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Your First Radio


Most beginners start with a 2-channel AM Radio and I would advise this to most beginners because of the relatively low cost (R500 for a complete set-up). Nicads (rechargeable batteries) are normally not included with 2-channel sets but most people I know run them on normal dry-cell batteries anyway.

The most popular 2-channel sets on the slope are Futaba and Sanwa. 2-Channel radios Transmit in the 27 MHz range. It would be wise to check our members page to see who has which frequency before you buy, so that you can avoid a conflict if possible. Most RC shops will let you pick a channel from the ones they have available.

All 2-channel currently available have servo reverse settings which allow you install your servos in the model and then set the direction of the servo arm afterwards.

Remember to put foam padding around your receiver to protect it from damage when the inevitable happens.

A Correx (estate agents board) servo tray will also go a long way in protecting your servos from harsh impact shock.

Check the aerial length ! Even right out of the box, some receiver aerials are too short. A good rule of thumb for 27 MHz is 1 meter.

Once your receiver voltage drops, a short aerial can cause problems such as interference and loss of range. I have seen plenty of good planes go down due to this factor and it is something that can be easily avoided.

If you do have extended the aerial, make sure that you solder the joint or if possible solder the new aerial wire onto the PC board in the receiver.


A 4 channel FM Radio is less susceptible to problems such as interference and range, however that is an additional cost factor involved. There are 2nd hand sets available through the Cape-Ads, etc. However be careful when buying a 2nd hand set, unless you have a good idea of it's history.
Some 4-channel sets have the advantage of being programmable, so that you can set rates, end points and mix channels to make a plane perform better.