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What's the main radio brand you use 2017?

2017 update

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Q: What's the main radio brand you use?

FrSky  
15%

 
 

Turnigy  
2%

 
 

Multiplex  
4%

 
 

Hitec  
7%

 
 

Futaba  
26%

 
 

JR  
6%

 
 

Spektrum  
36%

 
 

Graupner  
1%

 
 

Jeti  
2%

 
 

Other  
1%

 
 

(904 votes)


MattyB24/02/2017 13:44:08
avatar
1918 forum posts
29 photos
Posted by Martin Harris on 24/02/2017 12:06:13:

Pricing is such a weird "science". If value for money was the be all and end all, FRSky would be the undoubted market leader and we'd all be taking our models to the club in Skodas or similar. But then so many factors come into play - range of features, useability, brand loyalty, perceived quality, personal experience, aesthetics, manufacturer/distributor support and probably many more. Buying a "quality" car is no guarantee of absolute reliability and even the lowliest rattle-trap performs the primary function of getting from A to B pretty well these days.

It's interesting that a previous Jeti importer was firmly convinced that their equipment was too cheap - compared to high end offerings from the then market leaders - and therefore couldn't justify the sort of advertising campaign he would have liked to have run. I certainly can't justify my choice in terms of price but every time I hold my transmitter I get a reassuring feeling of quality and (imagined or not) feeling of security for my model and there's maybe an element of "male jewellery" at play.

At the time I agree, they were probably right - Jeti did look cheap compared to the Futaba 18MZ) and the later JR 28X. Now though they just look like they got it right and the Futaba and JR sets are dinosaurs from a previous age.

When those sets came out most customers did not understand that in a digital world channels cost essentially nothing and it's power supply and correct install that define RF reliability in the main, not protocol. Since then disruptive products from FrSky, Jeti and even the very low end Chinese sets like Flysky have shown that you can get the functionality (Taranis, Flysky i10) and build quality (Horus and Jeti) you want at much lower price points without sacrificing RF reliability. An then there's the fact that that the functionality available from mid range big brand sets like the DX-9 now vastly exceeds what most people need from their sets.

Put simply the age of the £2k+ transmitter is over - we all know that was just marketing fluff to convince us we were buying "the best" at any price. Futaba have implicitly acknowledged this in the pricing of the 18SZ - it's a £900 TX that does almost everything the £2k+ 18MZ does. The new "top of the top" will I suspect be defined by the new Jeti 24 series that are landing at £1300-1500 I believe and ae significantly more advanced than the Futaba and JR offerings.

Edited By MattyB on 24/02/2017 13:45:50

colin weaver24/02/2017 17:36:06
23 forum posts
4 photos

I do wonder just how many of the advanced features on the upper end / complex radios are actually used ...... maybe the 3 Jeti users in our club, and maybe the 2 Taranis owners ? That is out of say 70 members, of which only 30 ? probably actually fly. Each to their own ...... (And no I do not buy Apple products either !) Colin W

Frank Skilbeck24/02/2017 17:57:36
avatar
4422 forum posts
101 photos
Posted by colin weaver on 24/02/2017 17:36:06:

I do wonder just how many of the advanced features on the upper end / complex radios are actually used ...... maybe the 3 Jeti users in our club, and maybe the 2 Taranis owners ? That is out of say 70 members, of which only 30 ? probably actually fly. Each to their own ...... (And no I do not buy Apple products either !) Colin W

Too true, half the users of programmable radios I know still use a Y lead when they have 2 aileron servos.

Denis Watkins24/02/2017 18:45:18
3736 forum posts
178 photos

Big business will tell you guys, you are right

Half the population embraces all things fiddly, and programmable

And half just wants to buy it and use it

This applies to all things technical

DIGGER06/03/2017 04:43:39
132 forum posts
4 photos

Because I'm a beginner, and only just gone solo, I have decided to buy a Spectrum DX6E . On the grounds that my main 3 aircraft are SAFE aircraft , SUPER CUB, APPRENTICE, and T28 for later on. The reviews in this mag helped me to decide.

