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Reviews Categories | Ham Software/Apps - Other than logging | QSOnet CQ100 Help

Reviews Summary for QSOnet CQ100
QSOnet CQ100 Reviews: 30 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $$32.00 US per year
Description: Virtual Ionosphere for Amateur Radio. An internet based HF simulation system.
Product is in production.
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N7BNT Rating: 5/5 Mar 18, 2008 09:18 Send this review to a friend
5+ Stars for this imaginitive and polished product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I stumbled upon QSOnet CQ100 after I saw it mentioned on an email reflector I subscribe to.

I was stunned at how nice it is! Beyond that, I think the whole idea of this product is innovative and imaginative, while it's implementation across multiple servers is brilliant. CQ100 reeks of pride and a labor of love by the developer, it is a very polished application with huge attention to even the smallest detail. As a software developer, it is clear to me that a ridiculous number of hours have been spent by the developer making CQ100 and it's supporting network a reality.

Reading several of the other reviews here left me quite puzzled - some reviewers seem confused about the concept of a ** simulator **.

CQ100 reminds me of another amazing (and inexpensive) simulator: X-Plane Flight Simulator. Even though it is an amazingly accurate flight simulator, it would never replace real flying (nor was it ever intended to). But when I'm not flying a real airplane, X-Plane is an excellent alternative. The real thing and the simulator co-exist nicely and cooperatively as they should... (plus I can hone certain flying skills and try things safely in the simulator that I would never try in real flight... imagine landing a Boeing 777 at a tiny neighborhood airstrip!) Plus, I suspect that many, many, many non-pilots purchase X-Plane just for the pure enjoyment of "flying" a plane virtually. (p.s. I have no financial interest in X-Plane, I'm just a long-time customer)

And so it should be with a radio simulator, and I believe CQ100 is definitely on the right track. Using it will be in addition to, and not as a substitute for, actual radio operation for me.

In the best of all worlds, enough people will open their minds to having FUN with CQ100, will find innovative and unique ways of using it, and will share a couple bucks a month with the developer so it can grow and expand.

Should a ham license be required to use it? Of course not... flight simulators do not require a pilot's license. Should there be rules and guidelines for users? Of course there should... to make the experience positive for all. Having a purchase price/subscription fee will serve nicely as a "filter" to keep many of the idiots away.

I found a very nice headset to use with CQ100: a Plantronics DSP 500 works great.

Check it out! CQ100 is free to use for 3 months, then about the cost of a half-cup of Starbucks a month to keep. I strongly recommend CQ100 and hope that it continues to grow and evolve.
WB2HMY Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2008 22:27 Send this review to a friend
HAMS TALKING TO HAMS  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
WA8MEA Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2008 17:12 Send this review to a friend
Great concept & fun!  Time owned: more than 12 months
For those hams in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, this is a God-send! They can keep in touch with old friends.

Since we no longer use telephone hardware from point A to Point B, radio IS used at some point.

It's a very unique product and fun to take on the road inside your laptop. Well worth the price. The rig itself is nifty looking. Never had any trouble with any QSO. I've also met some very interesting people.

Plus, a lot less fussing, feuding and fighting taking place on these "bands"!
N7VOJ Rating: 5/5 Jan 23, 2008 23:19 Send this review to a friend
Most excellent program!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had CQ100 for a little over one month now and think it is a most excellent program. CQ100 is easy to use, crystal clear, and has some of the most courteous operators I have ever heard. At least I haven't heard anything along the lines of what takes place on 80m at night. ;) It also gives people that are restricted on antennas an opportunity to work the world, and it doesn't have any of the interference that takes place on HF. It also allows operators to experiment with other modes of operation. I believe that VOIP may be a big part of the future of amateur radio. 73's from John, N7VOJ
W7RJR Rating: 2/5 Dec 22, 2007 08:41 Send this review to a friend
One year followup  Time owned: more than 12 months
CQ100 was an innovative idea that was never brought to fruition. At first intrigued, became bored with the lack of effort to improve it. Most suggestions by users for improvement have been ignored/unimplemented.

After a year of subscription I find only a handful of operators using it at any given time despite a claim of 15,000 + members (most of whom no longer use it). I cannot justify paying a subscription fee under such circumstances.

I hope another talented amateur 'radio' programmer will put together a similar system and make it a work in progress.
G3XBM Rating: 4/5 Dec 20, 2007 12:45 Send this review to a friend
Excellent "non" radio radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is impressive. It allows you to make what seem like "real" QSOs with stations on one of 5 (simulated) HF bands using a (simulated) real radio - tune the bands, call CQ, have QSOs, analogue dial etc. complete with inter-station hiss. It is the nearest thing you will find to ham radio without it being a real radio.

