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View Poll Results: Which Radio and Which RF system are you using?
Futaba Radio/Futaba RF 70 16.36%
Futaba Radio/Other RF 21 4.91%
JR Radio/JR RF 57 13.32%
JR Radio/Other RF 29 6.78%
Spektrum Radio/Spektrum RF 49 11.45%
Spektrum Radio/Other RF 2 0.47%
Airtronics Radio/Airtronics RF 66 15.42%
Airtronics Radio/Other RF 3 0.70%
Hitec Radio/Hitec RF 50 11.68%
Hitec Radio/Other RF 1 0.23%
Multiplex Radio/Multiplex RF 11 2.57%
Multiplex Radio/Other RF 17 3.97%
Graupner Radio/Graupner RF 6 1.40%
Graupner Radio/Other RF 8 1.87%
Turnigy/TH9X Radio (all flavors) Turnigy/FlySky RF 14 3.27%
Turnigy/TH9X Radio (all flavors) Other RF 16 3.74%
Other Radio/Same brand RF 4 0.93%
Other Radio/different RF 4 0.93%
Voters: 428. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Sep 28, 2012, 04:34 PM
AMA7224 LSF1832
Leadchucker's Avatar
United States, DE, Seaford
Joined Sep 2008
3,532 Posts
Don't be afraid of the teeny little Hitec Minima 6 Rx either. It goes for around $45.00 and works great. A full range RX not a park flyer jawn and I've had it to 2600 ft AGL ranged upwind quite a ways in a 3.2 meter ship. It might have been 3000 ft.+ total distance, I was at the edge of my eyesight but never a burp from the radio.

You do need the 3.01 firmware update on an older TX module, the newer A9 is already compatable (pretty sure,mine was). Just make sure you push the bind button twice to get a blue light in the TX. I had a heck of a time until I found this on another site.
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Old Sep 28, 2012, 04:45 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
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FrSky will work just fine.
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Old Sep 28, 2012, 10:37 PM
3 Sons - Legos and Lift
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Grand Rapids, MI
Joined Apr 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeajr View Post
Hitec likewise has a very large pool of module based radios out there. However, only 2% of responding Hitec users changed to non-Hitec RF systems. Many of the third party modules made to fit Futaba radios also fit Hitec radios so Hitec users have a pretty wide choice of third party modules and options. What does that tell us about Hitec owners? Why are they less likely to switch?


Of all of them the Hitec really sticks out in that these radio systems are just as capable of being switched to third party RF system as the other top brands, but few have done it. I will note that, when RCModelReviews did a "shoot-out" of available RF module systems, Hitec tied for first place suggesting they had an excellent RF system. You can read the report here. http://www.rcmodelreviews.com/2.4ghzshootout.shtml

So, has Hitec delivered a quality RF system AND found the right price point to keep its users loyal? My observation is that Hitec receivers are typically lower in cost than JR, Futaba or Airtronics receivers. What do you think is the reason for this apparent loyalty by Hitec users?
In my case I was happily using a Hitec Eclipse 7 and had converted to 2.4 with a FrSky module. However, I switched to a Futaba 9C for the advanced sailplane features like full trailing edge camber control and more flight modes. No complaints about Hitec, but the next step with them would have been the Aurora 9. I could get a used 9C for a lot less, continue to use my FrSky 2.4, and also stick with cheaper receivers.
If I had spent the money on the Aurora, that would put me into Hitec's 2.4 system and I would have no need (or option?) to use it along with another company's RF.
In conclusion, I don't think it's loyalty to Hitec that has few sailplane pilots using Hitec with another company's RF, but rather the options available.

Tim
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Old Sep 28, 2012, 11:16 PM
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Doesn't the Aurora use the same size and shape module as the Eclipse?
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Old Sep 29, 2012, 08:36 PM
3 Sons - Legos and Lift
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Grand Rapids, MI
Joined Apr 2004
566 Posts
aeajr,

I just checked on the Hitec site and it looks like you're right that the Aurora uses a module, but someone other than me would have to confirm that my FrSky module would work in its place.
The greater factor in my journey through the technology has been cost avoidance. But when I did my research I noticed that the FrSky modules listed compatibility with the Optic and Eclipse, but made no mention (and still don't) of the Aurora.

So the conclusion from the survey may simply be that Futaba and others had the glider programming available first, so their 72Mhz radios are the ones that have been paired with 2.4 modules.

Tim
(who still likes Hitec and hopes to get an Aurora some day)
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 11:39 PM
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At 301 responses JR has edged out Futaba by a hair to take the #1 spot.

I think I am going to take this to the next level and run the survey by brand to see what everyone is using.
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Old Oct 12, 2012, 12:21 AM
Aloft Hobbies
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United States, CA, Novato
Joined Sep 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2motheus View Post
I just checked on the Hitec site and it looks like you're right that the Aurora uses a module, but someone other than me would have to confirm that my FrSky module would work in its place.
Hitec got a little silly and moved the pins around. With that said the FrSky DHT-U includes a mapping of the pins to help make conversion of the radio easier.

But you might be better served with the new FrSky transmitters as they are now very close to releasing the 9 channel version.

