- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

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

Reviews Summary for West Mountain Radio RIGblaster Plus
West Mountain Radio RIGblaster Plus Reviews: 49 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $139.95
Description: A RIGblaster is the easiest way to properly connect your radio to your computer's sound card. Fully automatic operation; your mic. always works, your computer always works, no manual switching, no plugging or unplugging.
Product is in production.
More info:
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the West Mountain Radio RIGblaster Plus.

<— Page 2 of 5 —>

WB2KQI Rating: 5/5 Jul 22, 2008 13:12 Send this review to a friend
Nice Unit and Company  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ordered the RigBlaster Plus and hooked it up yesterday. It took me about a half an hour and then I was calling CQ and having various contacts on PSK-31. I did not have any problems installing the internal jumpers so that the mic cable would work with my Icom 746PRO. The pictures were a little blurry but I could follow them. My laptop already had a Radio Shack usb to serial adapter for Ham Radio Deluxe. I decided instead of installing a second such adapter I would go for VOX operation on transmit. Although that means you must use PTT on SSB that did not matter to me as I never use VOX anyway. It worked great -- at least I thought so. But then I decided to call West Mountain to see if they had a pre-wired cable for the ACC1 plug on the 746PRO so I could take audio from there instead of from the speaker output of the 746PRO which, of course, mutes the speaker so you would have to plug and unplug when you switched modes. Spoke to a very nice fellow at WM. He suggested that I not use the VOX method but use the supplied usb to serial cable to switch the RigBlaster via COM port instaed of VOX. He said that the one problem with using VOX was that it could happen that you would transmit an unlawful signal such as a Windows sound effect or even a song by accident on the PSK frequencies. Keep in mind that I did already have a Radio Shack usb to serial adapter supplying COM4 to Ham Radio Deluxe. There was just no way my Dell computer would install the drivers from the included cable. The fellow at WM stayed on the phone with me for a half an hour and we tried. He offered to have me send the cable back but we both thought it was a conflict due to the Radio Shack already-installed drivers. So today I bought a second Radio Shack usb to serial and the existing driver runs both at once fine. I just had to, in the device manager, edit the second cable to COM5. Now COM4 controls Ham Radio Deluxe and COM5 switches the RigBlaster. I mention this because I would bet some of the comments here on problems installing the cable are really the fault of Windows and how it assigns drivers. If you do not have a driver conflict I think this would go very smoothly.

The one thing I would suggest to Western is that they do a little better explanation in the manual as to how to set your audio output for various modes. Another ham had to tell me in qso about turning the alc all the way down and power up (which I now have done via soundcard adjustments).

But, overall, I found this to work just as I had hoped it would. I was also surprised to read here that others seem to have had some negative support phone experience with WM. All I can say is that when I called them they were friendly, helpful, very knowledgeable and the one thing they couldn't help with was not, I am sure, their fault anyway.

In a year or so I plan to upgrade to the Pro as from one Com port it appears I could do a CI-V interface to the Icom while doing the RigBlaster switching too from the one port.
W4RL Rating: 3/5 Jul 13, 2008 15:19 Send this review to a friend
RF into my Transmit Audio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am using my WMR Rigblaster Plus with my Icom IC-758 P3 and computer with XP on PSK-31 and it seems to work well. But when I am on 6 meters SSB I have horrible RFI in my transmit audio. On 75 meters AM it is even worse. Anyone have experience with this and how to solve it? Instruction manual is not the best in the world. Need to be more specific especially with the cable hook ups. For me a picture is worth a thousand words. It's difficult enough setting all the audio levels up properly and then have to deal with the digital software out there. During the time of setting it up mostly trial and error, sometimes I just wanted to go back to a simpler digital mode.....CW with my trusty brass hand key.

N3VMC Rating: 5/5 Jul 9, 2008 06:36 Send this review to a friend
Works flawlessly  Time owned: more than 12 months
Ive never had a problem with my RigBlaster plus! I work all the digital modes worldwide without a hitch! It was easy to setup and it is easy to use! I have it hooked up to my Icom Pro-III and I wouldnt change a thing!

I know a handful of hams who bought this after I purchased mine....they say the same thing....I even gave them a hand in setting them up! Dosent take a rocket scientist!
WB6Q Rating: 0/5 Feb 17, 2008 08:22 Send this review to a friend
In my junkbox  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have purchased a few ham related items in my day that turned out to be junk, but this takes the cake. Tried to install the drivers from the CD and that wouldn't work. Went to the items listed on the disk and did an install, maybe, my computer said the drivers installed but who knows. When I tried to read cw and psk31 using their programs I got nothing but gobblie gook. The only thing that worked was the mike connection through the RIGblaster plus. I hated the thing so much I didn't even call West Mountain Radio to see if somehow it could be fixed. This unit is a good idea gone really bad, and I got burned for 150 bucks. Thought about selling it on e-bay, but unlike AES that sold it to me, I could not unload this on another person and live with myself.
G8IOK Rating: 2/5 Jan 30, 2008 12:18 Send this review to a friend
If your transceiver has CAT then this is not needed  Time owned: more than 12 months
This device has no isolation transformers therefore there is no isolation between your computer and your transceiver.

If you have a rig like an FT1000MP or FT847 then it has CAT plus various data sockets. Plug your serial cable between the computer and the rig plus the audio cables via the data port and you will have effectively the same set up for PSK31 or RTTY. Better still get a two (for mono) or four (for stereo - Softrock etc.) and get the audio isolation you may have thought you were getting with one of these.

My homebrew interface sports 4 transformers and 4 LED isolation chips giving me full isolation between computer and rig.

