When merging a rack of studio audio gear, including a Heil Heritage studio mic, with my Kenwood rig a few years back, I needed an interface system with push to talk (PTT) capability within the audio chain to complete the mission.

I was also having some hassles with hum in my TX audio, after connecting a Behringer DEQ-2496 mastering processor, which was being picked up by some of the EU big guns on the band; plus intermittent RFI from some of the other rack .

After some probing searches online and a few rag chews with other rack enthusiasts more in-the-know than me, I purchased a W2IHY iBox (See http://www.delta-alfa.com/w2ihy/) from the US for just under $100 AUD, delivered to my front door in the Sunshine State in 5 days.

I also bought the optional 5 pin DIN cable for my TS-2000 on the advice of W2IHY Technologies guru Julius Jones whom I phoned and spoke to in person, assuring me the magical iBox would be “useless without it!”

My Findings

The first positive I can report is that the W2IHY iBox is made specifically for ham use. 

All functions have a purpose and there are no dead bits meant for other apps. 

This allows the technology to fit snugly into a diminutive plastic black box which measures about half the size of a block of cheese and takes up a tiny portion of my rack.

Next up on my tick list and the W2IHY iBox is by far the easiest way to connect a pro mic to my rig. 

This is one of the most attractive features of the iBox to me personally. 

The PTT jack lets me connect a hand or foot switch which is just the tonic for studio mics that don’t have PTT switches like the Heil Heritage mic which sits on a Heil PL-2T Topless Mount Boom overhanging my shack bench-top. 

It takes me about 1 second to alternate between a Heil HS2 hand switch and Linemaster Clipper model 632-s (See http://www.delta-alfa.com/linemaster/) simply by pulling out the cable from the female RCA connector and inserting the other.

The third benefit I can describe is that the variable audio attenuator (VAA) provides super flexibility, giving me great control over my audio. 

In the fully counter clockwise position, for example, attenuation is at maximum and a line level signal entering the W2IHY iBox exits at a mic level signal. 

In this mode, iBox works a treat as the crossing point to my transmitter mic input. 

Small tweaks with the knob let me gauge the perfect amount of audio drive and the Kenwood TS-2000 responds like a bride on her wedding night. 

Now the background hum is gone and the same big gun ops in Europe are throwing flowers in signal reports rather than mud pies!

On the other hand, if I turn the knob fully clockwise for minimum attenuation then I can use the iBox’s line level interface.  

The beauty of this, I’m sure, is obvious to everyone who’s ever attempted multiple components to build an audio chain. 

In theory, the output of one device is patched to the input of another and all units join hands in perfect harmony.  

In actual application, though, some devices might perform impeccably while others might not. 

Whether it’s because you’ve stuffed up the settings; because one device doesn’t co-exist well with another; or maybe it’s a combination of the two? 

Whichever the case, your TX audio sounds like crap and it’s driving you up the wall.

If you place an iBox between the disobliging devices though, you’ve just applied 4 simultaneous and powerful solutions: Audio Isolate, RF Isolate, Impedance Match and Level Match. 

This allowed me to get the most out of my Behringer DEQ-2496 and classic Heil Heritage mic as well while combating the RFI that had been hijacking my audio on occasions too. 

Now everything is behaving as it should!

The final positive I can report is on the workmanship and quality of the W2IHY iBox itself. 

In my mind, they’re both top notch. 

Strength wise, the black casing could be trodden on by NT buffalo or dropped from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and still hold up to the punishment.

It’s also impossible to pull off the VAA knob so there’s no need to worry about ever needing a replacement should it ever go walk-about; or having to use pliers to turn it like I’ve had to do in the past with an old CB radio antenna switch of mine.

The W2IHY iBox is also clearly labelled and has 4 cute hexagonal cushions on the bottom 4 corners to ensue the item does not scratch your other rack items.

A quick look inside the W2IHY iBox by unscrewing 4 screws on the underside and the soldering work is neat and secure also, with a minimum of electronic components doing the job of a TX audio hitman.

More info with detailed diagrams can be seen at www.w2ihy.com/pdfs/iBoxOperatingManual.pdf .


In my experience, connecting ham comms transmitters with additional RF-generating devices can create dirty audio. 

In fact, it’s a label most Hi-Fi SSB audio enthusiasts have endured many, many times in their audio experimentation lifetime. 

With extensive RFI rejection circuitry on both the input and the output, however, the iBox cleans all this audio distortion up leaving a beautiful clean signal. 

These days, in fact, I’m getting unsolicited reports of awesome audio every time I’m on the air thanks to the W2IHY iBox, regardless of which band I’m on. 

For this, I’m very thankful.

Summing up, the W2IHY iBox is ideal for use between audio rack components and/or as the final interface to your radio equipment. 

It allows you to venture into the exciting world of studio mic technology giving you a classy hi-fi sound, while cutting out the hum and eliminating the RFI issues commonly associated with external RF-generating devices such as equalizers, noise limiters and gates.

In addition to the product itself, the service I received from the owner was second to none. 

All inquiries, pre and post purchase, were responded to within 24 hours.

Please note that the W2IHY iBox also comes in electronic kit form so if you like DIY and want save a few bucks then perhaps you can try this option.

For more information on this great product, please see the company’s website at  http://www.w2ihy.com/ibox.asp .  

73 de Darren