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That bane called interference

Old 12-08-2011, 04:13 AM
  #1  
MJtheSOLID
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Question That bane called interference

I've been flying for about 6 months or so, and have become pretty engulfed in the hobby. I build my own planes now (see below) and invested in a self-built foam cutter. I also invested in what i believed would be a good Tx/Rx setup. The DX6i is an excellent system, and until recently has been nothing short of outstanding. However, our usual field (local civic center hot-air balloon field) has been full of problems. During range testing, the Rx looses signal before the 90ft mark. At full power, we can no longer get a reliable signal at the far end of the field, which is no more than 250 yards. This was never an issue before. I've flown there dozens of times with no problems. This was brought to my attention after 2 back-to-back crashes during the landing approach. Other fields still work ok, but are either to far to constantly drive to or are too small to really fly in.

Ive looked into boosters, but I'm not sure if i want to cut up my Tx on a maybe. Any other ideas i should try first? I am pretty sure it is interference from some source, and i'm not 100% sure the booster will overcome it.
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:36 AM
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While I couldn't really help in the technicalities of the problem, I certainly wouldn't go with a booster just yet, without ruling out problems in the xmttr or rcvr.

You could help everyone sort this out by letting them know what kind of rcvr you're using.

Looking at your pics, the wiring runs could be an issue.

Oh, and I'd try to help you more, but I am in my pajama's....
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:40 AM
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I use both the AR6200 and the OrangeRx 6ch. They each displayed the same loss of signal, at close to the same ranges. While i admit that the wiring is not ideal, these setups worked with no problems for months.
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:33 AM
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I'd try and locate someone to 'test' the air - our radios run on 2.4ghz and other things do too - but they shouldn't interfere unless someone is up to no good - intentionally or not.

I use radio triggered strobes in my work and they come with 4 channels - it's common for at least one of them to have issues. Bluetooth, wireless alarms, boosted (over boosted) wifi are some of things that get blamed (right or wrong) but EMF radiation has been documented from some strobes to interfere with the trigger frequencies.

I have a satelite radio receiver in my car that transmits on an FM channel, very short range (30 or 40 feet max). If there is a strong radio station on my chosen channel I'll get interference, no big deal (when traveling this occurs). About a month ago somebody down the road from me got something and is repeating a radio station - no houses are closer than 50' to the road and most are 100' back - yet for 5 houses in a row I get their station not mine....

I'd say someone has installed something that's causing your problem - and you should (as a club) have it checked out. If someone is breaking the law then you can get them to stop.
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:52 AM
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Thanks for the input fate. My guess is with you, that something new was installed nearby, probably by the city. Its unfortunately not a sanctioned field, so i doubt i'll have any legal recourse.
The follow up question i have is: will enough power ensure that the Rx receives the signal, or will the interference block the signal no matter how much power is added?
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:14 AM
  #6  
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Depends on what the signal issue is - who controls the airwaves..not the FAA..having a senior moment, sorry.
But our 2.4g freq is for us - We all have legal limits on what we can transmit and if you're getting interference I'm guessing someone is broadcasting illegally - over their power limit.

not sure who/what is nearby our freq or might share it - cell phones or EMS radios or whatnot? If they installed an antenna/repeater at that end of the field it may be legal just one of those things. I know if I stand a certain way my cordless phone (5.8g) will lose signal and disconnect, but if I walk the other way I can get half way back in my yard and have no problems. Not sure what the difference is - house wiring or the big plasma TV or ??

You can add satelite receivers to your planes and that should help the rx get a better signal, but is that the problem? Is it just some minor interference (like my phone issue) or is more like somebody's generating a 5,000 watt broadcast at the far end of your field which is something you're not gonna overcome. I suspect the latter, especially if you don't see any new buildings that would block or reflect your signal.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:21 AM
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I believe FCC is what you were looking for. Im hope its not a overwhelming signal. There are no new obstructions, as far as i can tell. A satellite is our next step in adding equipment, i believe. I really only need about 100 yards more reception.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:27 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by MJtheSOLID View Post
I've been flying for about 6 months or so, and have become pretty engulfed in the hobby. I build my own planes now (see below) and invested in a self-built foam cutter. I also invested in what i believed would be a good Tx/Rx setup. The DX6i is an excellent system, and until recently has been nothing short of outstanding. However, our usual field (local civic center hot-air balloon field) has been full of problems. During range testing, the Rx looses signal before the 90ft mark. At full power, we can no longer get a reliable signal at the far end of the field, which is no more than 250 yards. This was never an issue before. I've flown there dozens of times with no problems. This was brought to my attention after 2 back-to-back crashes during the landing approach. Other fields still work ok, but are either to far to constantly drive to or are too small to really fly in.

