RCU Forums

RCU Forums (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/)
-   RC Radios, Transmitters, Receivers, Servos, gyros (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/rc-radios-transmitters-receivers-servos-gyros-157/)
-   -   Evolution of RC Radio Equipment (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/rc-radios-transmitters-receivers-servos-gyros-157/5710687-evolution-rc-radio-equipment.html)

Phantom 1 04-13-2007 02:40 PM

Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Having been asked to show some old radios, I decided to make this video that you may be interested in. I know there is older stuff out there too, but this is what I have so far.

Enjoy, and happy flying.
[link=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OTIPp0Iwxw]Evolution of RC radios from Dave and John.[/link]

davewallace 04-13-2007 03:59 PM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Phantom 1,
That brings back many old memories. One thing that most people today forget or are not aware of is the first proportional radios, which were not digital. They were analog systems. I can't recall now if the Sampy 404 brick or Space Control came out first. They were both analog systems with three servos built into the receiver. The aileron servo was separate. They were heavy and sensitive to temperature changes. As the day warmed up your servo neutral would drift. The first digital systems were a big improvement. The big break through for many modelers was the introduction of the PCS system in about 1966 for $299. Wow, what a price for a 5 channel propo system. I think that the Sampy 404 was the first analog propo system and it came out in late 1958 or early 1959. My first digital system was a F&M five channel, which I paid $550 and waited two months for. That was a lot of money in 1965.:D


Phantom 1 04-13-2007 04:09 PM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Thanks Dave,
Yep, lots of old stuff you talk about too, that I forgot about. Wish I had some of that for a video. Do you still have any of it?
Your right about the price.
Back in the days that Citizen-Ship Reeds 6 ch receiver cost $99 as you saw in the video. In 1955 that was a LOT of money.
When I worked at Kraft Systems in 79, our Signature series TX cost 999.00 and the Single Stick $1299. That was a lot of money then too.

Now I have some toys like the Havoc and Refex that cost under $50 with speed controller RX and transmitter. (those videos are on Youtube under my profile NightFlyyer.
Now with outrunners and LiPos, who know what is next. Thanks for your comments and happy flying. How old are you?

rcfury 04-14-2007 12:29 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Granted i wasn't around to know all the older transmitter and receivers especially the electronics for models. However my father had a small radio control fad back in the 60's and at the same time was a electrical engineer, so he does know how most of these systems worked. One of his biggest hobbies was electrical work and at that time Heathkit was a big company producing electrical kits. Besides the abundance of Ham radio transmitters and receivers he had built from these kits one of them was the Heathkit digital 5 and some of the Kraft servos. Too bad he don't have them around anymore, he still does have some of the manuals. Just amazing stuff.

Phantom 1 04-14-2007 12:42 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Hi RCFury,
That is great. I had a couple of Heathkits too. Mine had white cases and a plug in RF modules. When I started working for Kraft Systems in Vista Cal, til they went out of business, I was surprised that the Heathkit radios were all provided by Kraft.
We had boxes and boxes of white servo and RC cases. I built one of the Heathkit Color tvs (Provided by Zenith) and still have all the circuit boards. Fun stuff. Don't we all wish we still had some of that old stuff?
Thanks for your comments.

dragoonpvw 04-14-2007 06:00 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Its pretty funny really, the F and M five Channel in 1965 and the Kraft single stick in 1979 when adjusted for inflation both come out to about $3500 dollars. Makes the 14mz look like a bargain. Interesting stuff, thanks.
good luck

Flypaper 2 04-14-2007 09:42 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
I still have an old F&M Matador reed trans. and rcvr, an ED single channel trans., EK Logitrol Champion with the Brick layout. I remember building the Otarion rcvr With a relay with a strip of brass soldered to the movable piece to make a servo arm. It was galloping ghost home built shoulder wing, about 15 in. wingspan with a Cox .010 for poop. I could actually control it, which was something back then.:D First propo was PCM. Still have an add on the wall with a pic of Whatsername. Just for nostalgia mind you.:)

davewallace 04-14-2007 06:57 PM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Hi Dave,
I don't have any of my really old stuff. Back then I sold things that I didn't need for as much as I could get. I only had one radio system for years. Money was tight back then. Hey now that I'm retired, it still is.:D


avinut 04-15-2007 04:49 PM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
[size=7]Nice post phantom 1. I knew someone out there must have more radios than I do!

dirtybird 04-16-2007 05:59 PM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
The first four function proportional system was Quadruplex made in New Jersey. It did not have closed loop servos. Space Control was the first closed loop analog proportional system. Sampey was much later on the market- about 1962. Space Control sold to Orbit and became the Orbit analog system. The first digital proportional was put out by Doug Spreng called Digicon. It was not a commercial success. It was modified and upgraded by Bill Cannon and was sold as Digicon 11 by C&S (Cannon and Spreng) F&M,Bonner,Kraft,Microavionics,and PCS all appeared at about the same time. PCS was a little later.

