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 Anan or Flex: That is the question.... 
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Post Anan or Flex: That is the question....
Hi folks,

As someone that is relatively new to SDR what are your thoughts on Anan vs Flex?

I had the opportunity recently to use the Apache Labs ANAN-100 over at ML&S and I have to say that I was mightily impressed. They seem to be pretty competitive on price too. My only real worry was that the software for these radios were 'open source' and not really supported in any real way - and this is the the crux.

I also had an opportunity to use the Flex 6300 with Flex software installed and again was very impressed but being perfectly honest, I couldn't really tell the difference receiver wise. My other reason for edging towards Flex is that the software they provide is supported and dedicated solely to the Flex 6000 series of radios.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this? Bear in mind that a brand new Anan 100 is £1399 from ML&S and the cheapest Flex radio (due to arrive soon - 6400) is £1,999 - and not available yet.

Appreciate any advice as I'm definitely edging towards the SDR route as it certainly seems to be the way to go in the future. (And of course, saves a hell of a lot of space in the shack!)

Cheers!

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Stuart - 2E0DQQ


Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:43 pm
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 Anan or Flex: That is the question.... 
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Post Re: Anan or Flex: That is the question....
My opinion is somewhat biased towards the Flex. I have had a 6300 for 18 months and cannot find anything to beat it. The software is superb although some people say that the noise reduction, i.e. noise blanker and so on are not very good but I am lucky enough to live in a fairly low noise area so it doesn't bother me. I am still using the version 1 of the software, version 2 is of no interest to me as I don't want to work remotely. I find the software is very intuitive and I have hardly ever needed to look at the manual. There are some great 'how to's' on Youtube - PM me if you want some links.

As you say, the Anan software is open source and from what I have read, requires quite a lot of manual reading to use it effectively. The main difference between the two is that all the processing is done in the Flex - the software is just a control surface so no great computing power is needed.

You should be able to pick a 6300 up for about £1400.00, personally I don't think that the 6400 offers a huge difference in performance BUT it will come with V2 of the software so if remote operating is for you, it may be worth waiting for.

My 6300 does not have the ATU installed, I use an LDG which works well. I also have an Expert 1K FA amplifier which is plug and play with the Flex and has an ATU built it - brilliant combination in my opinion.

I am 71 and have been playing radio for nearly 60 years and I have had dozens of radios from the 3 Japanese companies.and the Flex is the best radio I have ever owned.

Hope that help s you make a decision.

Tim


Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:34 am
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 Anan or Flex: That is the question.... 
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Post Re: Anan or Flex: That is the question....
Thanks Tim. It does seem that the Flex is more user friendly in relation to software and initial setup.

The secondhand prices too for the 6300 have dropped very considerably too and having looked at a 6500 last night I think I’ll be taking the Flex plunge very soon.

Cheers

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Stuart - 2E0DQQ


Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:21 am
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 Anan or Flex: That is the question.... 
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Post Re: Anan or Flex: That is the question....
Like Tim, I am biassed towards Flex. I like the fact that the SmartSDR application is written specifically by FlexRadio for their 6000 series transceivers. A contrary view is held by my friend Ian G3PRN who prefers the open nature of the Anan applications. However he also hates Apple and I am almost all Apple in my shack!

I find that the community support plus FlexRadio's own support is really, really good. FlexRadio really do listen to their customer base - although I do think that they are a little biassed towards the large (very wealthy) US contest groups. I am on my third set of Flex equipment (I started on the Flex 1500 QRP rig then moved up to the 6500 and now have the 6700). I really like it and, notwithstanding the large price differential, I will stick with Flex.

I hope this helps as well and I am pleased to answer any specific questions that you may have. I would also have a look at the community support forum (http://community.flexradio.com).

David G4NRT / Z21NRT

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Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:09 am
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 Anan or Flex: That is the question.... 
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Post Re: Anan or Flex: That is the question....
Whilst I have no direct experience of the radios you mention I have owned a Flex 5000a for two years. I bought it used and with a known defect.

I emailed the Flex service people in Germany and Flex in the US. They helped me fix the radio at no charge and then gave lots of set up information to help me along. It is the best HF radio I've used.

I'd say Flex have a great customer service attitude, hopefully it's never needed.

