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Old 05-22-2014, 09:31 PM   #1
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Default Too many different radios out there!!!

I was wondering if anyone else is kind of frustrated with all the different brands and protocols as far as the 2.4Ghz radios go. We used to have only to deal with upper shift and lower shift and 11-60 channels. Now we have 2.4Ghz and no two radios are the same and Rx's aren't interchangeable between any 2. We have FASST ,FHSS, Spectrum and Tactic and all the others to boot. That's why I kinda stuck to Airtronics as the RD's will fly anybodys RX as well as PCM. The only major player is the Orange RX from HobbyKing that will use Spectrum. I personally like Airtronics and Tactic as they are very easy to program and Tactic is fairly inexpensive. Have not tried the Orange RX as I don't like Spectrum protocol much. Airtronics is kinda expensive for their RX's so i limit whant i get for my RDS8000. I have stuck with the FM units I have as no one has them so I don't get hit and I have never had a issue with them ,(knock on wood!). Any ideas and comments?!
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:13 AM   #2
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This is a discussion that draws out a lot of emotion. Pick your poison.

I started out with Futaba and switched over to the Spektrum DX9 last year. Have not looked back. I like that it talks to me. The only thing I don't like about the Specktrum set-up is the whole bind plug thing. Seems like I'm always re-binding. Didn't see that with Futaba.

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Old 05-23-2014, 12:37 AM   #3
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Iv'e stayed with Airtronics for about 15yrs and have had no issues. JR and Hitec I have lost planes from glitches. Futaba I liked but was expensive. I got into Airtronics as they were one of the first to be able to run all receivers. Got a 2.4Ghz RDS8000 and liked it because it was the same programing as the FM RD6000 and 8000. No binding issues but hard to bind at first. I love the Tactic as all you do to bind it is turn the TX on and push the bind button on the RX and your done. Never had any glitches so far. Its also a very inexpensive TX too. Iv'e flown with 5-6 people and the are constantly having to rebind their planes and have lost planes due to the TX malfunctioning. My all time fav. TX was the Airtronics Radian. Was only a 3 model Tx but it was so simple to setup I never looked at the manual. Same with the RD's except to bind the TX/RX on the 2.4GHz RDS.
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by propnut48 View Post
I was wondering if anyone else is kind of frustrated with all the different brands and protocols as far as the 2.4Ghz radios go. We used to have only to deal with upper shift and lower shift and 11-60 channels. Now we have 2.4Ghz and no two radios are the same and Rx's aren't interchangeable between any 2. We have FASST ,FHSS, Spectrum and Tactic and all the others to boot. That's why I kinda stuck to Airtronics as the RD's will fly anybodys RX as well as PCM. The only major player is the Orange RX from HobbyKing that will use Spectrum. I personally like Airtronics and Tactic as they are very easy to program and Tactic is fairly inexpensive. Have not tried the Orange RX as I don't like Spectrum protocol much. Airtronics is kinda expensive for their RX's so i limit whant i get for my RDS8000. I have stuck with the FM units I have as no one has them so I don't get hit and I have never had a issue with them ,(knock on wood!). Any ideas and comments?!
As indicated, you've opened up a hornets nest .

Things have really changed since the days of the 27 Mhz CB frequencies, and the two different frequency bands that were used on 72 Mhz for radio control.
These systems used tried and true radio frequency circuits that have been around for over 100 years. Words like superhetrodyne, local oscillator, RF Amplifier, Mixer, IF Amplifier, decoder, the list goes on. All of these functions are very well designed, and they work well. (As long as someone doesn't turn on your frequency ) One thing about those old systems. They didn't need a software engineer spending a lot of time writing the program software to make the radio work.

About 70 years ago, Hedi Lamar and another person came up with Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum, FHSS. This technique was nothing more than taking the 72 Mhz frequencies, and jumping rapidly from one frequency to another, while the receiver is tracking the various frequencies. Not very complex, they did it with vacuum tubes 70 years ago. But, with the right design, it works, and works well.

Now, we've got the DSSS and DSMX (Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum, and DSMX which is kind of like DSSS with frequency hopping) DSSS became possible and hit the market around the year 2000 with low cost microcontrollers that could handle the orders of magnitude more complex processing power required, as compared to the FHSS functions.

