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Reviews Categories | Ham Software - Other than logging | MacDoppler for Cocoa Help

Reviews Summary for MacDoppler for Cocoa
MacDoppler for Cocoa Reviews: 8 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $98
Description: Satellite Tracking Software for the Mac
Product is in production.
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WB6RAW Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2015 21:09 Send this review to a friend
Professional Satellite Tracking Program for MACs  Time owned: more than 12 months
If you own a Mac and do Satellite Tracking this is THE program you need to get. I have been using this product at my home satellite tracking station and at our school's satellite tracking station for several years. I love the many useful features of this program: (1) 2D and 3D color screens, (2) awesome automatic doppler shift and a fine tune shift that you can control, (3) Time shift slider that allows you to see a pass before it gets to you so you can test your hardware (radio and rotators) (4) Easy data entry for the satellites you are tracking (5) Provision to allows an output frequency shift via an external RF converter with still doing the correct doppler shift (6) colorful display. (7) Great users manual. (8) Many, many more features. We use a HUGE plasma TV at out school's satellite tracking station and it is VERY, VERY impressive. Lastly, Don (the owner) does a GREAT job with customer service that is above and beyond the usual customer service. Try the free trial and you will soon purchase the version without the timer.
VE4NSA Rating: 5/5 Apr 21, 2015 19:18 Send this review to a friend
Best there is!  Time owned: more than 12 months
MacDoppler is now available as v2.16 for OS X (10.6.8+). It is my favourite amateur radio satellite tracking program and the new features make it even better. One of the big enhancements (for me) is the manual flip mode for rotor control. Using a Yaesu G-5500 or as part of our ARISS telebridge station a SpidRAS az/el rotor the manual flip mode takes full advantage of the 180 degrees elevation rotor without being tied down by north or south switch mode settings like other programs. You are in full control!

The graphics are outstanding in 2D and 3D mode and from a presentation perspective are first class. I ran it on a big screen and it blows folks away when they see it the first time. Satellites can be added and operational frequencies can be set via the configuration. It is a very user-friendly program that takes away the guessing and some of the manual file editing seen in other programs. What is even more important for me is the ability to work with the software developer and have my requests and questions being addressed within 24 hours. The Yahoo forum for Mac Doppler is a great resource.

Now folks always say that a Mac is too expensive etc. As an FYI, I ran this program on a 2006 Mac Mini with a Core 2 Duo Intel processor and OS X Snow Leopard from a major auction site for $120. So much for being expensive!

One of the previous reviewers was commenting on the slider in the main window. It is another great feature. It lets you pre-run a complete cycle including doppler control and rotor control in real time and you know exactly when what happens. For our ARISS telebridge station (VE4ISS) it is invaluable, since we can go through a full pre-test of the station before the actual International Space Station appearance on the horizon.

One of the things that I really appreciate is that the author makes the software available at a discount through the AMSAT store. This helps AMSAT and gets more satellites going. Now, like all software it is a work in progress. However, it is in my opinion the best software for this purpose currently available and I give it a 5 out 5 for the first class features (being improved and updated all the time), the authorís personal support and the way it helps AMSAT. Like to check it out. If you come the Dayton Hamvention visit the AMSAT booth, meet the author, and see it in action. Enough said.
K0JEG Rating: 3/5 Apr 19, 2015 16:22 Send this review to a friend
Good.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I started out on satellites when I was running Linux, so I used the excellent program GPredict. While there's a way to use it with OS-X I thought I'd give some support to mac developers and buy MacDoppler. Since I use MacLoggerDX for my station log, I liked that MacDoppler will write log info into MacLoggerDX without any extra effort.

Coming from the Linux/HAMLIB world, I was a little underwhelmed by the number of radios supported, although my IC-9100 is there, so it hasn't been a problem. I have been using eggbeater antennas so no experience with how well it plays with rotators. I would expect that if it says it works it does. It would be nice if the software supported HAMLIB, since there is a build for OS-X, but it is what it is.

On launch the software will connect to the radio, put it in satellite mode, figure out what the next satellite will be, and tune the radio to the last mode used on that satellite. It has a very large window that shows the location of all the satellites in either 2D or 3D. I think the 3D mode is kind of a gimmick, but whatever. The lower 3rd of the screen has a list of the satellites you are tracking. There's a checkbox for the satellites you want to work. This is necessary because the program will automatically tune to the next satellite on the list, even if there's another satellite active (which can screw things up if you're in a QSO). Between the map and the satellite list is a slider. This slider can be used to move forward and backward in time to check future passes. This is OK, but as you move the slider the program will actually behave like it is a live pass, including retuning the radio. I wonder if it also will start moving the rotator as well. Either way, pay attention to this slider if you use it, because if you forget to move it back to "real time" you'll miss passes. There is a clock next to the slider that turns red when you aren't in real time, but is easy to miss. The satellite list also has a way to display the "horizon" with a scroller that will show the next pass height and how many minutes until the pass. It only shows the next pass, even though the maximum time is more than a single orbit of most of the easysats.

The last part of the window is the radio/rotator section. There's checkboxes to have the program control the radio, lock the uplink/downlink VFO, beacon, and full Doppler. If your radio doesn't send VFO data back through the CAT interface there's a slider you can use to change frequency. There's a dropdown for setting the mode, and an S-meter if your radio supports it.

The program does a good job of keeping the radio tuned, but I noticed that there a certain amount of adjusting needed to get the correct offset. It might have something to do with the radio though. You can change mode settings as needed for satellites. There's a separate logging window, with lookup and other info. And you can generate a text file with future passes.

