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D9 - RADIO - What should I look for when I want to move up to a 7 or more channel radio ?

The choice of a more advanced radio is one that you really must take a great deal of care with because these radios offer lots of very different features, many of which you may not want.

The first thing to realise is that although a particular radio system may offer say 9 channels, some of these extra channels may well not provide the functionality that you are looking for.

First of all, you must remember that with a collective pitch helicopter, the first 6 channels are all needed just to control the helicopter and gyro system, so a 9 channel is only offering you 3  more usable channels. So the first thing you need to consider is what the extra channels are to be used for. 

For example if are you going to have a scale body with retractable undercarriage gear, you are not only going to need a fully switchable On/Off channel to control them, but also some other control module to let you set the speed of the retract operation.  Some radios actually let you adjust the speed of the servo that is connected to a particular channel, which is great, but otherwise you will want some other module to let you do this.

But if you want an auto pilot system such as Alien Command or Helicommand, and want to be able to control the functionality of those system from your radio, you will need a full proportional channel as these system need to be able to be set to a certain % for say On/Off or worse yet, you may need a 3 position switched channel to provide different settings in HeliCommand.

Some radios of these types automatically provide extra features that are very useful as a bonus, and they do not constitute an additional channel. The best example of this is having Hover Throttle and Hover Pitch controls on your radio to let you adjust the head speed at the hover very easily while in flight.

Each type of radio provides different features for the additional channels, so you need to check very carefully before deciding on the right one for you.

My own radio of choice is a JR Propo DSX9, because of its overall versatility, and the fact that it gives me 5 point curves, and 3 flight modes as standard that can be increased to 5 flight modes if I use up one of the additional channels.  It also lets me set servo speed up on each channel.

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