Flypaper 2 04-16-2007 06:36 PM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
I still have a Cannon rcvr. and a couple of servos. Small even by todays standards.

BobHH 04-17-2007 08:56 PM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
1 Attachment(s)
Well guys, I too have a few older radios. Only difference is most of mine work and some are being flown again. I currently have 2 single channel escapment units, 1 reed system, 2 galloping ghost and 6 single channel pulsers flying along with World Engines, Orbit and Citizenship digital systems. Remember 27 mHz is still legal!! I enjoy tinkering with the older stuff as well as putting it back in the air again. We have the MidSouth Vintage RC Society flyin here on May 26 and 27 where you can see many of these systems working again. Check out the Vintage RC Society at www.vintagercsociety.org. Here are a few of them!!


Bob Harris

Four Stroker 04-17-2007 09:30 PM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment

Thanks for clearing that up. The first analog proportional that I remembered was an Orbit. It was very expensive. I worked on several Citizenship analog sets. These were extemely slow to respond - seems like about 1 second. My first digital set was a Bonner 4RS.

I miss the machine work in these early systems. You got a chunk of metal for your money. The new premium systems seem like plastic toys.

Phantom 1 04-17-2007 11:41 PM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Great pictures! And to all you others who commented or emailed me, hearing the names of the other brands was nostalgic. It is all very interesting.

When I made that video, it was simply to show some of the younger people the general direction in which the
modern radios came from.

I never meant to imply that I knew more about it than you guys seem to, since it seems that my comment
about Phil Kraft (in this video and also in my crossed trims video) started the controversy.

I would like to see some of you make a video, since you have lots to offer too.

Having worked with Phil Kraft closely (and daily) in his Signature Series line for 4 years, I got to know the man very well.

He hired me because I wrote a "how to" article in Model Aviation Magazine (Dec 1979) when I designed a simple half rate circuit,
you could add to your radios.

Phil read it, called me, and hired me.

Phil Kraft was always called the father of RC at the plant, showing more Kraft Radios were in use than any others at the time.

Anyway after working for Kraft til they closed, I opened an RC repair shop (IRCS, International Radio Control Center) and also became the repair service for Joe Bridi's radio line he had just purchased, called Proline.

So I never had any reason to dispute it til now, because Phil always stood FIRMLY on the fact that Jerry Pullen, invented the first successful Digital Proportional circuit, and Phil built his company around it, mass manufacturing those famous Gold Radios.

I have his first radio, as you saw in the video, and am proud to own it.

So no offense to you all. If I am wrong, I stand corrected. My apologies.

Last I heard, before I retired last year and moved back here to the Midwest, Phil was still flying his full size Super Fli out of the Oceanside, Ca. airport.

Regards to all the RC manufacturers. You all deserve Kudos.

Happy flying..
This attachment is a GIF, but it doesn't seem to run reduced, you must click full size... Must be a reeds...ha ha ha

Flypaper 2 04-18-2007 06:49 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Hey, no need to apoligize to anyone. I read on another thread a while ago about gyrocopters. Hal Debolt frequented it quite a bit as it was one of his pet projects before he died. He would give advice to the younger lads on how to set them up, the aerodynamics and such. Really made me feel bad when they put him down as some old geezer who didn't know what he was talking about. They knew more than he did. He did as much for our understanding of aerodynamics in modeling as Phill did for the radios. Such is progress. They'll never know.

