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Back after a multi-year absence from the hobby

Old 10-25-2021, 07:37 AM
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willits18
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Default Back after a multi-year absence from the hobby

I am at a point where I can finally concentrate on building and flying once again. The last field permit I have is from 2015. My radios are all FM-Airtronics, JRs, and a few Futabas. They were working well 10 years ago, but have not been tested or used much since then. When I was last at the field, 6-7 years ago most of the radios were the 2.4Ghz. I think that some still use the old FMs. I now that Airtronics are out of business. Is there anywhere to get these checked out?
Old 10-25-2021, 11:38 AM
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Zeeb
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After having paid for radio service a time or two, may I suggest it'd be a whole bunch cheaper to just buy new 2.4GHz stuff than to have all those old radios "checked out"?
Old 10-25-2021, 01:09 PM
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+1

Do yourself a favor and get a modern radio
Old 10-25-2021, 01:52 PM
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Old 10-25-2021, 02:49 PM
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mongo
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try radio south,
but get an estimate on the cost per radio to check them ouit and re tune and re battery each radio.

probably be a better deal to invest in a new radio or 2 instead.
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Old 10-25-2021, 03:06 PM
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init4fun
 
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While I keep a dozen or so of my old favorites around for nostalgia, I only fly with modern up to date radio equipment. At some point it's gotta be more about what's best for safety than about nostalgia.



Old 10-25-2021, 04:10 PM
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willits18
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All of my radios are FM 72Mgz Gold stickered from the late 1990s. None of mine are computer radios or multi plane radios. I have to change the receiver for each different plane or just change the radio. I thought they would be safe to use. It has probably been 10 years since I used them a lot. I have been keeping the batteries fresh and cycled. That is a neat collection though.
Old 10-25-2021, 07:42 PM
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Call Radio South for the cost to do an equipment check. That will be the deciding factor. Components age and tuning drifts, but likely everything will just need a bit of tweaking. If the batteries are fresh, as replaced not too long ago (a couple of years), and they cycle at full capacity, that is one less worry. Compatible servos are still around. Getting additional receivers will be the tough part, if/when you get to that point. Even new-in-box should be sent in to be checked, again just due to aging. The good news is that it is still all "legal", and with virtually no one else using 72 you won't have to worry about sharing frequencies, causing third order interference, or all the stuff we had to worry about back then.
Many of the new radios have tons of features that we never even dreamed of back in the heyday of 72. But if you're comfortable with what you have....
Old 10-25-2021, 08:24 PM
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Zeeb
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Originally Posted by tedsander View Post
Call Radio South for the cost to do an equipment check. That will be the deciding factor. Components age and tuning drifts, but likely everything will just need a bit of tweaking. If the batteries are fresh, as replaced not too long ago (a couple of years), and they cycle at full capacity, that is one less worry. Compatible servos are still around. Getting additional receivers will be the tough part, if/when you get to that point. Even new-in-box should be sent in to be checked, again just due to aging. The good news is that it is still all "legal", and with virtually no one else using 72 you won't have to worry about sharing frequencies, causing third order interference, or all the stuff we had to worry about back then.
Many of the new radios have tons of features that we never even dreamed of back in the heyday of 72. But if you're comfortable with what you have....
You have to pay the shipping both ways to and from Tony at Radio South. He works full time for AMA now and only messes with radios after hours so it takes a long time to get anything done. There are NO parts for these antiques and the two way shipping alone will cost more than any of them are worth let alone the service charge from Tony to even open the box.

GET REAL you guys!!!!
Old 10-26-2021, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
You have to pay the shipping both ways to and from Tony at Radio South. He works full time for AMA now and only messes with radios after hours so it takes a long time to get anything done. There are NO parts for these antiques and the two way shipping alone will cost more than any of them are worth let alone the service charge from Tony to even open the box.

GET REAL you guys!!!!
Reading back in this thread's posts I see pretty much everyone got real in their answers to Tracy, old radios are cool display pieces but modern radios are the safer bet for keeping the plane intact
Old 10-26-2021, 07:29 AM
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Default Even I, the geezer.

Scrapped out most of my 9 old FM sets. those capacitators DO / DID dry out & cause unreliable operation. Green corrosion in a damp year ? Yes when opened up & PC boards were checked.

