NI RF Signal Analyzers (NI-RFSA 19.1.5) Readme

August 2019

This file contains important information about NI-RFSA, including new features, supported hardware, a partial list of bugs fixed for NI-RFSA 19.1.5, and known issues.


New Features

Supported Hardware

System Requirements

Supported Operating Systems

Application Software Support

Installation Instructions

Accessing the API

Finding Examples

Accessing the Documentation

Product Security and Critical Updates

IVI Compliance Package Functionality

Behavior Changes

Known Issues

Bug Fixes

Automating the Installation of NI Products

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 10

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 8.1

NI-RFSA Drops Support for Windows 7 (64-Bit) and Windows Server 2008 in 2021

Legal Information


This software installation provides support for customers using vector signal analyzer or vector signal transceiver hardware, as specified in the Supported Hardware section. To program your device, use the NI-RFSA instrument driver or NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel (SFP).

The getting started guide for your device provides information about how to install, configure, test, and begin using your hardware.

New Features

NI-RFSA 19.1.5 includes support for the PXIe-5841

NI-RFSA 19.1 includes the following new features:

  • Support for the PXIe-5830/5831
  • Support for LO sharing on the PXIe-5830/5831 to improve phase noise performance

NI-RFSA 19.0 includes support for LabVIEW 2019

NI-RFSA 18.2 includes the following new features:

  • Support for specifying digital gain on the PXIe-5820/5840
  • Support for de-embedding measurements on the PXIe-5840
  • Improvements to communication performance on the PXIe-5820/5840
  • Support for specifying external calibration date for the PXIe-5644/5645/5646 and PXIe-5820/5840 in System Configuration API and MAX

NI-RFSA 18.1 includes the following new features:

  • Support for NI-TClk on the PXIe-5668
  • Support for the PXIe-5840 with PXIe-5653 in the NI-RFSA SFP
  • Added Fetch IQ (1D I16 Data Ref) for improved fetch and streaming performance
  • Improvements to initiate performance on the PXIe-5820/5840
  • Support for associating the PXIe-5840 with the PXIe-5653 LO source
  • Support for controlling the RF OUT LO OUT terminal on the PXIe-5840
  • Support for PXIe-5820/5840 self-calibration in System Configuration API
  • Support for modifying temperature resolution for automatic thermal correction
  • Support for modifying DMA buffer size to improve NI-RFSA fetch performance
  • Support for clearing self calibrate range data on the PXIe-5644/5645/5646

NI-RFSA 18.0 includes the following new features:

  • Added support for LabVIEW 2018
  • Added the NI-RFSA .NET Class Library and NI-RFSA .NET examples to the installer

NI-RFSA 17.1 includes the following new features:

  • Support for the PXIe-5820
  • Support for RF list mode on the PXIe-5820/5840
  • Support for System Configuration API and MAX for module temperature and self-calibration date and time
  • NI-RFSA SFP debug with 64-bit support
  • Support for sub-sample trigger and event resolution on the PFI line for the PXIe-5820/5840

Supported Hardware

The following table shows which hardware products are supported in the NI-RFSA instrument driver and the NI-RFSA SFP. The following hardware products are supported in all operating systems listed in the Supported Operating Systems section.

Hardware Product Hardware Model NI-RFSA NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel
RF Signal Downconverter PXI-5600
Vector Signal Analyzer PXI-5661
Vector Signal Transceiver PXIe-5644
PXIe-5840 with PXIe-5653
RF Analog Signal Generator
RF Preselector Module PXIe-5693
IF Conditioning Module PXIe-5694
RF Amplifier PXIe-5698

MXI Express and MXI-4 are supported on Windows 10/8.1/7.

Note  You must install the same version of the NI-RFSA/NI-RFSG Runtime for PXIe-5644/5645/5646 and NI-RFSA/NI-RFSG Runtime for PXIe-5820/5830/5831/5840/5841 if you choose to install the runtimes independently.

Note  For best memory performance on the PXIe-5831, NI recommends using only 64-bit applications.

