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  1. #1

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    NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    I have been building planes for years but after 40 years of building it is time to learn how to fly. Ihave a Sig Kadet LT-40 to learn on. I will be starting to build an old Pica 1/6 scale Cessna 182, then a Balsa Usa 1/4 scale Cub and finally a Pica 1/5 scale P-51 Mustang. I would like to purchase a system that I can use for all the different planes, with at least 6 channels. Are there units where Ican install recivers and servos in all planes and just use the same transmitter? Are there any decent systems for under $500. Ihave looked online but I have no idea about what the use of many of the functions they talk about. I want to buy something that will serve me well for a long time without having to upgrade and I don't really want to pay for a bunch of options I will never use.
    Ihave 1 more question. Not sure if it is stupid or not. I have an old Futaba Conquest system that is in good working order. I was going to use this system in the trainer instead of beating on a new system. Is this a good idea or should I learn to fly on the radio I will be using later? Is it hard to get used to a new radio? Thanks for your help Ron.

  2. #2
    GaryHarris's Avatar
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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    The Conquest should be fine. In a way, I would prefer the simpler times without all this digital stuff.
    Sig Kadet Brotherhood #1
    Ultra Sport Brotherhood #105

  3. #3

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    You may get about 95% of the people will recommend the DX6i. I just happen to be in the 5% who will not. I have been happy for many years with Airtronics. They have never let me down. I have radios from way back in the AM days that work very well. I have the 2.4G and they are amazing.

    If you watch the sales, Hobby People will have the Airtronics RDS8000 on sale for $180.00. It is a whole lot of radio. It has memory for 10 models. So, you can use the one Tx with 10 Rx's.


    Buzz.

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION


    ORIGINAL: blvdbuzzard

    You may get about 95% of the people will recommend the DX6i. I just happen to be in the 5% who will not. I have been happy for many years with Airtronics. They have never let me down. I have radios from way back in the AM days that work very well. I have the 2.4G and they are amazing.



    If you watch the sales, Hobby People will have the Airtronics RDS8000 on sale for $180.00. It is a whole lot of radio. It has memory for 10 models. So, you can use the one Tx with 10 Rx's.


    Buzz.
    ++1

    Ray

  5. #5

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION





    I'm a Futaba guy.


    You can get a 7 channel from tower for 279.00.
    Use one of their Promo codes for about 30.00
    dollars off and free shipping.


    Bob

  6. #6

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    As Gary said, your radio would be fine, at least for now. I too use Futaba but when I was looking for a new radio, 9 channel or more I decided on the Hitec A-9. I have also looked at the Airtronics 10. Both more radio then you need but under your $500.00 price range. I'm not a DX person at all but they are fine, one of my flying partners is using the DX 6I and it is working out for him very well. Check around your local clubs and see what is used most and ask why. It helps to have others using the same radio you buy. They can help you figure out the programming when you get stuck. We all get stuck once in a while with a new radio.
    Radio choice is a personal thing and we have a lot of good choices these days. I'm also not a fan of the Airtronic radios except for there new 10. Just a mater of how they program more then anything but they are a great value.
    For a trainer almost anything will work fine.
    Drinking and driving are illegal, why do bars have parking lots
    Daisy Air Guns, keeping kids off your lawn for 100 years

  7. #7
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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION


    ORIGINAL: dignlivn





    I'm a Futaba guy.


    You can get a 7 channel from tower for 279.00.
    Use one of their Promo codes for about 30.00
    dollars off and free shipping.


    Bob
    Me too, thats the one I was going to mention. I still use a futaba f.m. radio on my trainer seems like it is simpler to hook up with a buddy box, still works just fine.
    Bill.
    It is always better to be under the gun, than in front of it!

  8. #8
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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    I am a Futaba man myself. The brand radio that you choose is up to you. Asking which one is best is like the Chevy verse Ford debate. You need to find a radio that you like and one that will do everything that you need and get it. If you are planning on having an instructor help you with a buddy box, you may want to see what he is using so that you can hook up to his radio. Good Luck, Dave
    If the screw ain\'t loose then things ain\'t normal.

