My first RC transmitter & receiver.


Master member
In 1961 RC was not unknown but the commercial stuff was completely beyond the pocket of a school boy.
Like many things at the time the cheap solution was a kit that you built yourself. The kit included a circuit board and loose components that you had to solder on.
The receiver.

It had 5 transistors and needed a 3V supply.
The transmitter was even more basic and used a single 'tube'. You had to build the case yourself.

Note the huge battery compartment to house the 90V HT and the 1.5V heater batteries.
Just an On/Off switch and a single press button

Nominally 25 meg but with no crystals it was just a case of tuning the Rx to the Tx give the maximum range. The actual frequency was any bodies guess!
I built a simple all balsa glider that used a rubber driven escapement - one press left, a double press for right. It had a 3V dry cell in the nose for power and ballast.

It more or less flew but the rudder effect from the V tail was negligible so calling it radio 'controlled' was a bit of a stretch.
In those days the only thing that was guaranteed was failure, any success was pure luck!
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Active member
In the early 60's I was interested in RC but couldn't even afford a kit. I did find a schematic in an electronics magazine and tried to build one from scratch. It didn't work, maybe because everything was wired instead on a pc board. Your post brings back memories.



I built a single tube receiver "back in the day", around 1960 if I remember correctly, and it did work............ sort of. I spent hours and hours walking away from the transmitter and tuning up the receiver in hopes of getting a good signal at reasonable range. Flying involved a huge free flight aircraft with rudder only, escapement controlled with power to actuate the rudder via a long wind up rubber band inside the fuselage and the result was best described as "Free Flight with Occasional Radio Control". Things have changed, that's for sure.


New member
Wow, I remember when I started with the Heathkit Transmitter and Receiver. All analog so lots of components and soldering. It was fun to build and use.


Master member
I remember when they came out with the first transistor AM radio holly mackerel you could listen to music with out being in a house or car. As time went on a 10 transistor radio was top notch and something to dream about about owning.


Master member
Buy or make that radio? My dad built a 1 transistor regen receiver, That would have been about 1960 , IIRC, didn't think you were that much older than me.

Had a heathkit transmitter which fortunately used the same PCM as the futaba stuff I had but up in the 75mhz bands.


New member
That's really awesome. I started with an Ace pulse proportional installed in a Dicks Dream. I still have the radio someplace. One fun thing I learned was that I could jam my parents TV when ever I turned on the Transmitter!


Master member
Ace supplied parts and design for Mattel's rudder only airplane. I had one, loads of fun for single channel 049 parking lot flier.


Active member
That is a really big transmitter. Looks like a music box yet in the 1960s. Lots of volts to that transmitter. Modern technology has come a long ways. Only (8) 1.5 volts AA batteries needed. 12 volts. Of which the transmitter uses 6 volts to operate the controls. Low consumption receivers. I always saw clips on TV commercials, but never got into it until now. This was in the 1980s.


Master member
No quite the early days but it does give an idea of how things have improved.
At a car boot I saw this RC set on sale. After a bit of negotiation I got it for £5 as the owner said it no longer worked.
A 1970(?) Futaba Digimax 5.

I bought it out of interest more than ever considering using it. It would have been seriously expensive in its day.
A four cell DEAC (remember them!) for the receiver and five wire 'linear' servos.
Surprisingly the transmitter and receiver look quite modern and in typical Futaba style heavy with a 'rock solid' build. The Tx had a rechargeable 12V battery with a built in mains charger that also had a 6V outlet to charge the DEAC. Serious stuff!
Wiring up the servo is not quite the simple 'plug each into the receiver' of today but it involved a special wiring harness with a dedicated single plug into the receiver and a complex Y lead with a 4 gang and single socket for the servos along with a special 3 pig plug for the DEAC.
Everything 'handed' of course so it could only go together one way.

I presume at the time extension leads would have been available.
To my amazement it did work. Even the DEAC held a bit of charge but only 2 of the servos actually moved.
Now added to my RC museum collection.


Master member
Discrete transistor amps in the servo and center tapped battery. You could build a decoder out of JK flipflops. Looks the same vintage as my OS MAX system so perhaps 1966/67? The MAX uses an opamp in the servo, a huge reduction of parts.


Master member
This was my first radio. I bought it new for a partially built Kadet-LT40 I was gifted.
I never flew it, but I did get to see the engine run when I sold it.

I was just gifted this one. It needs a new battery, but seems to work. I have no receivers to test it to be sure though.
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The Hangar

Fly harder!
View attachment 212097 This was my first radio. I bought it new for a partially built Kadet-LT40 I was gifted.
I never flew it, but I did get to see the engine run when I sold it.
View attachment 212094
I was just gifted this one. It needs a new battery, but seems to work. I have no receivers to test it to be sure though.
View attachment 212097
I was given a Futaba conquest like the one you have. I haven't used it at all and probably won’t, but it’s fun to have.


Master member
Not exactly vintage but I have a Futaba Skyport 6A 35 Meg that has a Futaba serial number that starts with an 8 which I believe could mean 1998 so maybe 25 years old!

It was second hand 'redundant' when I bought it 9 years ago.
Bullet proof it still works and as I fly alone most of the time I still use it regularly.
It now uses a 2200mAh 2s 'Tx' LiPo so can run non stop for days if required!