Well guys we did the tests today and I have to say I am very shocked and kind of disapointed too.
We have videoed the test and I will post it once it is edited for clarity.
The test was a Futaba 35mhz vs Futaba 2.4 vs JR 2.4
Each system was put on 3 identical turbine helicopters in what we believed to be the best set-up.
Each system was tested in good dry conditions in a very flat Norfolk, England.
Each 2.4 system puts out 100mw and not the more powerful American 200mw signal.
All tests were done back to back at the same time in the same conditions.
So here is what we found:
The Futaba 2.4 is far more resilient to being 'blocked' or 'screened' by the turbine and by large lumps of metal than I had thought it would be. It copes very well in any orientation infact and although it is orientation is more critical when at the limit of it's range it is none the less far far better than I was lead to believe.
The old Futaba 35mhz performed 1/3rd better than the Futaba 2.4 radio, this was slightly surprising because you always think technology is going to give you more, but not surprising since I had heard that 2.4 is very directional and is supposed to be more line of sight....kind of...
Inspite of the new 2.4 Futaba being 1/3rd shorter on range than the old 35mhz Futaba. I found that the way the 2.4 Futaba system performed was far more progressive than the 35mhz system.
Basically what I mean by this is that the 2.4 system does not just shut you out and go into failsafe like the 35mhz does. What it does is go notchy and slightly stuttery long before an actual failsafe situation. This I have to say I like, because it gives you some warning of impending trouble and for that alone I would rather have it over the 35mhz in spite of it's shorter range.
So now the moment you have all been waiting for....'Drum Roll'
How did that bloody horrible, rubbishy unprogrammable JR set do.
Well firstly I have to say that I am used to having all my engine system switches on the right hand side. With the Futaba you can program and set your switches to do what ever you want, but can you with the JR..... can you hell.... it's a right pain in the A$$ to get those switches 'tricked' into doing what I want them to do. But via some very creative switch mixing that had me wanting to drive my car over the damn thing I got there in the end at the expense of an idle up.
HOW DID IT PERFORM???!
Well I have to tell you I am gob smacked, the JR set, totally out performed both the Futaba 2.4 and even the Futaba 35mhz set, and not by a bit, but by more than double the range!!
Now I am writing this through gritted teeth because, I am now totally sold on this JR set, and this means that we are going to have to learn to get along, because I am not giving it back now.
However not only did it out perform the Futaba, it also remained faultlessly smooth throughout, even in any orientation and even when at it's limits.
As you would expect with all those little aerials on it, the JRs range is totally unaffected by orientation and this is another deciding factor for me.
Finally the Big Bonus!!
Yes the JR set has a data logging system that records receiver signal strength during operation, a kind of 'black box' recorder for radio. I see this as a master stroke for the seriously 'Thorough' 'Picky' or 'Paranoid' flyer such as myself because it gives the only true feedback you will ever get as to the true health of your radio set-up, and for me that's something I've been wanting for more that 10 years and now I have it!!
Couple of final things to add to the mix...
In all of the tests Will and I were in contact with each other via our mobile phones which run at 900mhz. None of the radios even at the limits of their abilities were affected by this even when the handsets were placed simultaneously inches from both transmitter and receiver at range.
Also during the JR test, I also placed the switched on Futaba 2.4 set at point blank range along with my active cell phone on 900mhz and Will with his cell phone at 900mhz inches from the JR transmitter whilst he was more than a mile away and...not a single glitch!! This was unbelievably impressive and really showed us how absolutely bulletproof this JR radio link seems to be.
So what about Futaba are they an also ran? Well I have to say that for anybody out there flying Jets, Turbine Helis, or anything else for that matter, the Futaba 2.4 is perfectly fine and will never I'm sure have any range issues, ever. It certainly copes really well with having 'only' 1 receiver and orientation range is very stable.
BUT if you are paranoid like me and you have to have the best then right now the JR in my opinion is just totally 'out there!' Fantastic!! The best by far on range and features. As for reliability? Well only time will tell but both Futaba and JR have probably had their equel share of problems in the past, but for my sake I hope they are over that now.
So I'm converting to JR for now....
But I still hate the JR programming!