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Technical FAQ

1. What are the minimum PC requirements?

Windows Vista/7/8/10/11. 2GHz CPU, 2GB RAM, 1GB free disk space.

2. Can AN-SOF be run on a Mac computer?

The supported operating system is Microsoft Windows. We have no plans to release a Mac version. Macintosh users can run a program called Parallels >. Parallels Desktop for Mac is desktop virtualization software that allows Microsoft Windows applications to run on an Apple Mac computer.

3. Is there a version of AN-SOF for Linux?

No. The supported operating system is Microsoft Windows. We have no plans to release a Linux version. You can use a Windows emulator like Wine, CrossOver Linux, Vmware Workstation or whatever you find on the market.

4. Does AN-SOF support parallel processing?

No, it doesn’t. AN-SOF has been developed to run on home computers running Windows(R) OS, so numerical calculation strategies have been implemented to take care of the available RAM memory and at the same time obtain reliable results.

5. What is the upper frequency limit?

There is no theoretical upper limit for the frequency since the structure size is measured in wavelengths. So, we talk about a size limit in wavelengths instead of a frequency limit. The simulation requires solving a matrix equation of increasing order as the structure size is increased in wavelengths, so modeling large structures will require more computer memory and time on a particular PC.

6. How does AN-SOF divide the wires into segments? Is a higher density of segments needed in tapered wires?

By default, AN-SOF calculates the minimum recommended number of segments for each wire depending on its length in wavelengths. Various convergence analyzes > show that 10 wire segments per wavelength is sufficient for most cases. Regarding tapered wires, in old algorithms like NEC it was necessary to increase the density of segments near the connections between wires when there is a radius jump. This is not necessary in AN-SOF as it is not NEC based. See the advantages of AN-SOF here >.

7. Can arrays be built quickly by duplicating and copying parts of a structure?

Yes. Go to main menu > Edit > Copy Wires > to duplicate or make the desired number of copies of the selected wires. There is also the Stack Wires command which allows us to repeat a design along a given direction. By using this command in combination with the Scale Wires > command we can quickly build Yagi-like arrays.

8. Can parametric design be done with AN-SOF, that is, run simulations with variable geometric parameters such as the separation between dipoles in an array?

Yes. Parametric design is possible by running a Bulk Simulation >. We prefer that the user chooses the programming language to generate a sequence of files in NEC format with one or more variable parameters. Calculations on these files can then be run automatically in bulk. Scilab > is a free numerical calculation software tool with which we can program scripts that generate multiple descriptions of an antenna with variable parameters. Download an example of a Yagi-Uda antenna with variable element spacing from this link >.

9. Is the wire grid model well suited for surfaces?

In addition to specializing in wire structures composed of wire grids, AN-SOF also allows the modeling of solid metallic surfaces. Solid surfaces are viewed in the AN-SOF workspace as if they were wire grids; however, they are actually made up of flat strips. These strips have widths automatically calculated to completely cover a metal surface without leaving holes.

10. Can AN-SOF model electrically large antennas like horns and parabolic dishes?

AN-SOF is equipped to model solid metallic surfaces, including parabolics and horns. Currently, there is a limitation of approximately 10 square wavelengths of surface. As long as your antenna’s surface area stays within this threshold, you can run simulations. This limitation pertains to the surface area of the antenna measured in square wavelengths, rather than a restriction on the frequency range.

11. Does AN-SOF support load impedances?

Yes, it does. Resistance, inductance, and capacitance elements can be added to the structure to model the connection of lumped load impedances.

12. Are near E- and H-fields available in tables and for exportation as Excel or Google Sheets files?

Yes, they are. The computed near E and H fields can be visualized in 2D and 3D plots as well as in tables and exported as CSV (Comma Separated Values) files. Cartesian, cylindrical and spherical near field components can be obtained.

13. Is AN-SOF based on a NEC engine?

No. AN-SOF is an independent implementation of the Method of Moments (MoM) for wire structures. NEC is an old Fortran calculation engine that has a lot of limitations. Many of these limitations have been removed in AN-SOF by implementing the so-called Conformal Method of Moments with Exact Kernel > in a completely new object-oriented C++ code. See further details here >

14. Can NEC files be imported into AN-SOF?

Yes. Most of the NEC commands are supported. Download NEC example files to import into AN-SOF from here >

15. Can dielectric materials be modeled with AN-SOF?

Dielectric material can be added as insulation or coating to metallic wires, and microstrip antennas can be patterned on a dielectric substrate. However, modeling volumes composed entirely of dielectric materials is not currently supported.

16. What types of PCBs and microstrip antennas can be simulated with AN-SOF?

Although AN-SOF was developed to simulate wire structures, we have been able to extend the calculation engine to also model PCBs and microstrip antennas that meet the following requirements:

  • The structure must have a single layer of dielectric substrate. Multiple layers are not supported.
  • When the substrate has a finite size, the traces must be separated from the edges by at least 5 times the width of a trace.
  • The dielectric substrate is backed up by a perfectly conducting ground plane that cannot be removed. Vias that go through the substrate and connect traces to the ground plane can be added to feed an antenna or PCB.
17. What types of DXF files can be imported into AN-SOF?

Only DXF files containing LINE objects can be imported into AN-SOF. See the description of the LINE object and download examples from this link >.

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