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Choosing a new radio

Old 03-25-2011, 02:59 AM
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Default Choosing a new radio

Hello all

I flew airplanes for 11 years from 1986 to 1997 using Futaba & Airtronics Radio's.
I have been out of the hobby for about 14 years now and boy have things changed.I justpurchased a beautiful Hanger 9 Taylorcraft 20cc . Every thing has changed so much that i'm not shur what radio to buy .I would like one with 7 channels and i know it should be 2.4G.

So i guess i'm trying to find out what radio gives the most bang for the buck ????

1 Spektrum DX7

2 Futaba 7C

3 Airtronics SD-10G

Thanks for any input and can't wait to fly againI shur did miss it.
Old 03-25-2011, 05:10 AM
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Default RE: Choosing a new radio

Airtronics hands down is the best bang for the buck. I Bought a SD10G a few months ago and I LOVE IT! Programing is stupid easy and it is reliable. The only down side is that the screen is smaller than the Futaba or JR. I dont look at the screen much when I fly, so it is not that big of an issue. The best part is you can get an 8 channel receiver for $75
Old 03-25-2011, 05:39 AM
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Default RE: Choosing a new radio

Take a look at the Hitec Aurora 9 Hands down the best value on the market today.

$349.00 W/ 7 channel receiver, freight free and another $25.00 off with coupon
Old 03-25-2011, 06:31 AM
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Default RE: Choosing a new radio

The Airtronics is probably the best bang for the buck. People who have 'em like the Hitec Aurora's and say the programming is really easy but I for one hate the antennna setup on that radio and there are a couple of things you need to be aware of with it like how it picks it's frequencies, in a high use environment it could actually scan itself out of channels if the wrong setting is used. The DX7 has been discontinued.

The Futaba 8FG has recently been re-released as the "Super" and actually has 14 channels available now. The new Spektrum DX8 has lots of new innovations as well as a complete departure from the old style programming making it very user friendly.

Of the bunch, the Spektrum radios offer the greatest range of rx's for different applications at pretty reasonable prices and all of the nifty little BNF models coming out of Horizon or Eflite require a Spektrum tx so that may be a consideration for you keep in mind. Futaba rx's are more money and a lot fewer options. The fewer options issue is the same for Hitec and Airtronics and the real issue with Airtronics, is that the rx's are for the most part unavailable.

When it comes to CS after the sale, Horizon is great, Hitec is great, I've seen reports of the Airtronics having great CS but I have no personal experience with them, Futaba not so much in my experience.

IMHO, one important aspect that gets overlooked is how a tx feels in your hands? You may have one all picked out based on capabilities, price and so forth but when you pick it up it just doesn't feel right in your hands. If at all possible, suggest you try to handle any radio you think you might like either at your LHS or possibly at the local club since not a lot of hobby shops have all the radios in question for you to check out.

Hope that helps...
Old 03-25-2011, 06:48 AM
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Default RE: Choosing a new radio

My suggestion would be to talk with the guys that you are going to be flying with. An experienced flyer that can help you with your new radio may be very valuable. Just watch out for the Spectrum stuff. They are just now coming out with a new "DSMX" frequency hopping mode and the older equipment will become obsolete very soon I would think. If you go that route, be sure you are getting the latest model. At my field the Futaba 8 channel is popular along with the Aurora 9, and of course a lot of the Spectrum and JR radios. The Airtronics is very interesting and priced right, but no one has one that I have seen yet. This is a great time to be buying a new radio, it is definitely a "buyers" market.
Old 03-25-2011, 04:01 PM
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Default RE: Choosing a new radio


Take a look at the Hitec Aurora 9 Hands down the best value on the market today.

$349.00 W/ 7 channel receiver, freight free and another $25.00 off with coupon
I 2nd the Aurora 9, I bought this radio last year and love it. Do some searching. I paid approx $500 and it came with 4 receivers. I am also running Hitec servo's.

All the modern radio's are pretty comparable, just like talking Ford vs Chevy vs Chrysler.
Good Luck!!
Old 03-25-2011, 07:17 PM
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Default RE: Choosing a new radio

I would recommend the DX8. I upgraded from a DX7 (that I loved) but like posted above is discontinued. I think you get a great deal of features for your money with the 8, DSMX/DSM2, telemetry, audible/vibe alarms, ease of set up, feels nice in your hands... For around $400 you get TX, RX, Telemetry. This is a great radio. I hear many good things about the others listed as well. One other thing, I have been eyeing that Taylorcraft for some time now and it might be my next plane. Have fun!


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Old 03-26-2011, 04:15 AM
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Default RE: Choosing a new radio

The Heath Kit single stick is what you want. I know because I says I do, now go buy one.
Old 03-27-2011, 03:49 PM
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Default RE: Choosing a new radio

You might want to check if any of your friends has an old Futaba 9 Channel around that they are giving up. Buy the 2.4 module and either 7 or 8-channel receivers.
Plug in the 2.4 module in place of the old FM module on the back and bind the new receiver. DONE! They just plain work. We even had a receiver battery pack failure to 3.6 volts and could control the plane into a safe landing.
We are flying some very large 80-to over 100 inch span warbirds and a 12 foot, 4-gas engine B-17, and assorted other smaller planes with "NEVER" so much as a bump, glitch or stop into failsafe.
Seems that some of the other brands are having some issues.
None we have experienced or heard of with the Futaba conversion. I do not know about the other brands first hand as my Futabas work and no need to get one of those.
We even have some BNF's from Horizon, throw out their receiver, put in a futaba receiver, and fly iT!
Old 03-27-2011, 05:28 PM
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Default RE: Choosing a new radio

I just strted using my Hitec A9 and love it. It replaced a DX7. Very easy to use, has touch screen and telemetry. I think Hitec is still offering a deal where you can send in proof of purchase along with 40.00 for TWO 7 channel receivers.
Old 03-28-2011, 05:31 PM
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Default RE: Choosing a new radio

I have been flying a futaba 6ex 2.4gig. It is not much of a radio....IMHO. When I upgrade it will be a Futaba 8FG 2.4. Why Futaba? No rational reason, they were good stuff when I got out of RC in 1980. When I got back in I remembered Futaba was good. Silly huh? I do agree with one of the previous posts that the manufacturer choice is largly a personal decision.

I do have an older 1990-ish top end radio a FP-T9VAP. I could add a module but, it would still be an old radio . The switches and other controlls are not intuitive to me and oddly situated for my sensibilities. The programming is awkward, and it is really heavy too.

What ever you do get one good radio and stick with it. If you always fly the same radio you will never have to look to flip a switch. It is like shooting, "beware of the man with one gun". Same with radios, if you always fly the same box it will all be in muscle memory. You will also spend less time with the manual when it is time to program something.
Old 04-01-2011, 10:41 PM
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Default RE: Choosing a new radio

A9 just bought one best radio out there comes with one reciever get another free till the end of the month . First radio i have ever owned that I could program without looking at the manual . If you live in southeastern MI come out to the field

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