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Modulus advice please.

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#1 David Hughes

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 10:08 AM

HI Everyone.

I have just received my Modulus 3000 back from Marell for repair and it now works beautifully (Sory Justin but I have decided to keep it for now).
As we all know these things are Illegal to operate and to use one will get you in a whole load of trouble, someone once told me that they would just take all of my equipment steadicam or otherwise instantly without questions. So obviously I wouldn't do something illegal and risk prosecution and loss of my gear, but suppose, hypothetically, one were to use it what would be the best way to do so without attracting attention from the ENFORCERS or disturbing Joe Bloggs and his big brother watching brethren.
Are there any good frequencies to stick to?
I have figured out that there are 55 channels from 14 through to 69 cos the light goes out or red on the others, I also found out that uhf television frequencies in the U.K. are labeled 21 through to 68. My tv seems to find channel 14 on the modulus at U.K. channel 21 - 471.25 so I guess the labeling is just different.
What channels should I use or does it depend on the area I am in and what transmitters are nearby?
Does DVB affect all this?
Is it really powerful enough to cause problems with terrestrial tv, DVB? ect? ect?
I have read about powering it down before changing channels and as a rule I always attach antennas before switching power to anything. Are there any other fatal mistakes I could make that are liable to fry it?
Do I need another cable made for a 24v sled or won't it do 24v?
What are the best accessories, different aerials ect I need to have for the transmitter?
Are there any cheep small uhf pal tuners available?
Is there anywhere I could download a pdf of the manual I can't even find the manufacturers website?
Any other tips on receiver or aerial set up grately appreciated.
Dave Hughes.
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#2 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 11:38 AM

I had a M3000 for about 8 years. I never really followed instructions as to the correct procedure for powering up, down, changing channels or attaching the antenna, I just did it. The thing never stopped working. The only problem I had with it was shooting inside a K-Mart or Wall Mart or some store like that and (I'm assuming at least) the security system in the store was causing the transmitter to not work very well.

I would always pick the channel that had the best picture.

The cable goes straight from my rig to the M3000 and it is video and power (not sure if its 12 or 24 volts).

I used the stock antenna that came with the unit.

As for getting your gear taken, I understand that it's possible but I can't imagine it actually ever happening (at least in LA, NY or Miami). I mean, on a great day the thing maybe transmits 50 feet?

I use a Canatrans now as the picture seems to be at least twice as good but the M3000 is in my opinion a solid transmitter.

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#3 Jason Torbitt

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 12:43 PM

Hi Dave
How are you? Hope you're well!
My advice would be to steer clear of the Modulus in the UK - as you say, very illegal, and there is always the risk that the wrong people can pick up what you're transmitting. As much as a pain 2.4 Ghz can be, what with every other form of wireless technology also using it, and the ususal issues of signal loss/ break-up and multipathing, sometimes it is better to be safe rather than always worrying about what could happen.

I wouldn't imagine for a minute that anyone using one here would actually get caught for using one - but having said that, the book would be sure to be thrown hard in your direction, I'd bet.

Great tool, but personally I wouldn't take the risk. Hope you're well and busy!
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#4 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 12:44 PM

As we all know these things are Illegal to operate and to use one will get you in a whole load of trouble, someone once told me that they would just take all of my equipment steadicam or otherwise instantly without questions.

Maybe if you got a super jerk FCC Agent but it's highly unlikely they'd take your kit. Their jurisdiction is limited to the transmitter period. But again you could get a jerk on a bad day who could screw you up until you got it all back. More than likely they would confiscate the transmitter and issue a citation. You could always contend this is your out of country transmitter and you made a mistake today. I don't think it is illegal to own it, just to use it in the US?

Way, way back in the early 70's before I was a licensed Amateur Radio Operator and had a lot more hair, I got busted for a CB with a 3kw amp, a too high antenna and using illegal frequencies. They did the whole triangulation thing to track down me and a few hundred others in Florida. They didn't take anything at all but they did issue a citation for $250 and I had to give up my CB radio license (big whoop). All I did was study and get my ham license, bought a proper transmitter, recut the antenna and kept on using the amp which is legal with the proper license.

I'm not saying it's okay to use such a transmitter but they have no jurisdiction over your kit, just the transmitter unless you get Mr or Ms JerkFace agent.
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#5 Charles Papert

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 01:27 PM

I seem to recall some statute back in the day where if detected, an illegal transmitter was grounds for the authorities to haul away everything it was connected to (which would mean the whole rig, and would the operator have to go too??!!)Can't remember if this was in the UK or US, I thought the former. I know the airwaves are more seriously policed in the UK--do you guys still have to buy a license to OPERATE a TV? Love that. The whole thing reminds me of the Eric-the-half-a-bee Python bit that involved the Cat Detector van that could pinpoint a purr at 400 feet.
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#6 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 01:58 PM

Anyone besides Robert actually ever seen an FCC agent? I don't know about in the UK, but in the US if you don't work in a radio station then I wouldn't expect to ever come across one.

If one happens to be passing through your film set and he figures out that you are using an illegal transmitter he does not have the right to take your whole rig. Actually he doesn't even have the right to take the transmitter without taking you to court over it. Instead he will ask you to voluntarily surrender the transmitter in exchange for not taking you to court and fining you a lot of money. Of course this is all in the US. I don't know what kind a crazy laws they have over there in Europe.

The FCC webpage has a little bit of information on the subject. This page is interesting although it is targeted at radio stations: http://www.fcc.gov/e...fo/inspect.html

No matter where you are, using illegal transmitters isn't a great idea. If you happen to be using a legal device that operates on broadcast television frequencies then figure out what your local channels are and stay clear of them. Might not be a bad idea to test your transmitter out next to a television set and see what channels interfere with the local stations the least. Once all broadcasters switch over to digital transmission they will be auctioning off channels 51-69 for other uses so after that you should steer clear of those channels. I am not sure how exactly DTV and analogue TV will interfere with each other, but that will be a real concern on the remaining channels since the DTV stations will most likely be crammed into a much smaller range of frequencies.

Apparently the manufacture and import of analogue receivers that don't also contain DTV receivers is already illegal in the US. Stores can still sell existing stock, but after that receivers for your fancy transmitters are going to become slightly harder to find.

2.4Ghz is a rather crammed band but it seems to be the only real legal way to go unless you want to be limited to a very low power transmitter. There are other options for people with amateur radio licenses but they can not be used for commercial purposes. So you can use them on student films, but thats about it.

There are a lot of 1.2ghz transmitters available on ebay and some guy in california even sells one called a starlink (wonder where he gets them?). Not only are these illegal but also a rather bad idea. 1.2ghz happens to have very little interference, but that is because it is reserved for things like aeronautical radionavigation. For some strange reason the FCC thinks that keeping the frequencies that are used to keep planes from crashing into each other clear is a good idea. I tend to agree.

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#7 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 02:03 PM

Another interesting tidbit. If the FCC confiscates your equipment they are then supposed to destroy it. I have heard of more than one occasion where that illegal confiscated equipment found its way into government auctions. In the US of course.

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#8 Stephen Wymer

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:16 PM

Old, but interesting conversation. I think that the higher channels ended up being auctioned off to mobile phone companies since the digital switch.

Does anyone have any updates or information to add to this topic now that it's 5 years later? Anyone recently run into FCC trouble?
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