System Requirements

NI-RFSA has the following requirements:

  • Processor—1 GHz or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 4 GB RAM*
  • A screen resolution of 1,024 x 768
  • Windows 10/8.1/7, with all available critical updates and service packs

*Depending on the amount of data acquired and/or processed, a larger amount of memory may be required.

Note  Guest accounts are not supported under any OS.

Supported Operating Systems

NI-RFSA 19.1.5 and NI-RFSA SFP 19.1.5 support the following operating systems:

  • Windows 10, 8.11, 7 SP12 (64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2012 R21 (64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP12 (64-bit)

1NI software installs VC2015 Runtime and .NET 4.6.2. Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 require Microsoft updates to support these items. Refer to Microsoft KB2919442 and KB2919355 for more information about how to install these updates.

2 NI software is signed with a SHA-256 certificate. Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 require Microsoft updates to support SHA-256. Refer to Microsoft KB3033929 for more information about how to install this security update.

Note  In 2019 NI-RFSA dropped support for all 32-bit Windows operating systems. NI-RFSA will not install or run on an unsupported OS. Refer to NI-RFSA Drops Support for Windows 7 (64-Bit) and Windows Server 2008 R2 in 2021 for information about future OS support.

Application Software Support

NI-RFSA supports the following application software versions, including service packs. You should install application software, such as LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI or Microsoft Visual Studio®, before installing NI-RFSA. To add support for application software installed after installing NI-RFSA, modify your NI-RFSA installation or launch the NI-RFSA installer again. If you are not using NI application software, refer to Microsoft Visual Studio Support.

Application Software Versions Supported by NI-RFSA
LabVIEW 2016, 2017 SP1, 2018 SP1, or 2019
LabVIEW Real-Time Module 2016, 2017 SP1, 2018 SP1, or 2019
LabWindows/CVI 2010 to current
LabWindows/CVI Real-Time Module 2010 to current

Note  When using NI-RFSA with LabVIEW Real-Time Module or LabWindows/CVI Real-Time Module, the PXIe-5644/5645/5646, PXIe-5668, and PXIe-5820/5830/5831/5840/5841 are not supported.

Note  Install any toolkits or add-on software you intend to use with the NI-RFSA instrument driver after NI-RFSA installation is complete. Refer to the getting started guide for your device for more information about software and hardware installation.

Note  MXI users must install the software included with the MXI hardware.

Microsoft Visual Studio Support

If you are using the NI-RFSA .NET Class Library, .NET Framework 4.0 (minimum) is required. The NI-RFSA .NET Class Library can be used with Visual C# or Visual Basic .NET in any Visual Studio version that can target .NET Framework 4.0 or .NET Framework 4.5. For more information on .NET development using NI .NET drivers, visit and enter Info Code NETAPIdriversupport.

To install the NI-RFSA .NET Class Library, ensure that you select .NET Framework 4.5 Languages Support or .NET Framework 4.0 Languages Support in the NI-RFSA installer.

Installation Instructions

NI installs NI-RFSA using NI Package Manager. If you do not already have NI software installed, NI-RFSA installs NI Package Manager to handle the installation of your NI software. Visit and enter the Info Code NIPMDownload to download NI Package Manager. Refer to the NI Package Manager Manual for more information about installing, removing, and upgrading NI software using NI Package Manager.

Accessing the API


NI-RFSA VIs are available in LabVIEW from the Functions»Measurement I/O»NI-RFSA palette.

To access the LabVIEW sample projects and templates from the New Project dialog, select Sample Projects in the left pane and navigate to the project that best matches your application requirements.


NI-RFSA functions are available in LabWindows/CVI from the Instrument menu. To load the NI–RFSA function panel (.fp), select Instrument»Load, and navigate to IVI\Drivers\niRFSA\niRFSA.fp.

.NET Framework

You can use the NI-RFSA .NET Class library by adding a reference to NationalInstruments.ModularInstruments.NIRfsa.Fx40 or NationalInstruments.ModularInstruments.NIRfsa.Fx45 and any dependent class libraries from within the Solution Explorer in Visual Studio.


