A range check is a safety procedure to determine whether your radio system has sufficient range to safely fly your model.
A basic range check consists of walking away from your helicopter carrying the transmitter with the aerial retracted (limiting the output power), while observing that the control surfaces still move as commanded. If performing a range check on your own, folding the main blades back will allow you to easily see collective pitch changes as the blades wag up and down. You should be able to get at least 30 paces away from your model without seeing degredation of control.
When using PPM systems, the helicopter will begin to glitch more frequently the closer you get to the limiting range. With PCM systems, the receiver will begin to drop frames and may drop temporarily into failsafe the further you get from the model. On a CCPM helicopter, the dropped frames may be visible as paddle (cyclic)) inputs when operating the collective.
With 2,4GHz systems, there is usually a button or sequence to go through to make the transmitter use reduced power for the range check.
Range checks are complicated by a number of factors. Firstly, your model will be flying in the air, not on the ground, so any factors that affect signal propogation there (such as damp ground) will affect the range check drastically. Some people advise placing the model on a non-conductive table to help alleviate this. Second, for (hopefully obvious) reasons, it is incredibly dangerous to run a range check with the motor running or with the model actually flying, so it is hard to allow for local environmental radio noise caused by the motor or other items.
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