And I think you can try both sets of software in a 'Demo' mode so there should be enough info out there for you to decide what radio you will really like the best - or head to Dayton next month to try them both out on the floor.
Have fun - new radios are always fun.
I'm sure there are others that can provide a detailed point by point technical comparison between the two. For me, a radio is far more than it's technical specs.
1. Flex as a Company
When I looked at the two companies, I felt Flex was a better long term solution. Their involvement in Government and Commercial business told me a lot about the quality and stability of the products.
The Anan hardware is very touching and no where near the build quality of the Flex 6000 hardware.
There are a number of reports of crosstalk, RFI and other issues.
In fact some users take the board and build them into a new case with better shielding.
I consider the Anan more a science project than a full developed, plug-in play radio.
There is nothing wrong with this but you need to be more of an experimenter thats all.
Some might look at the open source as an advantage and while there is some pluses, in the long run I think Flexes approach of building a business around their software platform made more sense to me.
The Apache Labs model seems to be based on software they do not have any control over.
This puts them in a precarious situation because as a hardware manufacturer they depend on development from the open source community.
Flex's approach of building their own software that can take advantage of current and future hardware gives them much more stability as a company and in my opinion as a product.
While some have complained about Flex's release cycle, the opposite is true for the Anan. It seems like they not only have patches and bug fixes every week but also firmware updates. I prefer to have a STABLE platform and when features are ready and tested they are released.
Powersdr has been around a long time and so it is feature rich. There is no doubt it has a lot to offer and this is a big draw for some users. But, in the long run I believe the software Framework Flex is building will have a much longer lifespan. Even Flex admitted that PowerSDR was getting awkward because of the way features keep getting added and added over time. I also get a sense listening from to the Anan users that they are seeing the same thing.
If you listen to most Anan users the ONE feature they talk about over and over is Pure Signal. Frankly it's an obsession and you would think its the only feature that is important.
So the bottom line is after a lot of research I found the Flex platform to be a more stable long term solution for MY needs.
Aside from that though, for those who worship at the alter of Sherwood, they are likely about the same. It is a small, almost irrelevant, distinction whether the computer is the radio or the computer is the control over the radio. By having the computer be the radio, faster chip, more memory, better radio. We already had the conversation about the benefit of having a defined ceiling on capacity.
@Lee, "I consider the Anan more a science project than a full developed, plug-in play radio". FRS has acknowledged 1.5 is their science project. Predistortion filter, it wasn't that long ago it was a theoretical paper with a small proof of concept, now it is part of the radio. Many people have acknowleged their purchase of the Flex was precisely for the science project aspect of it. By definition, just as PSDR was a work in progress (still is by the open source community) so is the 6000 engine. People bought the premise it isn't done growing up yet. You bought a Mustang, I bought a Challenger. You won't win any arguments trying to say the Challenger sucks, simply say you like Fords and let it go. This shouldn't be a religious war.
Before you make any decisions, I suggest you might want to read my presentation on SDR-101
Basically the ANAN Product is a 2nd Generation FAT Pipe SDR
The Flex 6000 Series is a 3rd Generation Thin Pipe SDR
In my professional opinion, you will likely see in the near future most 2nd Generation SDR products like the ANAN start to migrate to a 3rd Generation SDR Platform.. The difficulty they face for such as migration is that they will have to write software from scratch.. a daunting task as Flex has shown...
The ANAN is not a Direct Competitor for the 6000 series as it clearly serves a very different market.
If you want to save a lot of $ and have time an energy to do a science project yourself, then the ANAN might be what you want.
I have to say, I have both in my shack. They both have ups and downs. The Apache qsk is the least of my issues and I operate cw 99%. If I was mandated to only own one, I would choose the one with best audio on weak signals. Both of these rigs are built well. its not quality. Both are unique.
Most flex only operators have been spoon fed misconceptions about the Anan. pure signal and slices are always big buzz words In this hobby. sell what you have. its business.
