[WriteLog] WL and RIGblaster Advantage?

Wayne, W5XD w5xd at writelog.com
Sun Nov 30 23:12:42 EST 2014

> Hi all,
> Ray N6HE here. I'm considering using a RIGblaster Advantage interface unit
> (has its own sound card accessed through USB) but as we know, WL doesn't key
> CW or FSK through the rig control RS232 connection. I have CW OUT as COM1,
> RIG CNTRL as COM2, and (RTTYrite) FSK KEY as COM3; all are dedicated DB9
> RS232 "hard ports" from my computer (and laptop when I operate portable).
> The RIGblaster Advantage only uses 1 COM port for all 3 (the DTR line puts
> out CW keying OR RTTY FSK - depending on mode used) and I'm thinking that
> this unit won't work with WL.
> My question to the group: has anyone here hooked up the RIGblaster Advantage
> interface unit with WL for FSK RTTY?
> Thanks for any help, 73,
> Ray N6HE
Regarding you question about the RIGblaster Advantage, I must answer no, 
I have not.

You asked a simple question, and that is my simple and not very useful 
answer. But
there are some related topics I can speak to that might be of interest. 
The USB COM port
included in RIGBlaster Advantage (like all USB based COM ports I am 
aware of) does not
have hardware support for 5 bit, 60wpm RTTY.  I come to this conclusion 
by reading
page 25 of their documentation saying you must use EXTFSK when running 
(By contrast all motherboard COM ports I am aware of--even of recent 
manufacture, do
have hardware support for 5 bit, 60WPM RTTY--a fact I find rather 
amazing as
commercial use of such data rates disappeared about half a century ago.)

WriteLog can be configured using its "software-generated" option to send 
RTTY on such a COM port. Whether it works well or not depends not so 
much on WriteLog
itself, and depends a lot on what else you have installed on your PC. 
(Virus scanning
programs, for example, have a tendency to lock down the PC to scan files 
for viruses
and those lock-downs can stop RTTY in its tracks.)

This statement in the original post is not true for CW, although it is 
true for FSK:

  WL doesn't key CW or FSK through the rig control RS232

Even though WriteLog can generate CW, and can do so onto a COM port shared
with rig control, generating CW has the same timing problem as 
generating FSK. If you
want to remove Windows OS timing considerations from your on-the-air CW 
and FSK
timing, then use an external device like WinKey for CW, and a 
motherboard COM port
for FSK. Otherwise, plan on spending at least some time and effort 
evaluating your
transmitted signal timing and possibly dealing with issues that are not 
inside WriteLog.

Note that sound board generated AFSK RTTY will have very accurate 
timing, but
AFSK operation comes with its own technical issues you might or might 
not want to
deal with. But I will note that the RigBlaster product (which, again, I 
have not used)
appears to be a solution to at least part of the AFSK problem: it comes 
hardware for connecting your sound board output to any rig's microphone 
input and
with a way to set the levels--both transmit and receive--and, maybe a 
nice added
feature if it works well, a VOX feature that will notice transmitted 
sound and convert
that to a hardware PTT signal. And that same AFSK hardware connection should
be just as usable for SSB contesting (generating voice messages in the 
direction, and recording your log to disk in the receive direction.)

I have recently spent some time trying to make a similar product,
the RIGBlaster Blue, do something similar. I wasn't able to make it work
well enough for HF contesting for either RTTY or SSB, and anyone 
in the details why can stop reading my post right here...

I did not even attempt to do software
generated FSK through its COM port. I did attempt to do AFSK. It 
"worked" in the
sense that all the transmission and reception completed successfully. 
But after
considerable tuning, I was unable to find any way to initiate AFSK 
fast enough for good RTTY contesting (or for SSB voice keying).  I 
attribute this
to the Bluetooth stack. I found the idea of using an HF rig from my PC with
absolutely no wires connecting them to be so attractive, I had to try 
it. With
the RIGBlaster Blue, you get sound in both receive and transmit 
direction, and a
COM portfor rig control, all across the bluetooth radio.) But, again, I 
was not
able to overcome the latency when switching to transmit. I expect this 
will not be there in a USB-connected sound board. Its certainly not there
in USB sound boards I have tested, I just haven't tested the one in 

The COM port on the back of its box does get installed into Windows as a 
COM device. But it IGNORES the baud rate settings that a Windows program
(like, for example, WriteLog) makes on the COM device. Instead, you (the
user) have to use a RIGBlaster-specific utility to configure its COM port
to the baud rate your rig runs. This fact is in their documentation, or
at least, on the second or third reading and after a few hours of trouble
shooting and blue tooth driver installed, uninstalls, option settings, etc.
it finally dawned on this author that the port inside the box is immune
to anything a program does through the Windows COM port
configuration calls. Use the "AT" commands on page 34 of their manual
and do not bother to install anything from the provided CD--Win 7
already has all needed drivers an utilities

Wayne, W5XD

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