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Applications for Licenses for ReconRobotics Surveillance System

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Released: November 13, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1828

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
Applications for Public Safety Pool
)
File Nos. 0004366428 et al.
(Conventional) Licenses for Mobile Use of
)
ReconRobotics Video and Audio Surveillance
)
Systems
)

ORDER AND ORDER ON RECONSIDERATION

Adopted: November 13, 2012

Released: November 13, 2012

By the Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Order and Order on Reconsideration, we take the following actions. In
the Order portion, we grant James Edwin Whedbee’s (Whedbee’s) request to withdraw the
petitions to deny, informal objections, and related pleadings that he filed against the 30
applications (Remaining Applications)1 filed by the public safety agencies listed in the attached
Appendix for authorizations to operate the “Recon Scout”2 surveillance robot for public safety
purposes.3 We also refer the Remaining Applications to the Policy and Licensing Division of the
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for processing subject to certain limitations outlined
below. In the Order on Reconsideration portion, we dismiss the petition for reconsideration filed


1 The Remaining Applications consist of a second group of pending applications that were filed by various
public safety agencies and not addressed by the Bureau at the time it decided the first group of applications.
The public safety entities in both groups sought similar types of authorizations. The Remaining
Applications, along with the associated petitions and other submissions being addressed in this decision,
are listed in Appendix A. A complete procedural history of the Remaining Applications is also included in
Appendix A.
2 The Recon Scout is a remote-controlled, maneuverable surveillance robot manufactured by
ReconRobotics, Inc. (ReconRobotics), which transmits real-time video surveillance data. See
ReconRobotics, Inc., Request for Waiver of Part 90 of the Commission's Rules, Order, 25 FCC Rcd 1782,
1783 ¶ 3 (WTB/PSHSB 2010) (Waiver Order); see also Robotics, Inc., Request for Waiver of Part 90 of
the Commission’s Rules, Order on Reconsideration, 26 FCC Rcd 5895 (WTB/PSHSB/OET 2011) (Order
on Reconsideration
).
3 See Application for Withdrawal and Withdrawal of Petition(s) for Reconsideration, Petition(s) to Deny,
and Informal Objection(s) With Recommendations of James Edwin Whedbee (filed July 23, 2012)
(Whedbee Request). Whedbee also filed a document in the Universal Licensing System styled “Request
Pursuant to the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act.” ULS is not the proper mechanism for filing
requests pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), see 47 C.F.R. 0.461(d). Nonetheless we treat
this submission as a FOIA request and are processing it separately from this order and pursuant to our
FOIA rules. See FOIA Request No. 2012-231.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1828

by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL),4 which asked us to reconsider the Application
Order
.5 We also grant Whedbee’s request to withdraw his petition for reconsideration of the
Application Order.6

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
On February 6, 2012, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB)
released an order granting multiple applications by public safety agencies for use of the Recon
Scout.7 In the Application Order, the Bureau addressed petitions and other filings by ARRL and
Whedbee opposing the applications on various procedural and substantive grounds.8 The
Remaining Applications addressed in this Order were omitted from the Application Order but
were subject to essentially the same petitions and other filings by ARRL and Whedbee opposing
the applications on various procedural and substantive grounds.
3.
The public safety entities listed in the Appendix filed the Remaining
Applications. As noted above, the Waiver Order granted a waiver to permit licensing and
operation of the Recon Scout pursuant to the Commission’s Part 90 and other rules, subject to a
number of conditions specified in that order.9 Among these conditions, applicants must reference
the Waiver Order in their applications and must specify the proposed area of operation and the
requested frequency segment.10

III.

ORDER

4.
Just as in the applications previously addressed in the Application Order, Whedbee
filed a series of documents directed at the Remaining Applications, including petitions to deny.11
On July 23, 2012, Whedbee filed a request to withdraw all of his petitions to deny and other
informal objections.12 In his Request, Whedbee stated that he submitted his pleadings based on his
view that operation of the ReconRobotics devices would cause serious and severe interference to
the equipment he uses in the amateur radio band.13 Whedbee stated that he is now withdrawing his


