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What radio to get?

Hey. I am a total newbie. Well almost. So far I have flown toys, my only two semi real things are a JumpJet that I had a couple years and recently bought a Parrot Ar.Drone 2.0. I have also had Realflight 4.5 for a few years. Two years ago I bought a bunch of parts for a quadcopter build from scratch that I was to do with friends, but it is basically still in parts. I really want to get into this hobby with both feet and the Swappable series seems like a great, possible better start for me than the quadcopter that I am not savvy enough to build on my own.

Anyways, that is my background. My question is, what radio should I buy? My plan is to buy the right one now, instead of discovering after just a little experience, that I bought something cheap-bad-not-custom-enough etc. I have the money, so I would rather buy something now that will keep me for whatever next plan I decide to buy. I understand that there are radios out there that will let you program and store several configurations and is good to use for multiple planes, so that sounds like a smart idea to me. There seems to be a wide range however, and I just dont know how to start figuring out what to go for. The big issue is of course that I dont even own something for it to fly yet, so it has to be a very compatible thing. Like how many radios do you guys own? Is it feasible to have just one?

TL;DR : Starting out, hoping to have for a while, what radio (or is it transmitter, the thing with sticks!) should I buy? Expensive and reasonable examples with an explanation of what money buys you would be awesome too!
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Old age member
It is quite feasible to have just one transmitter.
8 channels will get you a long way.
If you want just to fly without upgrading your radio you should look at Hitec, Futaba or Spectrum.
They have different features.
The Futaba 8 will give you 14 channels with serial connection of the servos or just 1 cable to an advanced multicopter board.
The Spectrum will give you cheap receivers and model match making it almost impossible to start with the wrong settings. And you will probably find settings for most models on the net for download to your radio.
Hitec gives you really easy setup and smart telemetry features.

If you want special features you might look at the high end Multiplex systems.

If you like to develop yourself and modify your transmitter to whatever - get an open source "9x" or similar.
Thanks for reply. I was looking into the Spectrum, and well, there seems to be 6,7,8,10 or 18 model, and the number of channel seems to be the most advertised difference, but is really it worth fourth the price to get an extra channel? If i want to do multicopters and planes, with cameras and maybe fpv some day, how many channels should I really need? 14 channels seems like a lot, what is an example of a setup that would use all that?

I think I would be comfortable with programming them, but not any DIY soldering etc.. The more out of the box the better I guess.
For me, I can't have enough channels. I'm always trying weird things. Bomb drops, towing, flaps and spoilers, airbrakes, parachutes, whatever. I don't like using the standard switches and experiment with odd mixes.

The bride says six is enough, unless you're the type that just can't leave things alone.

I would suggest a nine channel. It should last you a long long as time.

Edit-Out of the 18 transmitters I have, my favorite is the FlySky TH9X. I can't recommend this radio over what Mr. Pgerts suggested because it simply is not as good a radio for one who wants something that is user friendly and works out of the box.
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From what I can gather (from look for what people prefer more than feature sets) are Spectrum DX6i and DX8, Turnegy 9XR, Futuba 8FG and Hitec Aurora 9 that are the big contenders, but I obviously do not know enough about them to tell the big differences and how to know which one would be better for me. So I understand that Spectrum is less DIY and that is defentively a plus it its book, but I am still not sure on the whole question of how many channels will I want to have next year..


Senior Member
If you get the Spektrum DX8, you have "enough" channels, a very easy to program radio, sd-card to upgrade and save models to, backlight and very nice gimbals and build quality. IMHO, of course. I have a DX7i and now wish I would've gotten a DX8, but couldn't afford it. Still, I like it very much. I also have the 9XR, and while it has a lot of nice features and flexibility, the Spektrum is much more comfy to fly and easy to use.

DSMX receivers are now also available from HK which removes one big disadvantage for Spektrum.

Every time this question is posted the answer in the end is "it's a matter of taste". So my suggestion is that you try to look at and fiddle with as many brands and models IRL as possible before you buy. TX and charger are the two items where it doesn't pay to be cheap or hasty.