One of the threads in www.wattflyer.com has a response from Spektrum where they indicate the Spektrum transmitters have over 200,000 lines of code in their transmitter.

Before retiring, the engineers I worked with, indicated on a complex computer controlled unit, the design of the mechanics represents about 10% of the total cost, and the software design of the program to run the microcontroller or microprocessor represents about 90% of the overall cost of the product.

As an example, things you have to look out for is the digital amount of travel assigned to a computer register. It is quite possible to have a servo go from 0 to 100% travel on the transmitter stick. But a weird mix of different channels allows that computer register to go to 101%, and instead of the servo going to 101%, it goes to 1%. That has happened. (And, I've done it!) And, it must be found before releasing the product to manufacturing. Another thing is some sort of "Watch Dog" circuitry and software that will automatically reboot the transmitter, and along with that the receiver, just in case something in the radio hardware or software decides to take a short time out.

So, after an MFG invests a whole lot of $$$$ in the hardware of a new product, and even far more $$$$ in the software to run it, they are not about to give away this expense to some other company, have them use it for free, and undercut the price of the MFG who designed it in the first place.

That's just business.

Attached is a brief description of DHSS and DSSS and how the two systems work. Warning, it is not an easy read. It is very complex. Several years ago as a project just to see if they could do it, some college grads made up a DSSS system, using plain old transistors. The finished project covered the top of a big desk. Now you can put the same DSSS integrated circuit into a little fingernail size package.

It's really interesting to watch this stuff operate on one of those Spectrum Analyzers that are available for a very reasonable $140 or so. Especially that Spektrum DSMX system, as compared to the Futaba FASST system. Yeah, I've got one of those Analyzers.
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=72719

Here is a 40 page spec sheet for the 2.4 Ghz transceiver chip used in the Spektrum AR7000 receivers.
http://pdf1.alldatasheet.com/datashe.../CYRF6936.html

Hope that puts some light on the subject.


Attached Files
File Type: pdf Spread Spectrum analysis.pdf (417.2 KB, 10 views) Spread Spectrum Analysis

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Old 05-23-2014, 01:28 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by propnut48 View Post
I was wondering if anyone else is kind of frustrated with all the different brands and protocols as far as the 2.4Ghz radios go. We used to have only to deal with upper shift and lower shift and 11-60 channels. Now we have 2.4Ghz and no two radios are the same and Rx's aren't interchangeable between any 2. We have FASST ,FHSS, Spectrum and Tactic and all the others to boot. That's why I kinda stuck to Airtronics as the RD's will fly anybodys RX as well as PCM. The only major player is the Orange RX from HobbyKing that will use Spectrum. I personally like Airtronics and Tactic as they are very easy to program and Tactic is fairly inexpensive. Have not tried the Orange RX as I don't like Spectrum protocol much. Airtronics is kinda expensive for their RX's so i limit whant i get for my RDS8000. I have stuck with the FM units I have as no one has them so I don't get hit and I have never had a issue with them ,(knock on wood!). Any ideas and comments?!
I am not a big fan of 2.4 , So having said that, If I were to go with a 2.4 system, I would go with Spectrum and use only 2.4 Full Range receivers with a Ubec to be on the safe side, the transmitters that you have to down load programs into, seem like a PITA, I am a Computer Dummy and would not be able to down load programs and make them work, It seems that transmitter MFG are trying to Monopolize their transmitters to their Receivers so you cant use other MFG receivers, such is the world of big business, anyway, if your happy with your 2.4 radio system, stick with it, and do yourself a big favor, stay clear of those orange receivers, Read way to many Horror story’s about them, Take care and have fun, Chellie

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Old 05-23-2014, 01:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by CHELLIE View Post
I am not a big fan of 2.4 , So having said that, If I were to go with a 2.4 system, I would go with Spectrum and use only 2.4 Full Range receivers with a Ubec to be on the safe side, the transmitters that you have to down load programs into, seem like a PITA, I am a Computer Dummy and would not be able to down load programs and make them work, It seems that transmitter MFG are trying to Monopolize their transmitters to their Receivers so you cant use other MFG receivers, such is the world of big business, anyway, if your happy with your 2.4 radio system, stick with it, and do yourself a big favor, stay clear of those orange receivers, Read way to many Horror story’s about them, Take care and have fun, Chellie
Well stated.
The best radio system out there is one you're happy with, and the one your club members are using.