Ive looked into boosters, but I'm not sure if i want to cut up my Tx on a maybe. Any other ideas i should try first? I am pretty sure it is interference from some source, and i'm not 100% sure the booster will overcome it.

H'mmm
Interesting. Make certain you're not having problems with the BEC (Battery Elimination Circuit) on your ESC. If so, an overheated regulator on your BEC could be shutting down, and dropping power to your receiver.
Take a look:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63779

If you really are having interference problems, I've picked up one of those 2.4 Ghz spectrum analyzers that shows all signals present on the 2.4 Ghz frequencies. If you're getting blasted out of the sky with some illegal transmitters that are splattering all over the frequency band, this might pick it up. Note that the Futaba frequency hopping transmitters will fill up the water fall display, so if any are in the area, might be good to turn them off while testing with the scanner.

My scanner picks up my Spektrum DX7 transmitter from about 400 feet away, so if you need more range, might be a good idea to go for the scanner with the external antenna, for anouther $30 or so. This scanner also displays relative power output of your transmitter, so if you have another Spektrum transmitter available, turn them both on, walk away a few dozen feet, and compare relative power of the two units.

The "waterfall" display setting on this unit really shows what's going on. You need a laptop PC with a USP port at the field to operate this scanner.
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63497

Also assume you're not using any onboard cameras with 2.4 Ghz telemetery back to the ground???
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:34 AM
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haha, thanks kyle. i actually went through the whole BEC learning process with my fathers sky surfer. i nose dived it in after the ESC cut power to the reciever, and it browned out. I think i learned my lesson there!

The link the thread used for the analyzer is dead, any idea where i can find the new one?
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by MJtheSOLID View Post
haha, thanks kyle. i actually went through the whole BEC learning process with my fathers sky surfer. i nose dived it in after the ESC cut power to the reciever, and it browned out. I think i learned my lesson there!

The link the thread used for the analyzer is dead, any idea where i can find the new one?
H'mmm
The unit to search for in Google is "airview2 spectrum analyzer".

A number of places carry this unit, like the one below:
http://www.titanwirelessonline.com/U...r-p/sa-av2.htm

This unit is small, must be a LOT of electronic stuff inside it.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:50 AM
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You are not kidding. Im an electrical engineer, so i know a little bit about tiny and powerful... and this thing is probably as complex as a cell phone! ill definitly have to get one of these and check out the field.
I guess then the 100,000 dollar question is... how much interference can i have before it doesnt matter how powerful the Tx is?
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by MJtheSOLID View Post
You are not kidding. Im an electrical engineer, so i know a little bit about tiny and powerful... and this thing is probably as complex as a cell phone! ill definitly have to get one of these and check out the field.
I guess then the 100,000 dollar question is... how much interference can i have before it doesnt matter how powerful the Tx is?
Lrrr,
That is likely unknowable without SNR specs from the RX manufacturer.


Dave
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by MJtheSOLID View Post
You are not kidding. Im an electrical engineer, so i know a little bit about tiny and powerful... and this thing is probably as complex as a cell phone! ill definitly have to get one of these and check out the field.
I guess then the 100,000 dollar question is... how much interference can i have before it doesnt matter how powerful the Tx is?
Hard to tell. But if you've got this spectrum analyzer, at least you'll know if your flying field is clean, or if something is spreading all sorts of 2.4 Ghz RF crap all over the place.

Also hard to tell just how much these 2.4 Ghz receivers can withstand out of 2.4 Ghz band noise. I've never seen anything published on this issue.

