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Questions about radios

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Old 01-26-2005, 07:13 PM
  #1  
RickAvery
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Default Questions about radios

I'm currently searching for a new radio. The only radio I've had is the hitec single conversion 72mhz, AM 3 ch unit that came with my first sky scooter. Certainly not a top of the line unit but it has been bullet proof when flying sky/space scooters and flying wings. Now I've put together a GWS A-10 with twin brushless motors and it appears that the old trusty AM unit isn't up to the task of dealing with all of the noise generated by the twin set up. I've looked all over and read about different radios but I'm mired down with all of the options and features. PCM, QPCM, and a pile of others. As my hanger is growing, the idea of having a digital radio that remembers several different planes and their trims sounds very nice. But right now I need something that will deal with the noise from the already mentioned A-10. MAjor glitching problems. The hitec vs. futaba, vs JR, vs. airtronics appears to be a debate with no end or winner. Most like what they have and are comfortable with. My guess is that they're probably all pretty good quality units. It would seem form many forums that hitec has it over the rest when it comes to customer service. I'm looking for a 6 or 7 ch box. What are the main differences between the aforementioned manufacturers and their radios? Why would one be better than another? Thanks
Rick
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Old 01-26-2005, 09:12 PM
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CFIMEI
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Default RE: Questions about radios

Hi Rick,

I can't say authoritativley which radio brand is best. I've had Futaba, JR, Cannon & HiTec over the 22 years I and my son have been playing with this stuff. I had the various types at different times in the evolution of the state-of-the-art so it's hard to directly compare them. Now I have 3 Tx's, all HiTec: a Flash 5x, an Eclipse 7 & most recently an Optic 6. Flash 5 has been great but didn't have some programming features I wanted. I use it mainly with slope gliders. Eclipse is OK. Optic 6 has at least one serious software defect & until it's resolved I'd avoid that model. If they do fix it it will likely become my favorite Tx to date.

With receivers, I like the FMA M 5's as they are dual conversion, have digital processing & to my observation are the only small Rx's with doubly balanced diode mixers in the front end. I have no real complaints against the two Bergs I own & I have a synthesized Sombra Shadow on order (for scientific investigation, you understand.)


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Old 01-26-2005, 10:03 PM
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Kamikazi
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Default RE: Questions about radios

Hi Rick,

As you probably know, I also have one of the HiTec AM radios that I got with my first Sky Scooter - and is now serving on my Mega powered Space Scooter. In my experience, that AM radio is very solid. Not quite the range of a top quality FM receiver, but still much better than the cheezy GWS FM receivers. Contrary to popular opinion, AM radios are not inherently inferior to FM. Interesting article [link=http://www.torreypinesgulls.org/Radios.htm]here[/link].

Anyway - I would not automatically assume that a different radio will solve your problem. Yes, a PCM radio with a failsafe may appear to reduce the glitching, but most likely the problem will still be there - just 'masked' by the failsafe. You will still loose control if you are overloading the receiver with noise. I'd try moving the radio and antenna further from the motor/ESC if possible. I've had nasty glitching on a brushless Heli caused the the magentic field around the motor leads.

I have a lot of different recievers. A HiTec Supreme 7SS and Supreme 8. A Futaba FP-R127DF, two HiTec HFS-04MG's, A Berg 4 and a Berg 6 GIII. Also an FMA M5 and a Polk Micro 6 Seeker (synthesized). All work just fine, but I prefer the Berg receivers.

I own a HiTec Eclipse 7 (plus about 4 other non-computer radios) - mainly just because it was the cheapest computer xmitter I could find with the features I wanted + a synthesizer module. It may not be quite as easy to program as a JR or Futaba, but it's not really that hard once you've done it a few times.
A real 'sleeper' bargain right now is the Polks Hobbies Tracker III 6ch or Tracker III 8ch. They come with 6 or 8 channel synthesized receivers and the transmitters themselves are synthesized. No crystals at all! The prices are amazing for what you get. The only reason I haven't bought one is because they don't have a Heli mode.

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Old 01-26-2005, 11:35 PM
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Default RE: Questions about radios

Hi Rick

As you pointed out, the major manufacturers are pretty much the same, the competition is harsh, and that is good for the buying public.

Beware of falling into the trap of using the perceived high level of service and support as indicative of a good product. I am not saying that some products are inherently bad, but consider WHY some manufacturers have such active technical service & support departments.

If you compare a Rolls Royce automobile with a Kia, there is no argument that the two are not of the same quality. Have you noticed how few Rolls Royce service centers there are? It boils down to you gets what you pays for. (BTW - I am not saying that the Kia is a bad product, just different.)

I have had radio rigs from most of the major manufacturers and have never experienced problems that required repair, warranty or otherwise. I have never had any problem with any manufacturers service centers when I sent my units in for the annual service. So, much of the sameness there.

You will have to decide what your expectations and needs are, along with your budget, and then decide what to purchase.

I currently have the following TX's:

1 Futaba 9ZAP WC2
1 Futaba 9CAP
2 JR PCM10
1 Hitec Prism 7
1 Futaba 6EXA

They are all GREAT products, used for different types of aircraft.

Safe Flying!
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