Get a good Radio

As I’ve said in the beginning of the Heli post, radios are the heart of your system and if you plan to stay in the hobby for any length of time with any amount of success, you’ll need to start with a decent radio.

But what makes it decent?  This list from Spektrum will give you a good idea:

It’s a description for their DX6i radio. A very popular radio for beginners

It has everything you’ll need to get started, including a 10 model memory. If you make it past the tenth model, it’s a pretty good bet you’re in this for the long haul and you may want to consider a better radio. And if you decide you don’t like the hobby all that much, you’ve not busted the piggy bank on a paper weight. You could even get some of your money back when you sell this very popular radio.

Key Features

  • Full-range 2.4GHz DSMX® 6-channel radio – six channels means you can control up to six things on your heli or plane. Necessary things like throttle, aileraon, elevator, pitch, gyro and rudder. If you’re counting, that’s six. so there are o channels left for adding things like switchcable lighting or retracts on scale helis. Planes on the other hand don’t require that many channels for basic flight control, but can get pretty whacky with add-ons like retracts, lighting, bomb releases, etc.
  • 10-model memory – You’ll find that you will quickly add several models to your collection. And will soon breach the ten model memory limit. Nevertheless, having this expansion capability in the beginning will save you some cash.
  • Airplane and helicopter programming
  • 2 programmable mixes
  • Digital trims with dual speed trim scroll – great fro on site programming and in-flight adjustments
  • Model copy
  • Programmable dual rates –  great fro on site programming and in-flight adjustments
  • Servo monitor
  • Sub Trim — in-flight adjustments
  • Throttle cut – instantly cuts the throttle. On a heli, this is essential to help prevent major rotor damage when you have to autorotate a landing.
  • Trainer mode – If you want the help of an experienced co-pilot, this mode allows a buddy-box so you can relinquish control to your experienced co-pilot if you start to lose it.
  • Travel adjust – adjusting the end-points of your servo travel helps prevent binding.
  • 2-position flap – great for plankers. Flip a switch an go from flight positioned flaps to landing position flaps.
  • 2 swash types: 1 servo/3 servo CCPM — helicopter stuff
  • 3 wing types –  Flapperon, delta or v-tails
  • 5-point graphic throttle curve – good for setting how much power you’re giving to your aircraft along the full travel of the throttle
  • Contrast adjustment – helps you see the LCD screen
  • Differential – I think this Exponential
  • 1500mAh NiMH AA battery
  • 150mA wall charger
  • Graphic pitch curve
  • Gyro adjust: normal, stunt & hold – three modes for your gyro. Gotta have this when you fly CCPM helis
  • Integrated timer – good to help you keep track of how long you’ve managed to keep your heli or plane in the air without crashing. Sometimes you’re having such a good time, you forget, When you forget, you run the risk of over discharging your battery and then you crash.
  • Revolution mixing
  • Roller/selector-user interface
  • Servo reverse
  • Compatible with any existing DSM2® and DSMX receivers

Here’s a link to it on the official Horizon Hobby site:

Another popular radio from HK and Turnigy is the 9XR or 9X. On the price scale, it’s fantastic. It is an open source type radio with lots of add-ons and great stock features. Lots of bang for your buck with this radio. Here’s the link:

Here’s a link to the 9X at the USA Warehouse:

And here is arguably the best radio for the money you can find:

FrSky Taranis.

And the best place to buy it from is Aloft Hobbies.

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