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Radio Selection
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Choosing a transmitter can be overwhelming. The following is a list of options I would get in a competition radio, in their order of importance. Hopefully this will help weed through the features you need, versus the ones that are just nice.

1) These are mandatory for any radio used in pattern flying:

A) Dual rates. Triple rates is even better. This is the ability to flip a switch and change the amount your control surface moves. It allows you to have one control deflection for snap rolls or spins, and another reduced rate for smooth aerobatic flying. This option has been standard in pattern flying for 30 years.

B) Exponential. This is used to slow control travel near the center of movement, making the plane fly smoother in straight and level flight - yet still giving you enough throw to accomplish sharp maneuvers.

C) Programmed mixes. You must have at least 3 program mixes. If you fly any 3D, then I highly recommend a radio with multiple points for each mix - often called a curved mix.

D) Minimum of 6 channels. I repeat…Minimum!

2) PCM with at least 1024 steps.

3) 8 channels - or more. There is no limit to the number of uses you will find for the additional channels.

4) Built-in countdown timer. This feature will save your model by preventing you from running out of fuel in flight.

5) Multiple model memory. This not only allows you to fly several airplanes with a single radio, but it also allows you to program the same model in several completely different ways. You could use one program memory for pattern flying, and another for just 3D flying. Of course, you will only be able to switch between the modes between flights.

6) Conditions or Flight Modes (depending on which manufacturer you choose). This feature allows you to have completely different set-ups for your plane, like the pattern and 3D set-ups mentioned in (5) above, yet change between them with the flip of a switch - in flight. You do not have to land to change from one set-up to another. I cannot speak to highly of this feature. The only reason it is not first on my list is that it is currently only available on the most expensive radios, and is truly just a convenience.

7) Synthesized frequency. If you compete a lot, you find yourself sharing frequencies often. This feature allows you to move to an open frequency within a minute or two. Once again, a very nice convenience, but not a necessity.

Why You Want PCM

Details About PCM

How Many Channels do I Need?

 

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