**FIRST EMAIL**/Vex Discount Coupon Information

Out to rookie teams.

Greetings Rookie Teams:

We are pleased to inform you that RadioShack has generously agreed to provide FIRST rookies with an opportunity to purchase a Vex kit at a 50% discount.

Please note that teams are not obligated to purchase a Vex Kit. For information on how to get your discounted Vex kit, please go to the TIMS system at http://www.usfirst.org/robotics/res_art2.htm and log in. On the right hand side of the main screen you will see a section entitled “Vex Certificate.” Please click on the link provided to proceed.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at frcteams@usfirst.org or 800-871-8326, 0


Unfortunately, at this time there are legal restrictions as well as radio frequency and export issues that prohibit RadioShack from making this offer available outside of the United States. Please also note the Vex kit cannot be ordered on-line and shipped outside of the United States.

We apologize for any difficulty this may cause.

Go Teams!

Grrr, why not for veteran teams too? I claim reverse discrimination! j/k I’m willing to bet that there are a lot of veteran teams far poorer than a lot of the rookie teams. Wow, being a rookie team must be awesome. From NASA Grants to 1/2 off Vex kits, they’ve got it made.

I feel your pain…. I just paid almost $400 for a basic VEX Kit for myself (early Christmas present).

I think somebody at FIRST or Radio Shack was being lazy, and didn’t read up on the appropriate Canadian regulations, before sending out this letter. Per Industry Canada RSS-210, Issue 6, section A1.2.3.1, issued September 2005* and currently in force:

(2) 75.4-76 MHz General Remote Control

The following frequencies (in MHz) are for general usage remote control of any type other than for control of an aircraft model. Voice modulation is permitted for emergency use if it is of the push-to-talk type. The centre or carrier frequencies (30 frequencies spaced in 20 kHz steps) are as follows:

75.41; 75.43; 75.45; 75.47; 75.49;
75.51; 75.53; 75.55; 75.57; 75.59;
75.61; 75.63; 75.65; 75.67; 75.69;
75.71; 75.73; 75.75; 75.77; 75.79;
75.81; 75.83; 75.85; 75.87; 75.89;
75.91; 75.93; 75.95; 75.97; 75.99.
The Vex radio and the Robovation radio are of this type (i.e. initally on channel 61 @ 75.410 MHz, or another frequency with the installation of any other 75 MHz band crystal), and are legal for this application in both Canada and the U.S… They’re legal for import and sale, with or without an amateur radio licence. Ask any team that bought one to use in the last two Robovation Challenges at the Toronto remote kickoff.

There aren’t any legitimate U.S. export issues, either. Ask Tower Hobbies if they ship similar radios to Canada (yes, they do). And IFI shipped dozens of Robovation radios to Canada without issue.

The only actual issue (with Radio Shack itself) is that the Canadian stores are operated under separate management, and are now owned by Circuit City. And that’s simply not an issue for an online order originating in the U.S…

I’m not sure precisely what’s going on here, but I’d really like to see someone from FIRST or Radio Shack clarify exactly what they see as a legal impediment. (And if it’s some anti-terrorism law that’s preventing them from letting it out of America, I’ll be very, very disappointed with them, and with the idiots that authored a law restricting the export of toy car radios.)

Now, does the certificate allow the purchase of a Vex set without radio, or of a certain quantity of loose parts, equivalent in value to a kit? That would be a solution.

*Old information is no excuse; the previous version of this standard said the same thing.

Actually it probably isn’t a law, but more likely a regulation. Those are much harder to track down and many basically give the bureaucrat in charge discretion to do what he wants. At work we deal a lot with a category of information called ITAR, International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Due to ITAR we had to get an export license (six month process) to ship a machine over the border for repair, by the manufacturer. It didn’t matter that the company in Canada already had all the information they needed to build as many machines as they wanted, or that we had to get an export license to tell them how we wanted the machine built in the first place. Rules are after all rules. They don’t have to make sense.

Some clarification might help us understand, but then again it might just frustrate you with the stupidity of it. When you think about it, ITAR certainly might apply here. Those micro processors could probably make a pretty sophisticated remote control detonator. Not that you couldn’t do the same with a few $$ at an electronic store.

Chris, that’s exactly the regulation/law I was thinking of (the one that used to consider strong cryptography to be arms-related). What frustrates me is that there’s nothing “America-only” about these parts, and they’re clearly not designed to be arms. (I could include a fork in a munition; does that mean that we need to restrict the export of forks? No, and I think a similarly reasonable interpretation should be applied here.) In any event, I seriously doubt that Radio Shack could be held liable for the terroristic acts of a Canadian, who just happened to buy a perfectly legal and standards-compliant radio from them.

see the vex threads for how to get discount.
There were many NASA grants given out in previous years for veteran teams. Especially those who actually read the criteria.
No robovation/edubot kit this year for rookies.

Team 104 is a veteran team but, we are more like a rookie team. There are only a couple of veterans and mostly first year 9 and 10 th graders. We used the Scholastic magazine coupons to buy 2 Vex kits and a programing module. Total cost 500$. This was a big decision and hurt financial. Fund raising is now critical. However, after working with the Vex the last 2 meeting, I now fell the expenditure was well worth it. We split the students into 2 teams and each was given the task of building a basic robot out of the kits. At the last meeting the bots where finished and they were driven around. While the students were building the kit, I had an opportunity to compare what they were doing with vex and how things were done on last years robot. So far I believe the most beneficial aspect of VEX activities and First is the team building it provides. Before the vex meetings I saw a sea of individuals in the class room. After the Vex meetings there are the beginnings of that TEAM cohesion. In conclusion I believe VEX and First fit well and the money is well spent even at full price however the discount and coupons make it more enticing. Next meeting we are going to try the EASY C.