Your RC Radio And The Electronic Chain Of Command

Elvis Elvis

The electronic components used in rc airplanes include an rc radio or transmitter, a receiver, a battery pack and several servos.

The radio or transmitter is the box that the pilot holds. It is equipped with two control sticks, usually the left one controls the throttle and rudder/steerable nose wheel and the right stick controls the ailerons and the elevator. There are usually some trim switches, some servo reversing switches and some other switches that may control more advanced options such as retractable landing gear, lights, flaps or a smoke system to name a few.

The rc radio transmits signals to a receiver that is located inside or on the aircraft fuselage. The receiver which receives its power from the on board battery pack, sends corresponding signals through wires to each of the servos.

Servos are small boxes equipped with moving arms that move the control surfaces and other components.

One final word about rc radios or transmitters. They are designated by the number of channels they can control. Each channel controls one servo. So if your rc airplane has servos for elevator and rudder only, then you need at least a two channel radio. If you have servos for throttle, ailerons, elevator and rudder, then you’ll need a four channel radio, and so on.

My personal advise is to buy an rc radio with more channels than you need now so that when you get into more advanced rc airplanes in the future with more servos, like retractable landing gear etc. you will still be able to use your original rc radio and won’t need to buy another one.

Your RC Radio And The Electronic Chain Of Command

OK, OK, two final words about radios.

The FCC has allowed the 72 Mhz band to be used for rc aircraft operations. This band is divided up into several different channels. You can select which channel your system will operate on by the use of a frequency module that plugs into your rc radio and another one of the same channel into your receiver. If you purchase your transmitter and receiver separately, you need to nave matching frequency modules installed, or just install them yourself. They just plug in.

It doesn’t matter which channel you choose unless there happens to be a problem with outside interference in your area on certain channels. Just call your local hobby shop and ask them if they are aware of any problems. The reason that there are so many different channels available is so that when you go to your local rc flying field, several different pilots can be flying at the same time without interfering with each others signal. However, you need to be sure that someone else who is currently flying is not on the same channel as your system before you switch on your transmitter or you could cause their plane to loose control and crash. You can usually see which channel they are on by the flag on top of their radio antenna. It should have a two digit number on it. The channels go from 11 to 60. If you can’t see it, ask them!