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A mid-range computer transmitter, the JR 9XII.

The transmitter is the part of the radio control system that the pilot holds in his or her hands. Manipulating the control sticks and switches causes the transmitter to send radio signals to the receiver in the model, which are then translated into control signals. Often just referred to as 'the radio'; often abbreviated in writing to 'tx'.

There are a number of ways that the helicopter controls are mapped to the transmitter's two control sticks; this is known as the transmitter mode. By far the most common for helicopter use is Mode 2.

Most modern transmitters are known as computer or programmable transmitters. They have a large number of settings that allow the radio to be tuned to the model that it is flying. They also have a number of model memories allowing these settings to be stored, so one radio can be used to fly different helicopters – at different times, of course! The transmitters supplied with so-called ready to fly helicopters are called stock transmitters and are usually simple and offer very little in the way of adjustment. A good programmable transmitter can make a huge difference in the flying characteristics of a helicopter.

Dedicated helicopter radios have a number of features that make them more appropriate for flying helicopters, such as a 'smooth' throttle control, rather than one held in place by a ratchet. Helicopter radios can be used to fly aeroplanes, but occasionally not vice versa.

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Block diagram of a computer transmitter's functions

Typical radio features include:

Before flying your helicopter, you should:

  • Understand your site's frequency control system before switching on the transmitter.
  • Switch on the transmitter before the helicopter.
  • Ensure you a using the correct model memory.
  • Ensure the transmitter battery voltage is good.
  • Ensure that the controls move the swashplate and tail rotor correctly.
  • Perform a range check if you have made changes to the installation.
  • Extend the transmitter aerial fully (or on 2,4GHz transmitters, point the antenna vertically (or sideways to you if not possible to put it close to vertical)).

When you stop flying:

  • Use throttle hold (if present) as a safety.
  • Turn off the helicopter before the transmitter.

See also

External links

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