On this page I’ll attempt to list a little bit about the radio gear I use, for my aircraft and also for my cars. Including any observations, problems or nice features I find along the way.
When I was starting to look around for a new aircraft radio after some 15-20 years out of the hobby, the first thing I noticed was how much computerisation has changed what the average radio could do! I used to have a Futaba Challanger, 5 channels if I remember correctly. It had dual rates and servo reversing but that was it. I remember digital mixing was just starting to appear, my first was a kit for Elevon mixing which I had to solder and build myself. There was no way I could afford the mixers from the big brands like Futaba at the time.
Fast forward a few years and I find myself looking around for a new radio, I’ve no idea what happened to the Challenger, suffice to say it wasn’t around any more! I had a look at some models from Futaba, Sanwa and JR (all my local model shop had in stock at the time), out of the few I handled the JR felt the most comfortable in my hands. I figured they all had roughly comparable features and I wasn’t likely to be outgrowing any of them for a good while so comfort of use was as a good a reason to pick one over another!
I happened to spot a good looking XP6102 come up on eBay, it lacked servos and a receiver but I figured I’d be putting mini servos in the Easystar anyway and a receiver wouldn’t be hard to come by. A few bids later and it was mine, top marks to the seller, it was as described; spotless. The thing didn’t look like it had ever been used. I’ve had it for 4 years now, its flown 3 models countless times in that time and it has never missed missed a beat. Just recently I’ve started to use the mixing facility with the flaperons on the my recent purchase, the Multiplex Merlin.
I’ve recently been thinking about switching to 2.4Ghz, there are a few reasons for this some of which are:
- I quite fancied updating the Kyosho Minium to something a bit more aerobatic, and although a lot of the parkzone/eflite range come with transmitters in a ready to fly form, the ability to use my own transmitter with Expo and Dual rates was interesting.
- I don’t own much radio ‘gear’, having only got a single Receiver, however I was about to purchase two more; maybe switching before buying more 35Mhz equipment would be sensible.
- I often fly on a public site down on the Isle of Wight; I always check to make sure nobody else is flying before turning on my radio equipment, and if there is anybody else I check our frequencies are different. Recently however, I was happily flying on my own when I suffered a couple of weird control movements which I had difficulty explaining, I’m still a novice so I assumed it was something I had done. After packing up and starting to drive down the hill I discovered somebody else was flying lower down on another slope, sure enough his frequency and mine matched. I guess this is a problem with unmanaged public fields, its a risk I guess we all take if we fly anywhere other than an organised club patch. Another reason I thought moving to 2.4Ghz might not be a dumb plan!
Right, so decision made then! the JR goes onto eBay with my receiver, and a new 2.4Ghz set will be purchased.
So… which 2.4Ghz set to buy, I wanted something DSM(2) compatible because I wanted to have access to Parkzone, Eflite and other BnF aircraft. This pretty much meant I had to choose another JR or a Spektrum. JR having recently dropped DSM compatibility for their top end sets made me think that maybe they are moving away from it as a protocol this left me a little unsure if I wanted to invest in their kit. This and having had a good experience with the DX3S I use with my cars lead me to think I’d try Spektrum again.
I wanted something that had better mixing than the X2610, I fly gliders a bit and I’d like to be able to have flaperons AND spoilers, the JR only being able to do one or the other. I’m also considering a bigger glider with a 4 servo wing, so crow breaking would be handy too. This meant the DX5 and DX6 were out, the DX10 was out because of cost; leaving me with the DX7 and DX8. I’ve no idea why but something told me that the DX7 (even in SE guise) was the oldest TX in the Spektrum range, and was surely due for replacement soon. Not wanting to buy the oldest on offer and having found the DX8 recently drop in price I went for that. Ordering myself the TX and RX combo, the RX being a perfect fit for the new Wot 4 which was in the planning stages.
My feeling about the DX7 being the oldest in the range was correct, the day after I received the DX8 I notice Spektrum have launched the updated DX7, based on the 8!
Futaba Attack and then a Spektrum Dx3s – more later, eBay didnt work out quite so well the second time around! .