dirtybird 04-18-2007 11:19 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Phill Kraft would probably know best about who invented the Digital system. I think Doug Spreng invented the servo that made all of it possible. He did not seek a patent,though, so maybe he did not invent it. You might ask him, I think he is still with us. Eloy Marez is still with us would know. He worked at Orbit at the time.
When PCS came out I was interested in buying one and called the factory talking to Cliff Wireik. Jerry Pullen was Cliffs partner at the time. He said Jerry Pullen was not the inventer of the digital system. I know that Frank Hoover of F&M had a hand in it. At least he was the one that made Sprengs Digicon work. I had one of the Digicon 11's. It was a battery hog as it used Bonners servos. It also had a ring multivibrator as the pulse train generator that had a nasty habit of starting in the wrong mode. It had a built in fail safe.
I later purchased a PCS that was a bit lighter and easier on the batteries as it used Kraft KPS-7 servos. It did not have a fail safe. I ask Cliff about that and he said he thought you were better off without it. Today we use PCM and seem to think we are better off with it.
In the early 70's I was the Kraft and Logictrol rep for the Seattle area. Cliff, at that time working for Kraft, fired me for paying too much time at the Logictrol booth at the Northwest show.

Phantom 1 04-18-2007 11:35 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Thanks for those comments Dirtybird. I think I will give Phil a call. I loved those cross trims too that we built into the Kraft Signature series radio so changed my latest radios. Did you see my video on that?
Enjoy. [link=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msEfyh3xGtg]What the heck is Crossed trims?[/link]

BobHH 04-18-2007 11:58 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Guys, Not sure if you were aware that Phil Kraft passed away in April of last year. A great modeler and radio pioneer.

Bob Harris

Phantom 1 04-18-2007 12:01 PM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
Thanks Bob.
I am sorry to hear that.

dirtybird 04-19-2007 09:31 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
I remember those crossed trims. When I was the Kraft rep. people used to bring the radio to me complaining the factory wired it wrong and put the trims in the wrong place. Too bad they did not put out a manual explaining things.
In those days Futaba was imported by MRC and was absolute junk. My how things have changed.

PJ_TankPilot 04-19-2007 10:56 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
1 Attachment(s)
Nice video.

I flew RC the first time in (I think) 1957. I don't have any of the equipment I used. All I have left is this picture.

I think it was a Citizenship xmit, homebrew single tube recv, DeBolt LiveWire trainer, rubber powered escapement and K&B .15.

I was successful about 1/3 of the flights. The others ended up in trees. Essentially it was a guided (sometimes) free flight.

It was a lot of trouble and kinda boring so I went back to ukies only.

I don't remember the year I saw Babcock equipment for the first time. The receiver was huge and expensive with multiple tubes and a vibrator, just like a car radio. They worked flawlessly.

We knew good proportional was coming. (I didn't think Gallopin Ghost worth the trouble.) I skipped reeds and got back into it around 1970.

Phantom 1 04-19-2007 11:04 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
1 Attachment(s)

Hey, that is a great picture PJ_TankPilot. You look pretty young there! That is funny about it being guided (sometimes).

Ahhhh, the good ole days, eh?

PJ_TankPilot 04-20-2007 09:41 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment

Ahhhh, the good ole days, eh?
Where is winking Smiley Face ?

A decent radio in the early 70's cost two months pay and you probably flew on 27 Mhz, the citizens trash bands. Interference was considered normal. Frequency control was a colored strip on your xmitter antenna. Many places to fly were hand launch only.

Remembering the 'Good Ole Days' makes me appreciate what we have today. However, it would be nice if the price of balsa was the same as back then.

Phantom 1 04-20-2007 10:40 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment
1 Attachment(s)
Winking Smiley Face? ha ha ha. That is really funny.

Your so right about being appreciative of what we have today. Guess that is why I made the video.

Kids nowadays don't realize where we all came from and the frustrations of it all, including the History of this great country.

I just finished a video on the ESky Helicopter.

I invented the first electric tail rotor motor (Ishimasa Skylark EH-1) and also the tail rotorless helicopter for Kyosho, and wow, was that frustrating, since batteries were heavy nicads and speed controllers were Novaks and Victor Engineering's.

Victor Kmosek especially made a speed controller to run my electric tail rotor prototypes, to send to Japan.

There are actually a couple of pictures of them in my latest video, where Electric tail rotor motors are now the norm.
We have come a long way since then and I am glad.

You might enjoy watching this.

[link=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLu1xznmzHA]E-Sky Heli, Electric Tail Rotor Motor CCPM[/link]

jcw111 04-20-2007 11:59 AM

RE: Evolution of RC Radio Equipment

Where do you fly in Phx? I fly at the SVF field. You sound about my vintage. Started in Rc in 1953. Cleveland Ohio. Remember those early years very well.

Jim Whitney

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:59 AM.