Sporty’s L6 Handheld Radio Hits the Market

‘Made exclusively for pilots,’ the new product is being touted as the easiest-to-use handheld available.

Sporty’s L6 handheld radio can store up to 20 channels. [Courtesy: Sporty’s Pilot Shop]

Many pilots carry a handheld radio with them in their aircraft as a backup in the event the primary installed com radio fails in flight. 

When the pilot is using an automatic noise reduction headset, this often means fumbling for an adapter so the headset can be plugged directly into the handheld. Sporty's Pilot Shop changes all that with the introduction of the L6, the only handheld aviation radio that can be connected to a LEMO headset—the kind with the Bose-style connector that allows you to plug directly into a panel.

“The L6 is made exclusively for pilots—there are no menus, no wires, and no adapters,” said Doug Ranly, Sporty’s director of aviation products and marketing. “Dedicated volume and squelch knobs are easy to adjust, even in turbulence, and the high contrast, extra-large screen, and backlit keypad make a big difference during an emergency.”

To use the L6, simply turn it on, type in a frequency, plug it into your headset, and you're in business.

The handheld radio can store up to 20 channels, which are easy to recall using the L6's large backlit screen. The L6 is also equipped with a last frequency button to make it easier to quickly switch back and forth between tower and ground, or approach and CTAF.

The L6 can be used outside the aircraft as the device has a built-in 3.5 mm jack to accommodate wired earbuds or computer style headsets, making it a good choice for walking around air shows, monitoring the CTAF while mowing the infield, or simply strolling on the ramp. The transmit power is 6 watts at peak to maximize range.

The L6 uses six AA batteries, so you don't have to worry about specialty rechargeable batteries or cords. The device also features a USB-C port on the side as an option to power it.

“We believe regular AA batteries are the best choice for backup use, but the ability to power the L6 with a USB-C cable is a convenient option,” Ranly said. “From Sentry ADS-B receivers to iPad Pros, this cable is increasingly common in aircraft.”

The L6 com radio sells for $279 and comes with an alkaline battery pack, antenna, 100-240 volt wall plug, a USB-A to USB-C adapter cable, belt clip, and pilot’s guide.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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