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Radio system transmitters and receivers

There are a number of different radio technologies suitable for use in a submarine. The one that you choose is dependent upon your operational environment and what your goals for the boat are. Let's take a look at them:

Low Frequency (72, 75, or 40mhz):

These are the old, tried and true radios that have been in use for decades. Low frequency radio waves actually penetrate water quite well, and you can expect to maintain control of your submarine in fresh water environments to depths in excess of 20ft. This depth is also a function of distance, the further away you are, the more shallow you must remain. 

Unfortunately, these radios are no longer being produced and the only options are used radios, or new old stock (NOS) found from hobby stores clearing out old stock. 

On the plus side, if you can find them, the radios are typically quite inexpensive. On the downside, you must fight with frequency-matching transmitters and receivers, they tend to be quite susceptible to radio interference, and if you're operating in an environment with multiple skippers, you MUST ensure that you do not overlap frequencies with another captain. 


High Frequency (2.4ghz):

These radios were often ignored as a potential control system for RC submarines, cited as not allowing these craft to be "real" submarines. The reasoning behind this stems from the fact that high frequency radio waves do not penetrate water well at all. The antenna must be located above the waterline at all times, limiting the craft to either surfaced or periscope depth trim. 

This is far less of an issue than people make it out to be. 

Most experienced skippers will not operate their boat in "black water", IE: water that does not allow full visibility of both the submarine and any potential underwater obstacles at all times, at any depth greater than periscope depth anyway. Running fully submerged with no visual reference to boat or hazards is foolhardy and likely to end with an empty boat cradle on the way home. With this being the case, use of 2.4ghz is completely acceptable and offers the skipper the advantage of rock-steady control, as well as all of the features and benefits of modern radios including full programmability, integrated failsafe systems and much more.