As far as tiny and powerfull, how about those microcontrollers such as the Microchip PIC line. I've been using those things from the little 8 pin devices to the 44 pin PIC18F458 series in home projects. That little 8 pin device costs under a dollar each! And it can replace a whole bunch of and gates, or gates, A/D converters, timers, and on, and on.
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:48 AM
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Yes, kyle, it would be extremely nice to find out what kind of noise is causing these issues.

I was hoping someone from spektrum or hobbyking would notice the thread and chime in. Those are the only people, id imagine, that would have that information.

I love basicSTAMP boards. relatively cheap, functional, and some of them are expandable. also programming them is a breeze because they use basic. the javelin line also includes interrupts.

-Lrrr
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Old 12-09-2011, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by MJtheSOLID View Post
Yes, kyle, it would be extremely nice to find out what kind of noise is causing these issues.

I was hoping someone from spektrum or hobbyking would notice the thread and chime in. Those are the only people, id imagine, that would have that information.

I love basicSTAMP boards. relatively cheap, functional, and some of them are expandable. also programming them is a breeze because they use basic. the javelin line also includes interrupts.

-Lrrr
That spectrum analyzer should pick up any electrical noise present in it's waterfall mode.

As for basicStamp boards, never purchased one, since the bare PicChips are 10% of the cost of the Stamps.

But I'm programming those PICs in machine code, since the professional software such as "C" and Basic are in the hundreds of dollars. Been using machine code for 30 years or so now, and even though its probably slower to set up coding, it gives full access to every function of the microcontroller.

I've made up several breadboards through www.expresspcb.com, that allows installing the 44 Pin PicChip in a socket, and provides multiple strip lines for installing your electrical components to work with the PicChip. Come to think of it, got to order more of these.

If you should be interested in the layout for these breadboards, let me know.

DennyV
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Old 12-09-2011, 04:46 AM
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absolutly dennyV. im always looking for more ways to put electronics in a plane. once i get this interference thing figured out, im going to build some bomber platforms. using gates and flip-flops are an excellent way to drop multiple volleys without having to have a 100 channel Tx. and silicone makes excellent ballast!
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by MJtheSOLID View Post
absolutly dennyV. im always looking for more ways to put electronics in a plane. once i get this interference thing figured out, im going to build some bomber platforms. using gates and flip-flops are an excellent way to drop multiple volleys without having to have a 100 channel Tx. and silicone makes excellent ballast!
It's not hard to build up something like this with the cheap PIC16F690 chip, available in a 20 pin Dip socket, along with many other pin configurations.

This Chip has 18 pins that can be programmed as either inputs or outputs. Probably only eight would be useable though as bomb release commands.

Then set up the PicChip to have no outputs active with a servo input signal of 1.0 milliseconds, 1st output active with 1.1 ms, 2nd active with servo signal of 1.2 ms, and so on to the full two milliseconds.

So, with your transmitter set to "low", all would be off, and as you slowly increase that channel up to full throw, the outputs would be active, one by one.

In fact, you could even use a more powerful PicChip that would operate as above, but would directly operate eight servos. Where low stick would have all servos at "low, and as you slowly increase the transmitter stick, each servo would go to full travel and back until the stick is at full "up".

This might take two PIC Chips though as master slave to make the software a little more manageable. The master would measure the servo pulse width, and output number 1-8 based on pulse width to the slave. The second PicChip would take that number, and which ever is present, would move that servo to its "up" position. The circuit would involve two 28 pin PicChips, a ceramic resonator, a few capacitors for power supply, a resistor or two and that's it.

As for wiring, not much is involved. You could put the entire thing on one of those Radio Shack 276-150 circuit boards. The PIC16F690 has its own built in 1 Mhz oscillatator, but the higher powered PIC16F873 would be better for something like this. The 873 has built in debugging, and single step commands. Nice thing about machine code, it is extremely fast. Measuring pulse widths from one to two milliseconds and translating that to a number is a fairly simple thing to do.

Let me know if you're interested, that would be a fun project when the snow hits around here. I've all ready done something similar to this as a simple "On-Off" switch for some LED's on my giant scale Cessna 172 model. You'd have to buy a PicChip PicKit3, along with one of those IC clips that allow clipping on to your PicChip. These PicChips can be programmed directly in circuit from the PicKit3 with only five wires, Plus, Minus, two for signals, and one for the reset input.