wayne drinkwater06/03/2017 08:25:16
avatar
132 forum posts
43 photos

I have a Futaba 10j and a Spektrum DX9 I tend to use the Futaba as most of my models are on it, but the cost of rx's are expensive, I prefer my DX9 as it has a better feel in the hands is easier to set up, and importantly it is able to use multiple receivers like Lemon rx and the ever handy ORX ones for the cheaper models

ozjimthree306/03/2017 08:39:24
26 forum posts
5 photos

Spektrum DX 7 for two years,JR DSX9 for five years, added Spektrum DX8 two years ago, added Spektrum DX 10t last year. JR serviced by McGregor, Spektrum DX8 serviced and upgraded by Horizon Hobby last year. Only faults have been lack of signal when binding the DX8, and a complete loss of signal once using the JR DSX9. Both faults were promptly fixed by the distributors. Years ago I used 35mHz Fleet gear with no problems and an early Futaba 2.4gHz, also with no problems. I use JR and Spektrum now, I find the programming is easier than other makes.

Gordon Whitehead 106/03/2017 10:32:49
avatar
308 forum posts
120 photos

1. Hill 2-valve Rx with Mactuator s/c rubber-driven bang-bang escapement; Aeromodeller 2-valve Tx; Black Magic with Elfin 2.49, followed by Aeromodeller Waveguide with Allen-Mercury 3.5. Radio built mainly from ex-TV components.

2. Terrytone 2 Rx with Elmic Conquest escapement; Terrytone 1-valve Tx; Veron Mini-robot with Albon Merlin. Radio built from kits.

3. Macgregor superregen Rx with Elmic Conquest; scratch-built Radio Modeller Tx; reduced-scale Mini-Robot with DC Dart.

4. Macgregor superhet Rx with Rand Galloping Ghost actuator; scratch-built RCME Unijunction Pulse-proportional Tx; Flea-Fly with increased dihedral on rudder-ele-mot control; Enya .19 RC

5. Futaba Digimax 4. Lovely set in OS .40P - powered 5/6th scale Phil Kraft Slik-Fli, followed by Gangster 48 with same setup. Modded the Tx to fit dual rates on aileron and elevator.

6. Futaba M-series. Didn't like the feel of it as much as the Digimax, so part-exchanged it for a Fleet outfit.

7. However, the Fleet 6-channel wrecked my Mick Reeves Fournier which spun into the ground inverted from a great height, so the whole radio got binned.

7. JR 8 Unlimited, a pre-computer multifunction set programmed via switches and pots. Flew it for 8 years or so. This really was THE radio to beat at the time.  BUT, if you flew more than one model with it you usually had to re-program for the alternative plane.  Eventually I got mixed up, sent off my favourite aerobatic bipe with reversed ailerons, and following the inevitable crash decided to move on Tx-wise.

8. JR PCM-10. Flew that for about 8 years

9. JR PCM-10X. Flew that for 10 years or so, the last two on 2.4 with Spektrum module which came with two 9-chan Rx's for the price of one offer. No probs with that, so as the JR was getting on and I wanted more versatile and advanced programming.....

10. Spektrum DX8. No probs, good set of progs for aerobatic planes, but too hard to program for a 4-servo wing sloper, so, part-ex'ed for ...

11. Spektrum DX18 soon after it came out. Lovely set, reliable, I keep the software updated, still using it as my only Tx. I've always disposed of my superseded Tx's as I don't need to own more than one.  Only one gripe - the rate and flap switches are set too high above the sticks.  On the older Tx's the rate switches were lower down and easier to reach. 

Gordon

Edited By Gordon Whitehead 1 on 06/03/2017 10:47:29

Edited By Gordon Whitehead 1 on 06/03/2017 10:50:23

Martin Harris06/03/2017 11:11:43
avatar
8668 forum posts
214 photos
Posted by MattyB on 24/02/2017 13:44:08:
Posted by Martin Harris on 24/02/2017 12:06:13:

Pricing is such a weird "science". If value for money was the be all and end all, FRSky would be the undoubted market leader and we'd all be taking our models to the club in Skodas or similar. But then so many factors come into play - range of features, useability, brand loyalty, perceived quality, personal experience, aesthetics, manufacturer/distributor support and probably many more. Buying a "quality" car is no guarantee of absolute reliability and even the lowliest rattle-trap performs the primary function of getting from A to B pretty well these days.

