Anan 7000 DLE mkII vs SunSDR2 DX

Feature Comparison and Notes

tl:dr If I take running on linux or Mac out of the equation, the Anan is winning. Had I only the Sun and no experience with the Anan, I would be over the moon with the radio. The Anan is just so hard to "compete" with and as OCD as I am about my transmit audio the Anan is just a clear powerhouse.

This is a feature comparison table to go over my observations between the two SDR transceivers that I have currently. One is the Apache Labs Anan 7000 DLE mkII and the other is the Expert Electronics SunSDR2 DX. I started with the Anan and got annoyed with running Windows10 with all the random issues that are impossible to troubleshoot.  The SunSDR2 DX will run on Windows/Linux/Mac OS and I currently run it on an Ubuntu 20.04 linux desktop.

I have years of experience with linux, it gives me superior stability and super detailed and granular troubleshooting capability where Windows by design is a black box that is wobbly at best, broken by design to drive an entire ecosystem of support staff and products to serve its captive victims.

The table that follows, if you click the expando tag at the top right when you hover over it, it will expand out to make it easier to read.

**Updated for EESDR3 -> EESDR3 or Expert SDR 3 is a total re-write of the Sun software using the latest Qt libraries and still runs cross platform Windows/Linux/MacOS. They reimplemented the way the firmware and the software works so that with their growing collection of hardware they only need to maintain one central UI package across the hardware.

A number of improvements have been made with EESDR3 and I put an additional column in the sheet noting the improvements made. It makes this a closer horse race for sure, but as I note there are still a few points where the Anan by nature of its hardware holds the edge. EESDR3 is still an active work in progress but is quite mature for day to day use at this point.

Anan 7000 DLE mkII vs SunSDR2 DX

A screen shot of Thetis (PowerSDR) for the Anan. The theme is my own, based on modifying a theme that W1AEX originally created.

A screen shot of ExpertSDR2 for the SunSDR2 DX (on linux)

A screen shot of the new Expert SDR 3 or EESDR3.

So, is there a winner?

People will ask which one “wins”? This is tough to call.  Taking the capability to run in linux out of the comparison, the Anan becomes a clear winner to me. Had I not had the Anan to compare with, if the SunSDR2 DX was my first SDR, I would be very happy with it.

The hardware spec of the Anan wins, as it should for the added cost but the software is not making full use of the hardware potential. The missing link is that the project is open source and to make the improvements needed, FPGA firmware programming expertise is needed.

This is a very specialized area and super rare to find someone who understands it, who is a ham operator, who owns an Anan, and who wants to contribute for free to an open source project. The likelihood this situation changes is very remote.

To clarify this issue. It is simpler to find people to program in the application/PC software stacks than in the FPGA domain. What this means is that a lot of the FFT processing is done in the Thetis/PowerSDR software. This leaves a lot of the potential of the Alterra Cyclone IV just lying on the table.

It is less efficient to do, though current compute horsepower allows for it to be possible, though at higher latency and requiring vastly more bandwidth on the link between the radio hardware and the software stack. This introduces the issue where the Gigabit ethernet link needs to be just pristine or the software will glitch causing operational issues.

The SunSDR uses 100 Mbit ethernet and it is a more reliable link because there is a less critical data going back and forth over that link.

The reason that Flex has been able to make remoting so efficient is that they have put most of the computation into the FPGA and this means that the software is just a control surface with far less data needed to translate over a remote control link. The Anan could be in the same situation... if the right expertise was applied to the firmware architecture.

For my own use, though this is still the shiny initial impression stage, I'm pleased with the SunSDR2 DX and due to my desire to operate in linux all the time, this may tip the scales. I will be awaiting the somewhat delayed debut of the ExpertSDR v3 software which is a total redesign and rewrite. If the redesign fills in a few voids, particularly in the audio processing, it may narrow the gap.

Nits To Pick or Wish List Items

Anan 7000 DLE mkII


The points that give the win to the Anan at this point

ExpertSDR v3 - The total re-write of the software for the Sun SDR rigs