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Reviews Categories | Ham Software - Logging | CommCat Help


Reviews Summary for CommCat
CommCat Reviews: 31 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $49.95 d/l Demo d/l free
Description: DX/Logging program
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.commcat.com
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KY6R Rating: 5/5 Jul 5, 2011 20:53 Send this review to a friend
Perfect  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is by far my favorite Windows7 based logging program. When my MacBook bit the dust yesterday, I downloaded the latest version of Commcat on this PC, and found out that my old CommCat license from 2005 or so was still honored by Howard. What a great product with superb support.

I imported my ADIF log file, connected it all up to my K3, and its just perfect. A perfect replacement for MacLoggerDX - which was my favorite Mac based logger.
 
G1HJW Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2011 18:57 Send this review to a friend
Great Program Great Support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Been looking around some time for a program more suited to my like for DX hunting & found it in CommCat-4.

This program helps you spot the DX you want on the Band and Mode you want and displays it in a way that makes it so easy to use.

With all the rules you can custom setup its great you can go as far as to set it up with a an Audio ( speech) alarm, e-mail or Pager alarm for one band for one mode for one Extra Rare station call.

While still watching for all the other DX on a Band or Bands you want of any mode you want.

I did have a few problems to get it just as wanted, that was more by my own Erra's than any problems with the program.

I have to say I jumped in without reading all the words, like many Ham's do..

When I e-mailed Howard W6HN for help he was very helpful with my problems and I was so suprised how fast my emails were replyed to, fast was not the word 5min turn round on most emails has got to be a first for support for me.

Why did I go for this program to start with over others I seen around, Simple it did as a DX'er what I wanted it to do, It shows me in the best way what I need to see on my screen with out all the clutter that other programs tend to do.

 
N2QQF Rating: 5/5 Aug 27, 2010 07:37 Send this review to a friend
Better than expected  Time owned: more than 12 months
I was very intrigued by the advertisement for the Commcat logging software and decided to buy it. At the time, I really did not need it becasue I was already using a good program N3FJP's AClog but something intrigued me to buy it thinking it would be nice to have another software. After buying the software I did not use it much other than a few times to backup my logs becasue I felt more comfortable using my other software. I had the unfortunate occurance of a computer crash which of course lost all of my logs. I luckily had them backed up on HRD-lognet and was able to reload them. This seemed liked the perfect time to try Commcat since I was starting over again.

Well, boy was I sorry I did not try it earlier. Commcat has a lot of great features and is packed with upgradeable items such as LIVE that you can broadcast realtime audio etc... There have been constant upgrades which is something alot of other programs lack. I am very pleased with commcat and I can now say I use this as my primary logging software. I will also say the free QSX'er is another great feature to use allowing other to see where you are operating on the air w/ S-meter readings as well. I also can't say enough about Howard who has helped me multiple times when I had some difficulties sorting things out. Howard is very responsive and more than willing to explain something and he always responds to any inquires I have had.

The software is packed with features and he is always improving it with updates that others seem to forget about. I would certinly spend the money again. It is worth the money hands down.
 
K6JW Rating: 5/5 Jul 17, 2009 09:09 Send this review to a friend
Mature and capable with great support.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was one of the very early, version 1 adopters of CommCat but, in 2004, I returned to a former logging program because I thought it offered a more refined and general set of capabilities. In more recent times, however, that program has been less well supported and has become somewhat overly burdened for its underlying architecture, making it awkward to accomplish certain tasks and, for some functions, annoyingly slow. As a result, I decided to take another look at CommCat and, after doing so, decided to transition to the currently available version 3. This, then, is my second review of CommCat, my first being written back in 2003, after using versions 1 and 2. Since then, the program has been steadily refined, and Iím happy to report that it runs very well on my XP machine. Support by Howard Nurse, W6HN, is as terrific as it was years ago. When, for example, it became evident that there were some obstacles to importing data from my former program, Howard created an update version of CommCat with a fix for the problem on the same day I contacted him. Then, when it turned out that in creating the fix, a problem with the spot manager had crept in, he immediately created another update that corrected the problem. In short, I was able to go live with the program within about 24 hours of my first attempt to import log data. The overall feel of the program is the same as it was back in versions 1 and 2, and thatís fine, since the program was well thought out from the get-go. The programís many capabilities are beyond the scope of this review, but suffice it to say that I can get the program to do just about anything I can think of, including but not limited to seamless interfacing of three separate radios, full rotator control, and packet/telnet/internet integration for spotting with the ability to set up rules for custom spot identification and triage to the log, callsign lookup, and entity status screens. Report generation is very capable, as is QSL label printing and, for those who want it, QSL designing and printing. The programís underlying structure allows it to run quickly and smoothly. Howard has also set up applications he calls MyQSX and CommCat Live. These are web applications that allow participating stations to be pinpointed on a map when active and to have their operating data listed on a web page. As from the beginning of its life, CommCat is still intended mainly for the DXer, but it is a capable program for general logging, as well. It is not meant to be a contest program and does not have a built in contest mode with associated event rules. What it does do is track the usual DX awards, and it has full LoTW connectivity. In summary, CommCat has become a mature logging application with all the bells and whistles a DXer could want, and it has truly great support from its creator. It should also be said that the cost is amazingly reasonable, being less than half the cost of my former program and with free upgrades, as well. (NOTE: I have no business relationship with CommCat or its creator.)
 
