Futaba 6J 6-Channel S-FHSS System Review

Image Credit: Futaba

Review by Nicholas Turner, Staff Contributor

Specs:

Type: 2-stick, 6-channel, FHSS/S-FHSS selectable

Frame Rate: 6.8ms

Current Drain: 170mA

Receiver;

Modes: FHSS or S-FHSS (auto selectable)

Power Requirements: 4.8V-7.4V

Compatible Batteries: NiCd, NiMH, LiPo, LiIon & LiFe

Dimensions: 1-11/16 x 15/16 x 5/16" (43 x 24 x 7.9mm)

Weight: 0.29oz (8.3g)

Current Drain: 80mA (@ no signal)

Pros:

- Internal antenna

- Lightweight

- S-FHSS and FHSS support

- Included R2006GS RX

- 15 model memory

- Runs on 4 “AA” size batteries

- Heli and plane programming

- Offers a heli or airplane version of TX

Cons:

- Cheap plastic feel

- 4 character limit for model name

- Up and down menu navigation key must be long pressed to change models

- Throttle cut is a small push button near the LCD screen

- Small LCD screen

- No back light

- Flight timer starts counting down with 10 second left

- High rates controlled by one switch

- In order to see flight timer must press the Select button

- No recharging capabilities

Summary:

 

Unboxing

The transmitter was packed nicely in the Styrofoam tray with a plastic bag around it. The RX was tucked in its slot. The manual was on top of the foam tray lid. This type of packaging is standard for a transmitter. So I have no complaints. The first thing that grabbed me about the TX is the internal antenna in the handle. This got me suspicious of the range capabilities.

 

Using the transmitter

I dropped the included RX inside a newly acquired used Trex 450XL and went through setting up the heli per the manual. Having switched to Spektrum in 2009 as my primary transmitter, I had forgotten Futaba’s numerical system for referring to inputs on the TX and RX. The four character limit for model names is a pain, as it forces you to be creative with your naming convention. I found using the up/down (+/-) rocker key a bit tricky. There’s enough slop in the key to fool the mind into thinking something was pressed when it wasn’t. Changing models requires a long press on the rocker key. I wasn’t anticipating this and complained to Futaba about this and they said it was by design to ensure the model wasn’t changed by mistake. I like how the TX battery voltage is displayed when the TX is turned on. But when it comes time to fly would rather see the timer instead, I must remember to press the “Select” button before flying a model in order to see the timer. I am disappointed (or maybe spoiled by my Spektrum DX8) in the timer on the 6J starts beeping with ten seconds left; compared to my DX8 which alerts me at one minute left. So during flight with the 6J I have to hold the TX up to check the time. I am also cautious with the range on the TX being an internal antenna. To be fair I don’t fly my Trex 450XL far away from me, so I can’t comment on the range other than for flying the helicopter it’s working flawlessly. I have four models on the transmitter at this time; two helicopters and two airplanes. After consulting the transmitter’s manual each time (Spektrum user mindset so I have to consult the Futaba terminology) I was able to program each aircraft accordingly. Since I got this from an r/c heli forum, this was the heli version. The only difference between the airplane and heli version is the default smooth vs ratchet feel on the throttle stick. Since this came from an r/c heli forum I got the heli version, but it doesn’t matter which one you buy as the option to change the throttle stick is included. I run three aircraft with the Tactic AnyLink v1 module on this transmitter without issue as well.

 

Conclusion

The Futaba 6J is not a terrible transmitter. Compared to my Spektrum DX 6i at the time; the 6J has a higher model memory count, smaller LCD screen, not as easy to use menu navigation keys, limited model naming ability, less airplane programming capabilities, harder to access throttle cut button, lighter weight, and a bit smaller form factor. Due to the internal antenna I’m keeping this radio for parkflyers and Tactic RXes. I’m just not willing to brave my larger planes. The transmitter isn’t a terrible transmitter. It takes some getting used to. For someone who is looking to start in the hobby, this is a decent transmitter that will get the job done. But someone more involved in the hobby and has higher end radios, you’ll feel let down. Futaba makes great gear and having the name helps this TX, in my opinion, get labeled as a decent starter transmitter. I am not getting rid of it by any means as I use it more for the Tactic AnyLink v1 module. Just like any transmitter, it takes a little getting used to navigating the setup menu and programming. Due to life, I used the original four AA batteries for about three years. To prevent them from draining while sitting in the case, I remove them when it’ll be long periods between flying. Do I recommend this transmitter? Depends on your needs and what you want from a transmitter. Final thought: read up the transmitter and look at your current needs and potential needs from a TX before rushing out to buy this transmitter.