It's interesting that a previous Jeti importer was firmly convinced that their equipment was too cheap - compared to high end offerings from the then market leaders - and therefore couldn't justify the sort of advertising campaign he would have liked to have run. I certainly can't justify my choice in terms of price but every time I hold my transmitter I get a reassuring feeling of quality and (imagined or not) feeling of security for my model and there's maybe an element of "male jewellery" at play.

At the time I agree, they were probably right - Jeti did look cheap compared to the Futaba 18MZ) and the later JR 28X. Now though they just look like they got it right and the Futaba and JR sets are dinosaurs from a previous age.

When those sets came out most customers did not understand that in a digital world channels cost essentially nothing and it's power supply and correct install that define RF reliability in the main, not protocol. Since then disruptive products from FrSky, Jeti and even the very low end Chinese sets like Flysky have shown that you can get the functionality (Taranis, Flysky i10) and build quality (Horus and Jeti) you want at much lower price points without sacrificing RF reliability. An then there's the fact that that the functionality available from mid range big brand sets like the DX-9 now vastly exceeds what most people need from their sets.

Put simply the age of the £2k+ transmitter is over - we all know that was just marketing fluff to convince us we were buying "the best" at any price. Futaba have implicitly acknowledged this in the pricing of the 18SZ - it's a £900 TX that does almost everything the £2k+ 18MZ does. The new "top of the top" will I suspect be defined by the new Jeti 24 series that are landing at £1300-1500 I believe and ae significantly more advanced than the Futaba and JR offerings.

Edited By MattyB on 24/02/2017 13:45:50

I agree with most of what you've said but I'm afraid there's no comparison between Horus and Jeti build quality. I have (and will continue to) freely admit that the functionality of the FRSky transmitters is certainly on a par with anything on the market but I was rather disappointed to see the interior details of the Horus in the video below.

There is undeniably some bling factor in paying mid (or is it soon to be top?) range prices for something that performs a similar job to cheaper kit - but I'm hoping that the apparent build quality and demonstrated commitment from Jeti to adding features translates to a long service life which will go some way towards justifying the initial cost.

 

Edited By Martin Harris on 06/03/2017 11:13:43

MattyB06/03/2017 14:26:53
avatar
1918 forum posts
29 photos
Posted by Martin Harris on 06/03/2017 11:11:43:

I agree with most of what you've said but I'm afraid there's no comparison between Horus and Jeti build quality. I have (and will continue to) freely admit that the functionality of the FRSky transmitters is certainly on a par with anything on the market but I was rather disappointed to see the interior details of the Horus in the video below.

There is undeniably some bling factor in paying mid (or is it soon to be top?) range prices for something that performs a similar job to cheaper kit - but I'm hoping that the apparent build quality and demonstrated commitment from Jeti to adding features translates to a long service life which will go some way towards justifying the initial cost.

Yep, I don't think anyone would disagree that the Jeti DS/DC series do have better interior design and manufacturing quality than the FrSky Horus. That's not surprising though - they do cost a fair bit more (~£100 in the case of the 14 which has far less functionality, up to ~£900 more for the DC24).

Whilst the Horus may ape some of the Jeti styling it isn't primarily targeted at them; Jeti have a very small % of the market anyway, and most of their buyers are not value centric in the way that those who purchase the mainstream brands are. FrSky are really after users of mid range Spektrum, JR and Futaba users with the Horus, but from what I have seen they have failed, at least for now - the Horus ended up being too big, heavy and expensive to take on the 14SG and DX9 it was originally targeted at. I suspect we will see FrSky focus on a new "Super Taranis" in the next 12-18 months with Hall effect gimbals, OpenTX, a new plastic case along the lines of the X7 and possibly a colour screen. That really could be a disruptive product if they get the marketing right.

PS - I understand what you are saying abut the high initial price being offset by a long life, but in reality the speed technology is moving means it is doubtful anyone will be keeping their TX 10 years like in the days of 35MHz. Look at the new 900MHz link in the DC-24 - I'm sure lots of jet and big scale guys are going to want that, so will be trading in their DC/DS-16s only a few years after they bought them. This is the main reason I would not spend any more than Horus type money (~£500) for any TX at this point; something better is always coming along, and it's getting more affordable all the time.

