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Spektrum DX9 9-Channel 2.4-GHz DSMX Aircraft System

By Don Coe
Published: March 14, 2014
Spektrum DX9
Product: The DX9, the latest 2.4-GHz transmitter from Spektrum, is not a DX8 with an extra channel. It’s a new generation of transmitter with features such as a 250-model memory, a wireless trainer system, fully programmable switch assignments and voice-alert telemetry.

The DX9 balances perfectly at the neck strap mount. The side grips are hard rubber, making the transmitter feel more secure. The stick tensions and throttle friction are adjustable. Two auxiliary slide switches are located on the back of the case, making them accessible but not easily bumped out of place while handling the transmitter. The handle also functions as part of the antenna system, eliminating the need for an articulated antenna. The vertical antenna is sturdy and only 3.5 inches long. The backlit 2-1/2-by-1-3/4-inch LCD screen makes viewing data and programming screens a snap.

The DX9 comes with a 2,000-mAh Li-ion battery and internal charger. The external power supply includes replaceable adapter plugs to fit most power outlets in the U.S. and abroad. The plug connection at the transmitter is a different size than the normal connectors, so there’s no need to worry about using the wrong charger.

Performance: At first glance, the multitude of DX9 features seem intimidating. The instruction manual is presented in English and four other languages. The English version, at 46 pages, is readable and well-organized. As is common with most full-function computer radios, there are two programming levels. The first, the System Setup menu, sets the overall system functions, as well as the selection, type and name of the aircraft. The second, the Function List, sets the parameters for each individual aircraft. One unique feature of the DX9 is the ability to access the Model Select function without having to first turn off the transmitter.

The powerful trainer function provides the traditional wired configuration, in which two transmitters are connected with an electrical cord, as well as a wireless configuration. The wireless trainer function seemed too good to be true, but any concerns melted away as I bound the DX9 to my JR 9303. It worked! As a club instructor pilot, I’ve had many cramps and finger pains while holding down the trainer button. The DX9 allows you to assign the trainer function to a two-position switch. Just flip the switch and the trainee is in control, but as soon as the instructor moves the control stick, command is immediately returned. Want more? The DX9 allows operation of both transmitters at the same time. In this configuration, the pilot controls the flight surfaces while the copilot controls such functions as the flaps, retractable landing gear and bomb drops.

The DX9 allows users to manage the various alerts and warnings. Instead of an annoying beep or vibration, the DX9 actually talks to you. Gone are the days of wondering which switch is in the wrong position; the DX9 voice alert tells you. There are 300 English words on board, with more available on the Web. Imagine a countdown timer telling you how many minutes of flight remain. Have you ever forgotten to turn off your transmitter? The DX9 reminds you to turn it off after a predesignated idle time!

The Aircraft Function List is equally robust. Once an aircraft type (airplane, helicopter or sailplane) is chosen, a list of functions tailored to each type appears. The most used functions, such as servo setup, dual rates and exponential, appear first. The term “dual rates” is a misnomer as three or more rates may be created. At the same time the rates are set, they may be assigned to one or more switches. The airplane functions list include a throttle curve for aircraft with variable pitch propellers and up to three separate gyros. The sailplane functions include a throttle cut and wing-camber mixing.

All aircraft types include a sequencer function, which allows multiple actions in a user-defined time frame. For example, a “retract landing gear” command could open the gears doors, retract the landing gear and re-close the gear doors with the flip of a single switch.

Marketing: The feature-rich DX9 is for the serious R/C enthusiast who can’t afford or does not want to pay the price for professional-grade transmitters such as the DX18. With the added ability to receive, store, display and even speak telemetry data, the DX9 will also appeal to experimenters and other commercial users. Spektrum also markets a comprehensive line of telemetry sensors and devices compatible with the DX9.

Finally, the trainer function provides a new level of flexibility and safety, especially when using the wireless trainer feature. The DX9 truly stands out as the next generation of computer transmitters.