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Radio Recommendation

Old 06-02-2016, 03:52 PM
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WBB
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Default Radio Recommendation

Used to fly pattern type planes 30ish years ago (Super Kaos) and have recently gotten the itch to get back into flying again. What is a good radio for pattern/F3A flying now a days? I would rather spend a little more now on a quality radio that I can develop into rather than by a less expensive one now followed by a better later. Looking for quality that meets the need not just every bell and whistle. Thanks for any advise!
Old 06-02-2016, 04:58 PM
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woodie
 
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Luckily for you, the current radio technology is very very good compared to 30 years ago. Most radio brands are very reliable with today's technology.The issue of interference is mostly eliminated with the use of 2.4G spread spectrum.

A lot (if not most) pattern flyers in our area use Futaba. Recently Futaba released the 18SZ radio and many of the Futaba guys have migrated to that radio. It is overkill for most people and easily handles any pattern setup we need. The color touch screen is very easy to use for model setup and adjustments. Once you have used a touch screen radio for programming, it is hard to go back ;-) Futaba also has a 14SG radio that is quite capable for almost anything you want to use it for.

I would strongly recommend you go to a hobby shop or flying field and ask to hold the various models. The current batch of transmitters is much more ergonomic than years ago and making sure the transmitter feels good in your hands is pretty important. Some guys like neckstraps, some like transmitter trays some like to simply hold the transmitter. How you naturally hold the transmitter and how your fingers work with the sticks is pretty important so being able to actually hold the various transmitters might be a good idea.

Woodie
Old 06-02-2016, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by woodie View Post
Luckily for you, the current radio technology is very very good compared to 30 years ago. Most radio brands are very reliable with today's technology.The issue of interference is mostly eliminated with the use of 2.4G spread spectrum.

Woodie
What, Woodie, you mean my Kraft Signature Series is obsolete?

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Old 06-03-2016, 10:40 AM
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I am just now getting into classic pattern planes (DirtyBirdy and Ultrasport) and am wondering if there is any benefit in using a 3-axis control stick like in the old days? Hobby King and Aloft Hobbies sell a 3-axis gimbal for their radios, but not sure if that would fit in my Futaba radio.
Old 06-03-2016, 07:42 PM
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hsukaria

I haven't seen anyone using a single stick radio for many years. If there was a competitive benefit using a single stick radio I would guess a lot more people would be using or asking for that functionality.

Woodie
Old 06-04-2016, 05:37 AM
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I'm happy with my Hitec Aurora 9 radio. It's easy to program and is reliable. Today I would buy the 9X though. It seems many like the Hitec servos. I only have a few myself as I had a collection of other brands from years past.

It might be worth considering what is "most popular" with the pattern pilots in your area. That way if you have programing issues, you have help readily available.

Ken
Old 06-06-2016, 09:16 AM
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Some good points brought up about local support and ergonomics. Almost all will have a solid RF link and many programming options. Model memories, flight modes, switch assign-ability, stick switches are some of the more important features. Serial bus and telemetry are also very useful. Talk to competitors in you area and get an idea of what is valuable.

I flew Airtronics for many years and have been very happy with my upgrade to JR when I joined the team. Majority are JR users in my district. I really like the feel and functionality of the XG11 but some like the smaller case of the other models. From the XG6 through the XG14 lots of great options.
Old 06-06-2016, 09:43 AM
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I actively sport fly a Killer Kaos and a Bridi Sunfly 3 both wheels and water. For many years now have used mostly Hitec and the most current on three A9's and about 56 of the 2.4 hitec receivers - But - and this is a big one, most recently got into Jets and simply run out of channels!

So got initially purchased a Futaba 14SG a medium priced unit and I think eleven various futaba receivers. This Radio and system has been a pleasant surprise as well as a pleasure to use.

Now to the best surprise formerly in my jets the ground support unit of the engines control system consistently detected as many as 400 radio errors during each flight when using the Hitec system. However now with the Futaba system I have not had a single radio error detected on any of my flights.

I still use my hitec stuff on lots of glow and some gas but will ultimately migrate to Futaba regardless of price.

John

Oh and welcome to the forum WBB
Old 06-07-2016, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnBuckner View Post
So got initially purchased a Futaba 14SG a medium priced unit and I think eleven various futaba receivers. This Radio and system has been a pleasant surprise as well as a pleasure to use.
+1 The Futaba 14SG is probably the best bang for the buck tx out there right now.
Old 06-11-2016, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnBuckner View Post
I actively sport fly a Killer Kaos and a Bridi Sunfly 3 both wheels and water. For many years now have used mostly Hitec and the most current on three A9's and about 56 of the 2.4 hitec receivers - But - and this is a big one, most recently got into Jets and simply run out of channels!

