After a month evaluating the Anan10E SDR, there is only one word to describe this little guy, “WOW’! No doubt that the Anan10E is one of the best rigs to come through the Ham Radio Science shack, if not the very best. Probably most Apache Labs SDR owners already know this, but now for those us who would like to try one, admittance to the Apache Labs club has just got a whole lot cheaper. With a street price of $965 from US dealers such as Gigaparts , Ham Radio Outlet and Cheapham, this puts the 10E in a price range that is very competitive with other entry level conventional HF / 6M transceivers. This includes such rigs as the Icom IC-7200, Yaesu 450D, Kenwood TS-480SAT, Alinco DX-SR9T, and the Elecraft KX3. Now some may argue that SDR radios do cost a little more because of the need of a computer system to use them, but then again these days computer equipment had gotten very inexpensive. Another thing to keep in mind is that Anan 10E output power is around 15 to 20W on HF and 8 to 10W on 6M. With the exception of the Elecraft KX3, the transceivers listed above are 100W. Of course it would be possible to add a 3rd party 100 amp and come out significantly cheaper than the price of Apache Labs 100D or Flex Radios 6300 SDR. However, it is very difficult to compare the Anan 10E with conventional transceivers since it is a high quality DDC/DUC SDR transceiver. The Anan10E would be better compared to transceivers that cost several thousand dollars more, so comparing it to more entry level HF transceivers would not be fair.
The point is that radio enthusiasts can now have access to a high quality SDR for a whole lot less than in the past. Having some US dealers now, should now make the Apache Labs products more accessible to US radio amateurs. Apache Labs offers a 2 year warranty against manufacturing defects and has a US service center located in Arkansas. Since the Anan series of SDRs are a fairly mature platform, you can find lot’s of support and information on the Apache Labs User Group on the Yahoo forums. Speaking of support, if you are a total SDR newbie and don’t even know where to start, you can purchase remote support packages from Gigaparts. These support packages vary in price and range from getting everything setup and a overview to more advanced topics like interfacing to third party programs. If you would like to hear some Anan rigs on the air tune into the Anan Net which meets on 14.340Mhz on Sundays at 1730Z.
Note- A lot of what is discussed in this article is not necessarily unique to the Anan 10E, but also applies in part to other SDR radios in the Anan product range.
Well as usual like most SDR transceivers the Anan 10E is just a grey box with lots of connectors and a few blinky lights. However that grey box is very ruggedly built heavy duty extruded case. The Anan 10E has a nice heft to it and a high quality feel. The case still maintains the Anan 10 labeling rather than having a Anan 10E label. Basically, at the end of the day the Anan 10E shares most of it’s internals and specs with it’s older brother the $1649 (street price) Anan10. Why is the Anan 10E $684 cheaper? This is mainly due to the use of some less expensive parts in the Anan 10E vs the Anan 10. This is what Apache Labs list as the differences :
1. The ANAN-10E uses a 14 bit ADC while the ANAN-10 uses a 16 bit ADC
2. The ANAN-10E uses an EP3C25 FPGA while the ANAN-10 uses a larger EP3C40
3. The ANAN-10E supports 2 receivers while the ANAN-10 supports 7 receivers
The word on the street is that while the differences between the two rigs are measurable, that in actual use they aren’t that noticeable. Probably the most glaring one is that the Anan 10 has 7 independent receivers while the Anan 10E only has two. Not too sure why one would need 7 receivers, but some DX hounds might find them very useful. The two receivers in the Anan 10E can share the same antenna to provide continuous coverage from 10KHz to 55MHz. With the appropriate software, the radio spectrum from 0-55MHz can be displayed in real time (which is kinda cool).
Another notable difference is that the maximum sampling rate of the Anan 10 is 1152kHz while the Anan 10E is 384kHz. This isn’t much of detraction from the Anan 10E because 384kHz is more than enough bandwidth to show the activity across a band that you are monitoring. Going higher than 384 kHz isn’t always necessarily better since it can make the waterfall very crowded and you wind up having to zoom in anyway.
Lets talk about some of the connectors on the Anan 10E.
Front Panel Connections
The front panel has two red led indicators on it. One shows that the Anan 10E is powered on while the other blinks to show the Anan 10E is ready to go.
Microphone Jack – The front panel microphone jack consists of a 3.5mm stereo jack. Out of the box, the Anan 10E is configured to accept a standard PC type dynamic microphone. If you need bias power for a condenser mic, you are going to have to open the box and change a jumper. Depending on your mic’s wiring you may have to change a jumper that controls the ring and tip connection. Since the mic jack also supports PTT on this jack, if the wiring of the mic is incorrect you may find yourself stuck in transmit until the microphone is disconnected. There is a jumper for the PTT wiring also. You can adapt most any microphone to the Anan 10E by making your own cable if necessary. However if the microphone requires 48V phantom power, you will need to use some type of external interface. Some users use a usb mic plugged into the computer by utilizing PowerSDR’s VAC (Virtual Audio Cable) facility that can be provided by a 3rd party software application. A really good VAC application is VB-Cable. It’s far simpler to use than the traditional Virtual Audio Cable software. VB-Cable gives you one VAC connection for free and two more can be added for a donation of your choosing.