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Reviews Categories | Interfaces, Radio to computer, amp, rotor, coax switch, internet | West Mountain Radio Rigblaster Advantage Help


Reviews Summary for West Mountain Radio Rigblaster Advantage
West Mountain Radio Rigblaster Advantage Reviews: 21 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $200
Description: The RIGblaster Advantage features a simplified PC interface and expanded rig control radio compatibility, accomplished without compromising the functionality and flexibility that the RIGblaster products are known for. This new addition to the RIGblaster product line incorporates several user requested enhancements:

- Internal sound card

- Single plug and play USB cable connection to PC for audio, rig control and power

- Rig control interface for CAT/CI-V as well as RS232 through a DB9 port

- Front panel mounted transmit power level, receive audio level and VOX delay adjustment knobs
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.westmountainradio.com
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AA1RB Rating: 5/5 Nov 16, 2013 20:19 Send this review to a friend
Works w/K3 , MixW, JT65-HF  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the Advantage because I needed the capability for rig control and sound card through one USB connection with the Elecraft K3. The setup was quick. After playing around with level controls on the K3 and JT65-HF I had my first QSO with a Japan station in no time. The front mic connection makes for a seamless transition to SSB. This is a great addition to my station to get digital modes. Make sure you get an RS-232 M/F cable to make the connection between the rig and the Advantage unit.
 
WI6T Rating: 5/5 Jun 12, 2013 12:01 Send this review to a friend
Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Interfaced with ICOM IC-756. Especially appreciate the clear instructions regarding RTTY operation. Now I can use the RTTY feature on my rig with the 350 Hz RTTY narrow filter for true FSK operation. Wonderful interface with MMTTY program. Also enjoy the level controls and com/vox switching feature. The three LED indicators are a real plus. Also use the unit with HRD for PSK-31, Feld Hell, and others. I have other gear from WMR; all perform as advertised. Excellent web product details, delivery and assistance. Could not be more pleased.
 
KB1VGS Rating: 5/5 Apr 18, 2013 12:30 Send this review to a friend
Great interface from computer to my IC-746PRO  Time owned: more than 12 months
I originally bought my RIGblaster Advantage from HRO in 2011 and installed it on my IC-706MK2G. It was easy to interface between my computer and my IC-706. After I had the RB Advantage for about 18 months I got an IC-746PRO and connected it up expecting to just change the modular ISC and the CI-V address for the IC-746PRO.
(West Mountain sends both jumpers and ISC modules) for Yaesu, Kenwood, and ICOM. They send both the round metal and the RJ-45 ISC and I think some of them can be used on Alinco as well. There are instructions on how to use the jumpers instead if needed.
When I started using the IC-746PRO I was getting a hum in my audio when I was transmitting. I sent an e-mail to West Mountain about my problem. I received an e-mail back from Sholto K7TMG asking me to call him. When I first called Sholto he asked me several questions about my station and had me try a few remedies which didn't work. Sholto listened to what I had to say and was very understanding. I ran a jumper from the 746PRO's ground post on the back of the radio to the metal ring on my mike and the hum went away, I then took the ground off and the hum returned. I put the ground jumper back again and the hum disappeared Sholto asked me how many LEDs (2 or 3) I had on my unit and I told him 2 he said he knew what my problem was. He said I had an old version and asked me where I got it from and how long I had it. I told him I bought it from HRO and it was 18 months old he told me he would call me back shortly.
Within 5 minutes I was on the phone with Sholto and he told me to send the unit in and they would repair it and bring it up to the latest version without the 3rd LED.
It arrived at West Mountain on Friday morning and Tuesday I received a NEW RIGblaster Advantage NOT my repaired older one! I did call them up and thank them and their answer was that is a known problem with the unit I had and they felt they should replace it.
Considering my unit was 6 months out of warranty I was impressed with their attitude. I am now thinking of getting another unit to use on my IC-706 when I am on vacation.
Everyone I spoke to was polite and were very happy to help me fix the problem. I am definitely a West Mountain customer from now on!
 
ON9CC Rating: 5/5 Feb 14, 2013 10:35 Send this review to a friend
Very satisfied!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Bought my RB advantage in Dayton last year. Easy hookup to my IC-7800 and configuration with WSJT etc... No issues and it does what it does.
 