    Dave Agar
    AMA#97144

  9. #9

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    Thanks for all the quick replies. Thanks to you guys, I nowknow what I need and howmuch it will cost me.I hadn't looked around too much at radios before, because I already had one, but now that I have seen what is available, I am amazed. I can't believe what you can get for under $200.00. I've pretty much decided on the Spektrum DX6i. It has everything I will ever need unless I live long enough to grow out of it. And the price is great. After checking around I found it with 4 servos and reciver for $185.00 shipped toCanada . Can't beat that kind of price. The RDS 8000 looks like a great radio as well. Ifound these (transmitter only) for 170.00 shipped. The only real benefit I could see was the fact that it was 8 channel. Everything else seemed to be the same, but not knowing a whole lot about radio, I could be missing something really important. The servos from the spectrum radio will be perfect for the Cessna so I will just need 2 more recievers and large servos for the Cub and Mustang. Can you guys recommend good heavy duty servos for these planes. I know nothing about these new digital servos. Do the regular servos work with these units as well?
    When you say that these radios can save more than 1 model, does it save all trim settings as well, or does it just save the address of the reciever so that it can communicate with it? If it saves all settings to me that would be reason enough to get all the planes working with the 1 remote. Thanks again, Ron.

  10. #10
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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION


    ORIGINAL: rlundy90

    When you say that these radios can save more than 1 model, does it save all trim settings as well, or does it just save the address of the reciever so that it can communicate with it? If it saves all settings to me that would be reason enough to get all the planes working with the 1 remote. Thanks again, Ron.

    Yes most all the new stuff will save multiple models including all the trim settings. You Conquest is a dinosaur. Start learning your new radio with all your airplanes.

    Also don,t be so quick with the DX decision. Here is the newest of the midrang Hitec offerings and I am certainly recommending it to all my students. It feature telemetry and will give you real time warning while your are flying if the flight battery gets to low. That has made two saves for me with my stuff.

    http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXBCKD&P=RF

    At our field currently virtually everyone is now flying about equally either Futaba or Hitec. There was some DX stuff around but most have disappeared.

    John

    \"Keep your controllines tight\"

  11. #11
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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    If you have already decided on the Spektrum line, you may want to look at the DX7. It's just a little more money but it will give you something that you will not easily outgrow. Which ever Spektrum set you choose do yourself a favor and do not use the 4.8V RX battery that it comes with. Get a 6V 1000 MAH battery and avoid any potential for brown outs.
    Of course it's true, I read it on the Internet.

  12. #12

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    Caveat emptor. In my opinion, any of the major radio manufactures probably produce equally reliable radios. But do your research. Radios are as cheap or as expensive as you want them.

  13. #13

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    The price you mentioned for the Airtronics is normally what the transmitter/reciever combo sells for. I have one and will recommend it over a DX6i any day, both for the couple extra channels (which may come in handy if you decide to do the full scale features on the Mustang) and for reliability. An added plus is that you get a rechargeable battery with the Airtronics while the Spektrum requires AA's or either you buying a separate rechargeable. Me personally, if you want to buy Spektrum, I'll second the suggestion to skip the DX6i and get the DX7. When you add in the battery it comes with it's actually not that much more money, and it gives you quite few extra features.

    As for model memory, that means the radio stores every single setting you have for that plane. So trims, end points and control throws, exponential, dual rates (if you want them) mixes, everything is stored in the radio. That alone makes a computerized radio worth the money, since you can really customize the way your plane flies and then a couple of button presses later you have a clean slate to set up a totally different plane. Even with a trainer it makes the setup easier. If the manual says "3/8 inch of travel" you can dial in exactly 3/8 inch just by pressing a few programming buttons. We generally want to get the throw close mechanically first, but the fine tuning that is possible makes the newer radios such a nice thing to have. You'll really appreciate it when you set up your throttle.