N2OGK Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2009 17:26 Send this review to a friend
IT's ALIVE and just keeps on getting better!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Congratulations to Howard for writing a truly great program which is VISTA 100% compatible. I can't say enough about the great level of customer service Howard provided. I am on my third revision and everyone amazed me with the added features and convenience. I had sold my IC-7800 and replaced it with a Elecraft K3 which left me missing only the band scope. I use the Band spotter in CommCat to see band activity and jump to the stations which I need to work. The DX spotter is also terrific. It is easy to log and it works with eQSL and QRZ naturally but the exciting thing about this program is that is is all live on my website! Yes that is what makes this program special and different from all the others out there. It lists my stations logged,s meter, station stats, and audio clips LIVE. If I work a station I can record them from within the program and instantly post the audio clip live for them to listen to their own audio. It is all there at www.n2ogk.com no joke in thirty seconds.
There are many other reasons to buy it but for me this was reason enough.
 
KF4HR Rating: 5/5 Feb 25, 2007 04:02 Send this review to a friend
My shack's focal point!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I found myself getting interested in chasing DX again, after several years of enjoying other aspects of the hobby. Unfortunately my shack was behind the technical curve a bit, so upgrades where in order. A SteppIR yagi went up. New state-of-the-art transceivers replaced older gear. A new rotator with computer control. NCS Radio switching boxes made quick work of microphone and speaker distribution between the rigs. Best of all, many components had the ability to be controlled by my PC (numerous serial ports were required - thank you Byterunner). Also a dial-up internet service made way for a high speed cable connection.

But something was missing. I needed a software package that could tie everything together. I downloaded demo's of various do-it-all programs and purchased a few hoping to find that magic combination I was looking for, but nothing seemed to click for me. Worse yet, after sales support questions either went unanswered, or their responses assumed I already owned an older version of the program. Then I ran across a Commcat ad and downloaded the demo. Everything instantly started falling in place and it didn't take long before I knew this was the program I had been searching for. I ordered it. Looking back, it was one of the best amateur purchase decisions I've ever made (and a steal at the price!).

There are many features of this program, too numerous for this review, but I'll touch on a few.

First, assuming you have your equipment properly interfaced to your PC, setting up Commcat to link to your radios (up to 4) and rotators (up to 3), is very easy. DX Spots are clearly displayed and constantly updated. A World Map points to the DX station and shows the general trend of where band openings are occurring in the world. Graphical interfaces show your radio's frequency range and lists the DX, right on the graphical dial. See a DX station you want to work? Click on it, and your radio instantly changes to the proper frequency and all the necessary data is displayed; azimuth, reverse azimuth, CQ Zone, Local time, etc. Another click and your rotator points your antenna to the DX station. This assumes your gear is interfaced properly of course, but Commcat takes full advantage of current equipment automation availability.

Commcat also lets you quickly determine where you stand with your DX count, along with your standing on various Awards; WAS, 5BWAS, DXCC, 5BDXCC, WAC, along with all the various endorsements for these awards. Being able to instantly determine if you need a particular state or country, on a particular band, is great! All these aspects of this program are very well thought out.

But this program takes DX'ing many steps further than simply identifying DX spots. For example; identify a DX Spot and click on "Web" and Commcat links you to a wealth of information about the DX station and his/her country; personal information about the DX station, their local weather, country information, maps of the DX location, etc. Commcat will let you know just about anything you need to know; country background, geography details, population data, government data, economy data, and on and on! Ever work a new DX station and wonder exactly where it is or other aspects of the country? Well, wonder no more!

The logging features of Commcat are very automatic. When properly interfaced to your equipment, numerous pieces of data are automatically written into the log (time, date, frequency), with only a single click of the mouse. And the "lookup" feature fills in even more data (full name, qsl mgr info, etc).

Like with all software there's a learning curve, but Commcat is so well documented and designed, I found that I took to the program quickly. The next thing I knew DX'ing was fun again, but even more so than before. It's obvious the author took great efforts to ensure this program has every feature needed to ensure DX'ing success.

Perhaps the best aspect of Commcat is its product support. Howard stands behind his product and is quick to respond to user questions. I can't say enough about Howard's support. It's fantastic.

As I stated above, my review doesn't begin to touch on the many features of this program. The more you use it, the more interesting and fun it becomes. Commcat is not designed as contesting program, but if you are considering a DX'ing and logging software package, download the Commcat demo and give it a try. In short order you'll want this software in your shack!
 
WO5I Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2006 18:47 Send this review to a friend
Best I've Ever Used!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Howard Nurse, creator, author, and demi-god of database construction who produced the product known as CommCat, should be enshrined in the Ham Radio Hall of Fame! Let me explain...

In 2002, after a brief hiatus from ham radio, I purchased a Yaesu FT-100D, put up my old Butternut vertical, and re-entered the greatest hobby since sex (or are they both "services"?)

