How to Choose a Good Radio

I’m returning to Radio Cotrol after long absences (was in R/C planes and sailplanes 10+ years ago) what are some good radios to use for R/C sailing?

I too am fairly new, bought a used boat with a Futaba 2ch AM radio. It works fine but have been told I should get an FM radio for less interfence and better range. Some recommend 4 channels if I ever want to fly or get into model ships like tugs or fireboats. You want sticks. Best advise I can give is find out what channels others you will be sailing with before you select your xtals

A lot depends what your future plans are. If you want just sail alone (or with couple of other people) on a small lake for fun a small two channel a two stick (always a two stick!) AM is OK (55-70$ with servos). If you have serious racing in mind (now or later in time) you may want to start looking in FM dual conversion, 4 or more channels (you don’t use all the channels but they came with nice features), the price tag goes up, but less interference and more features in the radio. You may look into computer radios if you decide to race in more than one class (just program your settings in the radio for each boat – winch travel, rudder and so on – and your set to go) a little pricier but worth, your choice may start to be more limited now. If you plan to travel and participate in big events (big regional or nationals) you may want to consider a Hitech radio with spectra module/receiver or similar, that allows you to preset the frequency without a crystal (tower hobbies list them only for 72MHz, but I’ve seen them used by IOM guys this spring so they should be available).
I personally use a Hitech Laser6 FM 6 channels for my Soling and US1M, OK radio only not so good batteries, (600 MilliAmp where not really sufficient for a day of racing)
Hope this helps.


Thanks for the input. Big change from the Kraft Raido days LOL.

The link below has docs that detail what to use for top performance, it interesting what can be done.

I would suggest a radio that has travel adjustment for winch and rudder fine tuning, dual rate can be of use too depending on what you require.

Most 2 channels as far as I am aware are not programmable, but I have not checked this in newer models as there has been no need for me to upgrade as yet.

Hitec makes a 3 channel transmitter with only one stick- one handed operation!

AFAIK, (in the US) the FCC regs prohibit the use of a 72 MHz radio system on surface craft. Get a 75MHz system, or some of the AM 72 radios can be retuned for75 MHz

Does anyone know if JR Radios stick type (FM) 72 MZ can be converted to 75 MZ use? I went to a hobby shop to look for a good radio. When the salesman heard I was into sailboats he pushed he over with the toy boats and entry level 2 channel radios. Guess he did not want my money. LOL

It sounds like you wen to a Radio Shack/Tandy electrics store! lol

Yoyu need a store that has RC cars/trucks

You would think LOL. It was a huge full services R/C store (Planes Boats and Cars).