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Getting into the hobby -- need suggestions on a Tx with room to grow


I'm planning on jumping into the hobby in the near future. I've never horsed around with R/C anything before (although I ran a Lionel O-scale setup with my dad when I was younger). I really enjoy scratch-building (I used to be an avid tabletop miniature gamer when I had more free time).

Things I'd like to do in RC flying:
  • scratch-build (a must!)
  • mess around with simulators during the winter
  • fly with my sons (currently 7 and 9yo)

Things that seem like logical things that I want to expand into in the future:
  • room to grow in terms of # of channels
  • telemetry

I'd rather get a Radio that gives me the option to grow for some time to come. I've done some casual browsing, and frankly, the number of possible radios and manufacturers is overwhelming. Would the members of the community be so kind as to help narrow it down a bit?

I've probably missed some critical information, so please fire away with questions too!



creator of virtual planes
I don't think it matters as much as you think as to which Tx you get. All of them have the basic features you need.

Definitely get a 6 channel or higher. I've never flown more than a 4 channel, but it's nice to use 4 and 5 for ailerons instead of a Y-harness. Plus you might eventually want flaps, retracts, lights, or a bomb drop.

I recommend NOT getting a Tx that needs a computer to be programed. I have one and it's rather annoying to have to turn on the computer just to make a few changes for a different plane.

Dual rates and expos are also one feature to look for.

The any link system can be confusing. At least I don't know anything about it. If you're not willing to learn all about it, then avoid it for now.

Everyone has their favorite Tx, but other than those few things to look for, it doesn't matter much what you get.
I am new at this hobby and yes the radios are too numerous at times. First I would set a price range you want to stay in, then look at radio features and think about how far you want to go in the hobby. I personaly set a price at 100$ and found the ORX T-SIX to be what suited me. You should also consider the price and types of recievers that match the radio too! I was looking at the Turnigy 9x and I really almost ponyed up for a Tactic. I am happy with the ORX T-SIX it has 6 channels, heli and acro, Dual rate and expo, sub trim, 10 model memory,ETC.... Yes it looks funny in its bright orange case but I like it. Others with more experience than me will be along to help! In the mean time WELCOME! By the way Your name, Darcy, That is my wifes name, spelled the same. Her dad named her that after he was in the army and had a French buddy named Darcy. Just intresting to see that!


Got Lobstah?
Site Moderator
First I would like to welcome you to the Flite Test Forum and commend you for stepping into what is seemingly lacking of the fairer gender.
Secondly I want to encourage you to not lose heart WHEN you crash. It's frustrating and can make you want to give it up, but how you stick to it will not only pay off in your own enjoyment but it will also be an excellent example for your boys of how to react when things get frustrating.
On the transmitter there are many options out there. Some even include ReadyToFly packages that will set you up from the beginning with a transmitter that will get you started. Some of those RTF packages are very reasonably priced and can get you started with a working setup.
If you prefer buying a separate radio system you will find that going below 6 channels will eventually limit you if you think you will be moving up to flaps, landing gear, lights, etc. though many are content with just a few basics. I have yet to use more than 4. To begin you will want to have at least 3 channels (throttle, elevator, & either rudder or ailerons) which can get you familiar with the basic feel of flying fixed wing aircraft. Heli flyers will soon want at least 4 channels. Some radios will serve well for both platforms and growth within each.
I have a few questions.
Do you have a price range (per radio) you want to stay below? There are some decent options under 100 USD and plenty more depending on how high you want to go.
Are you planning on sharing one radio or eventually buying more?
Is there a certain type aircraft of interest?
Again, welcome to the forum and I look forward to seeing where this takes you and the family.


old headcase
I'm sorta new myself. I've been flying for years, but only now going digital as my old analog gear is getting harder to find parts for and more and more fields are frowning on my stuff as it's all but alien to most of them.

I am finding the transition to be quite easy and enjoyable though. Heck I'm even making plans on sketchup and I've had the program a whopping 3 days.

All that to walk around the moon to watch the tide come in.... I'm on the list to get a frsky taranis and expect to find it entrancing to my antiquated mind, but I do want to get a turnigy 9xr and orange module as base radio system and though I don't even own one yet, this would be my suggestion as a starter that would still be a performer as skills grow. It's not really a beginner radio so to speak, but I borrowed a friend's and it's down right simple to use as well as just feeling right in operation, if that makes sense.

