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Your Reviewer

My Credentials
So who's doing this reviewing then?

Well I've been building and flying or driving radio controlled models for over 40 years and during that time I like to think I've built up a reasonable amount of knowledge.

I'm also a qualified electronics engineer who has worked in radio frequency, analog, digital systems and software for more than three decades. In fact I designed and built my first RC set back in 1969.

For the past nine years I've also been involved in the design and manufacture of some rather sophisticated engine technology and UAV flight control systems.

So, chances are I've been there, done that and have a huge pile of tee shirts to prove it.

Right now I'm heavily into 3D flying and enjoy all aspects of the RC hobby. I may be old but I don't feel it.

In the Pipeline

Here's just a little bit of what's to come on this site...

RC explained: Demystifying terms such as PCM, PPM dual conversion, single conversion, full-range etc., this feature will explain it all.

Cheap Chinese Engines: Just how good are those cheap Chinese glow and gas engines that sell for half the price of their "brand-name" equivalent? I put several to the test.

Build your own radio gear?: Back in the old days, building your own RC gear was not uncommon and now the arrival of 2.4GHz has made it practical again.


Preview: Turnigy 9X Version 2


Updated: 15 June 2010 turnigy 9x version 2

image from

Update: to keep folks informed (and give a little insight into HK's shipping speeds at present, here's how my order is going:

10 June 2010, status: PROCESSING

12 June 2010, status: SHIPPED

15 June 2010, status: DELIVERED

So watch for the real Turnigy 9X/V2 review in the next day or so!

After a period during which the original Turnigy 9X radio was out of stock, HobbyKing has started shipping a new version of this computer radio.

The new version sees the old telescopic antenna replaced with a 2.4GHz unit that is hard-wired into the new "V2" 2.4GHz module which clips into the back of the radio.

Unfortunately, the cable is soldered to the module's circuit board so those who wish to fit third-party modules, such as those from Corona, FrSky, FlyDream, Assan, etc will have to either get out their soldering irons or their wire-cutters.

What's more, once they've cut this wire, the built-in 2.4GHz antenna will be of little use and may actually be a hindrance to proper operation of their 3rd-party module.

The new V2 2.4GHz module/receiver

Until I get my hands on the new version, what follows is simply speculation and should be treated as such.

The new receiver appears to be little more than the old 8-channel unit without its satellite and using a sleeved-dipole (or BODA as Hitec calls them) antenna instead of the simple 1/4-wave whip.

Unless the manufacturer (FlySky) has significantly improved the sensitivity of these receivers, I have grave concerns over the reliability of the resulting RF link. In my tests, the old 8-channel FlySky receivers were around 9dB (almost ten times) less sensitive than similar "brand-name" products. This would make the new system far more susceptible to shadowing and multi-pathing issues that can produce lockouts at even relatively close distances.

I have flown the original 8-channel receiver without its satellite and can report that frequent lockouts occurred at distances as close as 100 yards in this configuration.

Once I have a system in my hands, I will do a direct comparison and receiver sensitivity check to determine whether the receiver has been improved but, for $9, I'm not expecting that it has.

Then there is the issue of band-use.

The original V1 RF system from FlySky was a single-frequency non-agile setup that worked perfectly well in an average 2.4GHz environment but was not well suited to high-noise locations or places where many transmitters may be used simultaneously.

I have heard from some sources that the new system is frequency-hopping but the lack of any such claims on the modules themselves would suggest that this perhaps is not the situation at all. Again, only tests will confirm this.

New Software

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the new Turnigy-branded 9X radio will be the promise that the old software bugs have been fixed.

Most users are reporting that the mixes now work just fine but I've seen nobody who's tried the more advanced features that simply didn't work on the original radio.

So, I've forked out some of RCModelReviews sparse review budget to order a system for review and you'll get the full report here when it arrives -- effectively confirming or addressing the uncertainties I've raised above.

I'll also do a DIY article/video showing how to install the main module-based systems in a way that allows use of the internal 2.4GHz antenna.

Join others in the RCModelReviews forums to discuss the Turnigy 9X V2

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The Blog

Updated: 20 Sep 2012
Here's a blog that will keep you informed just what's going on behind the scenes at RC Model Reviews and also tells you a little more about myself.

How compatible are 2.4GHz RC systems?

23 Mar 2010
How come there's no compatibility between different brands of transmitters and receivers? Why can't you use a cheap Chinese receiver with your Futaba FASST radio?

How to get a product reviewed here

4 Mar 2010
Since this has become a very frequently asked question, I've posted this simple guide to getting your product, or a product you're thinking of buying reviewed here at RCModelReviews

How servos work

Useful information on what's inside your servos and how they work.

The Good Oil

Important facts you should know about the oils that are used in our model engine fuels.

Heads-Up: 2.4GHz RC systems tested

How well do five different 2.4GHz systems stack up when hit by interference? The answers are here, with more to come.

Review: Bushnell's $80 Speed Gun

Yes it does work on model airplanes but there are some limitations involved with this bargain-basement radar speed gun.

Review: TowerPro MG995 servo

These are possibly the world's worst servos, find out exactly why you should avoid these boat-anchors at any cost.

Review: SK90


It's cheap but can it really stack up against other glow engines in the .90 market? Find out in this review.

Review: iMax 9X 2.4GHz radio

How does this cheap 9-channel 2.4GHz radio system perform when compared to big-name systems that can cost two or three times as much? Have the Chinese finally developed a real contender with the iMax 9X?

2.4GHz Explained

Does all this 2.4GHz stuff have your head spinning? 2.4GHz

I've done my best to demystify the whole subject so if you feel like a bit of learning, this is the stuff for you!

Fix That Engine!

How can you tell when your engine needs new bearings? Who has the best prices and service on replacements? Just how do you change them? Get all that information and watch a great video tutorial anyone can follow.

Chinese Servos - How do they stack up?


The Chinese are now churning out a huge number of very reasonably priced no-name servos. But are they any good?

Baffled by batteries?

Batteries Nicad, NiMH, Li-Ion, LiPoly, LiFePO4, A123... the range of different battery types has never been greater. So how do they differ and what type should you be using?

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