RIP
Old 10-26-2021, 12:53 PM
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willits18
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Looks like I will have some time to figure this out. I went by the field yesterday afternoon and it is gone. Most of it is a corn field and the other part has semi trailers parked on it. I tried to email some of the guys but haven't heard back yet. There are plenty of other fields nearby, but I liked this one because it was 10 minutes from my house and everyone is so helpful and congenial. Hopefully I will hear back from some of the guys to see if they moved the field or just disbanded. In the meantime I can get my planes ready and decide what to do about radios. I looked at some new sets on Horizon hobby and noticed they only sell the Tx and Rx as sets now. When I bought my Airtronics back in the day everything was included-Tx, Rx, servos, charger and many accessories. How things have changed!
Old 10-26-2021, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by willits18 View Post
All of my radios are FM 72Mgz Gold stickered from the late 1990s.
Originally Posted by willits18 View Post
I looked at some new sets on Horizon hobby and noticed they only sell the Tx and Rx as sets now. When I bought my Airtronics back in the day everything was included-Tx, Rx, servos, charger and many accessories. How things have changed!
But here's the really great thing, while a lot has changed regarding the TX/RX, the servos you have from the late 1990's will plug right into the modern 2.4 GHZ RX and operate just as they did when connected to your old 72 MHZ equipment. So , beyond getting up to speed on the LIFE receiver batteries we discussed earlier, all you will need will be a new TX/RX setup, and you'll be good to go

Oh, and, sorry to hear about your former field's demise, and hopefully you find someplace else suitable .....
Old 10-26-2021, 02:37 PM
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willits18
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That is probably why they don't sell the sets anymore. I didn't know that. I have a small fortune in servos, extensions, and y harnesses. I also have a bunch of Hitec ends and plugs to adapt my old Airtronics to Hitec/JR .
Old 10-26-2021, 03:05 PM
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willits18
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Do the new 2.4 Ghz TXs still take the battery packs or are they individual now. I was looking on Radical RC and they make LiFE battery packs for the RXs, but I didn't see a listing for the TXs.
Old 10-26-2021, 04:06 PM
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I know I'm alone I my opinion but I do not fly 2.4 Ghz or have a modern radio. I have flown for the last 18 years with Futaba, Airtronics, Hitec, and JR equipment, and never bought a new radio for my personal use. I do not belong to a club or threw a penny away on AMA. I have the privilege to fly in a 1000 acre field in FL any time I want and do with a dozen other guys in the area. Most also fly lipo-foam-electric motor 3-6 minute pilots with 2.4 Ghz. I fly with a 9C radio mostly, .40 size glow powered built up kits and ARFs. The 9C has a dial a crash module and dozens of second hand receivers I've paid very little for, I think all of it was $100. Jerry Pooler is from NE, he also sold me a few 9C radios and a 12ZA radio as well, just in case. I have a TM-7 module that sits in a closet now for 3 years, never took it out of the package.
What I witness is people having brown outs or at least can define what that is, so it happens. They invest in lipo batteries and lipo chargers and regulators. I still use NIMH batteries because they haven't died yet. My Nicads have.
I just bought 4 lipo batteries and 4 regulators for them at $87 from Amazon.

Amazon Amazon


Amazon Amazon

Works good. I have a lipo battery in my transmitter too, 11.1v 3 cell pack. 9C radio takes the overvoltage well now for years without issue. I've yet to ever have a "radio checked out" in the last 18 years, a 100 foot range test with antenna down has been my test to go ahead, why not just stick with that rule if if you encounter a problem, then seek technical help or punt to a used radio? Imagine all the years how much money I've saved not keeping up with the Joneses? I hear all the slime jokes about the awful clean up chores and tuning I must contend with, but I'm the guy that flies in a breeze when they sit out quietly and watch, I'm the guy who has 10-15 minute flight times, and 20 minutes with my four strokes. If I can clean a frying pan, trash can, and a toilet around the house, I certainly can handle 409 spray and paper towel wipe up jobs at the field too.
Get fresh batteries, trust a lousy 7 year hiatus is nothing for electronics, and go enjoy your hobby, and ignore all the nay sayers. Should you encounter a field that won't allow 72Mhz, then you're forced into a Chinese radio for $100.
Futaba today is WAY overpriced in every way, and the programming isn't what it was, the feel is cheap as a free radio that comes with a quad too. I often buy out garage loads of hobby items at once when people in FL give it up due to health issues or die. I dump out the batteries, install new ones, and go fly their stuff like it's just another day. Less building time, more air time. After I sell off a dozen NIB engines and kits they never got too, all the ready to fly stuff is free if not putting me ahead for a few cases of glow fuel each time I locate one of these gold mines.
That's my opinion. Other people shared theirs. But in practice, I've encountered fewer problems, as in zero problems, and saved a ton of money in the process. Should you abandon your radios, PM me, I'll take them off your hands, send you videos of me using them for the next two years with a smile on my face. Whatever you bought to replace it, will be obsolete and everyone will tell you to get the newer latest and greatest must have radio with MP3 player, 48 channels, GPS, tests stool samples...I just mix, expo, fly and trim the last 18 years, never needed to do anything else. I can't remember when I last crashed either, but I still giggle like a boy when I watch others do it.