4 See Petition for Reconsideration of the American Radio Relay League (filed March 6, 2012) (ARRL
Petition).
5 Applications for Public Safety Pool (Conventional) Licenses for Mobile Use of ReconRobotics Video and
Audio Surveillance Systems, Order, 27 FCC Rcd 948 (PSHSB 2012) (Application Order).
6 See Whedbee Request; see also Petition for Reconsideration of the James Edwin Whedbee (filed March 6,
2012) (Whedbee Petition).
7 Application Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 948.
8 Id. The Bureau concluded that the Waiver Order and the Order on Reconsideration fully addressed and
decided the arguments raised by Whedbee and ARRL in their petitions and that the applicants had
complied with the terms of the Waiver Order.
9 Waiver Order at ¶ 11.
10 Id. at ¶ 13.
11 See Appendix A below for the filings Whedbee made in each of the Remaining Application files on the
Universal Licensing System.
12 See Whedbee Request.
13 Whedbee Request at 1.
2

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DA 12-1828

petitions to deny and informal objections because he has monitored the operation of ReconRobotics
devices and has not received any interference.14 We hereby grant Whedbee’s Request.15
5.
The Remaining Applications are unopposed in light of the Whedbee Request and
our decision to grant the relief sought therein. We thus refer the Remaining Applications to the
Policy and Licensing Division of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for processing
consistent with all relevant standards and subject to the conditions specified in this order and those
imposed on the applications addressed in the Application Order.

IV.

ORDER ON RECONSIDERATION

6.
Both the ARRL and Whedbee filed petitions asking us to reconsider the
Application Order. For the reasons set forth below, we deny the ARRL Petition and grant
Whedbee’s request to withdraw his petition.

A. ARRL Petition

7.
In its Petition for Reconsideration, ARRL argues that we should reverse the
Application Order and rescind all of the licenses granted by that order because, in ARRL’s view,
the signal emission designators16 in every one of the applications is incorrect. The license
applications all specified an emission designator that represents a bandwidth of 100 kHz.
According to ARRL, this is wrong because the necessary bandwidth, when measured in a manner
proposed by ARRL, is approximately 5.75 MHz.17 ARRL bases its argument, in part, on its
assertion that ReconRobotics is using a National Television Standards Committee (NTSC) format
for its video signal and that these types of signals normally use 5.75 MHz of bandwidth.18
8.
We do not agree with ARRL’s arguments. First, the factual predicate for
ARRL’s claim is that the ReconRobotics device will conform to NTSC standards and thus will
necessarily exceed 100 kHz. But according to ReconRobotics, their devices do not conform to
NTSC standards and the necessary bandwidth for their operations is 100 kHz.19 We thus reject
ARRL’s argument on the basis that ReconRobotics is bound by its representation and the relevant
licensees are limited to 100 kHz. If a licensee exceeds 100 kHz, it is in violation of the terms of
its license.


14 Id.
15 Whedbee’s Request also contained two recommendations that the Commission declines to adopt at this
time. See Whedbee Request at 2 ¶¶ 4-5. Whedbee recommended that the Commission consider “widening
the bandwidths” of the Recon Scout authorizations and requiring coordination between state amateur radio
repeating councils and “public service” licensees. We reject the first recommendation as unnecessary and
inconsistent with our reasoning in approving the applications. We are granting the Remaining Applications
based on the bandwidth requested in those submissions. We further believe that requiring coordination
between state amateur radio repeating councils and “public service” licensees is unnecessary. We conclude
that the proposal creates an unnecessary regulatory burden and that adequate incentives remain for the
applicants to make every effort to avoid harmful interference to other licensees.
16 A signal emission designator is a six-character code denoting a transmitter’s authorized bandwidth, form
of modulation, and nature of signal.
17 ARRL Petition at 3-4.
18 Id. at 3-4.
19 Recon Robotics’ Opposition to Petitions for Reconsideration at 6-7.
3

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DA 12-1828

9.
Second, ARRL argues that ReconRobotics has not measured its emissions in a
manner that complies with Commission rules.20 According to ARRL, the Commission’s rules
distinguish between “necessary bandwidth” and “occupied bandwidth” and ReconRobotics
incorrectly uses “occupied bandwidth.”21 ReconRobotics disputes this and assert that it uses a
procedure for measuring “necessary bandwidth” appropriate for a non-NTSC signal.22 We
conclude that ReconRobotics uses an appropriate methodology for measuring “necessary
bandwidth” for Non-NTSC signals, and that ARRL’s objection is based on the mistaken
assumption that the Recon Scout uses an NTSC signal.

B.