I like the orange radios and several other "entry level" radios, but if you'll be scratch building, you'll soon want more and the 9xr just fits the bill so nicely.
Thing is, that's one option and yes there are many more. Just consider looking past your first plane. My thoughts on the 9xr are from my short use of it and the fact that it seems well known and there'll always be someone quick with an answer to a question.

Hope there's something in that ramble you find helpful.

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder........
Hi rcspaceflight, Gerald, Jim and Frank,

Thanks for the welcome! I always forget that when I join a new internet community my name invariably causes confusion. Darcy is one of those androgynous names; this particular instance of "Darcy" happens to be tied to a guy. No harm, no foul.

Thanks for all of the advice so far -- I'm right there with the recommendations of a minimum of 6 channels. I don't anticipate needing more, and I doubt that I'll be interested in helis, but who can say?

I've browsed both the Turnigy and Taranis specs, and both look very appealing -- tell me more about this "open source" idea, as well as how well they work out of the box. I'm comfortable around computers, but I'm not a programmer by any means. I also like the idea of being able to store lots of models on the Radio -- the scratchbuilding itch will be very strong in me.

To answer Jim's questions:

Price point: I'd like to get flying (all in) for under $300, preferably under $200. My first plane will definitely be a simple scratch build.

Sharing radios: Hadn't given it much thought. When you say "sharing radios" I'm assuming that you mean "It's my turn now, you can wait 'til I'm done". If that's what you mean, I think we'll start with 1 radio, and if the bug bites either of my boys, we'll probably upgrade to more radios as appropriate. There's a pretty good chance we'll end up with 2, and an outside chance that we'll end up with 3.

Aircraft of interest: My uncle navigated on a Wellington in WWII, so that's of interest. I'm a Canadian, so it'd be keen to put an AVRO Arrow in the air. I'm an avid canoeist, with some awesome flatwater at my disposal, so I'm probably just crazy enough to try to build a bushplane with pontoons... Oh, Spitfires and P-38 Lightnings, too!

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Dedicated foam bender
If you are not into programming, it might be better for you to get a Turnigy rather than the Taranis. The Turnigy will need less initial setup than the Taranis and will allow you to learn as you go rather than have to try to learn it all up front. If you go with the 9XR, it even has the most popular mods already done which will allow you, when you are ready, to go ahead and re-flash the firmware to a more capable setup or whatever you need. As it's also open source, there will always be people working to make it better. Also, since it's a module based system, you can change the module and change the protocol, so you can change to a Spektrum module for bind and fly or go to a Frsky if you want to go with telemetry built in to the receiver. It lends itself to a great deal of flexibility. And you can do the radio and a module for less than $100, leaving you plenty of room for Rx's and batteries and other goodies.


Got Lobstah?
Site Moderator
I apologize. Sticking my foot in my mouth is easy when I jump to conclusions. Thank you for being so gracious.
Depending on the bells and whistles and how confident you are about getting into the hobby will affect how much you want to spend.
You can get a 6 channel 2.4 MHz system starting around $25 that can get you into the hobby and soon find out whether you're going to stick with it without little lost. You can also get motors, servos, and battery's and still be well within your planned budget.
I gravitate toward DSMX systems because of the available bind-n-fly aircraft at the local hobby shop. The basic Spectrum brand radio here would be the Dx6i which goes for only $140.
The Turnigy 9XR is a much less expensive alternative to most and the Taranis is certainly reasonable, both using modules. OrangeRx sells a DSMX modules for the transmitters and very inexpensive DSM2 receivers which should be fine for scratchbuilding. Though DSM2 is an older technology the price for these receivers makes them an attractive buy and their reliability has been noted by RCModelReviews and NightFlyyer. Also note, especially on the HobbyKing site the availability of some of the radios. Many are on backorder.
I asked about the sharing aspect because if you do get into the hobby and more transmitters are in the future, you might want one that you can buddy-box (a trainer set-up that allows you to electronically give control to another transmitter or take it back by the flip of a switch). The 2014 DX6 (note, no letter "i") has a cordless buddy box capability plus a bunch of other bells and whistles but at a considerably steeper price.
Also, some transmitters have the throttle on the right (mode 1) or on the left (mode 2). Many are hard to switch if at all possible so you should decide which you prefer (usually people get what everyone else around them uses for compatibility sake). I think most US users fly mode 2. I'm not sure of y'all north of the border.
If you are interested in a certain radio, there are often reviews/opinions out there to be checked out.
Hello all. I am also new to this hobby. I got a used dx6i from Craigslist. I had an issue with my roller. I sent it to horizon and after two weeks I got a call today. Horizon said that they can not work on my transmitter because it is a counterfeit or knockoff. So I am in need of a transmitter. I have a small budget and am looking at the hobbyking orangerx T-six. I want your suggestion. I am only a park flyer. I have a few FT swappables.