You can use the NI-RFSA C dynamically linked library by adding a reference to: Program Files (x86)\IVI Foundation\IVI\Bin\niRFSA.dll for 32-bit development or Program Files\IVI Foundation\IVI\Bin\niRFSA_64.dll for 64-bit development.


To launch the NI-RFSA SFP, navigate to the following location: Start»All Programs»National Instruments»NI-RFSA»NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel

Finding Examples

Select Help»Find Examples from LabVIEW or LabWindows/CVI to launch the NI Example Finder and navigate to Hardware Input and Output»Modular Instruments»NI-RFSA. You can also select the Search tab to search all installed examples by keyword.

You can access all the installed NI-RFSA examples at Start»All Programs»National Instruments»NI-RFSA»NI-RFSA Examples.

Accessing the Documentation

Documentation for NI-RFSA is located at Start»All Programs»National Instruments»NI-RFSA»NI-RFSA Documentation. The documentation set is composed of the following documents.

Document Format Description
NI RF Vector Signal Analyzers Help HTML/Windows Help Contains primary help content for NI-RFSA products. The help is an HTML version of a traditional user manual that includes the following information:
  • An introduction to RF fundamentals
  • Hardware device overviews
  • How to get started with application development
  • The NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel Help
  • A complete reference for all NI-RFSA VIs, properties, and functions, as well as the NI-RFSA .NET Class Library Help
Getting Started Guide for your device Printed and PDF Contains software and hardware installation, MAX configuration, signal connection, and troubleshooting information for your device.
Specifications for your device PDF Lists technical specifications for your device.
Calibration Procedures for your device PDF Contains calibration instructions for your device.
NI RF Signal Analyzers Readme HTML (this document) Contains information about supported hardware and operating systems, new features, fixed issues, and legal notices.
Introduction to NI-RFSA HTML Contains information about driver documentation, examples, connecting to your instrument, configuring instrument settings, and known issues.
NI-RFSA IVI Compliance Document TXT Contains information about IVI compliance.

For the most recent revisions of documentation and for newly released documentation, visit

Note  To view PDFs, you need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed. You can install the viewer from

Product Security and Critical Updates

Visit to view and subscribe to receive security notifications about National Instruments products. Visit for information about critical updates from National Instruments.

IVI Compliance Package Functionality

NI-RFSA no longer installs IVI Compliance Package (ICP). NI-RFSA supports IVI configuration and runtime, but no longer installs the following IVI components:

  • LabVIEW and CVI IVI class drivers for developing IVI interchangeable applications
  • IVI Class Simulation drivers
  • IVI-COM Adapters

To use these features, you must install ICP separately. ICP is included in the Software Platform Bundle media. A stand-alone web distribution is available from

Behavior Changes

The following are behavior changes in NI-RFSA 18.2 from NI-RFSA 18.1:

  • Support was removed for the PXIe-5653 Test Panel in MAX.
  • The NI-RFSA Express VIs are now obsolete and are no longer installed.
  • The NI-RFSA RF Out LO Export Enabled property no longer requires the NI-RFSG LO Out Export Configure From RFSA property to be set to Enabled. NI-RFSA can change the export state of NI-RFSG without an open NI-RFSG session on the PXIe-5840. Ensure the NI-RFSG LO out export is generating a useful signal before using that signal for NI-RFSA operations.

Known Issues

You can access the software and documentation known issues list online. Refer to the following locations at for an up-to-date list of known issues in NI-RFSA 19.1.5 and the NI-RFSA SFP 19.1.5.

Bug Fixes

NI-RFSA Instrument Driver

The following items are the IDs and titles of a subset of issues fixed between NI-RFSA instrument driver revisions. This is not an exhaustive list of issues fixed in the current version of NI-RFSA.

NI-RFSA 19.1.5

IDFixed Issue
742917 Fixed an issue in which a PXIe-5840 configured to use an external LO rounded the external frequency if set through the Downconverter Center Frequency property or Downconverter Frequency Offset property instead of the LO Frequency property.

NI-RFSA 19.1

IDFixed Issue
733780 Fixed an issue in which the PXIe-5820/5840 did not hold Reference Clock and LO export terminal reservations after calling Commit.

