A user reported on this forum a 3DR representative announcing 3DR is stopping the 433 and 915 radios. I assume this is incorrect information or is it? Can a 3DR official give the real status?
If 3DR really stops the radios, what could be reliable replacements? (Don't tell me the HK rubbish)
I'm in Australia (as are rfdesigns) so they would need different approvals here. I just had a look at my RFD900s, and they don't have any stickers or marks on them indicating approval.
Most teams in the 2014 outback challenge used these radios and the organisers were very strict on compliance so I'm assuming (hoping) someone checked!
I highly doubt any of the Chinese clones would have FCC approval, although some may have a fake sticker!
As far as I know none of the telemetry radios on the RC/FPV/"Drone" market (clones or otherwise) had their designs licensed by FCC to operate in ISM band. It doesn't mean that it is not compliant - most of them are of similar design and rely on the same chip. It just means that it hasn't been certified by an FCC lab, and legally can not be sold in the US. It has nothing to do with open source firmware either. You can certify a radio with whatever version you choose and then sell it with that version, what the user does with it afterwards is entirely up to the user. The problem lies in the fact that it is a relatively small market and nobody really wants to spent and extra $15K on certification if they don't have to.
Now it is just a conjecture that FCC got on 3DR case, I really don't know. But if it is, then others may follow suit, which means that large distributors or domestic manufacturers will get shut down, but individual sellers will probably not be affected.
A high quality alternative is http://store.rfdesign.com.au/rfd-900p-modem/
These may be overkill as they are ultra long range, but use the same firmware and are fully compatible with the 3DR radios.
Now that 3DR have stopped making 3DR radios, it's really down to old stock, Chinese clones or these.
JDrones is selling their version of both the 3DR and RFD900's http://store.jdrones.com/jD_SiK_Radio_Telemetry_radio_p/rfsik20set.htm
The statement: "The RFD900 is designed to be compliant with the following standards" tells me that they didn't obtain license from FCC for this radio as well. They also say that :"The user is responsible for compliance with local regulations for radio transmitters" which is not correct at least for the US. The burden of compliance for ISM band lies squarely on the manufacturer and distributors. Granted if it is manufactured overseas and sold through places like ebay it would be much harder for FCC to shut them down.
HK, got the same hardware and plastic for the most part. It is actually a better design since it doesn't rely on HM-TRP module but it is all done from the ground up. I got the 433 radio from them and made it work on 915Mhz. You pretty much have to limit out on the cap value for the crystal but it works.
That aside, I couldn't find any 3dr radios for sale anywhere either. I wonder if they finally got busted by FCC for not getting a license for their radio. If that's the case HK can be next. Better get some while you still can :)