If you want to make reliable "QSOs" without the variability of HF conditions, this could be for you. Personally I prefer QRP HF operating, although I believe CQ100 has a place too.

VE7HJ Rating: 5/5 May 28, 2007 12:39 Send this review to a friend
Top Marks !!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been a ham for 17 years, trying most of the digital modes. This system allows hams that can't have antennas and radios that generate RF to enjoy a network of amateurs from around the world. It is very interesting to hear CW practice beacons on the system. This system would be idea for the newcomers to cut their teeth before before using the HF Bands. I believe that call it a simulator in the aerospace industry.

Imagine paying $32 a year instead of investing thousands in radio equipment to learn about the hobby. Also all of the hams that are in retirement homes or restricted housing units are now able to enjoy their hobby.

Keeping in mind that users have to have a radio license and need to respect the rules this will make for a nice place to enjoy a QSO.

Top Marks from VE7HJ!!
K2MJ Rating: 5/5 May 22, 2007 09:39 Send this review to a friend
Best ham radio VOIP yet  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have been using CQ100 on QSONet for several months now and find it well worth the small subscription fee. A VOIP program in the ham shack is just as important to me as the DX cluster or my logging and CAT software. CQ100 seems to work better for my purposes than Echolink or Skype did.

The program installed without any fuss at all. No router ports to worry about. CQ100 even worked on one of my LAN's that uses a proxy server where I could get no other VOIP program to run at all. The quality appears to be much better than what I get using Echolink with less breaks in the audio. The user interface is excellent and really does make it seem like a real radio. You can tune around, listen to conversations and then join in when you find a group with which you have a common interest. No other internet communications program comes even close to this.

QSONet does suffer some from the same malaise as the rest of ham radio; that is I would expect hundreds of users actively engaged in conversations at any given time but instead there are usually only a couple dozen QSO's. But I find this lack of activity true on all ham radio bands and modes today and it is no fault of the program. Count the number of local repeaters in use in your area at any given time or try to get a QSO on 2 meters on your next vacation trip. Lots of listeners but not many willing to pick up the microphone. The program is relatively new and I'm sure the activity will increase with time and I find that I almost always get an answer to a CQ on the CQ100 calling frequency.

A small number of users re-broadcast HF nets on QSONet or ham radio news bulletins and there are some CW practice and digital mode information beacons as well as some repeaters linked to QSONet. I think this adds value to the software but there is no shortage of space on QSONEt so if the r.f. links, bulletins or code practice beacons are not of interest to you it is easy to QSY to another CQ100 "frequency" or "band".

With the exception of the repeater links and HF net broadcasts CQ100 is a virtual radio and not "real" ham radio since it is not using r.f., but then when I am putting up my 30 meter loop or building my QRP rig or reading my QST magazine I am not using r.f. at the time either so guess that also is not real ham radio but it all increases my interest in the hobby.

It is easy to work CW and other digital modes on CQ100 and I have used QSONet several times to test new digital mode software before using it on the air. The usual internet packet loss that does not bother voice communications does affect some digital modes. Modes that have some redundant error correction work best and those that require 100% perfect copy such as analog SSTV work the worst.

In contrast to the usual signal report exchange with DX stations on the radio, I have enjoyed long conversations with hams all over the world and have even set up skeds to work some of them on the air. I can also keep in touch with friends that used to live in my area or who are temporarily off the air for one reason or another. I find this virtual community to be a great addition to my ham shack. You won't find anything on QSONet that sounds like an evening on the 75 meter phone band or even anything resembling a 20 meter dx pileup but to me that is a plus.
VK3SC Rating: 4/5 Apr 9, 2007 23:55 Send this review to a friend
Excellent software, needs a few refinements  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I find the CQ100 software excellent as an aid to ham radio were the op is either financially challenged or in a location were antennae is restricted.

The s/ware gives the feel of a real radio, along with all the bells and whistles.

The only two additions I would recommend would be a log book, and a digital decode program for psk and cw to be included. (if anyone has included another decode program and is using it then please email me with the instructions).

Apart from these two refinements I feel the program is extremely good and has gave me a lot of fun since I downloaded it. Well Done.
WA3YAY Rating: 5/5 Feb 19, 2007 14:36 Send this review to a friend
It IS radio!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I use CQ100 on my laptop into a wireless router at 2.4Ghz. There is radio in use somewhere in the system, ergo, its Ham Radio!

(bit of a stretch huh)

Yeah it's not radio as we know it. But its pretty neat.
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