As for using other receivers with an existing 2.4 Ghz transmitter, the software to run the receiver is specific to the integrated chips used in the receiver. So, if a receiver mfg decides to design a receiver compatible with Spektrum, and they use a different receiver IC, the software won't work. Not to mention what's involved with counterfeit equipment.

I'm sure some people like those orange receivers. But with Spektrums $29.99 4 channel full range receiver, I, for one, won't use them.

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Old 05-23-2014, 01:58 AM   #7
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My radio selection is Futaba and Radiolink. Both 4 channel low end radios, FHSS, Radioloink Rx are more affordable than the Futaba close to $50 Rx. All my servos, Futaba and easy on the budget Emax are analog. Unlike Chellie, I'm not worried about brownout with analog servos running off a BEC, nor do I sweat extreme range for my TX/Rx combo. Truth is my eyes are old and my planes are small so I need to keep them in eyeball range.

Back when I had 72 mhz and 27 mhz rigs things worked well even when I flew on my fav freq 27.255 (blue flag). My peeps were scared of that one since it was a wide open freq open for all sorts of R/C experiments including an R/C garage door opener. Never had a problem with it.

Next move is a computer radio EEK! I would like to play with spoilers and/or flaps on an E-assist slope glider so I need more channels. Probably stick to FHSS style.
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Old 05-23-2014, 03:45 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by carpetbagger View Post
My radio selection is Futaba and Radiolink. Both 4 channel low end radios, FHSS, Radioloink Rx are more affordable than the Futaba close to $50 Rx. All my servos, Futaba and easy on the budget Emax are analog. Unlike Chellie, I'm not worried about brownout with analog servos running off a BEC, nor do I sweat extreme range for my TX/Rx combo. Truth is my eyes are old and my planes are small so I need to keep them in eyeball range.

Back when I had 72 mhz and 27 mhz rigs things worked well even when I flew on my fav freq 27.255 (blue flag). My peeps were scared of that one since it was a wide open freq open for all sorts of R/C experiments including an R/C garage door opener. Never had a problem with it.

Next move is a computer radio EEK! I would like to play with spoilers and/or flaps on an E-assist slope glider so I need more channels. Probably stick to FHSS style.
Out of curiosity:
What is the lowest price four channel receiver for the various 2.4 Ghz name brand radios out there?

Spektrum is $29.99

Futaba is ?

Hitec is ?

Trannis is ?

Airtronics is ?

Tactic is ?

Lemons. $6.00

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Old 05-23-2014, 04:17 AM   #9
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I've been using Lemons in several of my planes and quite successfully I may add. A 6 channel DSM2 is about $6.00. I have bought a few 8 channels with satellites. the are about $16.00 These come with a case. Very nice. I range checked them and they are excellent.

They now have DSMX and 3 axis gyro combos.

Huge thread over on RCG with a lot of uber technical guys.

I'm sold on them

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Old 05-23-2014, 07:26 AM   #10
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I have had almost every TX that Spektrum makes, except the older DX6, DX7, DX10 and DX18. I use the DX9 now and have not had any issues with it whatsoever. I fly my planes with a mixture of Orange and Spektrum receivers. All have worked great. I recently bought the AnyLink2 module from Tactic. I plan to sell my Tactic TTX650 now because the AnyLink2 is so easy to setup and use and works like a charm with my DX9. I view Airtronics as one of those brands that is pretty much a niche market as the only stores that sell them are Hobby People stores. Spektrum has been great to me, especially with all the Horizon Hobby bind n fly models. Now with the AnyLink2 installed on my DX9, I can control my HeliMax choppers and Flyzone micro planes as well as the rest of Flyzone's TX-R planes.
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:15 AM   #11
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Airtronics shot themselves in the foot years ago when they insisted on not using the same servo wire order as everyone else.... They eventually changed but by that time it was too late and everyone was avoiding Airtronics.