The most expensive item would be the PicKit3, available from www.digikey.com for something under $50.
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Old 12-09-2011, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by MJtheSOLID View Post
absolutly dennyV. im always looking for more ways to put electronics in a plane. once i get this interference thing figured out, im going to build some bomber platforms. using gates and flip-flops are an excellent way to drop multiple volleys without having to have a 100 channel Tx. and silicone makes excellent ballast!

Further ideas on this. Might be better to simply assign the servo driver to one channel of your transmitter, like the gear switch or similar. The servo driver would be connected to up to 8 different servos. On power up, each servo would be at its counterclockwise position.

Toggling the gear switch would move servo #1 to its clockwise position, with the other servos remaining as is. Toggle the gear switch again would move the servo #2 to its clockwise position, again, with the other six servos as is. Stepping through toggling the gear switch eight times would move all 8 servos to clockwise, one at a time.

The PicChip could handle up to 16 servos, if you could get the weight of 16 servos off the ground. Or, the PicChip could simply drive 8 or 16 MosFets as on or off.

The attached JPG shows the complete schematic of this project. Everything is done in the software of the two PicChips.

Comments?
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Old 12-10-2011, 01:14 AM
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That definitly looks like a good alternative! i can message you my email, and feel free to fill my inbox with circuit diagrams.

i will probably start a different thread once i start the bomber build. i have an idea for paintball bombs that only weigh about 6g each, and can be dropped by the dozens on just a few servos.

but.... i have to figure out what to do about my field first
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Old 12-10-2011, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by MJtheSOLID View Post
That definitly looks like a good alternative! i can message you my email, and feel free to fill my inbox with circuit diagrams.

i will probably start a different thread once i start the bomber build. i have an idea for paintball bombs that only weigh about 6g each, and can be dropped by the dozens on just a few servos.

but.... i have to figure out what to do about my field first
Sounds good!
Attached is the same schematic with pinout connections included. And this is the entire schematic!

Note that the Master (Left) PicChip has pins 15-18 for sending signals to the Slave (Right) PicChip's pins 11-14. These pins line up directly when the two microcontrollers are installed on the Radio Shack 276-150 circuit board. You'd just solder short jumper wires between the two chips.

Should be interesting! This project will be all software operated. If any other wattflyer readers are interested in this servo driver, guess we could work something out for programming the PicChips. The PIC16F873 chips are a little expensive though, $6.50 each. I've got a bunch of these 873's from a brush type ESC design I built in the late 1990's. The newer 28 pin chips are about 1/2 that price, but they would require different software to operate them.

We could also use PIC16F690's but these chips don't have their pinouts "In a line". So building the board would result in jumpers all over the place. Something else, I'd also be looking at doing the entire project with just one PicChip, where the single chip would handle both the servo driver and the servo input from the receiver. That might make the software a lot more complex though.

Keep in touch.
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:50 PM
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Getting back to original problem ... I would have questions :

a) Am I the only one experiencing this problem.

b) If others have similar problem is it universal in all fellow flyers or limited to certain radio gear / frequencies / model types / parkflyer or full range gear.

c) Where in the field is it worst or appears to be ?

Spektrum is a respected gear but that does not mean it's g'teed to be 100%. It may have a fault, it may be subject to interference from a specific source that has appeared. That is the why I ask if anyone else has the problem and whether it's limited to same make or similar gear.

I see another post makes a serious error is saying that "2.4Ghz is for us" ... I assumke they mean that 2.4Ghz is reserved for us flyers ? Wrong. the only legislation and this is from International agreement NOT just one govt - is the power you may radiate with a given system. This leads on to another field where depending on the frequency control system used - power allowed to radiate is significantly different.

Booster ? That would most likely cross the legal borders and also create problem for other flyers and users of 2.4Ghz band ... possibly even swamping it ........ you only have to go back to CB radio days when people fitted boosters and then they were the only ones able to work ! RC and other 27Mhz users were blitzed out.

Investigation and elimination of possibilities is the route to go.