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Andy - GD1MIP
Using decidedly average equipment from Mwyljyn Moddey, Ellan Vannin or IO74ti to you and I.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:20 am
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 Anan or Flex: That is the question.... 
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Post Re: Anan or Flex: That is the question....
I have been a Flex user for some years and the backup has been excellent.
I now use a 6300 but I still have 2 5000As which I love for the diverse socketry (bit sparse on the 6300)
I still rate the 5000A as one of the best receivers I have owned and used even in my Professional career.

Nothing against Anan, just havent had the opportunity to try one yet.

Roger G0IUW


Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:30 pm
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 Anan or Flex: That is the question.... 
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Post Re: Anan or Flex: That is the question....
Having been a Flex user on numerous occasions I personally would not go back to a Flex as they drop their customers and software support like a hot rock when the new all signing product comes out!
If you want great performance that comes straight from the box and is nearly plug and play with some light learning of SDR then the Flex is the best option.
If on the other hand, you love to dabble, experiment, and learn as you go then the Anan is the best option, I see the Anan as the advanced SDR users platform being so open source on their software.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:35 pm
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 Anan or Flex: That is the question.... 
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Post Re: Anan or Flex: That is the question....
I have had a Anan 100D for some years and always found the open source application support very good indeed. Many feature requests / bugs are dealt with very promptly by the team.

Can't compare it to the Flex as I've never used one, but suspect there's not much to choose between them in performance / features and I'm sure you'd be happy with either !

I chose the Anan over Flex purely due to the support model.

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G8GIW licensed in 1972 (C&G RAE), then G4WIM in 1984 (12 wpm CW test), then KT6UK in 2000 (USA Extra Class), now safely back in the UK and retired early (Google bought the company I was working for !)


Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:20 pm
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 Anan or Flex: That is the question.... 
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Post Re: Anan or Flex: That is the question....
I on the other hand have found the ANAN support model to be appalling. As an owner of both an ANAN-100D and an ANAN-10 I have had some serious pain and I am an RF engineer. Many of the 'features' are undocumented and the forum and email groups are dominated by sycophants. The documentation really is a joke.

As an example.

The ANAN-100D has a number of ANT sockets and the transition from TX to RX is totally unreliable for many people when using CAT commands. The RX 'sticks' and the only cure is to press the space bar. This is apparently due to timing problems in the FPGA for 'some people'. I was one of them. Apache and the loyal users suggested that I try different firmware until I found one that worked well. In actual fact the latest firmware was 10 times better, which makes me think that there is a coding problem that they are still working on. They say it's cutting edge. I say that it is not adequately tested during production.

It's a shame because the RX is truly excellent.

Another example is the ANAN-10

There are numerous RX spurs on 10m and 6m, the 10 MHz ref clock 5th harmonic is S9+ on 50.000 MHz, that is just bad design. Not so useful if you want to check GB3BUX on 6m.

But worst of all is the TX spurs - which have been confirmed by 4 other people.

My idea is to use the ANAN-10 with 2m and 70cms transverters from 28 MHz, this is mainly for microwave EME and contests. What do I find? TX spurs 647kHz either side of the carrier on 28 MHz. Not so bad you think. If I was on 2m running 400W then that would be very audible and would disturb my neighbours during contests. Same goes for any band that starts with the ANAN. The amplitude reduces a lot when the PA is disabled so it is almost certainly a SMPS. Yes I can almost certainly cure it but I shouldn't have to. When I complained the problem was flatly denied, even when evidence of the problem on other ANAN-10s were shown. The hardware is not tested properly.

Here is a link to the plots. It says F6DRO plots because that was the recipient. The tests were done by me on my hardware. F6DRO has additional spurs.

First at 8W out
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ejbv17pnpyyfz6h/28%20MHz%20spurs_F6DRO_settings_8W_out.pdf?dl=1

Now 3W out:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fyhwpisoavm1nif/28%20MHz%20spurs_F6DRO_settings_3W_out.pdf?dl=1

Now with the PA disabled and the TX out
https://www.dropbox.com/s/zmfoxt16n1nose0/28%20MHz%20spurs_F6DRO_settings_TX_out_PA_disabled.pdf?dl=1

I hope the links work, they did in the preview. Sorry for changing resolution BW but I wanted to see what was going on down to -80dBc

I expect that a flex may have similar problems but that a solution will be provided. One thing is for sure the documentation and support is much better from what I have seen. I can imagine that Legacy radios like the 1500, 3000 and 5000 are not so well supported. They were not a patch on the current products or the ANAN's for that matter. If I could afford it I would probably buy a Flex now.

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Conrad PA5Y/G0RUZ

Eindoven, Netherlands JO21


Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:34 pm
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