments can vary wildly, even for Priority and Express Mail shipments, and it could take 1-2 months to receive items sent via the US Post Office under worst case situations. I offer these options for shipping only because UPS costs so much more. Since the USPS will not claim responsibility for packages once they leave the United States, ReadyMadeRC cannot be responsible for lost shipments when they have been shipped via any USPS method. Choosing a USPS method of shipment for international shipments is the customer's choice and they are accepting full responsibility for any lost shipment. It should be noted that out of thousands of shipments, only a couple have not made it to their final destination, and those were shipped via First Class Mail International.

Q11: What is the range of (SYSTEM)

I get questions about range all the time, and no one who's being honest (or who understands how these systems work) should be any exact numbers for the range of these systems.  Range can be affected by so many factors, it's nearly impossible to predict accurately.  There may be a theoretical maximum if all conditions were perfect, but I've never seen anyone fly in a location where all conditions are perfect.  Lots of things can affect range, such as local broadcasts on the same frequency, mutlipatch interference from reflections off of trees, buildings, car, etc...., and loss of the line-of-sight between the transmitter and receiver antennas.  Even moisture in the atmosphere can affect range.  So...anyone that quotes a solid number for range should not really be trusted, in my opinion. 

Q12: What are the differences between the various antennas and why should I choose a particular antenna?

This can be a very complex subject, but I'll try to keep things as simple as possible.  There are omni-directional antennas (often standard whip antennas) and directional antennas (patch antennas, yagis, etc...).  Typically, you want directional antenna for longer range and omni antenna for close in flying, although there are negatives to using standard omni antennas on your ground station.

One thing that's important is the polarization of the antennas.  When you are using a linear polarized antenna like standard whip antennas, patch antennas, and YAGI antennas, reflected signals can still be picked up and cause mulipath interference.  This is especially true when using a whip antenna on your receiver.  Linear polarized antennas must match each other (typically both antennas vertical, or the wire out of the top/bottom of a patch antenna).  If one antenna is vertical and the other is horizontal, the loss between the antennas is huge and you may lose your signal.

The circular polarized antennas such as cloverleaf, skew planar wheel, and helical antennas work with each other, and reject multipath interference from reflected signals because those reflections have their polarization reversed.  The orientation of the antennas is less important, but you should still have the cloverleaf and skew planar wheel antennas mounted vertically because of the nulls at the top and bottom of the antennna, and the helical antennas should be pointed toward your plane. 

You can use a circular polarized antenna on the transmitter and a linear polarized antenna on your ground station, but the groun station will still pick up the reflected signals just as strong as the original signals, and also you have an approximately 3dBi loss from the polarization mismatch (circular to linear).  The only real advantage to doing this is that the orientation of the plane isn't as important.

So...for best performance, use a cloverleaf on the plane, and a skew planar wheel on the receiver for close in flying.  Use a helical antenna or other circular polarized directional antenna on your receiver for long range flights so you'll get the benefit of rejecting reflected signals AND no additional loss from the polarization mismatch.

Here is a sample of a side view of the radiation pattern of an omni antenna verses a directional antenna like a patch antenna.  

Antenna Radiation Pattern

 

Q13: I'm new to FPV, can you give me a quote for a full blown system with all the bells and whistles?

I always have a hard time answering questions like this.  It is closely related to FAQ question 3, but slightly different in that long range isn't always the goal.  Different systems fit different people depending on how far you expect to fly, what plane you plan on installing the equipment on, etc...  If you can tell me what you are trying to do, I can send you in the right direction, but I'm not going to do all the "work" for you.   If you don't understand the equipment you are purchasing, you are setting yourself up for failure.  All the bells and whistles for a first time FPV flyer is usually a very bad idea. It's easy to get lost in the complexity of the system and miss some small detail, which could cause the crash of a plane carrying a lot of expensive equipment.  I want you to be successful, I don't just want to sell a bunch of equipment.  I've had emails forwarded to me of recommendations given by other dealers, and I have to wonder if they're just trying to sell equipment rather than helping people be successful in the FPV hobby.  It looked a lot like the former to me.

Regarding getting a "quote".  Not to be overly terse, but that's what the web page is for. :)  If you understand what you are buying, you should be able to add the correct items to the shopping cart and get a price, including a shipping estimate, from there.  If you don't understand what you need yet, then make sure you read through this faq and also ask questions on forums like FPVLAB.  I am here to help guide you but, again, it's important you understand what you are purchasing.  These systems are not toys, nor are they "consumer" products for the general public. They are specialized systems for use by advanced hobbyists.  In some cases, if you have an account created, I can add some items to your shopping cart to help get you headed in the right direction.  You just need to log in to your account to see the items I've placed in your cart.