    So what engine are you going to put on that Sig to get it flying?
    No kid, I said break ground and fly into the wind!

  14. #14

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    The batteries in my Spektrum DX6i are rechargeable nimh. And find it plenty good for $159

  15. #15

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION


    ORIGINAL: jester_s1

    ... for reliability. ..
    Tell us more.

    Kurt

  16. #16

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    Well, it looks like I have a lot more to think about. From what I understand Airtronics, Hitek, Futaba and Spektrum all are reliable. I just have to figure out which is best for me. I like the idea of a battery warning in the Hitek. I have no idea what the telemetry does, though. I noticed a few others have it as well. I think for now I will stick with a six channel system. By the time I outgrow that, the 8 channel systems out now will probably be dinosaurs as well, so I will upgrade then. Iguess what I need to know now is which system is easiest to use and program? I will have to go to the hobby store and check them all out in person. Then I can decide which I like the best. It could come down to which one feels the best in my hands.
    As for the engine in the Kadet, it will be an old K & B .40 I had lying around. I also have an Enya and a Webra that will bolt in nicely but thought I would sacrifice the K & B first. LOL I live out in the middle of nowhere, so I have to learn on my own. Definately will be a few crashes so Iwant to sacrifice my most unwanted stuff first. Ihave been spending a lot of time on a simulator so hopefully that will help. At leastI will be really familiar with the controls.I have an Aerovate 20cc for the Cessna and a CRRC-Pro 26cc for the Cub. Still haven't decided on the Mustang but will probably be a 50-60cc twin of some sort if I can find something that will fit under the cowl. Any suggestions? Ron.

  17. #17

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    instead of a dx6 which uses disposable batterries get a dx7 which you can recharge with out taking batterries out or throwing them out

  18. #18
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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION


    ORIGINAL: rlundy90

    l. I think for now I will stick with a six channel system.

    This is as big a mistake as trying to use the old Conquest instead learning your new system right from the start. Based purely on channel count no matter what brand if you waste money on a six channel you will be in the market for a new system not long after you restart. My advice to every newbie is a minimum of seven channels.

    Thats a fact and I witness this time and agine with my studends and folks I am mentoring.

    Another additional thought Don,t even think about any system that depends on battery holders or spring contacts to use individual battery cells. If it does not use real assembled battery packs then that is a hugh step backward and yes I have seen way to many failures over the years from these spring things.


    John
    \"Keep your controllines tight\"

  19. #19

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    You might want to count the channels you'll need for that big Mustang before you buy anything. Some of the big planes use way more than six. I'd guess you have 2 aileron servos, 2 flap servos, 2 elevator servos, 1 rudder, 2 or 3 retracts, a throttle, a choke, and an optical kill switch. That's a max of 13 things that have to get plugged in somewhere. Matchboxes (or maybe Y harnesses) can take 4 of those off your hands- ailerons, flaps, elevator, 2 retracts. That leaves you needing 9 channels, 3 of which are switched.
    No kid, I said break ground and fly into the wind!

  20. #20

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    RC RADIOS ARE LIKE CARS BUY WHAT YOU LIKE GO TO THE FIELD AND SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE FLYING>> I HAVE 10 FUTABA RADIOS ON 72 NO TROUBLE ONE FOR EACH PLANE

  21. #21

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    Geez, for X-mas Santa brought me a Spektrum DX6i, now I have buyers remorse.

  22. #22

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    nothing wrong with it i know a lot of flyers who have one iam 80 to old to learn new things have fun with it

  23. #23
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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    rlundy90

    I have two Spektrum radios, two Airtronics radios, and a Futaba. All do the job they were chosen to do. I'm sure if I had a Hitec, it, too, would do just fine as would a JR or even a Tactic. It quickly comes down to a matter of choice. Buy what you like.