Where I fly - we have a radar relay station with it's antena rotating away 24/7 ......... fly near it with FM radios .. ie 35, 72 Mhz etc. and you may suffer a crash ... not always - but we have had enough in that direction to make us question it.
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Old 12-10-2011, 01:32 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by MJtheSOLID View Post
I've been flying for about 6 months or so, and have become pretty engulfed in the hobby. I build my own planes now (see below) and invested in a self-built foam cutter. I also invested in what i believed would be a good Tx/Rx setup. The DX6i is an excellent system, and until recently has been nothing short of outstanding. However, our usual field (local civic center hot-air balloon field) has been full of problems. During range testing, the Rx looses signal before the 90ft mark. At full power, we can no longer get a reliable signal at the far end of the field, which is no more than 250 yards. This was never an issue before. I've flown there dozens of times with no problems. This was brought to my attention after 2 back-to-back crashes during the landing approach. Other fields still work ok, but are either to far to constantly drive to or are too small to really fly in.

Ive looked into boosters, but I'm not sure if i want to cut up my Tx on a maybe. Any other ideas i should try first? I am pretty sure it is interference from some source, and i'm not 100% sure the booster will overcome it.
your 2.4 receiver could be bad due to hard landings, also a wet area will suck up the 2.4 signal, is there a lot of water where you fly at or metal buildings, I would have your Receiver and Satellite receiver check out on your AR6200, a antenna wire could have come loose too, pull on them a little to make sure the wire is not broken inside the plastic cover, also you might want to make a capacitor voltage protector, or buy one, they are chaep enough, they help to bridge the voltage gap if there is a sudden low voltage that will cause a brown out, they were designed for car application with a heavy current draw and static electricty that would cause problems for rc cars running on carpet, Lots of people are using them in their airplanes and have reported no more brown out problems, as you know a charged capacitor is a temp. battery, Hope that helps, Chellie


Our Price: $4.99

Product Code: SPM1600 Qty:
Description
This is the Spektrum Receiver Voltage Protector. Spektrum's Voltage Protector prevents a DSM receiver's voltage from dropping below the proper operating level in lower voltage applications such as 4-cell 1/12 carpet racers. Installation is as simple as plugging it into an open channel slot on the receiver unit.
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:58 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by CHELLIE View Post
your 2.4 receiver could be bad due to hard landings, also a wet area will suck up the 2.4 signal, is there a lot of water where you fly at or metal buildings, I would have your Receiver and Satellite receiver check out on your AR6200, a antenna wire could have come loose too, pull on them a little to make sure the wire is not broken inside the plastic cover, also you might want to make a capacitor voltage protector, or buy one, they are chaep enough, they help to bridge the voltage gap if there is a sudden low voltage that will cause a brown out, they were designed for car application with a heavy current draw and static electricty that would cause problems for rc cars running on carpet, Lots of people are using them in their airplanes and have reported no more brown out problems, as you know a charged capacitor is a temp. battery, Hope that helps, Chellie


Our Price: $4.99

Product Code: SPM1600 Qty:
Description
This is the Spektrum Receiver Voltage Protector. Spektrum's Voltage Protector prevents a DSM receiver's voltage from dropping below the proper operating level in lower voltage applications such as 4-cell 1/12 carpet racers. Installation is as simple as plugging it into an open channel slot on the receiver unit.

Have you seen any cases of an RX going bad from hard landings?

I would imagine it would be limited to a broken component lead or solder joint, or ditto on the antenna lead.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:43 PM
  #24  
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I'll try to explain the problem as briefly as possible. Most 2.4 radios use what we call frequency agile spread spectrum technology. It moves the frequency in the band using 100 or more frequencies. Spectrum is, I believe, the one exception. They decided to make it cheaper by setting up only two frequencies and switching back and forth between them. If there is another 2.4 radio source (cell tower, for instance) that happens to be on one of the 2 frequencies your radio selected, you are going to have problems. We have exactly that problem with Spektrum users at our field. Spektrum has finally resolved that problem with the DX8 and DX7S (I think that is the model name) as these radios have frequency agile spread spectrum like Futaba and everyone else. So there you are. Time tp upgrade your radio if you want to continue to use the field where you have the problems.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:55 PM
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I'd love to upgrade, right now I have a DX5e, but cannot afford to even go to a used DX6, much less a 7 or 8.

I don't even know if my problem was interference, though.
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Quick Reply: That bane called interference


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