In October of 2004, Horizon Hobby rocked the RC world by unveiling one of the most revolutionary products to ever hit the market: Spektrum 2.4GHz Digital Spectrum Modulation Technology. Similar technology in the computer and telephone industries has eliminated interference, increased signal resolution, and provided a stronger link between the base units and the transmitting units. Since then, racers and now pilots have embraced Spektrum technology, and the future is even more promising.
Spektrum DSM Technology was unveiled at the 2004 iHobby Expo at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. At the show, the overwhelming question from attendants was of course, “When will it be available?” The first releases were a series of modules for existing JR, KO Propo, HiTec, Airtronics, and Futaba radios that allowed racers to enjoy the crystal-clear and reliable signal provided by Spektrum technology without requiring them to purchase separate radios. Spektrum modules and receivers were tested at a number of high-profile events to ensure that the technology worked. From events such as the U.S. Indoor Championships in Cleveland, Ohio to the IFMAR On-Road Electric World Championships held at the Full Throttle Speedway in Kissimmee, Florida. World-class drivers tested the systems at both races and reported their excellent results. Drivers such as Mark Pavadis, Tyree Phillips, Brian Kinwald, and more all used Spektrum modules at these high profile events. But this was just the tip of the iceberg.
Engineers began to receive comments from hobbyists indicating that they would like to see a Spektrum-based radio that had everything in one box. After the module systems were released, designers went to work on the first Spektrum-branded transmitter. In May of 2005, the DX3 was released to the world at the RCX convention in Los Angeles, California. The DX3 provided enthusiasts who were just starting out or looking to upgrade from their existing non-module based radio to Spektrum technology without breaking the bank. The DX3 combined the style and menu system from one of the most popular JR transmitters, the XR3. In one box, those who purchase a DX3 find an excellent accessory package: Spektrum z590 and z270 servos, 4-cell receiver pack holder, and an SR3000 receiver. But just as the DX3 was hitting the shelves, engineers were looking to the skies.
While many of the benefits of Spektrum were designed with the surface market in mind, there was quite a bit of overlap between what racers wanted and what pilots wanted. Having a fast-moving plane lose radio contact can be rather dangerous. Not only can the plane crash and suffer damage, but nose diving into a crowd of people can cause severe injuries. The DX6 provides pilots with the same locked-in signal quality that surface users enjoy in a package designed just for the air market. Designed for use in park flyers and indoor planes, the DX6 includes four Spektrum S75 servos and the revolutionary SR6000 receiver.
One of the most exciting aspects of 2.4GHz DSM technology is the capability of two-way data transfer. This allows surface users access to real-time telemetry. With Spektrum Telemetry Modules, racers can monitor motor or engine temperatures, receiver pack or main battery pack voltage, and rpm, along with recording lap times. The telemetry add-on modules make it possible for racers to get much more out of practice time.
So what does the future hold for Spektrum users? Design, refinement, and testing continue today and will provide even more technical advances and breakthroughs in the future. Spektrum has been adopted by a large number of the hobbyists, and each one enjoys the lack of radio interference they deserve. Not only has Spektrum been welcomed by users with open arms, it has also been decorated with several prestigious awards. The readers of RC Driver Magazine voted the Spektrum DSM Module as the 2005 Break-Out product of 2005. Additionally, the editors of RC Car Action declared that the Spektrum Module System was the Technical Innovation of 2005. Spektrum technology has also won numerous other awards from countless other publications and trade shows. Spektrum 2.4GHz DSM Technology is by far one of the most dynamic and revolutionary products to ever hit the market. The best is yet to come.