Whedbee Petition

10.
In his Petition for Reconsideration, Whedbee argues that the Commission should
rescind the Application Order. Like ARRL, Whedbee based his petition, inter alia, on the
argument that the licenses granted by the Application Order all used incorrect signal emission
designators because an NTSC video signal cannot be provided using only 100 kHz of bandwidth.
As a result of the allegedly incorrect emissions designator, Whedbee argued that operation of the
ReconRobotics devices would lead to interference.23
11.
As explained in response to the ARRL petition, ReconRobotics maintains that the
emission designator is correct, and we have made clear that licensees are limited to 100 kHz.
Moreover, as discussed above, Whedbee filed an application in July 2012 in which he withdrew
his Petition for Reconsideration because he had not observed any interference.24 We hereby grant
Whedbee’s Request and dismiss his Petition for Reconsideration accordingly.

V. CONCLUSIONS

12.
For the reasons set out above in the Order portion of this item, we grant
Whedbee’s request to withdraw his petitions to deny. In the Order on Reconsideration, we deny
ARRL’s petition for reconsideration and grant Whedbee’s request to withdraw his petition. Having
removed these impediments to the applications, we now refer them to the Policy and Licensing
Division of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for processing.
13.
We also take this opportunity to again remind the applicants that, if they receive
licenses and commence operations, they must record all Recon Scout use, including date of
operation, start/stop times, location of operation, frequency segment of operation, reason for use,
and a point of contact.25 Licensees must provide this information to the Commission or to the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration upon request of either agency.26
Moreover, as we stated previously in the Application Order, licensees that operate the Recon Scout


20 ARRL Petition 4-5.
21 ARRL Petition at 4-5.
22 Recon Robotics’ Opposition to Petitions for Reconsideration at 7.
23 See Whedbee Petition.
24 Whedbee Request.
25 Application Order, 27 FCC Rcd 955-56 at ¶ 20.
26 Id.
4

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DA 12-1828

in an unauthorized manner are subject to Commission enforcement action, including possible
license revocation.27

VI. ORDERING PARAGRAPHS

14.
Accordingly,

IT IS ORDERED

, pursuant to Sections 4(i), 301, 308, and 309 of
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 301, 308, and 309, and
Sections 1.41, 1.903, and 1.915 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.41, 1.903, and 1.915,
that the Applications listed in the Appendix A

ARE REFERRED

to the Policy and Licensing
Division of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for processing.
15.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that the Policy and Licensing Division

SHALL

PROCESS

the Remaining Applications listed in the Appendix A subject to the conditions and
limitations described in this Order and the Commission’s rules.
16.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that the Request to Withdraw Petitions for
Reconsideration, Petitions to Deny, Informal Objections, and related pleadings, filed by James
Edwin Whedbee

IS GRANTED.

17.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that the Petition for Reconsideration filed by the
ARRL

IS DISMISSED

.
18.
We take this action under delegated authority pursuant to Sections 0.191 and
0.392 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.191, 0.392.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David S. Turetsky

Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau



27 Id.
5

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DA 12-1828

APPENDIX

File No.

Filing

Date

Filer

0004366428

Fresno Police Department (filed 8/25/2010)
Petition to Deny Application(s)

8/26/2010

Whedbee

Reply to Opposition to Petition to Deny

9/1/2010

ARRL

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

9/7/2010

ReconRobotics

Consolidated Reply and Motion to Strike Opposition

9/8/2010

Whedbee

0004366450

City of Broken Arrow (filed 8/25/2010)
Petition to Deny Application(s)

8/25/2010

Whedbee

Reply to Opposition to Petition to Deny

9/1/2010

ARRL

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

9/7/2010

ReconRobotics

Consolidated Reply and Motion to Strike Opposition

9/8/2010

Whedbee

0004366617

Eden Prairie Police Department (filed 8/25/2010)
Petition to Deny Application(s)

8/29/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

9/7/2010

ReconRobotics

Consolidated Reply and Motion to Strike Opposition

9/8/2010

Whedbee

0004366471

Harris County Sheriff's Office (filed 8/25/2010)
Petition to Deny Application(s)

8/26/2010

Whedbee

Reply to Opposition to Petition to Deny

9/1/2010

ARRL

Opposition to Petition to Deny

9/7/2010

ReconRobotics

Consolidated Reply and Motion to Strike Opposition

9/8/2010

Whedbee

0004368279

County of Pima (filed 8/27/2010)
Petition to Deny Application(s)

8/29/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

9/7/2010

ReconRobotics

Consolidated Reply and Motion to Strike Opposition

9/8/2010

Whedbee

0004393707

Milford Police Department (filed 9/20/2010)
Informal Objection

9/21/2010

Whedbee

Petition to Deny Application(s)

