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Written by Dillon Carpenter
New products that are Worth a Closer Look
Product Review
As seen in the May 2018 issue of
Model Aviation.


New products that are Worth a Closer Look

The Strix Hoot Antenna Review

The Strix Hoot antenna is the latest antenna coming out of Ready Made RC’s in-house Strix brand of products and it’s definitely worth a closer look because of its construction. Based on the Lindenblad antenna design from the 1940s, it is one of only a few antennas available for FPV that utilize this design.

Slightly lighter than the other popular Lindenblad design (the TBS Triumph from Team BlackSheep), the Strix Hoot is a welcome space saver for this tried-and-true antenna design. Its case is made of hard plastic, which will be difficult to break in most FPV-related crashes. The Strix Hoot antenna is available for $9.99.

Ready Made RC: 7719 Graphics Way, Ste. F, Lewis Center OH 43035; website: www.readymaderc.com

Cricket Pro V2 Vtx Review

Dillon Carpenter reviewed the Ready Made RC Cricket Pro V2 VTx. Here is what he had to say:

With the video transmitter, or VTx, market dominated by brands such as Team BlackSheep and ImmersionRC, it’s difficult to get into the marketplace, but not impossible if you have features that the market demands. Ready Made RC’s Cricket Pro V2 VTx is a great upgrade to its predecessor and includes welcome features that are missing in some of its competitors’ offerings.

What makes this VTx worth a closer look is the combination of new features that it brings to the market, specifically the MMCX connector. The standard with VTx connectors, until this point, was the u.fl or ipex connector, which is small and easily damaged. Your choices were directly soldered antenna wires, a directly soldered SMA connector, or u.fl, none of which afforded a good balance between durability, convenience, and space savings.

Having seen the MMCX connectors in action, I believe it’s a step in the right direction toward a smaller, reliable, convenient solution to VTx antenna connections. Ready Made bundles this VTx with an SMA pigtail to attach antennas with SMA connectors that you already have. It also includes an MMCX dipole antenna for racers. I thought that the dipole was a nice addition to show exactly how much space is being saved by the MMCX connector.

Another positive aspect of this VTx is the inclusion of Smart Audio. Smart Audio is an open protocol that has been pioneered by Team BlackSheep and is becoming the standard protocol between VTx and flight controllers. Smart Audio allows the flight controller to send data over an audio signal to the VTx to give it commands to change the channel, power output, and activate or deactivate pit mode. It also allows the VTx to send back useful data to be displayed over an OSD such as what band, channel, and power output the VTx is set to.

Team BlackSheep recently required manufacturers that use the Smart Audio protocol license to use it in their hardware. It seems that Ready Made RC has filed the appropriate paperwork for the Smart Audio on its transmitter to be legitimate.

Another inclusion that might sway a buyer toward this piece of hardware is the built-in microphone. It doesn’t take up much space, but it’s nice to have if you like to hear your aircraft from an onboard perspective while it’s flying. That, paired with the ability to use a microphone and Smart Audio without modification, is a definite advantage over using an FPV camera with a built-in microphone.

Compared with its predecessor, the Cricket Pro V1, the V2 is definitely an improvement as far as size goes, but it could still be a bit smaller. It’s larger than many of the other available offerings, but it is a big improvement over the original Cricket Pro.

Another minor annoyance is the pit mode default—and by minor annoyance, I mean that I’m just being picky because it’s one more step to take before getting into the air. If you’re a person who flies solo a lot, it might be annoying, but if you often fly with a group, it might be the factor that saves you from stomping on someone else’s FPV feed.

I plan to pair this VTx with a flight controller that supports Betaflight OSD and Smart Audio, so it’s not a major concern, and I do understand why it’s set up that way.

The Cricket Pro V2 VTx is available for $28.99.

Ready Made RC: 7719 Graphics Way, Ste. F, Lewis Center OH 43035; website: www.readymaderc.com

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