Senior Member
Pittboss, the popular under $100 Txs, OrangeRx--Turnigy 9X--9XR, will all do the job well. Unless you know someone who has all three you have to buy without a hands on so you have to rely on other peoples preferences and biases. All I can tell you is whichever one you gravitate towards for whatever reason will fly your plane. If you decide you absolutely do not like it after you get it, they all sell well on ebay.
I bought the FlySky FS-T6 which is a 6 channel Tx with 20 model memory, dual rates, expos, mixes and a few other advanced features. It cost me about $60 on ebay (came with 3 receivers) and new its even less (minus shipping). It was my first Tx and I love it. I recommend that for a budget solution that doesn't make you sacrifice much at all.
Yes I have two DMS2 recovers. And those are the only recovers I have. I was talking with xuzme720. And now I am interested in the turnigey 9xr with the orange module Dmsx/Dms2.


Got Lobstah?
Site Moderator
That would be a likely choice for me too. I would like to know how it goes if you do get that and what you think of it after trying it out.


Posted a thousand or more times
You won't go wrong with any of the transmitters mentioned above. The 9XR gives you some flexibility, as you are able select a module that allows you to use your existing receivers, and it comes with all the features (backlight, open source software, etc) DIYers like to add to the 9X. You also have the option to swap the module out for robust system like the one that FrSky offers.


Got Lobstah?
Site Moderator
I've been so tempted but I've been holding out thinking that if they have built a DSM2 transmitter and a DSMX module then it should just be a little more time until a DSMX transmitter comes out. I've even written them asking/suggesting, but got no response back. Maybe I'll get a T-Six anyway. I know some have complained about the orange color but I kinda like it.
But why aren't they making a DSMX transmitter?


Senior Member
Yes I have two DMS2 recovers. And those are the only recovers I have. I was talking with xuzme720. And now I am interested in the turnigey 9xr with the orange module Dmsx/Dms2.
I love mine, except for the antenna sticking out the back. Fortunately this just came in the mail: http://www.ebay.com/itm/281154175804?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649
so I just did this. (I know it's a hack and slash job but I'm a brute force kind of guy)

0312141745.jpg 0312141728.jpg 0312141705.jpg 0312141703.jpg 0312141650.jpg

It hooks into the internal antenna through the useless port on the back and I can toss the old antenna in the parts bin. I read a lot of articles about hard wiring the module into the antenna and saw one (I can't find it now) where the modder did something similar to this. It binds fine, now I just need to test it out. I like this better than the hard wire because I can still use a different mod easily later if I decide to go that route. I might just try it with a Turnigy module if I can get my hands on one.
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Hi Everyone,

Thanks again for all of the great suggestions. In the end, an excellent deal on some DX4es (a pair for $40 so I can buddy-box with my son) won out over all the features I wanted.

Apprently, they're actually 6-channel radios if you bind them to a 6-channel receiver.



Ebil Filleh Pega-Bat ^.^
The Dx4e is a 6 channel radio, but not when you're buddyboxing, as the fifth channel is controlled by the trainer switch, so bare that in mind. Also, another limitation is memories, which is no problem if you are only using one plane (or 2 in your case as you have 2 radios), but can be a pain in certain anatomical regions when it comes to things like trims, channel reversing and such if you have more than one plane per radio. I think they have elevon mix capability, and this can also allow you to add V-tail capability if you add a 2P2T switch in it.

They are limited, but for starter radios, you really cannot go wrong at all, and especially at that price for the 2! Good catch!