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The Looming threat to RC submarines

R/C Submarine modelers

The Looming threat to RC submarines

Postby David H » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:43 am

Hello all

Although I haven't posted for a while I thought I would put this up, because as far as I can see
I don't see how we can ignore this issue

I have posted this topic previously in RC groups but i thought I should bring it up here.

Like you I love to run my model subs. I have been doing so for the last ten years . However recently I have had some concerns about the future of this aspect of the hobby.

My trusty 36mhz radio has started getting glitchy. As trying to narrow down the cause I have ascertained it is something with the transmitter. I then got online and started looking at the possibility of replacement.

I don't have a problem with 2.4 ghz. I've never actually used it , ( and I do fly gliders) however most of us seem to know that it does not work underwater. This is a problems for us Submariners.

Do you know how hard it is to find non-2.4ghz radios? I am convinced that the major RC companies are phasing out our old FM technology and this concerns me, and I have not really seen the issue raised on any of the chat forums. People seem oblivious.

I know that the second hand market will be around, initially picking up an FM radio ( be it 36 , 35 , 40 or 75 MHz) probably won't be too difficult initially and most people will probably get a good radio for a good price.

However in 4-5 years time as the second hand market 'dries up' so to speak then the price of these radios will probably slowly rise. As these radios get rarer and rarer there will be less people engaging in that hobby called rc subs and those that do will hold onto their radios like gold.

We live in a throw away society, if it dies just by a new one! , well what if that technology is no longer continued and has not been for years. What then?
I live just north of Sydney Australia, finding someone locally and even in Sydney who could fix my radio, good luck with that. I just pray that my other radios hold out for as long as possible because finding someone who can repair these old radios is like all the other things I've mentioned, probably going to get harder.

Maybe there are solutions that I have not thought of. If people do have solutions I would love to hear them. I do not know if there is some way that 2.4 ghz radios can be modified to transmit on our FM frequencies .I don't know I'n not electronically minded unfortunately.

I do think that this will only become a more pressing issue as time goes on. We are only a tiny percentage of the RC community and there are a lot of. Rc people who don't even know we exist. We have very little 'clout' with the big manufacturers.

In 5 years time will we be totally dominated by 2.4ghz with a small number of people hanging onto Fm? Worst case scenario I see being the RC community no longer being able to justify the use of it's allocated FM bands and having them reallocated to some other sector.

As mentioned earlier I would love to hear suggestions as to how we can find ways around this problem. I read recently about a set up called "Tactic Anylink'. does anybody know anything about this? :(

Thank you,

David Hughes
"Baldrick ,you would'nt recognise a subtle plan if it painted itself purple and danced on top a harpsichord singing "Subtle plans are here again!!" Blackadder.
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Re: The Looming threat to RC submarines

Postby Tom Bassi » Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:57 am

Hey, my first post!

After hanging around various RC sub sites for a while, I finally took the plunge and started building one. My biggest concern was taking a step back into older radio gear; my foray into helicopters (20+ years) has seen the acquisition of some phenomenal radio sets. None of those, unfortunately, are of use in the sub project. Despite selling quite a bit of helicopter stuff to fund the sub build, I've kept the radio gear in the hopes a conversion to FM might be possible, or at least to some other frequency more suitable to underwater use.

That, and you rarely recoup your investment when it comes to high-end radios :(

For the moment, there's plenty of FM sets on the used market, so I'll grab a few for 75 MHz conversion and go from there. I chose to go after quality used radios over the latest currently available new units; having seen a few of the 8-channel imported radios in the heli fields, I am concerned about the short-term reliability of these, let alone ten years down the road.

Tom
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Re: The Looming threat to RC submarines

Postby Thor » Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:10 pm

There are still a few manufacturers who have a continued commitment to the 75 Mhz band. Futaba, GWS, WFly, and a couple of other minor players. There have been several threads discussing this issue in the recent past. Dig through them as there is a lot of really good information in them.

Matt
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Re: The Looming threat to RC submarines

Postby KevinMc » Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:29 pm

Hi David,

As I read it there are really two parts to your message:
1. It's getting increasingly difficult to find non-2.4GHz equipment, and
2. How much longer is it going to be before our respective governments re-allocate the frequency space we're occupying?