Edited By MattyB on 06/03/2017 14:36:42

Frank Skilbeck06/03/2017 15:16:14
avatar
4422 forum posts
101 photos
Posted by MattyB on 06/03/2017 14:26:53:
Posted by Martin Harris on 06/03/2017 11:11:43:

This is the main reason I would not spend any more than Horus type money (~£500) for any TX at this point; something better is always coming along, and it's getting more affordable all the time.

Edited By MattyB on 06/03/2017 14:36:42

It is, but for some of us, we don't want to be reprogramming in all our models into a new Tx every 18 months or so, so one which comes with long term support and updates has some merit. One surprise in the survey is the low number of graupner users, considering the price/ features and extensive marketing it had.

MattyB06/03/2017 16:17:50
avatar
1918 forum posts
29 photos
Posted by Frank Skilbeck on 06/03/2017 15:16:14:
Posted by MattyB on 06/03/2017 14:26:53:

This is the main reason I would not spend any more than Horus type money (~£500) for any TX at this point; something better is always coming along, and it's getting more affordable all the time.

It is, but for some of us, we don't want to be reprogramming in all our models into a new Tx every 18 months or so, so one which comes with long term support and updates has some merit. One surprise in the survey is the low number of graupner users, considering the price/ features and extensive marketing it had.

True, but with OpenTX radios you don't have too - I could transfer my setups to any OpenTX transmitter (9X, 9XR, Taranis X7, X9D, X9E or X9d+ or Horus) via the PC at any time. All that would be required is a quick check to validate all the switch assignments are correct and a rebind. To do all 15 odd models in my transmitter would probably take 60 to 90 mins maximum.

Spek are getting better at this with the cross compatability between all their Airware based TXs and I'm sure Jeti offer this too, but Futaba for sure and I think JR are way behind - they still seem to want you to programme all your models from scratch using the TX interface. Slow, cumbersome and not a compelling prospect!

Edited By MattyB on 06/03/2017 16:32:24

Frank Skilbeck06/03/2017 17:28:12
avatar
4422 forum posts
101 photos

You are assuming everybody is computer literate, I have fellow fliers that only use an Ipad and have no interest in plugging their Tx into a computer.

Rich too06/03/2017 17:35:37
avatar
2902 forum posts
1046 photos
Posted by MattyB on 06/03/2017 16:17:50:
Posted by Frank Skilbeck on 06/03/2017 15:16:14:
Posted by MattyB on 06/03/2017 14:26:53:

This is the main reason I would not spend any more than Horus type money (~£500) for any TX at this point; something better is always coming along, and it's getting more affordable all the time.

It is, but for some of us, we don't want to be reprogramming in all our models into a new Tx every 18 months or so, so one which comes with long term support and updates has some merit. One surprise in the survey is the low number of graupner users, considering the price/ features and extensive marketing it had.

True, but with OpenTX radios you don't have too - I could transfer my setups to any OpenTX transmitter (9X, 9XR, Taranis X7, X9D, X9E or X9d+ or Horus) via the PC at any time. All that would be required is a quick check to validate all the switch assignments are correct and a rebind. To do all 15 odd models in my transmitter would probably take 60 to 90 mins maximum.

Spek are getting better at this with the cross compatability between all their Airware based TXs and I'm sure Jeti offer this too, but Futaba for sure and I think JR are way behind - they still seem to want you to programme all your models from scratch using the TX interface. Slow, cumbersome and not a compelling prospect!

Edited By MattyB on 06/03/2017 16:32:24

Futaba is not exactly from scratch? You can copy a previous model to set up a new one. I've had the same trans for 10 years, and don't need to change, it does what I want.

Rich too06/03/2017 17:36:33
avatar
2902 forum posts
1046 photos
Posted by Frank Skilbeck on 06/03/2017 17:28:12:

You are assuming everybody is computer literate, I have fellow fliers that only use an Ipad and have no interest in plugging their Tx into a computer.

yes

MattyB06/03/2017 20:04:01
avatar
1918 forum posts
29 photos
Posted by Frank Skilbeck on 06/03/2017 17:28:12:

You are assuming everybody is computer literate, I have fellow fliers that only use an Ipad and have no interest in plugging their Tx into a computer.