So got initially purchased a Futaba 14SG a medium priced unit and I think eleven various futaba receivers. This Radio and system has been a pleasant surprise as well as a pleasure to use.

Now to the best surprise formerly in my jets the ground support unit of the engines control system consistently detected as many as 400 radio errors during each flight when using the Hitec system. However now with the Futaba system I have not had a single radio error detected on any of my flights.

I still use my hitec stuff on lots of glow and some gas but will ultimately migrate to Futaba regardless of price.

John

Oh and welcome to the forum WBB
A friend just bought a 14SG to replace a 14MZ which he found difficult to program. Will the 14 SG be better for him?

Also, I am wondering how the engine control system defines and detects errors? Is there some description of it somewhere?

Jim O
Old 06-11-2016, 11:51 AM
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14 SG is way easier to program. It is cool to have the top radios but you really program them step by step. Miss a step and it does not work. 14SG can be programmed by without the book.
Old 06-13-2016, 02:56 PM
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Having a 14SG and had a 14MZ now an 18MZ, the 14MZ is waaaay easier than the 14SG, unless it is for a beginner?? I'm with Jim O on that one.

And very important, the sticks of the 14SG are garbage compared to the 14MZ, unless a radio is an MZ series, everything falls below, SZ series being the new exception. The 14SG is a great radio nevertheless, and battery last three times that on the 14MZ at least.

Regards
Old 06-14-2016, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by OhD View Post

Also, I am wondering how the engine control system defines and detects errors? Is there some description of it somewhere?

Jim O

Well Jim being rather recently involved in the jet world having achieved the fixed wing jet waiver only maybe a year and half ago. I am speaking of experience primarily with just one engine (Kingtech K60).

The engines onboard computer which controls start up, fuel control as well as shut down and cooling and stores all the engine parameters including any errors in the RF link. For starting and post flight use the GSU (ground support unit) is plugged in externally and can read all of these current parameters as well as all from the previous flight. Its actually an amazing trove of information with such things as total time on the engine whether there was a flame out on a flight and total number of start attempts. Amoung this info is "Radio Errors" actual momentary errors in the RF link of the previous flight or engine run.

Having used the Hitec system for perhaps close to a year all during the training for the turbine waiver typically after every flight there would be anywhere up to 50 errors recorded. later though this started creeping up as high as 400 errors and of course caused alarm. After much head scratching and component change outs including receiver I decided enough and popped for the 14SG. Since more channels also offers less complications with the twin boom jets this was a much needed and desirable feature.

With the 14SG and a recorded 28 flights the radio errors have been and remain zero.

I am not any kind of engineer or teckie so all of the above is just the best I know how to explain it.

John
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Old 06-14-2016, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnBuckner View Post
Well Jim being rather recently involved in the jet world having achieved the fixed wing jet waiver only maybe a year and half ago. I am speaking of experience primarily with just one engine (Kingtech K60).

The engines onboard computer which controls start up, fuel control as well as shut down and cooling and stores all the engine parameters including any errors in the RF link. For starting and post flight use the GSU (ground support unit) is plugged in externally and can read all of these current parameters as well as all from the previous flight. Its actually an amazing trove of information with such things as total time on the engine whether there was a flame out on a flight and total number of start attempts. Amoung this info is "Radio Errors" actual momentary errors in the RF link of the previous flight or engine run.

Having used the Hitec system for perhaps close to a year all during the training for the turbine waiver typically after every flight there would be anywhere up to 50 errors recorded. later though this started creeping up as high as 400 errors and of course caused alarm. After much head scratching and component change outs including receiver I decided enough and popped for the 14SG. Since more channels also offers less complications with the twin boom jets this was a much needed and desirable feature.

With the 14SG and a recorded 28 flights the radio errors have been and remain zero.

I am not any kind of engineer or teckie so all of the above is just the best I know how to explain it.

John
Thanks for the info John. I looked at the manual for the engine and it looks like all they do is look at the pulse width from the receiver to the ECU. I would never expect to see an error there with a Futaba as it will always send pulses within expected limits even if you lost the signal completely. I'm not sure what Hitec does but perhaps they could tell you if you are still interested.

Jim

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