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Reviews For: CommCat

Category: Ham Logging Software

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Review Summary For : CommCat
Reviews: 34MSRP: 49.95 d/l Demo d/l free
Description:
DX/Logging program
Product is in production
More Info: http://www.commcat.com
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
00345
K9LZJ Rating: 2012-03-02
Great features Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
After loading the software and having time to learn how this logging program works, I have become a big fan. It has all the features I need, and works very well with my K3. The DX spotting is just excellent, and gives you many ways to find and work new DX contacts. Commcat introduced me to MMVARI which I have found an excellent, and simple program to use of PSK and RTTY. They marry well.
Use the trial period and see what this program can do for your shack. 73, Hank K9LZJ
N6GY Rating: 2012-01-17
Great, and getting better Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have been asked to be a beta tester and I help find the little bugs before the latest version is released. My goal is to "break" it. This has become harder and harder to find fault. Howard provides excellant support to all. I used another software program from elsewhere, and it has not been regularly updated, and now recently sold to new owners. I am not impressed with the other programs nuances. I'm sticking with CommCat.
Rick N6GY
N4WVE Rating: 2012-01-07
Best logging program you can buy! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have used CommCat for about a year now, and have to say it is the best logging program EVER! It has never crashed and has the flexibility to use all four of my monitors at the same time. I chase DX and CommCat has every tool I need to move quickly from band to band with full rig control for my FT-2000. Howard gives the best support of all the programs I have owned (and I have owned them all). He has even answered my questions on weekends and holidays! CommCat integrates with HamCap and DXatlas and has a very reliable band scope. All the windows are sizeable and moveable and can be placed anywhere you want. If you have questions about this great logging software, please email me any time with questions!

73,

Greg N4WVE
W6NSA Rating: 2011-09-23
Great Software - Unbelievable Support Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
If you want to stuff an HF station in your iPhone, give CommCat and CommCat Mobile a try.

With just a couple of email messages Howard helped me get everything configured and running on a Mac and my iPhone.

My Icom IC-7200 is connected with a single USB cable to a MacBook Pro running CommCat on Windows XP in VirtualBox under Lion.

Should be lots of fun...
ZS6RJ Rating: 2011-09-13
Excellent, customizable and intuitive Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I purchased CommCat as a replacement for my current logging software for which updates and support appear to be tailing off (Swisslog).

I expected I'd have to spend considerable time getting up to speed with the new software before adpoting it as my main logging system. Thanks to the logical layout of the menus, a very well written help system and great support from Howard and the CommCat Live forum I was proven wrong.

I spent more time having fun and playing with artwork for my QSL card designs than I did actually learning how to use the product. Great software!

73, Roger, ZS6RJ
KY6R Rating: 2011-07-05
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.

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Earlier 5-star review posted by KY6R on 2004-04-21

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.
G1HJW Rating: 2011-04-26
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: 2010-08-27
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: 2009-07-17
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 I’m 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 that’s fine, since the program was well thought out from the get-go. The program’s 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 program’s 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.)

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Earlier 5-star review posted by K6JW on 2003-04-27

Early amateur radio logging software was pretty much limited to simple, DOS-based databases with minimal report generation capability. With the advent of MS Windows, more sophisticated packages were created which, when they weren't crashing, were still relatively limited and inflexible. With further development and refinement, we saw the appearance of packet interfaces and a host of other grafted-on functions, including rig communication and control, antenna rotation, internet connectivity, label and address generation, and ever more sophisticated contact tracking and reporting functions. With further evolution, programs appeared that were increasingly capable of supporting the needs of contesters and DXers. CommCat, created by Howard Nurse, W6HN, is, arguably, the most highly developed of the currently available, DX-targeted programs.

Before going any farther, let me state that I have no business relationship with W6HN or his software business. I'm a user of CommCat who has acquired enough experience running the program and interacting with Howard to share some thoughts about both with those considering taking the plunge into a very sophisticated and specialized amateur radio software application.