They always made decent stuff... But they were trying to force people to not use other makers' servos with their systems and it backfired. People just quit using their systems.
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:26 PM   #12
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Ah! A radio war. How refreshing!

I'm Spektrum all the way and here's why:

1) It's what I've started with and I haven't had any reason to change.
2) They're reliable. I haven't had any issues I can blame the radio system for.
3) They're in the middle of the price range. Not cheap, but not the most expensive.
4) They have all the functions I need. I fly giant scale 3D and dabble in precision aerobatics, so I DO use mixes and throttle curves.
5) They're widely used, so I can by used RTF planes from my friends without having to replace the radio.
6) The underlying technology (DSMX) is very solid.

I'm currently using a DX8, but I may upgrade to a DX9 or DX18 this season.

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Old 05-23-2014, 01:44 PM   #13
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Then there are those of us that run module based radios.
It's handy to switch modules and use multiple vendor's receivers depending on the application. It's nice to be able to pick up a bind and fly from nearly any vendor and and be able to fly it with a single radio.

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Old 05-23-2014, 03:04 PM   #14
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Everyone to their own opinion but Orange receivers have always worked fine for me.
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Old 05-23-2014, 03:29 PM   #15
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As an electronic engineer, I am always curious as to which system is best so I have purchased and use several of the systems: Futaba, Airtronics, FrSky, Spectrum, Orange and Tactic. Surprisingly, all have performed very well with the easiest to program and use being the Tactic. I've also tried the clones for Futaba FASST and Spectrum and all those work very well. The only problems I've had is with some of the Spectrums loosing bind for some reason; could be my fault as with so many different versions, I sometimes do inadvertently mix up the procedures as recommended on the instruction manuals. In short, all these brands seem to be very good with Futaba and FrSky slightly ahead on reliability. However, even that statement could be wrong due to the small samples I have worked with. I have also had good luck with the Orange receivers.
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Old 05-23-2014, 04:38 PM   #16
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I've got a 6i, and use both the Orange and those Park Flyer versions. Both work well for my little stuff.

But for my expensive bigger birds, I still use my Multiplex EVO 7. Hands down my favorite radio. Around 10 years old and it has stuff that the newer radios are just now spouting as the latest and greatest. Pffffff.

When I die, I want to go like my Grandfather did, in his sleep...... Not screaming like the passengers in his plane.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:09 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Glacier Girl View Post
I've got a 6i, and use both the Orange and those Park Flyer versions. Both work well for my little stuff.

But for my expensive bigger birds, I still use my Multiplex EVO 7. Hands down my favorite radio. Around 10 years old and it has stuff that the newer radios are just now spouting as the latest and greatest. Pffffff.
Ten years old? That's still new

As for me, I've got a Controlaire transmitter/receiver that is over 50 years old. It still works.

(But, its only control is a single pushbutton, nothing else. That operates a simple relay in the receiver )

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Old 05-23-2014, 06:51 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by quorneng View Post
Everyone to their own opinion but Orange receivers have always worked fine for me.
I've used a couple and those i fly with have used many, and I've yet to see any problems with them. IMHO they are perfectly ok.
Having said that on my more expensive models I tend to stick with original Spektrum receivers for piece of mind even though I've no evidence to say Orange is any less reliable.

Back to the OP's original point... Yeah, there are a lot of different protocols but really, it's not a problem. It just means that you generally cant mix different brands of Rx and Tx, but really, why would you want to? The only one that really puzzles me is Futaba and their different protocols, which aren't compatible even to other Futaba transmitters. Now that truly is bizarre.
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by NJSwede View Post
Ah! A radio war. How refreshing!

I'm Spektrum all the way and here's why:

1) It's what I've started with and I haven't had any reason to change.
Yep. That's me. I started with Spektrum when I bought my 2nd plane - a Parkzone Radian. They've never given me any serious problems, have tons of support, etc. etc.

I'm the sort of guy who finds something that works pretty well for me and then I stick with it until it lets me down. Which Spektrum hasn't. I've never had a Tx issue in my four years of flying RC.

I've had a DX5, Dx6, DX7 and DX9.

