Radios and frequencies

Hi there,

I am well on my in buidling my boat (from a second hull). Any suggestions around radios.

  • Should I start with a 2-channel and later buy another one if I need more channels or should I start with something fancier?
  • What is all this about land-frequencies?
  • Is the frequencies the same all round the world?

Very puzzled starter




Well at first I bought the Futaba Attacker…a 2 channel 27mhz am…but after a while I jumped to digital servos, so I changed, I now use a 40mhz surface 6 channel(in Japan its ok, do not know for other countries) Futaba.
Anyway, now I dont use the 2 channel 27mhz am anymore…
It’s a bit hard…but if you plan to have a boat (yacht) with more than 2 channel, I’d say, get at least a 4 channel TX.

Thats the model I use (it was so cheap here, lucky me)

same just 40Mhz…of course you can get a cheaper one

try or

good luck

if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!

What is the benefit of digital servos?

Work can never be a hobby
It’s way too expensive

Nick’s (wis) advice is right on. The radio he is recommending ( ) is among the most popular up and coming radio for RC sailors. Several in our club use them and several more will be in the 04 season, including me if I can. It has a servo knob on the top left corner that works perfectly for either a Jib trim or backstay.
Hard to recommend just what you need though being we don?t know what boat you are using. Also not sure what frequency is being used for ground use in South Africa. Ground use just means that it?s the frequency that the FAA (here in the USA) has authorized as the one for car?s boats or anything that does not fly. That would be 50 mHz, 27 mHz and 75mHz. Flying RC is allowed the use of 72 mHz here in the USA. There are a lot of channels available within all of these frequencies.

Digital servos are supposed to be more accurate as far as always stopping at the same spot. Kind of a simplified explanation, but when you let of your rudder and it goes to center, the digital is supposed to find that exact same center every time as opposed to an analog servo. The people that I know that have used them don?t find any difference when sailing and do not recommend spending the money. I would imagine that there use might be better off in an airplane or helicopter where it needs to be more precise.

Greg V,
about digital servos…faster, smoother, more precise and stronger, but more expensive[:-weepn]. another bad point, they consume more electricity…just a matter of choice I guess!


if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!

Good points Nick. As I remember now, battery usage was a complaint I had heard at our club. I?m pretty much clueless on that stuff though.

Cobus, I would post something on Windpower about this as I believe that there are some there that are from SA that might be able to help you out. I can only find what is used for airplane use there, but nothing on ground. Yes, it is different in every country.

Sorry, I’ve been calling Wis Nick. For some reason I thought that was his name.

Sorry Wis

no problem[:-batman]

if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!

I use a 4-channel transmitter for my dsailboat. Both channels are on the right stick, which is good because I’m right-handed. that way I can walk around and sail AND chew gum (or think about tactics & rules). :wink:

could you rig up a standard flat pack 7.2 volts for use as the reciever . if the digital servos are a energy drain. then carry more engery? or am i wrong in thinking that way?

you need more Mah; not more voltage


if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!

Getting back to the original topic for a moment, there are a couple of things for Cobus to keep in mind if he is going to be sailing with a group or club:

  1. contact the club and make sure that you select a frequency that is not already being used by another club member. Usually someone in the club will manage the frequency assignments and be able to assign you a free frequency

  2. Here in the US we have been having some trouble with a syndrome called “23 channel interference” Without getting into too much technical detail if there are two radios at the pond that are transmitting 23 channels apart, they will create a interference frequency that will cause all the radios at the pond to glitch periodically. One way to avoid this is to get an FM radio with dual conversion. This will filter out that problem. I believe the digital radios will also filter out that problem but I am not 100% sure on that.

  • Will

Will Gorgen

For the last 10 years I have been sailing, here in England, on 459Mhz UHF.
Totally legal, very under used, can be used for boats planes or cars, I have never had a Freq clash, or had to stop RC,ing in all that time.
NEVER get any interference at all, just works year in year out!.
The cost of UHF gear is higher than other Freqs,
which is why there are not many folk using it, but just imagine, NO timed sessions,No body waiting for you to finish sailing etc, sail until the power runs out!- - always!!.
Here 27Mhz is a Joke, toys only safe to use it.
Boats use 40Mhz, Planes use 35Mhz, HUGE FINES if you use the wrong one!!.
Best to check your area to see which Freq is used a LOT, then choose another one, IF there is another legal one to use.

In the U.S., it’s 72 MHz for aircraft, 27 or 75 MHz for cars, boats, and other “surface” vehicles (with 27 MHZ for either) and if you have a radio license, you have 50 MHz.

No 459? MHz in the U.S., unless it’s something new I don’t know about.

459Mhz is only used here in the UK, Germany has 433Mhz I think, but our Mobile Phones used to use 433, new ones now use 1.2 Ghz and higher freqs.
The 459Mhz band was pioneered in the 1930s, in the North East of England, in WW11 the Gov stopped all use and after the War things never really got going again. A few brave souls made the odd set or two, then 15 years ago some production versions came along.
These were very reliable, got some of them myself and still use them.

I bought mine new from World Electronics/ Talisman,
It was made entirely to MY specification, all switches etc were placed where I wanted them, built in servo reverse, Rates, Mixers, high capacity Nicads, metal Case and the aerial is only 7 inches long!!!.
It has 7 channels, some are switched ones, I chose all the Sticks and slidersand where they should be placed.
What more would be needed?.

It sounds like just the thing I would want to use on a sophisticated Towboat (tug) I’m working on. It has dual motor controls, dual rudders & extras.
Except it has to be 75MHz

You need to check out “Multiplex” Radio gear.
My youngest Son has a 3010 Tranny, computer set, does everything!!!-- I have got my eyes on it!.
Latest from Multiplex is one called " Cockpit", much lower in price, but the same high quality build and features.
Do a search for multiplex and give your self a treat.

just for info…in the USA:

in Germany:

way back in Europe, many people used multiplex for planes and all were very happy and satisfied with their products

maybe you could also check conrad electronics @…only a but…these are for European countries…so you need to check with the frequencies!


if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!