KJ4RWQ Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2012 16:12 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Soundcard!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've had this sound card for about a month now and I can honestly say it works as advertised. The most wonderful part in owning this product is the superior customer service you receive if you hit a brick wall. The only minor obstacle I hit was configuring the jumpers inside the Rigblaster Advantage unit, however, within a couple of minutes of contacting Sholto, K7TMG, I was able to receive service nothing short of excellent. Sholto consistently helps and takes the time to explain every facet of Westmountain products and has extensive expertise in electrical and radio as a whole. I really admire his patience and his making sure that I understood what I was doing. I interfaced the Elecraft KX3 with the Advantage and used a regular Tentec Mic so the jumpers had to be configured based on the sepcs of each microphone. Thank you so much for your time Sholto. After getting this all sorted with Sholto, I hit the manual and every software was a breeze. The manual is very detailed and does a very good job explaining setup for each standard software that are standard for just about every mode of HAM radio. Please keep up the awesome support, and please don't be afraid to include more radios in the manual and more sdr software as more and more sdr radios are coming onto to the market and have specific setup depending on the software.

Thanks again West Mountain for an awesome product and amazing representatives.

73's,

KJ4RWQ

 
K5HFI Rating: 5/5 Sep 3, 2012 03:22 Send this review to a friend
Works great on my Mac, Very easy to setup and use .  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I chose it over the SignalLink mainly because my primary Radio is a TS-870S and I really wanted to use the direct FSK keying (as apposed to AFSK) which the RB Advantage supports and the SignalLink does not.

The RB Advantage was is just so easy to setup and use. I normally use Mac OS X so that is not always the case with most Ham Radio products. I was decoding PSK31 in fldigi within 5 minutes of opening the box. I have never had any problems in configuring and using the RB Advantage with any software or OS. I like to spend a lot of time playing with different software so I have used it on the Mac, with Windows, and on Linux and in every case it is a breeze to configure and use. I usually use fldigi on OS X and Linux and MMTTY for FSK on windows. I have tried many other apps as well and all have worked great with the RB Advantage.

The one issue I have had is that the Mic PTT from my MC-60 mic quit working through the RB Advantage after around 10 months of use, everything else kept working fine. West Mountain was very helpful. Eventually I decided to return it for repair or replacement. It was returned/replaced within a few days, much faster than I expected. The support from West Mountain was beyond excellent, it is as good as any I have ever dealt with.
 
VE1YY Rating: 5/5 Mar 6, 2012 12:13 Send this review to a friend
Works Great  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am operating with a newer version of RigBlaster Advantage. Unlike the early 2011 version that I had, this one is measuring up to all expectations.

The audio in and out is impeccable, perhaps cleaner than the audio coming from the shack's computers.

The front panel controls for transmit level and receive level are much better solutions than hunting for the computer's sound card sliders.

The supplied cables and "Instant Set up Connectors (ISC)" allow me to use the unit on any of my rigs. It's a matter of moving one cable and plugging in a different ISC.

Using the Advantage's CI-V or CAT feature allows control of the rig from the local computer or network. The feature is a boon to operating.

An undocumented feature, that ought to be in the manual, allows full break-in (QSK) CW from the keyboard as effectively as from the paddles.

Speaking of the manual, it has been updated, emphasizing straight-forward set up. The older manual is on the CD should you want detailed information. For example, Icom users will want to check the proper wiring of the CI-V cable. The CD also sports a wide range of useful software.

The superbly constructed unit has silky controls and a small footprint.

Testing this new version gave me the opportunity to talk with the factory CS personnel whom I found intelligent and engaging.

In summary, this later version of the Advantage is working extremely well for me.
 
KK4CIS Rating: 5/5 Feb 14, 2012 12:53 Send this review to a friend
Very easy to setup  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The RIGblaster Advantage was incredibly easy and straightforward to setup. I run Windows 7 Pro on my laptop. I read the RIGblaster Advantage manual before starting and followed the step-by-step directions. Everything just worked.

I am an absolute beginner, so was expecting hours of frustration. Instead, installation and setup was easy and straightforward with no drama and no surprises; the setup process could not have been easier for this complete beginner.

