I am about to buy a new radio. These two models seem to be about what
I want, but which one do I choose?
I understand there won't be many who have tried both, so my questions
go to those who have either one:
- What do you like about it?
- What do you not like about it?
- Would you recommend it?
I use the JR PCM 9X (not the 9XII), I have not used the futaba so am not
qualified to give an oppinion on how well it works, but I have held both and
find the JR set to be better ballanced and somehow more 'solid'.
I really like the intuative way in which JR set is programed and hardly ever
have to refer to the manual.
In the end I think you need to go to a store (or you club) and have a good
look (and feel) of both sets side by side and make a personal choice.
IMO, you'd be better off with the JR. I'm a LONG time Futaba guy and
I own a 9CHP, but it's soon to go bye bye and will be replaced with a
JR X9303 rig.
I love my 9C, but the CCPM mixing is notoriously slow when compared to
the JRs and even the DX7 (Which is basically a JR 7202 if memory
serves) radio. My DX7 equipped helis seem more "connected" to the
radio and I don't have the odd CCPM interactions I see with the 9C
Programming the 9C is a bit quirky and the manual SUCKS. The JR
programming seems a bit more straightforward (I've only played with
the XP9303 my neighbor owns) as well.
I have had both Futaba and JR. I just plain don't like JR. I have the
Super 9C and love it. It does everything I could ask for. I don't do
Heli's so can't comment on other postings. If the 9C has one fault its
in the number of mixes. It only has five and I have a twin engine
where I needed six. No matter, I worked around it and only used three.
I have the model with 18 memories and that is overkill as I only have
about six or seven flyable planes at one time. If you go with the 9C I
recommend you buy Harry Quiqley's book on programming. You can get it
on Amazon. It is idiot proof and much easier to understand than the
manual. Don't know if there are any other books like for the JR. JMHO.
Both JR and Futaba make excellent radios but I'm curious as to why you
"...just plain don't like JR." Could you give us some reasons? BTW, I'm a JR
fan because I prefer the way my JR radios feel in my hands and the
comparative ease of programming. Currently using a JR 9303.
I would guess that for the same reasons you like the JR, Ted likes the
Futaba. People sense things differently and see things differently. What you
feel makes the JR easy to program for you may be the very things that Ted
doesn't like about it. Besides, once you get comfortable with apiece of
equipment, its sometimes difficult to get comfortable with another similar
piece of equipment.
I can't agree about the programming, but yes, the manual sucks. I have
AnnMarie Cross's manual for it, and would say that it's a "must have"
for 9C users. She explains everything properly, so you understand how
the radio works, and then the programming becomes simple and intuitive.
Download it from .
See also for
information about the book she went on to write about this radio, which
was published by Traplet. I haven't read it, so I can't comment on it.
I am starting to lean that way.
That raises another big question: Wait for 2.4GHz?
The Euro version of the X9303 (named DSX9) is due in Feb./March. I can
borrow a working radio until then, so waiting is possible if it is
I've been googling a bit, and I have (of course) found a lot of
conflicting information. Some say the Euro version will have very low
power, so effective range may be poor. Some say Futaba's 2.4 system is
better, because it can switch frequencies "in flight" and has much
The Australians already have the DSX9 available, but they have
different regulations and therefore different power levels than the
Europeans. Any Australians who have tried one?
I'd think the balance of the radio would be upset, since the long,
heavy antenna has basically been removed, but the hook has not been
I could get a 9XII now (with a synthesizer module), and then buy a
2.4GHz module when I decide I want or need one, but then I'd be stuck
with the antenna out the back of the transmitter, which I think I
I understand everyone is different, and it essentially boils down to a
matter of personal preference, but I still feel other people's
opinions are valuable, so please comment if you have any thoughts.
heavy antenna? I would have though the 2.4 is heavier but shorter
> I could get a 9XII now (with a synthesizer module), and then buy a
> 2.4GHz module when I decide I want or need one, but then I'd be stuck
> with the antenna out the back of the transmitter, which I think I > wouldn't like.
> I understand everyone is different, and it essentially boils down to a
> matter of personal preference, but I still feel other people's
> opinions are valuable, so please comment if you have any thoughts.
And after years (and I mean YEARS) of using both JR and Futaba, (along with
every other make that's been available) I prefer the reliability of JR, the
feel of JR and the programmability of JR. I only ever use my Futaba gear on
sims these days.
