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Old Nov 16, 2010, 07:37 AM
aeajr is offline
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Proud member of LISF and ESL
LI, New York, USA
Joined Mar 2003
25,422 Posts
Frequency control - did you know?

With the rise of the use of 2.4 GHz radios we don’t talk about frequency control as much as we used to. And, with many new pilots buying 2.4 GHz radios they may never need to worry about this. Today’s 2.4 GHz radios handle frequency control automatically.

However there is a LOT of used 72 MHz equipment out there. New pilots may be buying 72 MHz radio systems and, having never heard about frequency control, could become a danger to themselves or others. BTW, this also applies to 27 MHz and 49 MHz radio systems which are sometimes packaged with low end RTF models. They have shorter ranges but are still subject to the need for frequency control.

On 72, 27 and 49 MHz, if two radios are on the same channel at the same time, they will interfere with each other. Any planes within range will immediately go out of control and likely crash. This can also create a dangerous situation on the ground.

If your electric of glow plane is runed on, and someone else turns on using the same channel that aircraft can go out of control. A motor that was not running could start, or a glow motor that was idling could suddenly speed up.

How wide an area is impacted? Interference can easily span a mile or more. For this reason the AMA will not charter two clubs within 3 miles of each other unless they have worked out some kind of frequency control process between them. That is air miles not road miles. And remember that mile is in all directions.

What makes this even trickier is that you could believe you are clear, have no interference, get into the air and suddenly lose control of your plane. Why? Because as you go into the air the plane has a better view of the OTHER radio. Or you may have flown toward that other, unknown radio, flying into their interference zone.

So, if you are a new pilot, you will be much safer on 2.4 GHz and you won't be causing other people to crash. Otherwise you are at risk for problems with other pilots in the area; pilots that you did not even know existed. And they can shoot you down too.
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Old Nov 16, 2010, 09:46 AM
caymin last is offline
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So broke I can't pay attention
Naples FL USA
Joined Mar 2009
492 Posts
I've had a couple of nasty runaway experiences with my nitro RC cars/trucks in the past, it's a very scary thing to lose all control, and watch your pride and joy go speeding away at full throttle. I would never take a chance and fly with anything but the new type of radio technology, although I have experienced some interferance using a 2.4gHz system in a RC truck, from a cordless telephone also on 2.4 gHz, in my backyard.
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Old Nov 21, 2010, 01:07 PM
benski is offline
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USA, WA, Port Angeles
Joined Nov 2009
812 Posts
Well put. 2.4 is not the end-all to radio issues. 72 mHz works fine if everyone in the area uses the guidelines that any responsible club has in place. There is still a ton of 72 out there, working just fine.
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Old Nov 21, 2010, 06:49 PM
Fly Wheel is offline
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Blackstock, South Carolina
Joined Sep 2007
2,838 Posts
And with more and more lemmin - er - pilots jumping on the 2.4 bandwagon it's going to get even easier. My first plane had a cheapo 27 MHz AM radio and I never had to even look at the freq. board because I knew I was the only one in the club who even had one!
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Old Nov 29, 2010, 10:45 AM
Lord Vader is offline
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Wings are for Wimps!
United States, NJ, Maplewood
Joined Oct 2008
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My brother and I had cheap radio controlled cars that worked on the same frequency. They kept interfering with each other and we thought it was electronics problems (this was 10+ years ago - we were little). At least the cars were $5.99 at target and not $1000 dollar helicopters :-)
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