Overall the program works as advertised. But I'd like to see a polar view and a little less real estate devoted to the world map. A better way to see future passes would be nice too. But these are somewhat minor complaints, and I can use GPredict for that if I want. The integration with MacLoggerDX makes up for a lot of the deficiencies though.
F8WAK Rating: 5/5 Oct 7, 2009 01:09 Send this review to a friend
10 out of 10  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
For satellite enthusiasts there are two good reasons to switch to Macs: Don Argo is the first and MacDoppler is the second. I have been very slow to move to the computer/radio concept (first x-mitter/rcvr was an AT-1 and a BC-348; first computer was an H-89) but when my interest turned to satellites, there was no choice, but I needed a lot of help. Don responded immediately each time I requested help and actually modified the program to solve a problem I was having with the Yaesu GS-232B. Like MacLogger, MacDoppler is intuitive and therefore quite easy to use. The layout is well thought out with the important information logically presented in the foreground. Dog Park Software accepts input from its users and is therefore a resource for hams on the internet, not just a company that sells software. The only thing he has not told me, is what brand of coffee he drinks.
K6LCS Rating: 5/5 Nov 11, 2006 16:03 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have been a PC person for over 20 years. Some sort of change of life occurred to me a couple months ago...and I researched amateur radio software for Macs. I came across this program - purchased it from AMSAT - and then ordered my first Mac: the 17" MacBook Pro...

Great satellite tracking program. I have shown it off at a couple hamfests, as well as at several clubs where I was speaking on "Working Satellites with your HT."

Painless to upgrade kep data, too.

Clint Bradford, K6LCS
K0TOM Rating: 5/5 Nov 11, 2006 13:56 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Software , with Excellent Support  Time owned: more than 12 months
The software is great! I use this with a TS-2000, and a imac G3/500. Don gives outstanding tech support!
NI5V Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2005 19:54 Send this review to a friend
The Standard by which others are judged  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Some software is just so good that it defines the category and becomes the basis of comparison - and MacDoppler defines the categry for amateur radio satellite software. I've been a very, very satisfied user of MacDopplerPro for the past few years. My complaints have been very minor and mostly confined to interface, but MacDopplerPro works extremely well--and you just can't beat the support provided by the developer. So based on my positive experience, I immediately purchased MacDoppler for Cocoa when the first version was released - something I don't normally do since I don't usually trust new software!

MacDoppler for Cocoa didn't disappoint me. The first versions (updated several times a week at least!) didn't contain the full feature set of MacDopplerPro, but the quick updates from Don Agro brought it up to full functionality in very short order. My biggest complaint about the older MacDoppler Pro was dealing with multiple windows, but I know that is a personal opinion that might not be shared by others. MacDoppler for Cocoa addresses my complaints about multiple windows almost completely as there is now one window and I really, really like this interface much better. And while there is only one window, and a lot of info on that window, the ability to order the satellite information in the track list allows me to set up the information listing in the way that I want.

Mode editing is greatly simplified. Radio drivers are provided for 17 different radios (as of this writing), and there is extensive support for a variety of different rotator configurations. You can specify where you want the rotators parkes, and provides offsets in case your antennas aren't pointed in exactly the right direction. The Predictative Dead Spot functionality is really nice.

I won't say that the first versions were bug free, but it says something about the developer when you know that a reported bug will be fixed withing a few hours. And when I have a GOOD suggestion for improvement, it is amazing how quickly it gets incorporated into the software. (My ideas are not ALWAYS good!)

Now, about price. There is no upgrade path from MacDoppler Pro to MacDoppler for Cocoa and some may balk at paying the full $98 single-license fee. I'm a big proponent of useful FREE software for utilities and seldom used functions, but when you reach the level of MacDoppler for Cocoa you should expect to pay for what you get. Yes, there are some free satellite programs out there that will give you a taste of this aspect of the hobby, but they are either unsupported or not frequently updated. The fact is that the Mac ham radio market is small and if you want good software you should expect to pay for it. MacDoppler for Cocoa is an outstanding program and worth every penny. You won't regret paying for MacDoppler for Cocoa.
K4MTS Rating: 5/5 Nov 16, 2005 18:17 Send this review to a friend
Stellar!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've used Dog Park Software's MacDopplerPro for a couple of years now and I've found it to be stable and user-friendly. I didn't think I'd find anything better for tracking sats; until now. MacDoppler for Cocoa is an even more elegant interface and makes working sats a real joy.

I use an iMac G5 2GHz, with OS X 10.4.3, w/2GB RAM interfaced to a Kenwood TS-2000. SInce my station is fairly modest (I don't have a steerable antenna; I use eggbeaters for sats), I cannot comment on the rotor control aspect of MDPro.

But every other feature makes this product a lot of fun. You can set up a track list to follow you favorite sats. MacDoppler controls the uplink and downlink of your rig and accurately tracks the doppler shift as the sat passes. When you only have a short window, it makes having a QSO very easy. You won't have to touch a thing on your radio.

Logging the contact couldn't be easier. Just type in the call and MacDoppler will look it up on the intenet, enter the stations info including grid, and logs up/down link frequencies, Mode, Sat name, Az/El and more.

And if that's not enough, it just looks beautiful. It's like "Mission Control" on your desktop.

I have been very impressed with all the software coming from Dog Park. Don updates his software often (at no additional charge) and is very receptive to suggestions and comments. I have never had the kind of customer service from any other software vendor; large or small; that I get from Dog Park. You get a heck of a lot of support and a fabulous product for your money.

Download the demo and this program at Dog Park's website and you'll see for yourself.

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