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What radio gear to use? Here is another hard question to answer, but again the question must be answered by you. There are something’s to take in to consideration though. Lets see if we can make some sense out of some of the different radio choices you have.

All radios have the same basic functions. They differ greatly with the bells and whistles that different manufactures offer or how they are accessed and used. Most high end radios will offer the same options but with different names or how there implemented. So if they do the same things, what are some other points to look at.

The Basic Radio. The basic radio will have 4 channels that are mainly used. One channel will control ailerons, one rudder, one elevator and one throttle. These simple radios will fly 70 percent (if not higher) of the planes sold today, without losing any thrill in the actual experience, let me explain. There are planes that can be flown with a basic radio, but the planes themselves may offer more or different options to the modeler such as: retractable landing gear, flaps, delta wing configurations, or even a bomb drop systems (just to name a few.) These planes require more then just the 4 channel basic radio system. Many planes however, even very aerobatic sport planes do not have these extras so can be flow with almost any 4 channel system, the excitement is just the same.

Computer Radio Systems. Most computer radio systems sold today have at least 6 channels and several model memory. They tend to offer more setup options to the modeler. For instance, a flying wing or delta plane which has no elevator or tail and will need elevon mixing. Subtrims, which can be used to make very fine precision adjustments to flying surfaces, are great time saver over having to remove your wing to make adjustments mechanically to clevises. Having multiple model memory is helpful when you fly more then one plane. Instead of having to adjust trim settings or servo reversing when moving from one plane to another, you can save different models under different names and recall them through saved computer setups right in your transmitter. The JR 6102 (6-10-2) for instance has 6 channels, memory for 10 different aircraft or aircraft setups and operates 2 types of aircraft’s, planes and helicopters. This gives the modeler much more room for growth as he wants to try different aircraft’s after soloing.

Which Brand? Which brand can be important for a few reasons. The two major brands sold are JR and Futaba. There are other brands such as Hitec, Airtronics, Evo and GWS to name a few, but lets consider a few things. With the majority of pilots flying JR or Futaba, there must be some reason. Support is one great reason. With more pilots being familiar with these radios, it’s easier to find the information or help your looking for. More books and magazine articles have been written on the use of these radios and their advanced features, then any other. When learning to fly you will most likely use a trainer or buddy box cord. These cords allow you to hook your radio to the instructors radio. When learning to fly you will lose control of your aircraft at some point and time. The instructor can take control of your plane instantly, bringing it back to a normal and safe flight attitude before turning control back to the student. A trainer cord is made that will fit both JR and Futaba radios so that they can be used interchangeably. Though trainer cords can be used with other radios as well, again if the instructor is not familiar with your radio, setup can take longer and be kind of a pain.

When all is said and done the one thing to do is this. If you believe you will be or become largely involved in this hobby, owning more then one aircraft or have plans on becoming involved with advanced aerobatics or precision flying, buy the best radio you can afford.

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