2007 Weak Signals Show Wrap-up!

2007 Weak Signals Show Wrap-up!

Spektrum Radios!
Check out the photos in the 2007 Weak Signals Show (Toledo) gallery!

I have been going to Toledo almost every year since 67. That’s 1967! For forty years I have seen many new ideals displayed for the first time. I remember DuBro showing their new Helicopter where the engine sat above the rotor head and turned the rotor by reaction torque from the regular model propeller mounted above the engine. Stone age by today’s standards.

Receivers at one time were as big as coffee mugs. Control was either on or off as it was on the early reed units or it was “somewhere about here or there” as in Galloping Ghost. Today we have full house receivers as small as your thumb with precession from our servos better than we can feel or sense. At one time you paid $100 or more per channel for your basic radio. Today you can get twice the radio with programmable mixing and 20 plane memory for a fraction of the cost of those early radios.

I have seen models change from all wood affairs to today’s man made construction material. A .60 size model engine was considered big at one time. Today we see engines big enough to use in a riding mower and I am not even mentioning the jet turbines. The day of these big fuel hog planes may be numbered as well as we are seeing more batteries replacing fuel as the primary source for power. Size and complexity does not seem to be a barrier as these electric models are doing things today that were not possible even 5 years ago.

Like I said I have seen a lot of progress as well as evolution of our hobby no mater what your interest is. There is something for everybody.

To the old guys like me we are seeing what may be the opening shots of the biggest revolution our hobby has ever seen. I’m speaking of the explosion of 2.4 GHz on the radio scene. There was a time a CB operator could lay down on his mike key and shoot down every model for 20 miles. Later on the narrow band receivers we use today were a big help but we are always competing against pagers and industrial equipment for our frequencies. If you don’t believe me let me show you what electrical noise you are flying in. It will scare you. Channels that have been clear of interference for ever and ever can suddenly become useless and there is nothing you can do except pick up the pieces and move to a different channel with your next plane. All the while knowing it can happen all over again. The 2.4 GHz radios will end this version of Russian roulette as they have millions of channel combinations. There are several protocols for how these radios work. Some lock onto several channels at a time. Others move up the band through the channels so fast that if they hit inference you will never know it before they have moved on to another channel.

How they work is not as important as the fact they do. Futaba has come out with dedicated radio systems. A new company called Xtream is selling replacement modules and receivers to update your current systems. But JR in my opinion is leading the pack. Not only are they selling new dedicated systems for 2.4 GHz but they are selling replacement modules for some of their older systems that are on 72 MHz. If that wasn’t enough they showed systems where JR modules would plug in and run Futaba radios. It’s just beginning.

Show highlights:

  • A matching set of three Apache helicopters with rotors I guess 45-50in span all electric power. Just Awesome!
  • A large heavy missile cruiser with detail I could NEVER do. Inside and out!!!
  • Jerry Shape’s “Grand Espree” which was still wood sheet 3 weeks ago.
  • Lee testing all the flight simulators. The one by MRC he liked best.
  • Great guys in both the LSF and Kennedy Composite booths.
  • Lee came home with a new Blaster 2 hand launch. Bruce – Lee has been warned about the goat.

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