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Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Quest for Quality

I'm guessing that I'm not atypical, in that, after a few decade hiatus from the hobby, I made a dumb mistake a few years ago.  Simply put, I asked an LHS-kid to recommend a great radio.  It was a silly mistake on my part, not realizing that his idea of a high end radio and my idea would be worlds apart.

I blame myself for being so stupid.  But thinking back through the process, in my defense, even the bottom-feeder DX6i that he recommended looked like a giant leap forward from the technology I remember from back in the day:  square hammered metal box, sticks, metal antenna with frequency flag.  It worked. 

Fast forward.  Spektrum/Horizon does a super job of catering to novices.  That's ok.  Even with more full scale flying hours than most people have driving hours, I recognized that I had been out of the hobby for a while.  Horizon makes great stuff for people getting into, or back into the hobby.  Like most sharp high-volume marketeers, they do a savvy job of locking you into a low end standard.  Over time, I've realized that my initial mistake in the LHS, not doing enough research and relying on a kid with no money for a recommendation, quickly became very limiting and far worse, time consuming.

The DX8 seemed like a reasonable path forward, given Horizon's claim that there were attempting to build the best 8ch in the world.  I don't need 8chs, but the higher resolution appealed to me as I my RC skills had come back to the point where the low res DX6i wasn't precise enough.  And so, I was ready to make the next classic rookie mistake: throwing good money after bad...

The DX8 story is history on this blog.  Horizon proved too technically weak to make the leap to a high performance radio.  I don't blame them for trying.   I blame myself for buying the high side of a low quality line, something I've sworn off many times in other facets of life.  My brief life experience has taught me, over and over again, to buy the low end of a quality line when dipping a toe in the water, not vice versa.  Again, my fault for doing less than adequate homework.  Time down the drain is a bummer.

On the bright side, the full range of radios available today are amazingly inexpensive, especially for the over-the-top features.  Ironically, I don't want that.  I want fast, extremely precise, reliable control with excellent ergonomics.  That's it.  I don't see myself ever needing 8chs, but I have nothing against extra channels, either.  The extra glitz and complex features are actually a negative to me--no time nor desire for Nintendo.  But I do appreciate a great interface for staple features.

So I'm on a quest to migrate from Spektrum DSMX to a higher quality standard.  More to come...
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