Radio Selection/Use

Have been sailing IOM for 3 years now. Many sailors use digital radio systems to achieve the exponential function on rudder. That is a good thing. But with digital radios the click trim function that is to slow to use.
I use trim on rudder to make my boat sail straight forwad. That meas that i have to retrim after every tack. Offcourse I try first to trim the sail plan to make my boat sail straight. But during a race the wind strenght is often changing, and I solve it temporary by changing rudder trim.

Please give me your oppinion about this and also how you solve this problem.

Hi there Kollijox.

In my opinion you are unwise to use the trim to make your IOM sail straight.
A better option would be to tune your IOM to have just a little weather helm and use the rudder control sparingly to steer your craft for maximum speed.
Most beginners tend to try to sail to close to the wind and so, go slow.
Try steering just a couple of degrees further away from the wind and keep your speed on constantly.
If your IOM is tuned correctly it will keep looking for the lift in the wind and so as you relax the rudder pressure the boat will tell you if the wind direction has changed and if so, for better or worse.
If you see a big knock, of course, you tack.
Above all, keep the pressure in the sails. A yacht with out healing is going nowhere fast.
Good winds my friend.

First I’ll be a bit picky in that the radios we use have all been digital for some time. For years they said right on them that they were digital proportional systems.

But now that I am over that, I agree that I sure like the slide switches on the older, non-computerized radios as the trim function was quick and easy to flip to the other side on a tack. I use the trim to make those minor changes all the time.

But I only go 2 or 3 clicks at the most so it isn’t too far back to neutral or the other side. If you need more than that then I have to agree with Ian that the basic trim is out a bit.


I couldn’t agree more. Plus, its US$20 vs $300+. I still use Futaba Attacks - they suit me fine and feel comfortable in my hands. Maybe the racers need higher tech, we’ll see in posts to follow.


I’m not a racer(ask anyone) but I use a DX6 so I don’t have to worry about frequencies. I only use the trims when the boat is on the stand.

OK, I guess my “racer” reference was uninformed. Need a new frequency, change the crystals. I guess I don’t understand why more is more.

I’m sidetracking Kollijox’s topic. Carry on…


I bought the DX6 used for not much more than a selection of crystals might cost. I can go to the lake and set up my boat, run the sheets in and out without checking to see what frequency everyone else is using. If I’m there first and I am out on the water I don’t have to worry about someone else turning on their transmitter. And it leaves me free to put my receiver in a(slightly) more inaccessable spot. And knowing me I would have lost the one crystal that I needed. For me it’s a win win situation.

I have now found a radio that can overcome the negativ with digital trim.
It is the Futaba 3GR-FS. On that you can select a second “model” by a switch. In that second model you can change the most things, incl. steering trim.
I think I will by that radio. And if i get skilled on trimming my sails I doun’t have to use second model.

I still like using my Futaba Attack 4-channel AM TX with a 2-channel AM Rx. I’ve acquired most every set of crystals over the years, so I “don’t have to worry about conflicts.” I can sail with one hand and elbow my mates with the other. :devil3: I even swapped TXs with one mate at the last regatta, and after he figured out he only needed the one thumb, he was happy too.

I just wish I could cut the Tx in half so it’s that small… Otherwise, I might go for the Hitec 3-Channel (single stick) TX some day.

I had always made do with the Futaba Attack 2 channel AM, and like Tomohawk, had built an inventory of crystals such that I never had conflicts that couldn’t be solved. I’ve had three of these radios - each a different shape as the design changed over the years, but otherwise each was the same. I still own two. Despite their simplicity, and occasional problems with interference (which cost me races or places sometimes) I have always managed to hold my own in a club fleet.

Almost 2 years ago I eventually upgraded to a Spectrum DX6. At the time I was hoping to find time to attend some regional regattas and other ranking regattas, so wanted the benefit and convenience of life without crustals.

It certainly simplifies life, but it doesn’t make me sail any better.

I agree with the comments posted and also note that a set of crystals is at a minimum about $6 - I’m sure I’ve paid double that in the past. I would have 12 or 15 different sets across two frequency ranges (one of my raiods is an AM 27). So call that a minimum $72 investment in crystals - but more likely about $150.

For people that race, and need a good selection of frequencies, the cost of the cystals needs to be factored into the decision.

I’m waiting for someone to say “You’re not supposed to change crystals with out getting the radio system retuned!” :sly:

That and people inisting on having the yellow “75 MHZ” streamer on the antenna (“because it’s required”) are my two favorite radio peeves.