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Transmitter & Receiver

Stephen Ridgway

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I am new to the sport and have owned my IOM for a couple of months now. I have a Spektrum DX6i DSM2 transmitter with an AR6200 receiver. The transmitter is a few years old and works well enough, but is showing signs of age. The problem is that I am left handed and try as I might, I just can't get the hang of the rudder control being on the right side and the sail control on the left. My fellow sailors will attest to this as my boat does all sorts of daft manoeuvres, particularly when in close racing. I therefore need the controls to be the other way round. I think I can possibly change my existing transmitter, but prefer to buy a new one. Can anyone give me guidance on the following:

1) If I buy a transmitter in mode 1, will this achieve my aim of the left hand control working the rudder and the right one the sails?

2) If yes, will the left hand control have the spring that will centre it automatically?

3) If no, will I have to buy a mode 2 version and will there be any instructions that a non-technical idiot can follow to change the controls and the spring over?

4) Do I need to go to the expense of a new DX6i or will a cheaper DX5e do just as well? I really don't see paying over the odds for far more channels that I will need, but am happy to spend what it takes.

5) With a new DX6i or DX5e, will my existing receiver be ok or will that need replacing as well?

Any help, thoughts or guidance will be very welcome. I apologise in advance if any of my questions are stupidly naïve, but I really don't have the first clue about this sort of thing. Can anyone direct me to any articles on the subject?

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Hi Stephen,

Welcome to radio sailing, unfortunately cannot speak for Spektrum, no doubt someone who has one will comment but most of the transmitters I have had apart use the same stick units left and right so it would only require swapping the parts from one side to the other, on my kit if I wanted rudder/winch control swapped I would change over the receiver plugs. I guess with these modern all singing sets you may not get some of the dual rate or other tweaks on the correct channel but there might be an easier way of switching it all around. Don't think any of this is stupidly naïve there must be other Left handers about. No one needs the extra channel of the DX6i, I and many others manage with 2 but I believe there are more options to vary how much rudder/winch travel you get in relation to stick movement on the DX6i.

Good Sailing,


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Mode 1 or Mode 2

It matter not which mode you buy Mode 1 or Mode 2 – they are identical. All that has happened is that the centring spring has been disabled on either the left or right stick – it is actually still there.

Open the back of radio and you will see the adjusting screws – moving the stick up and down will help you identify it and understand how it works. It is really very simple.

You screw the screw in to disable the spring. Doing this pulls the spring loaded arm away from the cam that centres the stick

Do not under any circumstances read the manual - it takes all the fun out of it.

All transmitters can be changed to mode 1,2,3,4 in the software configuration. In real term all this does is assigns the Throttle channel to the left or right stick and the rudder and aileron are swapped.

This however is of no interest to the Radio Yachtsman because we only use 2 channels of a 6 channel radio and none of the features which have been embedded in the software like:-

• Throttle Cut

• Throttle lock

• Throttle curve

It matters not which channel you plug the rudder or Winch into just as long as it works.

Which radio –

That is the 64 k$ question. Just about anything will do. You don’t need 6 channels - 28 Model Memories, Helicopter mode, mixers and all the other gobbledygook but you get it anyway.

The really inexpensive radios are absolutely fine but do not provide

• Exponential function or

• Dual Rate function

Something I find invaluable and makes life a lot easier. But that is just me. I am constantly being beaten buy skipper hold in £35 radio with none of that.

Modulation Technique

Every manufacturer uses a different modulation / data coding technique and claim theirs to be the best, the fastest, most accurate, error free and so no. But this is of no interest to a Radio Yachtsman since he will not even notice a few data frames lost here and there. The radio system Data resolution is not the real constrain, it is the positional accuracy of the winch and rudder servo that is the constraint .. these are is still analog PWM 1.0 to 2.0 ms as it has been since 1968 or so.

The Futaba 6 J was a good radio but production ceased some 2 year ago and radios you see on E-bay and internet shops are old and slow stock being dumped.

I switched to the Multiplex Cockpit X for two reasons – David Cox had one and I was feeling left out of the cool crowd but more importantly they are very light and fit into my small hands. and come in cool colours. German engineering where you need it so to speak.

They are competitively priced at the moment.

I did use a 3 channel wheel radio for a while – but they cost as much as a stick radio and are really not suitable for yacht control – and you index finger gets worn out squeezing the trigger all the way down wind.

Getting Orientated

It is really about getting orientated. I too am acutely left handed and totally understand the frustration of living in a right handed world. The first thing I will address when I become King is the scissor, knife , fork and spoon issue. After that we will ban righthand thread and introduce lefthand thread as standard.

But until then we must live with right-handed scissors and irritating people who have their mouse on the right side of their desk. You must simply learn to control your right hand and use Mode 2 like everybody else. Besides which you should not be using the rudder all that much– just call starboard even if you are on port tack and apologise profusely afterwards .- you will get the hang of it.

It all in sail control. - your left hand - so you have the advantage.

I actually sail with all the controls on one stick – the left stick. I can switch rudder to the right stick. The vertical centring is disabled on both sticks and I have a ratchet on both so the sticks do feel like a limp carrots.

So keep the DX6i and AR600 reviver – just bond with them and cut the sticks down they are far too long.

If you really want to spend money send it to me – the money that is and buy a decent screwdriver to open the back of radio. And do not over tighten the screws when you put them back.

Try not to lose any


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There is a simple way to find out if swapping sides will work for you. Hold the radio with the antenna pointing towards you.

However, before you do this, go into the programming and reverse direction for Channel 1 and channel 3.

Now when you use the radio, the rudder will be your left, side to side, with spring centering, and the sail will be on the right, up is out, down is in, and no centering.


John Ball

IOM CAN 307 (V8)

In my private capacity

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To answer your question directly regarding the DX5e compatibility:-

As you have figured out the DX5e has only a single model memory. It however uses the same coding method as the DX6i, DSM2. The DX5e is therefore compatible with all current Spektrum and JR (2.4GHz) receivers. You can use the receivers designed for use in park flyers because range is not an issue for the Radio Yachtsman.

This is a list of Compatible Receivers





AR500 (included)







And yes you get a good set of instructions, you can even down load them yourself without buting the radio. Sadly there are no instructionas regarding the mechanial adjustment, but it is Intuitive. There are a couple of posting on u tube if you really need it. But please observer rule 1 of Radio Sailing:-

But I alway come back to the point hat if it is so much easier to sail if you set the responce of the radio correctly Exponential and Rate adjustment.

Never read the instructions


It is honestly quicker to select Mode 1 and disable the centring spring than the hold the transmitter upside down and revers the channels. But I would not encourage Mode 1 usage in the UK because you need to be able to sail other people’s boats and they need to sail yours to help you get set up.


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