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Introduction: What is FPV, what are the basics?

FPV - First Person View is the activity of piloting, driving, sailing a radio-controlled model, by looking through a camera installed on that model.

Conventional RC1) models are used for FPV, a camera, a video transmitter (on a separate frequency from the control radio), and eventually a small control board are installed on the model.

The micro control board usually serves as OSD2), that is, it overlay information on top of the camera view, such as the location of the model, the speed, altitude, etc. That board generally has a few sensors to detect these values such as a GPS3), and may even implement an auto-pilot to keep your plane in a straight line, or return it to you automatically, or even fly, drive, sail through a planned route.

FPV uses generally micro analog TV equipment for the image transmission, and micro security cameras for the image capture.

The frequencies used are generally roughly 900-1000mhz, 1200-1360mhz, 2400-2480mhz, 5700-5800mhz. Only the later two are useable without a special license in most countries, at low power level. This frequency range needs to be a different one than the one used for RC control, even if the RC control is a newer digital system that resists interferences.

By nature, FPV let you go very far, so precautions are to be taken each time you go for a trip, like if you had a real airplane, sport car, or what-not.

The most tedious task is generally to fit the components together, and avoid interferences between them. This is the primary task for a trouble-free FPV experience.

It is strongly recommended to start slowly, have a setup that flies at short range (a few hundred meters) and gradually upgrade the platform to reach greater distances (a few kilometers, or more). Even the most skilled persons trying to reach 10km on their first flight, by fitting a lot of expensive equipment in their RC vehicle usually lose control quickly and give up on this expensive experience. You've been warned!

You should now have a pretty good idea of what FPV is, what is necessary to experience this hobby yourself, and have a vague idea of how to proceed.

All these steps will be detailed one by one in the following chapters, at the end of your reading you should be able to get started on your own!

Have fun

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1) Radio Control
2) On Screen Display
3) Global Positioning System
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