While CommCat can be used for general logging, it is specifically designed to support the DXer. For many years, I used another program for all my logging and, although intrigued by CommCat when I first saw it at the International DX Convention in Visalia in 2002, I wasn't sufficiently motivated to rush into the misery of the data conversion that would be necessary to get my log (dating back to 1958) transferred from the program I was using into CommCat. A few weeks later, however, at the Dayton Hamvention, I once again spoke with Howard and, on "considered impulse", purchased Version 1. For the next six months I played with it, downloading Howard's incremental upgrades from his website as each was issued until, finally, I decided that this work-in-progress had advanced enough that I really had to make the switch from my former logging program in order to support my worsening DX habit. As I encountered some difficulties with the importing of my log, Howard was consistently helpful, working almost in real time with me via volleys of e-mail to get everything properly moved and placed in the correct fields. In the process, Howard's guidance led me to a greater understanding ADIF data interchange and the structure both of my former program and of CommCat. Even more impressive, as I progressively voiced a wish list of capabilities and a number of concerns over program limitations I was encountering, Howard quickly made changes in the program that addressed every one of my issues. Sometimes he accomplished this on the same day but in no case did it take longer than overnight.

I have now been fully up and running on CommCat for several months, during which time Howard has released Version 2 and worked with users, including me, to resolve a few more issues and further polish the program's performance. CommCat functions as it should and provides me with a wealth of supportive information and operating flexibility tailored to my specific needs and desires. Here's pretty much what it does: logging, DX spotting which is highly configurable according to user-set rules and which interfaces with both packet (e.g., PacketCluster, DX Spider) nodes and internet sources, DX plotting by callsign (and other info, if desired) on a visual spectrum, DX stations' operating pattern tracking over time, spectrum monitoring, callsign lookup from CD-ROM or the internet with extensive country information that includes maps, full rig (up to three radios) and rotor interfacing, and complete DX award tracking and reporting. It even includes the ability to track which contacts have been submitted and checked for credit. Many of the screens allow the user a measure of cosmetic customization and control over the actual data elements displayed. For example, the advanced logging screen permits selection of displayed fields, field order, font and color. The spotting screen allows the user to filter spots according to a variety of rules, to display different types of spots in different colors, and it even has a separate packet display screen (i.e., separate from the main packet interface screen) that can be brought up if desired for monitoring purposes. The degree of configurability is greater than this review can detail in limited space.

CommCat in Version 2 is much less a work in progress than it was in Version 1. Nevertheless, it's my guess that Howard will continue make incremental improvements based upon his own ideas as well as those of his users. Support for users is abundant. There is a CommCat user community connected through an e-mail reflector as well as a nicely organized (but not highly accessed, to date) online forum. Howard almost always responds to e-mails within minutes to a few hours.

Wrinkles and shortcomings? Very few. The manual, while excellent for basic operation, still lacks certain details which, if included, would have decreased the amount of e-mail that I've sent to Howard requesting guidance for more advanced setup and operation. Also, I'd like to see the program offer the user the ability to create one or two custom fields. Finally, ongoing use has continued to turn up some very minor issues in report generation. Howard has responded to each of these quickly and comprehensively but one can't help but suspect that there may still be a few undiscovered program flaws lurking out there, waiting for the opportunity to reveal themselves as the program receives increasing use. Still, these shortcomings are clearly minor and far less troublesome than some of those I've encountered with other logging software. For example, one contest logging program I recently had occasion to try was extensively but so poorly documented and personally supported that I finally gave up trying to custom configure it for even the simplest of contest applications.

In summary, while CommCat is still evolving and going through a measure of shake-out in real-world use, it has reached levels of sophistication, capability and reliability that are impressive, and I am very comfortable with the decision I made to switch to CommCat in light of my primary interest in DXing. Although CommCat might not be my first choice as a general logging program, it serves that purpose well enough for me. The one exception to this is contesting, for which a dedicated contest logging program with a full range of contest-specific modules offers significant advantages. If your primary operating interest is DX, however, CommCat is well worth serious consideration. Rating: 5/5.

(NOTE: In fairness to my previous, general logging program, LOGic, and the superior service and support offered by its creator, Dennis Hevener, WN4AZY, I must say that LOGic has served me extraordinarily well for many years and would have continued to do so had CommCat, with its DX-centric focus, not come along to meet my special interest needs. If highly configurable, general logging with some DXing and some contesting capability is what you need, then LOGic has more than enough built into it to keep you happy. Furthermore, Dennis, in the same way as Howard with CommCat, is consistently and readily available with answers to users' questions and for assistance with problem solving. After almost a decade using LOGic, I think it only fair to acknowledge Dennis' great achievement with that program and all of his tremendous help and support. My heart is in DX, though, and for that, CommCat has the edge.)
N2OGK Rating: 2009-03-19
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.