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My first RC transmitter & receiver.


Elite 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.
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.
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.