10/22/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

10/29/2010

ReconRobotics

Reply

11/3/2010

Whedbee

0004393779

Las Vegas Police Department (filed 9/21/2010)
Informal Objection

9/22/2010

Whedbee

Petition to Deny Application(s)

10/22/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petition to Deny

10/29/2010

ReconRobotics

Reply

11/3/2010

Whedbee

0004393790

Coral Gables Police Department (filed 9/20/2010)
Informal Objection

9/21/2010

Whedbee

Petition to Deny Application(s)

10/22/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

10/29/2010

ReconRobotics

6

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1828

Reply

11/3/2010

Whedbee

0004394033

Passaic County (filed 9/20/2010)
Informal Objection

9/21/2010

Whedbee

Petition to Deny Application(s)

10/22/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

10/29/2010

ReconRobotics

Reply

11/3/2010

Whedbee

0004405256

Tuscon Police Department (filed 9/29/2010)
Informal Objection

9/30/2010

Whedbee

Petition to Deny Application(s)

10/22/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

10/29/2010

ReconRobotics

Reply

11/3/2010

Whedbee

0004405304

Bellevue Police Department (filed 9/29/2010)
Informal Objection

9/30/2010

Whedbee

Petition to Deny Application(s)

10/22/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

10/29/2010

ReconRobotics

Reply

11/3/2010

Whedbee

0004412066

Lake Havasu Police Department (filed 10/6/2010)
Informal Objection

10/7/2010

Whedbee

Petition to Deny Application(s)

10/22/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

10/29/2010

ReconRobotics

Reply

11/3/2010

Whedbee

0004413732

Marion Police Department (filed 10/7/2010)
Informal Objection

10/8/2010

Whedbee

Petition to Deny Application(s)

10/22/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

10/29/2010

ReconRobotics

Reply

11/3/2010

Whedbee

0004413745

Albany Police Department (filed 10/7/2010)
Informal Objection

10/8/2010

Whedbee

Petition to Deny Application(s)

10/22/2010

Whedbee

0004427103

Lewisville Police Department (filed 10/20/2010)
Informal Objection

10/21/2010

Whedbee

Petition to Deny Application(s)

10/22/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petitions to Deny

10/29/2010

ReconRobotics

Reply

11/3/2010

Whedbee

0004429967

Seaford Police Department (filed 10/22/2010)
Petition to Deny Application(s)

10/23/2010

Whedbee

7

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0004430598

Port of Seattle Police Dept. (filed 10/25/2010)
Informal Objection

10/26/2010

Whedbee

Petition to Deny Application(s)

11/24/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petition to Deny

12/1/2010

ReconRobotics

0004503423

County of San Diego (filed 11/19/2010)
Petition to Deny Application(s)

11/24/2010

Whedbee

Opposition to Petition to Deny

12/1/2010

ReconRobotics

0004579464

DuPage County Sheriff (filed 1/19/2011)
Informal Objection

1/20/2011

Whedbee

0004577393

Grant Parish Sheriff's Office (filed 1/18/2011)
Informal Objection

1/19/2011

Whedbee

0004577473

Winter Springs Police Department (filed 1/18/2011)
Informal Objection

1/19/2011

Whedbee

WV State Police (filed 1/18/2011; amended

0004577526
10/13/2011)
Informal Objection

1/19/2011

Whedbee

Informal Objection to Defective Amendment

10/24/2011

Whedbee

0004626867

Glynn County Police Department (filed 2/22/2011)
Informal Objection

2/26/2011

Whedbee

0004626902

St. Louis County Sheriff's Office (filed 2/22/2011)
Informal Objection

2/26/2011

Whedbee

0004626935

Jacksonville Police Department (filed 2/22/2011)
Informal Objection

2/26/2011

Whedbee

0004631447

City of Lake Charles (filed 2/25/2011)
Informal Objection

2/26/2011

Whedbee

0004631457

West Memphic Police Department (filed 2/25/2011)
Informal Objection

2/26/2011

Whedbee

0004631488

Albert Lea Police Department (filed 2/25/2011)
Informal Objection

2/26/2011

Whedbee

Informal Request pursuant to § 1.41 of FCC rules

2/26/2011

Whedbee

0004631508

Moore County Sheriff's Office (filed 2/25/2011)

8

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DA 12-1828

Informal Objection

2/26/2011

Whedbee

Informal Request pursuant to § 1.41 of FCC rules

2/26/2011

Whedbee

0004639725

East Bay Regional Park Police (filed 3/3/1011)
Informal Objection

3/4/2011

Whedbee

9

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