No hate to the other radios out there.

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Old 05-24-2014, 02:41 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
I've used a couple and those i fly with have used many, and I've yet to see any problems with them. IMHO they are perfectly ok.
Having said that on my more expensive models I tend to stick with original Spektrum receivers for piece of mind even though I've no evidence to say Orange is any less reliable.

Back to the OP's original point... Yeah, there are a lot of different protocols but really, it's not a problem. It just means that you generally cant mix different brands of Rx and Tx, but really, why would you want to? The only one that really puzzles me is Futaba and their different protocols, which aren't compatible even to other Futaba transmitters. Now that truly is bizarre.
Yup
That seems to me a sure way to cause customers to switch to another brand.

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Old 05-24-2014, 02:46 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by mclarkson View Post
Yep. That's me. I started with Spektrum when I bought my 2nd plane - a Parkzone Radian. They've never given me any serious problems, have tons of support, etc. etc.

I'm the sort of guy who finds something that works pretty well for me and then I stick with it until it lets me down. Which Spektrum hasn't. I've never had a Tx issue in my four years of flying RC.

I've had a DX5, Dx6, DX7 and DX9.

No hate to the other radios out there.
Several years ago, I shipped my 5 something year old DX7 transmitter and six Spektrum receivers to Horizon for a "Check over".

Horizon got them, checked everything over, found all was OK, and shipped it back to me. Enclosed in the returned box was a note indicating that for good customer relations, everything is No Charge! They even paid return shipping.

A number of other club members have had similar responses. One member had a DX7 that lost its bind several times with the receiver. It was out of warranty. Horizon couldn't verify it, so they shipped back a brand new DX7 transmitter. Of course, no charge.

That kind of product support gets around by word of mouth very quickly.

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Old 05-24-2014, 06:50 PM   #22
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Jr was kinda the same in that they had a reverse polarity to the TX charge port. I have no problem with Airtronics and just swap the wires to the servo for the early to the later Rx's. Biggest problem I have with Airtronics is the RX cost. Spectrum is Ok but kinda been VW'ed and too mass produced and programming is different than the norm.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:32 AM   #23
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For many years in fact JR xtals were different in frequency to anyone else .. due to the intermediate freq. used in the circuitry. Contrary to some reports, you could use other xtals but if you used for example a Futaba based xtal - the actual RF was off-spec and not actually the Freq number you expected !
Later they dropped this and brought their xtals in line with others.

The charger port / plug polarity is still same today.
On my Tx / Rx chargers - I have dual plug leads for Tx's ... one is pin +ve for others, pin -ve for JR.

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Old 05-25-2014, 04:34 PM   #24
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Does anyone know how many or the differences between the 2.4Ghz community, ie: fasst, fhss (1 No 2) , secure link tech. the Spectrum radios and so on? Did they allow open source on 2.4ghz so that the radio manufacturers could go about it in different ways but still have the 2.4ghz designations? Seems kinda like the auto and aircraft manufacturers where if it fly or drives and meets certain criteria they can classify it a car or plane. Such as a ICE, rotary, turbine and so on. It's all he same mode of transportation but with a different twist to make it their own.
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Old 05-25-2014, 04:59 PM   #25
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Propnut,

I'm not sure specifically what you are asking but Ill give it a shot.

All 2.4GHz systems operate on the same 2.4GHz frequency band, but different manufacturers use different communication protocols.

Think of these protocols as analogous to human languages. All humans communicate using the same range of vocal frequencies, however the languages we construct using these same vocal frequencies are totally different. For instance, although we all use the same vocal chords and have the same ears and can in fact hear each other perfectly well, I don't understand Chinese and most Chinese people wouldn't understand me, because the communication language is different.

2.4GHz protocals are like human languages. To a Futaba Rx the signal that a Spektrum Tx sends out (although it can 'hear' it) would be unintelligible 'noise' and vice versa.

It's really impossible to rank the different 2.4GHz protocols, any of the current ones are very secure and wont give you any trouble. Pretty much every manufacturer claims their own system to be 'best'. They are all many times more secure than old 72MHz / 35MHz FM systems (which in fact had no security at all, any transmission on the same frequency would block them)
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