Flex is a more "finished" product than ANAN, stemming from its experimental/open-source roots. That being said, some folks actually prefer the experimental/open-source experience but most probably don't like that level of tinkering, esp. with computers.
You are just confirming what I said in that with theJetson board the Anan will be Evolving from a 2nd Gen SDR Fat Pipe into a 3Rd gen Thin Pipe SDR. But clearly it is a work in progress.
I am far more interested in the receiving section and user-interface and therefore made the decision as I did.
San Juan Island, Wa.
The ANAN series of radios hasn't caught my interest enough to open my checkbook.
The Flex-6000 has - and enough to buy two. (I didn't want to drag a 6700 with me on weekend excursions, so I bought a 6300 to do that).
Greatly respect the teams behind and using both.
These are co-existing options, neither which is going to threaten the other in the marketplace.
That many hams have both is a direct reflection that enough product differentiation exists to make both successful.
How either works for a particular ham is more about the ham than the radio.
Here is my personal take and decision making - YMMV and it really should vary:
Overall I do consider the Flex-6000/SmartSDR to be 'leading edge" in full production product, rather than a mixture of "bleeding edge' and cobbled-legacy in the ANAN/PowerSDR+ combination.
I'm also much more comfortable with the 6700/6300 being supported & operational rigs 5 & 10 years from now than the HPSDR/ANAN radios.
Realistically I don't consider myself "techie" enough with enough free-time to really extract what I get from the Flex-6000/SmartSDR from the ANAN/PowerSDR+.
As an added plus the people I've met from FRS are people who I'd like to work with and make me feel comfortable with what I've purchased and that they will get to where they say they are going.
I've yet to have a chance to meet the ANAN team, which if I had might be a reason to add an ANAN. Can't say though.
YMMV and never lose sight that if a radio inspires you to enjoy the hobby, then it is by at least my definition "A Good Radio."
I think that flex has a nice concept going with the thin client. That is how they manage. The fat client is like the new electric car that has a motor over each wheel that no one understands how it works. Psdr is just not the same. If it was, it would work for existing flex radios. psdr will be replaced most likely with a transmit version of cusdr.
The fat client focuses on a few things thin clients cannot compete with, and thin clients focus on a few things that fat clients cannot do.
Enter the gigabit protocol for fat client, now you have 3 x the information moving in that pipeline. A set of processors that evolve with each new computer purpose. With the addition of the add on computer to take the info from the whole spectrum and put it into a server based network solution protocol will allow the most basic Anan to have 7 open receivers with one dac .
I don't consider these radios to be in competition with each other. They are both different. Enjoy the strengths of each. The software used to write for the fat client is open source and moves much faster. This is why it evolves so fast.
I have never had a unsolicited good audio report from the flex. I have from the cw side.
There is a absolute great noise blanker . The latest version is SIFI WOW
There is a absolute great Pure signal function and there is a working Diversity rec far less than the 6700 /
Now I liked the GUI on the flex and when it i s fully functional I will return.
This said it would need a vast improvement on the transmit imd . It would need that 1.5 noise campaign
AND it will have to network better than the Cuda project . Did I say cost less .
To those who say the software is Flex re=run Better look and see what little is left .
I look for CU SDR Another visual event .
For me it is about ME making determinations of what I like and How I set it up not what flex thinks I need
Sum it up They both are fantastic . Which is better if determined tomorrow who knows
I've got both the Flex and 200D. As others have stated, I feel the two radios serve different demographics.
The Flex 6000 series advantages
- Better construction
- Thin client requirement
- Easier to set up and get on the air (much less configuration settings than PowerSDR mRX)
- Factory aligned. Power out is linear from1 to 100 watts
- Native LAN remote with no third party software
- Full QSK break-in
Anan 200D Advantages
- Open source software for those who want to tinker
- Pure Signal (see comments below)
- Two ADC's allow multiple rx'ers on two antennas simultaneously
- Excellent Noise Blanker and NR2
I've found with Pure Signal that you adjust attenuation for the power out you are currently running. If your power out on that band changes, you need to readjust the attenuation. Also, the Anan 200D requires aligning the transmit power into a dummy load and also calibrating the S meter. Even after calibrating the power out, some bands at 50 watts drive are off by as much as 12 watts! Not as linear as the Flex.