JR = reliability, easy programming and stick feel. Futaba don't even come
close in ANY of the above. Well not anymore. They USED to, but they lost the
Futaba.. Too "fiddly" and totally unintuitive on the programming front. The
sticks have more "spring" the further you go away from the centre position
and they lack reliability.
I'd recommend JR every time.
Just a couple of comments to express the other side of the coin (IE: my
opinion!) with no intent to put down or insult anyone else........
With over 25 years of RC under my belt, flying helicopters "almost"
exclusively, I've not found that either JR or Futaba have any significant
reliability advantages over the other. I've met "many" people through the
years that have deserted JR for Futaba because of perceived reliability
issues. I've also seen "many" go from Futaba to JR for the same reasons.
Overall, I can't see that either one has an issue. Both have had problems
with receivers and/or servos when they were relatively new to the market.
Both took steps to correct these issues. Long story short, you can't really
go wrong with either one.
On the programming side, I don't have a lot of experience with the 9303,
although I do have some, but I do have quite a bit of experience with the 9C
so I can't really comment on how they stack up against each other. I have
had quite a bit of experience with the 10 series JR radios vs the Futaba 9Z.
Based on that, I'd have to agree that the JR is more intuative to program in
the beginning than the Futaba is. The opposite side of that coin is that,
once learned, the Futaba is a much more capable system, offering a lot more
flexibility than the JR program offered. Whether or not that applies to the
radios at the 9303/9C level, I can't say from personal experience. I only
bring it up because JR fans "always" use the "ease of programming" argument
against Futaba and my experience has me believing it's not as big an issue
as some claim. Again, JMO! :-)
I can't argue with the spring pressure point. Futaba does tend to spring
their control sticks a bit tighter than JR does. Is that a bad thing? I
don't think so. It's just a matter of personal preference. I've flown
Futaba equipment almost exclusively since I've been flying RC and I'm used
to how their radios feel. To me, JR offers very little feel or feed back to
my control inputs. In other words, they're sprung too light! I bought a
new 12Z last spring and love it but I thought the sticks were sprung too
lightly out of the box on that radio too. I tightened them up a bit. As I
said, it's a matter of personal preference.
I curious Beav, that reliability issues have you had with Futaba that would
make you say they have a reliability problem? As I said, I've been flying
them almost exclusively for over 25 years and yes, I've had an occasional
servo failure and maybe a receiver failure (unable to confirm that as an
absolute but suspected) through the years. I know a number of devout JR
pilots and they haven't done any better as far as I can tell. I don't care
what system you fly, sooner or later you'll have a failure one way or the
other. Just wondering! :-)
I fly Futaba and as such, tend to recommend Futaba over other brands but
I've never discouraged anyone from buying JR equipement if they were
seriously looking at them. Both are first class radio systems as far as I'm
concerned! In fact, these are the only two manufacturers I will recommend.
I simply haven't seen enough of anyone elses radio (Airtronics comes to
mind) to even consider them in the running!
I dont remember a Futaba failure in any of my crashes, brain failure yes
and two times I have lost a model due to radio failure both were
possibly due to crystal failure but hard to prove but the crystals never
worked after the crash
Interesting! It's certainly possible for a crystal to be damaged in a crash
which would make it impossible to know if it failed before that. Back when
I flew fixed frequency systems, I don't remember Futaba routinely replacing
the crystals during an inspect and repair when I sent the radio system in.
That doesn't mean they didn't, it's just that it's been so long, I don't
I bought my original 9Z back around 1994 or 1995. I bought the synthesized
version and to my knowledge, have never had a problem with the transmitter
or receiver. I did have one crash with it during the 12 years I flew it
before buying my 12Z this year that might have been a receiver failure but I
can't know for sure. It may have been a legitimate interferrance and the
system simply went into hold mode. I'll never know for sure as most of the
flight control systems were toast after the impact and replaced with new
I have crashed a few models but those two where I lost control the gear
never worked afterwards until the crystals were replaced and I flew the
gear again after wards, but I could have been shot down or I damaged
them on previous "arrivals" I have never had a TX break apart from me
snapping switches/aerials off and never had a RX fail apart from some
really hard arrivals that re-kitted the models
Take a look at the Extreme Power Systmes 2.4Ghz modules/receivers combos. If
you love your existing radio, you can upgrade it to 2.4Ghz with their
products. IMHO, they are hands down way better quality than what is put out
by JR, Futaba, etc.