To the second point, I don't know about the politics of radio spectrum allocation "down-under", but here in North America I don't get the sense that the RC industry is going to let go of 27MHz, 72MHz and 75MHz any time soon. (The masses are free to disagree, but from the reading I've done I'm comfortable with my opinion.) Although 2.4GHz sets probably outsell 75MHz sets on the order of 50:1 or 100:1 (or better), and the big distributors seem to be carrying less and less sub-GHz equipment, there's still a ton of it out there which remains in use today. I just don't see getting up one morning (in the near term) to find 75MHz re-allocated to another industry with a notice from the FCC/CRTC telling me that I can't use my equipment any more.

To the first point, I think we need to accept that our area of the RC hobby is now sharing less "common equipment" with other parts of the RC industry, and because of that looking for high-channel count 75MHz RC equipment at a "big box" RC store is about as promising as looking for a ballast system or a pitch controller there. (I can see the look on the clerk's face now: "You want a what controller?") The kinds of equipment we want is very difficult to find outside of one of the specialty RC sub vendors the likes of Mike's Subworks, Sub-Driver, or LoyalHanna Dockyard to name a few. I have one of those "cheap Chinese 8-channel radios" that's imported/stocked at Sub-Driver which I've been putting through the ringer for over 5 years and all I can say is that the WFLY-8 is solid and has never let me down. (And by all indications the W-FLY line isn't going to disappear into the night any time soon.)

Finally, although I don't have any experience with the Tactic Anylink I understand (and appreciate) the concept - it's a stand-alone RF module that plugs in to the trainer port on a suitably equipped radio to re-broadcast the signal using their 2.4GHz transmitter. In principle there's no reason a 75MHz version of the same thing couldn't be developed, but that only solves part of the problem since having a Tx with no Rx won't get your boat very far, and you have to have a high-enough-end transmitter that it includes a trainer port.

The biggest concern I have with the ease of finding equipment (or lack there-of) is how it may/will deter new people from joining in - I have all the equipment I'll need for the foreseeable future, but if I'm the only guy at the pond I won't be having much fun. I want to see more people to get stuck on this addiction, but for that to happen we all have to do what we can to make it as easy as possible for people to find the equipment they need to build a boat.
Kevin McLeod - Oscar II driver
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Re: The Looming threat to RC submarines

Postby Sub culture » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:46 pm

I think the last point you make is highly topical.

I think the issue of equipment availability presents less of a challenge than the stark reality of where the next generation of model submariners is going to spring from.

Can't say with authority what the state of play is in the U.S, but here in the UK I see virtually no one in their teens, twenties or even thirties taking an interest in this pursuit.
'Why are you staring at an empty pond?'

Want to dive your boat in crystal clear water? Then you had better Dive-in- http://www.diveintomodelsubmarines.co.uk
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Re: The Looming threat to RC submarines

Postby Thor » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:36 pm

It's all about instant gratification and video games.
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Re: The Looming threat to RC submarines

Postby Sub culture » Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:44 am

I think there has always been ready and easily accessible means of entertainment- wine, women and song, sport etc. Nothing new there. Pursuits like extensive travelling seem to be the zeitgeist, cheap air travel has made that more easily available than it was say even twenty years ago.

We're surrounded by technology these days, and it all has to be dreamed up, maintained, manufactured. I see no shortage of younger people engaging in constructive activities. Certainly the way they go about it is changing. The old ways of producing circulars and/or magazines to exchange information have given way to forums and social networking, which are much more immediate ways of exchanging and sharing information.

I believe that high end scale modelling is unlikely to stimulate younger minds. A good design sub that works well but dispenses with fiddly detail would be a benefit to this hobby. Also things like robotics, programming controllers e.g. things like Arduino, Basic stamp, Raspberry pi. etc. might attract some interest.

Simple, but decent model sub designs are not available. There have been a few designs over the years, but they're almost universally dreadful with inadequate pressure hulls, which often leads to waterlogged equipment or the loss of the boat, and subsequent disenchantment with the hobby.
'Why are you staring at an empty pond?'

Want to dive your boat in crystal clear water? Then you had better Dive-in- http://www.diveintomodelsubmarines.co.uk
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Re: The Looming threat to RC submarines

Postby crazygary » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:01 pm

Unfortunately, it appears that us "old timer Modelers" are, literally,
a dying breed! How sad that todays young people can't see past their
video games!!

So much to see and experience with out fearing "boob tube burnout"!

So, as a very wise Vulcan said, numerous times, "Live long and prosper"!!

CG
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Re: The Looming threat to RC submarines

Postby KevinMc » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:50 pm

Hey, who you callin' old Gary??? I don't even qualify for "over the hill" yet!
:shock:
Kevin McLeod - Oscar II driver
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