True, but those people are not driving sales for the manufacturers so they are not going to be their focus in product development. Cycles in consumer electronics are shorter now and most consumers expect to receive updates that improve the functionality of the product across it's lifecycle. Of course not everyone wants that experience which is trait enough, but the reality is the number of those who aren't computer savvy enough to apply updates will diminish over time whilst those that expect and want and expect them will inexorably grow. Manufacturers therefore can't afford to be left behind in areas such as this (JR, we are looking at you...)

MattyB06/03/2017 20:50:35
avatar
1918 forum posts
29 photos
Posted by Rich2 on 06/03/2017 17:35:37:

Futaba is not exactly from scratch? You can copy a previous model to set up a new one. I've had the same trans for 10 years, and don't need to change, it does what I want.

The question asked was not about creating new models on an existing TX, but about transferring them from an old TX to a newer one. Spek can do this, OpenTX can and Jeti can, but when Futaba brought out the 18SZ about 18 months ago it used a new model file format and there was no way to transfer setups from the 18MZ. That meant power users with complex setups were faced with hours and in some cases days of work recreating their setups on their new TX. Not what you really want after spending ~£850 on your new toy.

Jon Laughton07/03/2017 09:57:06
avatar
1172 forum posts
104 photos

Matty it is possible to convert files to the new format used on the 18SZ...see link below

**LINK**

MattyB07/03/2017 13:17:55
avatar
1918 forum posts
29 photos
Posted by Jon Laughton on 07/03/2017 09:57:06:

Matty it is possible to convert files to the new format used on the 18SZ...see link below

**LINK**

That is good news for new buyers, but releasing a conversion tool nearly a year after the launch of the TX must have been galling for those who had already manually converted all of their models from one TX to the other. Futaba should be using a common model file type like most of their competitors, otherwise this will happen each time they launch a mid or high end TX.

Edited By MattyB on 07/03/2017 13:27:08

Erfolg07/03/2017 22:34:40
avatar
11234 forum posts
1118 photos

I may be the only one who is a little surprised at the relatively small numbers of Spektrum radios. I expected them to be at the +50% mark.

Perhaps the issue is that contrary to what I thought, people are not changing their radios that often I totally accept that there was a massive switch over from 35 to 2.4, in a very short time period.

I also tend to believe that at that switching period, many established modellers, if not essentially all went for the so called computer models.

Strangely, to my mind, I did see the odd Jeti product, then driven by giving Glider Guiders functionalities that they could not get with other sets, mainly the telemetry type stuff. At the time I found it fascinating. It indicated that the so called unloading of the watts drawn, although real,it was no where as great as had been suggested. Today most of the now popular brands all can provide the same functionality.

On reflection, i suspect that many will be holding onto their old sets, for perhaps 10 or so years, until the next step change.

Which suggests to me that Frsky, are doing very well, in that they are selling even now new sets. Perhaps, not surprisingly, if I am correct, Graupner (or whoever they are) have missed the boat, the easy sales have generally gone and in reality they are not making any offer that cannot be resisted. A fine product, in an era of fine products, without a real technical advantage and apparently no pricing point advantage.

So when I look at my brand, Futaba, I suspect that these are old, that is early 2.4 era sets. Rather than new sales. Like many people I am a user, rather than a techno nerd with respect to my radio.

It did strike me that some of the apparently negative comments with respect to the Huros, were ill judged, or may be lacked imagination. I can see that potentially, there will be a use for GPS, built into a radio, for many autonomous models. I am not sure though that when technology moves on, the built in upgradeable features, will be that upgradeable. Just like my PCs that have been and gone due to obsolescence. In fact i wondered if the reviewer had essentially made up much of his mind, before he actually started. This could be of a consequence as to having had a little peek, before revealing all, not just prejudice, rather than being a little obsessive in looking for aspects that confirmed his potentially preconceived opinion.

If I am correct, in that many will be hanging onto their radios for some years, there will be slim pickings for many radio manufacturers. They need a game changer, some new requirement from the regulators, to get those sales moving. If not, I am guessing that in a few years time that the brand names will be much fewer.

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