How To pick a RC Airplane Radio

By: Gen Wright


Futaba, Spektrum, JR, oh what radio should I buy? The choices appear to be confusing. How do you choose? You're looking for a new, or maybe even your first RC Airplane or Helicopter Radio? So many choices, where does one start?

Well one would need to start by identifying what the radio would be used for.

For instance, one may be interested in only flying small foam airplanes, where a 4 channel radio would fill the need just fine. Or maybe it's a larger airplane with flaps and multiple channels for navigation lights and landing gear along with channel mixing. In this case a radio with 7-12 channels would be needed. As the radios increase in channels, the more programming features will be available for those channels. Let's think ahead.

With the cost of the 2.4 GHz radios coming down, there should be no reason for anyone to consider saving a couple of dollars buying an FM 72 MHz radio that's prone to interference by someone else on the same channel. 2.4 GHz systems with a Spread Spektrum or like technology will allow flyers to concentrate on flying with the peace of mind knowing they can't be touched by someone else on their channel. Interference may lead to flight glitches and your experience will be ruined.

Ok so next, the all so familiar question, what brand should you go for? Well, for those who have been an avid JR or Futaba person, that question will be simple. But for the others, you should look at the Spektrum line very carefully. Spektrum has radios like the 5ch DX5e for basic park flying, or the DX6i, DX7 or the New DX7Se 2048 resolution. These radios allow for faster communication and provides a more connected feel. In other words, you feel more in touch with your craft as you fly.

Each of these radios offers something that no other manufacturer is offering at this time. It's called Bind and Fly (BNF). In essence what that means is you can buy one of the many planes or even helicopters that come as a BNF.

When you get the plane or helicopter all you need to do is follow a very simple procedure to bind the airplane/helicopters built in receiver to your radio and you're ready to fly in less than 5 mins. No building, no installing electronics or anything, all is included in the BNF. So for the time being, Spektrum seems to have the upper hand when it comes to BNF systems.

Both the JR and Spektrum brand radios have been noted as having some of the easiest programming, while Futaba may be a little harder to program from the start, but will soon become very easy with time. For smaller 5-7 channel radio systems, Spektrum seems to be the choice, but when it comes to larger 9-14 channels, then Futaba or JR may be better options.

Always compare cost and functionality before making a purchase. Different models offer different features. Finally, you want to be sure that you look great with the radio controller!

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Air Radios - Spektrum, JR and Futaba Radios, AR7000,AR7600, AR6200 DX5e, DX6i DX7 DX7se. Airplanes and helicopters - Bind and Fly, BNF RC helicopters and Airplanes like Eflite Blade CX CX2 CX3 MCX mSR, Parkzone Bf-109G and Sukhoi

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