-Wayne
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Old Oct 19, 2012, 11:40 PM
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It will be interesting to see what happens when FrSky enters the radio market. Their modules and receivers have received high praise.
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Old Oct 20, 2012, 02:33 PM
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Can't wait for that.
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Old Oct 20, 2012, 02:52 PM
Be the duck. Whaaaa?
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United States, CA, Guerneville
Joined Mar 2012
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I'm looking forward to it as well. I hope they make the software open source like the 9x so the community can tailor it to their needs. If they don't I can see the 9x with frsky module remaining popular.
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Old Sep 04, 2013, 12:06 PM
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It will be interesting to see if this changes over time as more and more radios are introduced with sailplane mixing and the prices are coming down.

When I started in this hobby people told me sailplanes/gliders were dying but based on what I see in the market that doesn't seem to be true. However there is a huge shift to electric launched sailplanes which is raising the interest in radios with sailplane/glider mixing.
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Old Mar 29, 2014, 11:28 PM
hon
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Joined Jun 2010
26 Posts
Hi, I am sorry to bring up an old thread but I found this one very interesting as I am looking at getting a radio for sailplane.

Most people in my area are using Futaba, mainly because this is the most available radio and it is kind of a snowball effect as new guys (like myself) tend to follow what other people's choices. The problem is they have very few ways to compare Futaba with other brands.

Recently when I search on the net, I found a company who deals with Airtronics but they only do mail order export as not many local guys heard about this brands. But I notice this brand is one of the big four in the States.

My question is how do you guys choose a radio system for sailplane? Or more specifically, why did you choose Airtronics (or Hitec or other)? Was it purely cost? Was it because it has better range or better programming?

Thank you.
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Old Mar 30, 2014, 12:01 AM
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It sounds like you are not in the USA so it would help to know where you are located.

Hitec, Airtronics, Futaba, Spektrum and JR are the major brands in the USA. All are good. And there are many other brands that have sailplane programming including FrSky, Turnigy, Jeti, and more. Graupner is not very common in USA but very common in Europe.

I think Airtronics is called Sanwa in Europe.
http://www.sanwa-denshi.com/rc/sky/

They all have comparable range, which is further than you can see the sailplane.

A key factor is the feel of the radio. What feels good in my hands may not feel good in yours.

As for sailplane programming, well what kind of sailplane?

Full house? RES? Thermal? Slope? Scale?

You can fly a full house sailplane on a 5 channel standard radio so how much programming you need depends on you. Are you a sport pilot or are you a competition pilot?

How much money do you have available to spend?

In the USA we often see clusters by brand. Some clubs are mostly Spektrum or JR. Some are mostly Futaba and so on. Sometimes it is based on what the local hobby store carries and sometimes it is what the experts in the club recommend.

Frankly if Futaba is the major brand at your field, AND, if it meets your needs then I would stay with Futaba. You will have a lot of people around you who can help you.

In the Futaba line, for sailplanes, I would recommend the 8FG or the 14SG

I fly a Futaba 9C Super myself.
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Old Mar 30, 2014, 07:40 AM
hon
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Hi aeajr,

Thank you for your reply. I live in Hong Kong and I would like to call myself a beginner even though I have started sailplane flying a few years ago. I am doing slope at the moment but would like to venture into dynamic soaring and FH one day. I would like to try gas powered fixed wing some time later too.

Yes, many people in my club suggested me to go Futaba. But I think the reason is that this is the most readily available brand and people use it as a habit and also because everyone around is using it including the best guys so it must be the best. From reading from forums, I think there are alternatives, some might be better.

I am considering Airtronics and Hitec. Although unpopular, I can still get them in Hong Kong. Their price is much better than F and JR. But this alone is not a criteria for me. So if the Airtronics and Hitec have something that outperform the Futaba and JR, then I may give them a go. If not, I may stick to Futaba (or JR) as I think they are built better.
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Old Mar 30, 2014, 08:28 AM
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Outperform? By what criteria? This is not a race, nor a question of strength of signal. This is one of personal preference.

You might prefer one over the other based on cost of receivers or the variety of receivers available. Perhaps you want telemetry and only certain models offer that.

All the brands you name have models that will handle most aircraft and all the brands have more basic models with limited capability so be sure you consider your needs.

In the Airtronics/Sanwa line the SD10G is very popular among sailplane pilots and the RDS 8000 would be just fine for most slope and power plane applications

In the Hitec line it would be the Aurora 9 or 9X are great sailplane radios and the Eclipse 7 Pro would be fine for most slope and power plane applications.

The new FrSky Taranus is growing in popularity and is very flexible but follows a very different approach to programming.


Remember, these are just my opinions, not to be confused with facts.


You might also find these helpful, but remember these are written with a thermal duration sailplane pilot in mind.

> Choosing a Sailplane Radio - What to Consider
http://www.flyesl.org/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=223

Buying a new Sailplane Radio vs. Buying Used
http://www.flyesl.org/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=454

Low cost sailplane radios – RC Soaring Digest
Two part series – July and August 2012

Upgrading 72 MH Sailplane Radios to 2.4 GHz
http://www.rcsoaringdigest.com/pdfs/...SD-2012-07.pdf

Low Cost Sailplane Radio based on open software
http://www.rcsoaringdigest.com/pdfs/...SD-2012-08.pdf

Modifying the 9X SW – RCSD July/Aug 2011
http://www.rcsoaringdigest.com/pdfs/...-2011-0708.pdf
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