While we were busy this past summer, a startling development in rc aircraft radio has quietly crept into view!
This rc radio control transmitter came disguised under the name of Spectrum DX-6 and is offered by Horizon Hobbies. Somewhat resembling a conventional rc radio in switches and levers, it is anything but an ordinary rc aircraft radio ransmitter in function! The most unusual aspect is that it operates on the extemely high frequency range of 2.4 Gigahertz as compared with the more common 72 Megahertz radios which we all have been using for many years.
“So what”, you might say. Well, gigahertz frequencies are well above the megahertz band where ordinary tv, radio, cell phones and garage door openers and most communication devices are found. Furthermore, the Spectrum radio employs a technique of locking on a discrete frequency between itself and it’s receiver (located in the airplane) and once locked in, there is literally a greater than million-to-one chance of another spectrum radio control transmitter locking onto exactly the same frequency.
With our 72 megaherz radios, operating on about 40 discrete channels, there is a very good chance that someone else at the field could interfere with control of your rc aircraft if his or her radio is also turned on. The disastrous consequences of loss of control will at very least cause the plane to crash, thus posing a very real danger to people and property in the flight path.
Another nice benefit is that the receiver for the Spectrum is very light and small and has two very short wire antennas which can easily be concealed within the plane’s fuselage for enhanced scale effect. Since the radios are highly unlikely to interfere with each other, it appears that soon there will be little need for the careful frequency controls we have been using up to now.
One new requirement has appeared with these new radios and that is the need for an additional, duplicate receiver in some models with massive engines or structure which might serve to interfere with the reception of radio signals under certain conditions of distance and positioning.
It appears that we are about to enjoy a massive leap forward in radio technology with the advent of the usage of the gigahertz radio band.