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Categories | Interfaces, Radio to computer, amp, rotor, coax switch, internet | RigExpert WTI-1 Interface Help

Show all reviews of the RigExpert WTI-1 Interface

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VK3WHO  Rating: 4/5 Dec 7, 2017 04:55  Send this review to a friend!
Great job shielding computer noise from the sensitive IC7300  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
RigExpert WTI-1
The main purpose for purchasing the WTI-1 was to shield the IC7300 from USB and computer noise, which it does very well. I have used WTI-1 for about a month and am now receiving signals that I didnít know existed. Before installing the WTI-1 the USB noise from the laptop was masking out weak signal when using digital modes such as WSPR and Olivia on the HF bands. It didnít matter what I did, I couldn't get the noise down to a point where it was unnoticeable until the WTI-1 in conjunction with an AC mains power filter on the transceiverís power supply was installed. Up to this point I had tried optically coupled USB cables but did not produce the results I was looking for. I also tried a number of different filters on the audio line and serial line. This arrangement was nearly perfect but I thought there must be a better way and found the WTI-1 was on sale and purchased it. It was worth a the gamble as I couldn't find much information around on the WTI-1.
Now when I look at the WSPR spotting sites and compare my reception reports to other nearby it has made a difference. I am now receiving stations that they are not receiving. That wasn't the case before.
That was the easy part; the hard part was getting the WTI-1 to work reliably. Most of the issues stem from the fact that the documentation is very scant. The specifications donít mention that the WTI-1 needs a very strong signal to work reliably; in fact, the WiFi router needs to be within 2 metres of the WTI-1 or closer to work reliably. I found that the output power from WTI-1 was very low compared to a WiFi router and probably would have trouble getting through walls. They also donít mention that the system audio is half duplex thus requires a send and receive signal to be sent to WTI-1 one of the serial ports, meaning that the transceiverís digital control for switching to transmit will have no effect the direction of the WTI-1ís audio, as a result permanently blocking the transmit audio from ShackLink to the IC7300.
The setting up of the WiFi router was quite straight forward except for the very strong signal requirements, although it would have been nice to get some real time diagnostic information from the WTI-1 USB port or from ShackLink, the type of information that all routers supply.
I still havenít sorted out all the issue on the WRI-1. The receive audio randomly stops. This may happen after 30 minute or as long as 24Hours or more. It requires the transmit button briefly pressed to start up the audio connection to ShackLink again.
When it works it works very well and does a good job on all the digital modes. The 200mS delay has not caused any problems with FT8 or WSPR. I have tried WRI-1 and ShackLink with the software packages sim32, FT8, WSPR, Olivia, Ham Radio deluxe, multipsk, DX Lab suite etc. and found no problems.
I have set up and tested the router to work across the WWW with voice without any problem. But this was only a test to see that it worked. There may be problems I hadnít noticed.
Overall the WTI-1 does do the job and the interface has been well thought out and relatively easy to interface if the limitations are known. The WiFi module used in the WTI-1 is really the weak link in the chain making what could have been brilliant product to something that required a lot of persistence to get operating correctly. This weakness could have been tolerated if the documentation described the pit falls and thus would have saved me and other reviewer a lot of time and frustration. It is rather ironic that the people in the communications industry are generally the worst in communications.

Pro
Easy to interface to most transceivers with the purchase of the additional cables
Easy to setup on XP win7 and win10 once the computerís audio ports are understood.
Easy to interface to all the programs I tried.

Con
WiFi module inside the WTI-1 is deaf and has very low output power requiring the router to be very close, less than 2 metre.
WiFi module is easily interfered with by microwave devices if it is not very close to the router
The interface cable to connect the radio to the WRI-1 does not have provisions for connection and control an amplifier. I had to add the ALC and switch over wires to the connector.
Documentation and specification are very brief and not very helpful.
Very little diagnostic information




 
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