Additionally, the section on JT65-HF was also very helpful, and after simply following the straightforward installation and setup tips, I made my first JT65 QSO within 15 minutes of launching JT65-HF.

I highly recommend the RIGblaster Advantage.
 
WB7ELY Rating: 1/5 Jan 14, 2012 06:20 Send this review to a friend
Not Worth The Trouble  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
So ?I am a homebrew guy. Sound card interface gave up the ghost last fall and I began to shop around for one with external sound card via USB. Purchased the Advantage unit for Christmas and ran the setup for my IC706 per the manual. No Luck. Read and re-read the manual, reset the comports and finally was able to get audio to dispaly on the waterfall but the unit wanted to key continuously.I am pretty well versed with PCs, software, and ham radio interfaces so this thing really had me stumped. Back to the manual. Tried every tip they talked about, reset the mixer sliders and record "listen" and no joy. Called the help line on the east coast and busy busy busy. So I need help bad...when I get home from work on the west coast they are closed and when I leave for work, they are closed. It appears that if I want to get this thing working, I am going to hafta take a day off. Recommend: Do not buy - $200 boatanchor -
 
KB9KR Rating: 5/5 Nov 27, 2011 04:01 Send this review to a friend
A really nice interface  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've never purchased a “store-bought” audio interface before, always preferring to make my own. A nearby lightning strike took out the last one and the single COM port on my computer. So, with a gentle push from a buddy (something about not being such a “tightwad”) I decided to take a look at the Advantage. For a junk box fanatic like me it was a real stretch, but I'm glad to say the interface is perfectly suited to my situation and needs. I highly recommend it for a setup similar to mine.

Having given up on “WinDoze” some time ago, I run Linux (currently Ubuntu 11.04 - “Natty Narwhal”) in the shack on an older machine (1Ghz P3 processor, 512 Mb ram). I use Fldigi ver. 3.21.26 by Dave Freese, W1HKJ, et.al for general digital operation. The rig is an Icom IC-706. Just to be safe, before the purchase, I called West Mountain tech support to ask specifically about using the interface with my setup. They assured me it should work fine.

The major appeal of this interface for me was the single USB connection to the computer with built-in sound card, and built in serial port for CI-V/PTT control. Only one connection to the computer – and I could still listen to tunes while I played digital. Not bad a all.

Opening the manual (yeah, I actually read manuals!), I found that it was written primarily for a typical Windows user. I'm really used to that kind of thing so I just kept reading. I was able to figure out from the text and available pictures how to configure and connect it all up. Perhaps a few known example/suggested interconnection diagrams would have made the interconnection schema clearer, quicker. Think “newbie”.

I plugged the USB connector into the computer and Ubuntu detected the internal sound card without a glitch. I disconnected the USB, installed the interface jumper block for my 706, plugged my mic in, connected the CI-V cable, installed the interface-to-rig audio cable, and plugged the USB back in. About 10 minutes additional setup time with my rig, Ubuntu, and Fldigi and I was able to operate in VOX mode, making my first contact. So far so good. Now for CI-V and PTT.

The COM port PTT and CI-V took me a few more minutes to get a handle on. The Advantage internal serial port hadn't been automatically detected by Ubuntu. I called West Mountain tech support and they had exactly what I needed. They pointed me to the location on their website that had the Ubuntu serial port driver the interface required. Once the driver was installed and Fldigi was properly configured I was able to use COM port PTT, and had CI-V communication.

(Hint: Using Fldigi on Ubuntu Linux with the IC-706, try using Hamlib with the new USB sound card you just installed, and then Hardware PTT – check “Use separate serial port for PTT” and check “Use RTS” on the same serial port. Works fine for me.)

The manual and perhaps the CD included with the interface could use a bit of updating for clarity and content. It needs a section for Linux users ( There's a bunch of us out here. That's a hint, West Mountain! ) and information about how and where to get Linux serial port drivers. Add a few known example/suggested interconnection diagrams for reference and setup hints (for Linux), and you're good to go.

Overall, I give the interface 5/5 for form, function and utility. It performs well with my setup. The audio in and out is clean, and I get good reports on my signal. Good job.
 
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