Radio controlled models need some radio equipment to operate! This may come as no surprise to most of you.

The type of radio equipment to choose can be quite complicated, unless you buy an all in one package where the radio equipment is included.

The equipment basically consists of the following parts:

  • Transmitter
  • Receiver
  • Servos
  • Gyro
  • Battery

One main consideration use to be the type of transmitter/receiver combination to use. This is split into the 2.4GHz digital systems or the older 35MHz (UK & Europe) or 72MHz (USA & Canada) FM systems. These days there is no consideration needed as only the 2.4GHz digital systems are sold and their reliability and security have left the old FM systems behind.

The FM systems also have two encoding systems called PPM and PCM, the latter being a more secure digital coding system. The FM system is split into a number of channels that is normally selected by inserting a crystal of the required channel into the transmitter and receiver. Some advanced radios have a synthesiser built in so you can simply select the required channel without having to plug a crystal in.
The 2.4GHz system also has some varying flavours of coding depending on manufacturer. In general I would suggest anyone starting into the hobby now only chooses a 2.4GHz system as there is less chance of interference and no need to choose a channel. As interference is increased when flying an electric helicopter due to the high currents involved a 2.4GHz system is highly desirable! Newer versions of the DSM coding system (DSMX) now support telemetry so you can monitor flight data being transmitted back from the model!

Another choice to make is how many control channels or functions do you need? Generally for helicopters a minimum of a 5 channel system should be purchased to control the following functions:

  • Throttle
  • Elevator
  • Ailerons
  • Pitch
  • Rudder

An additional channel may be required to allow for Gyro gain control so a 6 channel radio is the ideal minimum.

If you do not purchase a model with included transmitter and go for the bind and fly (BNF) option then I would suggest you buy a Spektrum DX7S or the newer DX7 (2015) DSMX transmitter.
Spektrum DX7s Transmitter Spektrum DX7 Transmitter

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