Last edited by J330; 10-26-2021 at 04:09 PM.
Old 10-26-2021, 07:28 PM
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for most part, a simple voltage regulator set at 4.8-5 volts will make the 2 or more cell life/lipo batteries ok to use with your older RX systems. for the TX systems a 3 or more life/lipo pack and a regulator set at 9.6-10 volt will work.

all your stock of servos will be ok at 5 v.
and if you get new radio/rx, you can still use the servos you have, as long as the RX does not operate in HS(high speed) mode. that option will burn up the electronics in the servos.

you can get good quality newer 2.4 stuff in the classified sections here, at rcg, and flying giants, and a few other forums. generally at good pricing, when and if you want to.
Old 10-26-2021, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by willits18 View Post
That is probably why they don't sell the sets anymore. I didn't know that. I have a small fortune in servos, extensions, and y harnesses. I also have a bunch of Hitec ends and plugs to adapt my old Airtronics to Hitec/JR .
PLEASE, eliminate the term "y harness" from your vocabulary..... Most new 2.4GHz systems have more than enough channels to eliminate the need for "y harnesses". More to the point; most Spektrum systems tell you NOT to use Y-harnesses, especially amplified splitting harnesses.
Old 10-27-2021, 06:09 AM
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Why does Spectrum NOT want anyone to use a Y cable ? For 40 years all companies have had no problems.
Old 10-27-2021, 06:11 AM
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JR says a lot of things, don't use Y harnesses, don't use lipo batteries, and Futaba, Hitec, and others do not make such claims because they do not suffer brown outs and sudden death like JR is. That's one more reason to stay with your older gear.
No reason to abandon all of your solid radio gear. Reminds me of a guy that bought a new car to save gas, but the gas savings were more than offset by big insurance premiums, a big car payment when the former was paid off, with more expensive tires, synthetic oil changes, etc., and as it turns out, lots of recalls and trips to the dealer to argue electrical issues so many cars suffer today but do not have a recall, so you're fighting who pays what. But he's saving gas and looks sharp in a new car!
Anything made today, doesn't have the quality of older gear, doesn't feel as solid as older gear either. They feel like they should be $50 tops, and that's really all they are worth. They're going to be sold at a fraction in price 4 years from now. My 12ZA was just $200. I saw a JR9303 sell for $85 shipped last night on RCG with a receiver. I picked up a 2.4 Futaba 7C with two 617 receivers for $90 shipped last night as well. People pay that for just the receivers alone and come up short. Used 12FGA for little money now. https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...-Futaba-T12FGA Why throw away money on the latest and greatest to fly fixed wing RC? I'll take today's 2021 radios in 4 years and experience the technology at the right price at that time, if I need to get into 2.4 and stop using my 9C dial a crash module any time soon.
Nah, stick with used gear. Focus on your flying and making sure your planes are in good flying order instead of putting away Y harnesses. Besides, with FAA hanging rules over our heads more and more, why make a big investments if things become short term for all of us, or transponders and sanctioned fields kill the hobby more than it already is? Being modest in your spending right now isn't bad advice for anyone right now. See what happens in 2-3 years.

Don't forget to put numbers on your aircraft.

Last edited by J330; 10-27-2021 at 06:22 AM.
Old 10-27-2021, 11:46 AM
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I second what J330 wrote in both his posts. If your existing gear checks out fine then use it for now. Easy to update batteries with regulators if you choose too.

My radio fleet consists of both modern 2.4 (Futaba 12FGA, 18MZ WC, 16IZ and Spektrum NX10). The 12FGA is both 2.4 and 72mhz capable. For 72mhz I have Futaba 9ZAP, 9CHP and premium 30 year old Futaba 8SAP and several 8SSAP (Single Stick) that are used regularly. The 72 gear has been checked out several times and given clean bills of health by Tony at Radio South, and believe me he is thorough in his service.

Take your time getting back into the hobby so you can make informed choices in future radio purchases. There are both good systems and bad out there so research and spend wisely.

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