Before my hiatus in 1994, ham radio and computers weren't really doing much together except for packet, with some RTTY / AMTOR etc. for flavor. I had a Macintosh then, and had toyed with writing my own simple database program for logging. In the end, my program worked, but my limited experience with trying to speak computer-ese didn't serve me well enough to keep using it.

Back to 2002, several very good logging programs were available, and others were popping up every week, or so it seemed. I tried Logger (which has now morphed into Logger32), and several others -- some free, some cheap, some pricy. Then I came upon an ad for Comm Cat. I checked out the website and, while intrigued, saw that the program did not (yet) support my Yaesu FT-100D.

I sent a note asking Howard if anything was in the works to put the -100D on the program. His response was an example in generosity and cooperation that should be known far and wide: he said that if I'd send him a copy of the Yaesu CAT codes (from the manual), he'd work on the rig control and give me a fully-functional BETA to play with. True to his word, I received the program with all the modifications needed to make it run my Yaesu. After a couple of weeks of tinkering, with some feedback his guinea pig (me!), he was able to offer a fully functional version to support the -100D. As an added bonus, he let me keep the Comm Cat copy I had as a gift for helping him test a newer, better version.

Between that incident and early 2005, I had used Comm Cat, and occasionally tried competators software just so see if I was missing anything. In short, CommCat is still 1) easiest to use, 2) most DX-er friendly, and 3) best supported logging / rig control / cluster / award tracking software I've run across yet.

As I became engrossed in chasing new DXCC "band-countries" for the DXCC Challenge award, I began looking for easier ways to QSL. I had never really taken advantage of CommCat's ability to produce QSL cards (and still don't understand how it works, so I will abstain from any review of that feature). However, I had just come into posession of a Dymo LabelWriter 330 label printer. I wrote posted a note on the CommCat email discussion board asking if anyone knew how to make the Dymo printer work with CommCat. Howard, again just to prove he is Superman (show-off) went out and bought one of these printers at an office supply store, wrote a module to make it work, and VOILA! CommCat now supports Dymo label printers for printing QSL labels. Just like that.

Plenty of reviews have been written on how good the program is...and it certainly is a great program. It lives up to the billing it gets on this board. However, I just can't say enough about the man who stands behind this product! If you want a logging program, many will suffice. But if you want a fully satisfying experience with the program and the man who will bend over backward to help you, go with CommCat. For that reason alone, it's a bargain at 10 times the price.
 
K9RX Rating: 5/5 Dec 22, 2005 10:59 Send this review to a friend
A pleasure to use...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been out of radio for almost 9 years. I am now getting back into it. After having designed my own logging programs in the early 80's I knew some of the things I wanted. I did lots of research on the available programs... the most popular ones with 20+ responses and ratings greater than a 4.4 or so. Downloaded many demos. MOST were buggy... all seemed - well not intuitive and rather difficult to get from here to there. This includes the "big boys" but does not include purely contesting software (which I have yet to work on). They range in price from free to well into the hundreds. None of them suited me due to lacking features and/or just poor UI design.

Then I happened upon CommCAT. Only 16 reviews but all great. So I downloaded its demo. WOW! This is very well done! Very well thoughtout. A pleasure to use and for the most part easy to set up. Response from the company were quick (to VERY quick - instant), polite and helpful. The features are truely well thought out.

It is stated to be a DX-ers logging program and for the most part this is true - but even if your only a casual DXer this is the one for you.

My hunt is FINALLY over (and the frustration!).

g.
 
W6WYB Rating: 5/5 Nov 29, 2005 21:02 Send this review to a friend
For the DXer, it is simply the best!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
After 40 plus years as a ham, having written simple duping programs for an Atari 800 computer back in the mid 70's and having chased DX almost continously since I was 14 years old I think my qualifications to review a DX related product are in order. I have been using CommCat for close to a year and am now ready to give you my impressions. I have, with virtually no exceptions, thoroughly enjoyed this program. Any minor glitches that operating disclosed were quickly, but more importantly, enthusiastically addressed and corrected by Howard. I have exchanged numerous emails with him and I assure you he really wants to make his customers happy and make CommCat the best DX program on the market. I have no reservations endorsing this program.
 
KY6R Rating: 5/5 Apr 21, 2004 11:23 Send this review to a friend
Superb  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My main ham activity is chasing DXCC entities, and this logging program is the absolute best for this.

I have been using DXBase for 3 years, and while I still think its a great program, I must admit - Commcat approaches DX-ing and DXCC chasing exactly the way I do.

I'm at the point where I have 5BDXCC and DXCC Challenge, and this means it is getting really hard to figure out what is on and what I still need as far as band / mode slots are concerned. This is where Commcat's rule based cluster spotting is supreme. I also love the way you can search the log and narrow your searches to just what you want.

The color coded entity / band / mode graph is super, and it even fills in a pdf version of an ARRL DXCC award form for you! The CAT control for my FT-1000MP MK V is excellent, and it can control multiple rigs, rotors, etc.

The DXCC-ers logbook for sure - thanks to N6OJ for a really great tip, and to Howard for such friendly and fast support.
 
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