June 21, 2006,
As much as I am impressed with the design and implementation of the Spektrum DX6 radio-controller that was released to the public about 6 months ago, there is a weak link in the design of the transmitter antenna.
The designers have included a tilting head of the transmitter antenna in worthwhile effort to extend the range of the signal out to an aircraft or helicopter or in our case, to one of our sailboats.
This actual effective part of the antenna is only that part which is beyond the pivot point of the anntenna ( a 3 1/2 inch section of the antenna tip)
The problems are two-fold:
1: The pivot point is very fragile and will break if stressed even a small amount while transporting the transmitter unit to the sailing pond.
2: The thin coaxial wire inside the antenna will eventually break at the pivot point and you will suddenly lose all control over your model unless you are perhaps less than 10-20 ft away at the time of the breakage.
A earlier telephone call to the Spektrum head office indicated a reluctance on their part to mail out replacement antennas.
So, in the meantime, there is a pretty simple fix for this problem.
Other than sending the transmitter back to the factory for replacement antenna installation , (which perhaps will be of the same design as the original antenna), the antenna can be repaired and modified to remove the pivoting feature.. This will also allow the DX6 transmitter to be more easily carried in a pack or carrying bag.
1: If the pivoting section of the antenna is still hanging in place with a broken pivot, break it away from the fixed portion of the antenna mount. The pivot point is very weak and easily snaps off.
2: At your workbench, place the transmitter face down and remove the six black philips screws holding the back in place. Now lift off the back plate and the battery pack.
3. Inside the transmitter case you will see the very small coaxial cable (about 1/16" in diameter) leading from the radio module to the antenna. This wire will likely be broken off at the point of the pivot in the antenna.
4: With a small wire stripper, carefully remove exactly 3 1/2" of the insulation of the outer shield from the end portion of this small coaxial wire, Then remove the same amount of the outer coaxial shield; leaving just a 3 1/2" section of the insulated center portion of the coax. Leave the insulation intact on the centre portion of the coaxial cable.
This unshielded portion of the cable will effectively become the working part of the antenna.
6: Re-insert this free end of the cable up in inside the antenna mount and secure this wire in any convenient fashion so that it will stay contained inside the mount. I used a small nylon tie-wrap to secure the part of the cable nearest the circuit board containing the radio module.
7: Replace the transmitter back using the six philips screws.
The DX6 antenna is now the same effective working dimensions as the original but is without the troublesome pivoting feature.
8: Test for the normal working range of the unit to your boat with the use of the Range Test switch at the back of the transmitter. In this artificially-reduced power setting, being able to control your model at distances in excess of perhaps 20 large paces will indicate that all is well again. In the normal power mode you should see at least 500-800 feet of working range and perhaps even more depending on your receiver antenna placement in the boat.
Best working range is achieved when NOT pointing the transmitter antenna directly at your model.
9: Your DX6 radio transmitter will now be less prone to physical damage while in transport and will still give more than enough working range to your sailboat.
Okanagan Model Sailboat Association
1640 Gillard Drive
Kelowna, B.C. V1Y4K1
web site: www.okanaganmodelsailboat.org