    The best advice, though, that I can give you would be to go to the field where you intend to fly most frequently, and see what folks there are using. At our field, for instance, it comes down to Airtronics and Spektrum. Some Futaba and some JR, but a majority are currently using Airtronics and Specktrum. Again, see what fellow pilots are using and talk to them about it. You will get the best advice and help from those that know the systems they are using.

    CGr.
    Skylark 70 - OS .75 AX; Excelleron 90 - OS 1.20 AX; Venus II - OS 1.20 AX; And, I still fly my trainer, Hanger 9 Alpha - OS .46 FX! Some electrics. Airtronics RD8000 - Spektrum DX7 - DX6i. AMA 705964.
    Semper Paratus!

  24. #24

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION


    After thinking it over more and doing some more looking around I agree that a bigger system is in order. Jester is right, the channels will add up quickly on the Mustang. I have narrowed it down to 3 that I like the most. The airtronics RDS8000, the Hitek Aurora 9 and the Spectrum DX8. Iam really leaning towards the Aurora 9 so far, but the price on the RDS 8000 is hard to beat. Which are the easiest of the bunch to program? Istill need to figure out which servos to go with. Is there any brand better than the others as far as quality for the price. I would like to go with metal geared servos for the Mustang and the Cub.Will plasticgeared servos be enoughfor these planes?I don't want to add extra weight or spend money I don't have to, for that matter.
    As for which radio is in use the most around here, that's easy. Futaba and Airtronics with Futaba at least being 3-4 times more popular. That is what has been readily available out here for years. I never even heard of Hitek or Specktrum until I started looking for radios recently. Thanks for all the help, Ron.

  25. #25

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    RE: NEED HELP WITH RADIO SELECTION

    Just my two cents:
      [*]If possible, get your hands on any radios that are on your list, be it at a local hobby shop, trade show or from guys at your club. Every radio has its own size, shape, weight, switch placement, gimbal feel, ect. If you purchase a Tx that your aren't comfortable with on the ground, it won't feel any more comfortable up in the air.[*]Don't get overwhelmed by all the new terms and options associated with the new radios. I can understand that its hard for old dogs to learn new tricks, but even the most advanced radios can be setup to a simple format and fly a 4 channel trainer.[*]If you hadn't mentioned the 1/5 scale P-51 in your future plans, Iwouldn't have thought twice about upgrading past a 6 or 7 channel radio. But when you get to that project, I guarantee you will want more options at your disposal. Even if it takes you 5 years to get to that P-51, the radios won't have changed as drastically as the upgrade that you are looking at.[*]Iwould always choose a Tx that uses a single battery pack with one connection over one that uses multiple individual cells (AA style, rechargable or not). Removing any weak links in your setup is always the smart thing to do.[*]Look down the road into the future. Items like receivers are not priced the same across each manufaturer. To those with a large fleet of aircraft, this is a big factor.[/list]Anyone you ask will always have their preference, usually jaded by one brand or another, so take any input on the subject with a grain of salt. The truth is that all 4 of the major brand names (Futaba/Spektrum-JR/Hitec/Airtronics) will do the job that you are looking for. They also all have their issuses, albeit usually very minor. Do as much research as you can, and once you make your choice, feel confident in that decision.

      My indorsement would be for the Hitec Aurora 9. While it might look overwhelming, the simplicity of programing along with the vast amount of options makes it a winner in my book. Their pricepoint on all of their products is some of the best in the industry, and Ihave yet to run into a A-9 owner that has had anything bad to say about it. Iupgraded from a Spektrum Dx6i to the A-9 two years ago and it was a great call. For the record, my Dx6i served it purpose well, but as Igot into more advanced setups like warbirds it lacked the depth that I needed. Good luck with your decision, and happy landings!

      Edit: After going back and re-reading your first post, Ithink you might want to get your trainer up and running with your current setup just to find out if the flying part of the hobby is for you. Ihave known a few people that found out it really wasn't the part of the hobby they enjoyed and didn't take it much further than a few buddy box flights. If you are all in on making it happen though, definately go for a setup that will last you a while.



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