Setup couldn’t be easier. Using an ethernet cable, just plug it into the Anan 10E’s network jack and the other end into your PC’s network jack or your router. Connect the Anan 10E to a power supply and antenna, then turn it on. Download and install PowerSDR_mRX and it will automatically find the Anan 10E on your network. Push the start button on PowerSDR and the Anan 10E should begin receiving at the frequency PowerSDR is tuned to. A note to those who are new to PowerSDR. When PowerSDR is first installed the started it goes through a one time “Planning” routine. This is shown in a DOS stye window. This process can take awhile depending on the computer configuration and processing speed. So just be patient because the “Planning” process can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. You will know when it’s done because you will get a small window to allow you select the Apache Labs radio you are using. Be sure to select the Anan 10E from the list of radios before proceeding.
What type of computer do you need? Probably something along the lines of a quad core i5 or i7 series if you are planning to run PwerSDR and other programs simultaneously with a VAC connection. However, PowerSDR can run quite well on lesser computers if you are not planning to do much multitasking. PwerSDR was tested on the following machines:
Quad Core i5 iMac under Windows 8.1 under Bootcamp and Windows 10 under Parallels. This setup worked very well.
Quad Core i5 homebuilt system. Again this system worked very well.
Older Core Duo iMac with Windows 7 under Bootcamp. The system worked pretty well, but there was some slight dropouts when multitasking.
Dell Core i3 with Windows 8.1. Worked very well with the occasional dropouts when multi tasking.
Toshiba Notebook with Windows 8.1 with a Celeron 10070U processor. Worked ok when only running PowerSDR, buy it couldn’t handle multitasking very well.
Atom based quad core tablet running Windows 8.1. Worked surprisingly well with PwerSDR as long as that was the only program running.
One interesting note was the quad core i5 machines were extremely RF unfriendly, while the dual core machines were immensely quieter. The i5 machines generated very strong RF signatures that were clearly visible on the PowerSDR waterfall and wiping out large swaths of frequency with noise. Now this was not at all unique to the Anan 10E because the interference can be heard on the “legacy” radios also. This brings us to a nice feature of the Anan 10E’s ethernet connectivity. It is entirely possible to move the Anan 10E far away from the shacks noisy computers and displays by either using a long ethernet cable or by using a wireless router or wireless ethernet bridge. The Anan 10E can work pretty well over wireless if you are using a wireless N or even better a wireless AC network. This also gives you the extra ability to have remote access to the Anan 10E using a laptop, windows tablet, or even an Android based phone.
At the end of the day, a Dell All In One PC and the Laptop were the best performers as far as noise went.
Getting the Sound Out
There are three ways you can get the sound out of the Anan 10E.
Rear Speaker Jack
The rear speaker jack will allow you to connect a non powered speaker to the rear of the Anan 10E using a 3.5mm mono speaker jack. The built in 1 watt amplifier provides enough power to drive an external speaker at a high volume with good audio quality. This is handy for a quick connection or for field use. However, you may loose some of the flexibility provided by PowerSDR_mRX when using a stereo setup.
The Front Stereo Headphone Jack
The front panel 3.5mm stereo headphone jack will allow you to connect a pair of stereo headphones or a pair of self powered stereo speakers. You may find this the best way to get the most out of the Anan 10E and PowerSDR_mRX’s advanced audio features like Binaural reception which can make signals take on more presence and sound clearer. Plus the stereo setup can come in handy when using the second receiver feature of the Anan-10E by allowing each receiver to have an independently controlled speaker.
PowerSDR_mRX can support up to two Virtual Audio Cable connections. You can simply set one of the VAC settings to use your PC’s internal sound card driver (no 3rd party VAC software needed for this). The downside is that this setup depending on your PC will place an extra load on the processor. While this may not be a problem with a more powerful pc, a less powerful PC or Laptop may experience some audio stuttering. You may have to reduce the Anan 10E’s audio sample rate lower in PowerSDR_mRX to make it go away. Using one of the Anan 10E’s external audio connections will save you some extra CPU cycles that could be better used elsewhere.
On a SDR Radio like the Anan 10E, it’s difficult to discuss the hardware separate from the software since they are so tightly integrated into forming what would be referred to as the “receiver” on a legacy radio. PowerSDR_mRX offers tons or tweaks to get the most out of the receiver. However, even in the default configuration for PowerSDR_mRX the Anan 10E’s receiver performance was excellent. The current “legacy” radio in the shack is an Icom 7100 which also has a fairly competent HF receiver section. The Icom 7100 and Anan 10E were fairly close in regards to sensitivity, but thats were the comparison ended. The Anan 10E was just slightly more sensitive, but when it came to nearby signal rejection and PowerSDR_mRX’s noise reduction tools the Anan 10E was the clear winner hands down. There were no overloading issues found in the Anan 10E from strong signals which can often mar the performance of SDR radios. It was nice to be able to listen to a very weak signal next to a very strong signal and hear no overlapping interference from the stronger signal. Even if the strong signal was almost directly on top of the weak signal, a few clicks of the mouse would allow you tighten the receive filters enough to eliminate the problem station. This was an area that the 7100 would struggle with. Using the 7100’s Bandpass filter, receive filter, and noise reduction could make the problem a little more tolerable, but could not totally eliminate it. If you are willing to put up with a little audio degradation, the Noise Reduction Filter 2 in PowerSDR_mRX is outstanding.