I feel the Anan is geared towards the experimenters while the Flex is for people who want a more "plug n play" radio.
SDR Bridge has added a new dimension of operating with the Flex 6000 series with integration to both CW Skimmer and RTTY Skimmer.
It is a good time for SDR enthusiasts :-)
Much of the ANAN's hype is just hype. It has a big FPGA but the software guru's are moving the radio's software/firmware guts off the radio and onto a single board computer which will have a barely adequate data pipe between the radio and this new computer. If that's the case why do you need a big honkin FPGA? I can easily see this architecture shift rapidly outgrowing that data pipe's capacity. So where is the disconnect, how did this happen? Anan designs hardware with a big expensive FPGA and the software guru's decide they don't like coding FPGA code so they "S" canned the architecture. This is why it's called an "experimenters radio"
The radio IMHO is at best a promise. It's a promise on which a good deal has been delivered but not all that much. Pretty much it's not much different than the F5K I bought half a dozen years ago. I've seen 14 receivers "promised" The 6700 has actually delivered on 8 receivers. It has no internal tuner and it DEFINITELY needs a tuner. You are totally at the whim of the hobbyist system developers since ANAN just sells hardware. If your favorite developer flips a clot into his left main coronary artery your radio just froze in time. The left main is called the widow maker and that clot just made your radio a widower. This is the reason the 6xxx series costs more, You get commercial hardware and commercial software and commercial support. With the ANAN you get a Yahoo group with a bunch of retired military swinging peckerwoods who are full of wives tales about how to get your radio running and maybe one or two who have a clue. I speak from experience. (I can say that since I'm retired military.) There are actually 2 yahoo groups. There used to be one till politics and ego's got in the way. Given this state of affairs you need to be very clear the 4500 you pay to ANAN buys a piece of hardware and nothing more. I understand there is like one guy in the states who can maybe fix the thing if it blows up, otherwise its a trip to India.
I just got tired of waiting.
So in the next 2 years or so ill just suffer
73, Barry N1EU
DFC (Direct Fourier Conversion)
DFC is intended to extent the Fat pipe architecture to the extreme (‘like drinking from a Water Main!’) in that the entire SDR hardware to PC interface bandwidth is used.
What is holding back more open source SDR development is the specialised skills necessary to program an FPGA. If they can eliminate the DSP processing in the FPGA by moving all the DSP to a Single Board Computer (SBC) or PC then the number of potential programmers who can contribute increases significantly.
DFC effectively directly connects the ADC and DAC to the SBC/PC and all processing is done on the SBC/PC. The ADC data is immediately applied to a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) that processes the entire HF spectrum in real time. Individual receives are generated by selecting the appropriate range of FFT bins. The number of receivers implemented, and their features, is then solely limited by the SBC/PC processing power.
This architecture is not new – just an alternative approach to the DDC/DUC that virtually every ADC based SDR is currently using, This architecture has been possible since the 1980’s – if you had a Cray supercomputer! Well today we have the equivalent in GPUs on a low cost Graphics card.
With the DFC approach a SBC will have to be 100% dedicated to the SDR task – you will not be running any other code on the board. However, the required processing power is available via a dedicated, low cost, SBC and in the current development they are using a sub $200 Nvidia Jetson board.
As cheaper/faster SBCs become available these can be upgraded relatively inexpensively. The Jetson board, running Linux, initially simply emulates the openHPSDR protocol so that PowerSDR etc software (running on an Windows PC connected via Ethernet to the Jetson board) can be used directly for development and testing. This will be extended in the future to become a full server so that a ‘thin pipe’ interface to a tablet/cell phone/PC can be used.
I really don't find information about these SDR platforms on regular ham radio magazines as pertinent and insightful as some of the things I have read here.
I hope the thread remains open a bit longer.
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