The only features you will be missing are:
1)the ability to send CW via the computer and
2)a microphone switch (which is irrelevant when using the data port).

On the positive side the CD is a good compilation of soundcard software. If you do not have CAT then the VOX transmit relay facility could make the purchase worthwhile.
VE7GL Rating: 2/5 Oct 28, 2007 09:02 Send this review to a friend
Missing a key feature  Time owned: more than 12 months
There is audio isolation on the input but not on the output. This can create RFI and audio hum issues for those using this unit for any kind of audio back into the computer, DVK for example. I've had to add external audio isolation for both the RIGblaster Plus units I own, and for the price of an additonal $3 transformer that shouldn't have to be.
KG5I Rating: 4/5 May 1, 2007 10:48 Send this review to a friend
Nice, reliable interface  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my Rigblaster Plus for a couple of years now. It has worked as advertised since the day I installed it. I'm the first to admit it can be tricky getting the audio in/outs all setup. For example I had to use a Y-adapter from the sound card speakers because for some reason they would not play when plugged into this unit. Small issue that was easily solved.

Recently the mic cable adapter begin to lose connection causing a loud buzz in my tx audio. I ordered a replacement cable and back now as good as new. You can find them priced under $100 online which is a very good price for a solid-performing interface. It does an excellent job of isolating that mic. I think my favorite feature is the CW-keyer. Let the Rigblaster do the dahs & dits. (well for now anyway until I can get a Begali) I have enjoyed this Plus model so much, I actually bought the Pro a couple of weeks ago. Now the fun really begins.
W6CJ Rating: 0/5 Dec 20, 2006 21:40 Send this review to a friend
Not Impressed - An Expensive Mike Switch  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased a WMR Rigblaster Plus, along with an SCS PTC2-EX TNC, in hopes of having all of the digital modes at my disposal- for both Amateur and MARS routine and emergency communications. It did not meet my high expectations.

The advertising implied that the Rigblaster Plus can be left connected to a transceiver without connecting/disconnecting mikes and audio cables. Wrong. About all you get is the 'convenience' of leaving the mike attached (to the Rigblaster), but you have to throw the mike switch in many circumstances. You still have to deal with connecting/disconnecting speaker or headphone cables as you switch from the Rigblaster Plus back to normal operation, or build Y-adap[tors and yet more hookups. WMR should have gone all the way and provided a design that can be left connected. My radio room now looks like a junior science project when I operate soundcard modes. In some radios, you must connect the radio mike to the Riblaster Plus rear panel and connect their mike jumper between the front panel and your mike input. This is awkward with some mikes or headsets.

The manual is a joke. The "basic station hookup diagram" does not show cable location on the computer, or more importantly, on the rear of the Rigblaster Plus. The internal jumpers (different for each radio make or model) in the manual were in error, so errata sheets were enclosed. The errata sheets, however, are apparently B&W copies of color printouts and you cannot see some of the jumper terminations.

Setting levels sounds easy. Not. Connecting the receiver output to the computer input, then watching the PSK31 "waterfall" worked great (I think because the Rigblaster Plus was not involved). Next, you have your radios SSB/ALC/VOX working normally. Now you have to adjust levels in the computer and on the back of the Rigblaster Plus. I could not find a medium setting where the signal would hold VOX reliably and not drop out or cause the VOX to cycle. You may find that when chasing audio level settings in the computer and on the rear of the Rigblaster Plus won't work, you may end up changing levels in the transciever- requiring yet more computer and Rigblaster settings.

The housing and board were well made, however, the RJ45 jack seemed loose and travels up and down a little.

If you want the soundcard modes for reliable disaster, MARS, or special events communications then I cannot suggest one of these. By the time you made all the adjustments and finished playing with the cables someone could have handled the emergency traffic with a morse key at 10 WPM. Too many variables and things to go wrong. My Rigblaster Plus is not going to be a part of my deployable HF-VHF-UHF transit case station. I'll find another way to use the soundcard modes.

On the other hand, if you like experimenting and tweaking (Lots of adjustments and cables to give a feeling of accomplishment) this may be the one for you.

WMR does make good products- I use their PowerGate and Rigrunner units in my personal stations and in my agency's EOC, and I may see if I like their USB computer interface better.

What I would like to see (Listen up WMR, SCS, Kantronics, HAL) is ONE BOX that will do all of the soundcard modes and TNC digital and analog modes- including Pactor 2 and 3- just connect it to the accessories jack on the rear of the transceiver, leave your mike/phones/speaker/key alone.
K7JBQ Rating: 5/5 Aug 31, 2006 06:44 Send this review to a friend
Great product, great software collection  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After trying to get another Interface to work (turned on the transmitter and kept it on whenever the computer booted up, and conflicted with the modem) I swapped it back to HRO and got the Plus, which I should have done in the first place.
Earlier reviews were negative about the manual. The manual packed with the unit now is spot on. Follow it, step by step, recheck the jumper connections, and you'll be on the air in no time.
Worked PSK for the first time last night, and looking forward to getting back on RTTY and SSTV for the first time in many years.
KA2UUP Rating: 5/5 Aug 31, 2006 05:36 Send this review to a friend
4 years later still the best  Time owned: more than 12 months
Since my last review I changed my computer to one with USB ports so i have to use a USB to serial converter. No problems there. MMMTTY and HamScope (uses the MMTTY engine) are no problem once the external FSK file is loaded.

I recently ordered a MixW PigExpert to get rid of some cable cluter. However, it is going back because of the mess in setting it up. So, I continue to use the RIGblaster because of its ease of use and reliability.
<— Page 2 of 5 —>

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.