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I need some advice...radios

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Old 12-17-2017, 03:56 PM
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cdub1955
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Default I need some advice...radios

Hello,

I am returning ot the hobby... I have vast experience with past radio systems (futaba and Airtonics), and alot of aircraft experience. I used to build, have flown from trainers to giant scale acrobatic aircraft. I want to just get started with electrics...and am looking at a few trainer options...such as the Sig Kadet, Rascal and others. Where i am struggling is the new radio systems. futaba is still a player, but here are new ones, Spectrum, Hitech etc. Any advice here as for plug and play...using one radio across multiple aircraft types. I don't want AA batteries....as an example.

Thanks
Chris
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Old 12-21-2017, 01:40 PM
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I have the same questions Chris. Seems like too much incompatability between systems. I've been away for a few years too.

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Old 12-21-2017, 08:24 PM
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First you might want to visit this discussion

how-select-your-first-radio
How To Select Your First Radio

cdubb1955 - You have to explain what YOU mean by plug and play. Tell me what that means to you.



Futaba, Hitec, Spectrum, FrSky, JR are all major brands. Airtronics is gone.

The old days of "manual radios", that is radios that had no memories are pretty much gone. You can still get 'em but mostly they are bundled with Ready to fly planes. Most of the radios that you would be considering today have 6 or more channels and have 10 or more model memories. Some have unlimited model memories as they can swap models to memory cards or to your home computer.

In the 2.4 GHz world you pretty much stay with the same brand radio and receiver. They are all 2.4 GHz but they each speak a different protocol. The old days you only had PPM and PCM.

Today you have Spectrum DSM2 and DSMX, Futaba FAST, FASTest, and others. Futaba has theirs adn JR has theirs.

If you are flying Spectrum, the most popular brand, any new Spectrum DSM2/DSMX or compatible receivers from a wide variety of sources will work including Lemon and Orange brands,

Futaba has several protocols and receivers for all of them. FrSky has compatible receivers for Futaba FAAST and there may be others.

Hitec likewise has several protocols and receivers for them. FrSky has compatible receivers for Futaba also.

While it would be nice if they all worked with all brands, they don't. But that is a minor inconvenience. With 2.4 GHz we no longer have to worry about frequency control. The newer pilots don't even know what frequency control means. Just like your blue tooth headset knows how to talk to your phone, your receivers know how to listen to your radio and not mine.


Radios typically have mixing for Airplanes and Helicopters and most also have glider/sailplane programming. Some more advanced than others. So, as long as the radio has:
  • Model memories
  • enough channels
  • the right kind of programming for your model
Any of the radios will fly almost any model.

It is when you get into advanced things were you have to be a little more picky.

If you are flying competition class full house gliders you can fly on 4 channels but will likely want 6-7 channels with glider/sailplane mixing so you can control each surface independently with unique mixing. If your glider has a motor too then you will want 7 or 8 channels.

Same with airplanes and jets. Depending on our level of sophistication you will want at least 6 channels for airplanes and likely at lest 10 for Jets.

If you are flying scale airplanes you might be able to fly on 4 channels but more likely you will want extra channel for smoke and lights and bomb doors and the like. 8 channel radios are common and 16 channel are available. In the old days you might need two radios to fly a really complex scale plane with a log of features. Not today.

2.4 GHz radios have no frequency control concerns and most receivers will do a kilometer/.6 miles or more in range.

Many radios can usually also handle quad copters and drones and many will handle FPV as well.

So figure out what you plan to fly. Come up with the most complex requirements. Chances are many of the mid-range radios can handle most aircraft. So take your pick of any of the brands I listed above and you will be fine.

Last edited by aeajr; 12-22-2017 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by cdub1955 View Post
Hello,

I am returning ot the hobby... I have vast experience with past radio systems (futaba and Airtonics), and alot of aircraft experience. I used to build, have flown from trainers to giant scale acrobatic aircraft. I want to just get started with electrics...and am looking at a few trainer options...such as the Sig Kadet, Rascal and others. Where i am struggling is the new radio systems. futaba is still a player, but here are new ones, Spectrum, Hitech etc. Any advice here as for plug and play...using one radio across multiple aircraft types. I don't want AA batteries....as an example.

Thanks

Chris
I just got a Spectrum DX6. Suits me. I'm more of a park flyer guy. I've got radios back to the mid 60's that all still work. A few on ham band.

Pete
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