NI-RFSA 18.2

IDFixed Issue
721449 Fixed an issue in which initiating a spectrum acquisition with averaging enabled on multiple PXIe-5644/5645/5646 devices caused the computed spectrum to mix between the devices.
670356 Fixed an issue in which NI-RFSA returned a power level error if the PXIe-5840 temperature drift exceeded 10 °C from the last self-calibration temperature.
728932 Fixed an issue in which digital gain was not applied to the PXIe-5644/5645/5646 when List mode was enabled.

NI-RFSA 18.1

IDFixed Issue
412860 Fixed an issue in which synchronization examples for the PXIe-5663/5663E displayed a PLL lock error.
527859 Fixed an issue in which software triggers were delayed for the PXIe-5820/5840.
550256 Fixed an issue in which NI-RFSA would crash MAX.
604266 Fixed an issue in which I/Q power triggers were delayed across I/Q rates for the PXIe-5668.
604856 Fixed an issue in which error message text contained multiple unrelated warnings and errors.
649030 Fixed an issue in which the PXIe-5820/5840 always returned 0 as the value for t0.
660046 Fixed an issue in which the Reference Trigger delay was ignored when using NI-TClk with the PXIe-5820/5840.
666113 Fixed an issue in which automatic routing between the PXIe-5668 and another device resulted in an error.
668974 Fixed an issue in which the PXIe-5840 amplitude accuracy degraded after calling Perform Thermal Correction.
682389 Fixed an issue in which the PXIe-5820/5840 trigger alignment was imprecise when using the PXI trigger lines.
685044 Fixed an issue where calling Reset on the PXIe-5840 reset the LO source to Onboard, even if the LO source was specified in the driver setup string.
689717 Fixed an issue in which the PXIe-5644/5645/5646 and PXIe-5820/5840 showed an incorrect calibration time in MAX when the system timezone was greater than UTC+0.
697475 Fixed an issue in which setting the calibration due date or retrieving the last date of external calibration for the PXIe-5820/5840 was not possible.
679890 Fixed an issue in which using the PXIe-5668 intermittently caused the system to hang.

NI-RFSA 17.1.2

IDFixed Issue
664698 Fixed an issue in which a timeout error occurred when TClk was used with PXIe-5820/5840 devices using the WLAN Toolkit.

NI-RFSA 17.1

ID Fixed Issue
589447 Fixed an issue in which an incomplete error description was returned if the value of the Spectrum OSP Sampling Ratio property or the NIRFSA_ATTR_OSP_SAMPLING_RATIO attribute was invalid for the PXIe-5840.
601860 Fixed an issue in which an error occurred when changing the device name of the PXIe-5840 in MAX.
456000 Fixed an issue in which an installer built with LabVIEW Application Builder and NI-RFSA 2.7.5 failed.
642621 Fixed an issue in which the PXIe-5668 could not initiate before settling was complete when switching IF filters or settling configurations.
640124 Fixed an issue in which the PXIe-5840 could show a slow phase drift below 400 MHz.
541356 Fixed an issue in which attribute names did not show up correctly in I/O trace.
361166 Fixed an issue in which passing NULL as the value for some parameters caused exceptions.


The following items are the IDs and titles of a subset of issues fixed between NI-RFSA SFP revisions. This table is not an exhaustive list of issues fixed in the current version of the NI-RFSA SFP.


660985 Fixed an issue in which an NI-RFSA SFP debug session for the PXIe-5840 did not work from a C/C++ session.


ID Fixed Issue
581172 Fixed an issue in which Classic NI-RFSA SFP launched from the MAX Tools Menu instead of the new NI-RFSA SFP (64-bit).

Automating the Installation of NI Products

You can automate the installation of most NI products using command-line arguments to suppress some or all of the installer user interface and dialog boxes.

If the NI product you are installing uses Microsoft .NET 4.0, the .NET installer may run before any NI software installs and may require a reboot before the installation of NI software begins. To avoid a .NET reboot, install .NET 4.0 separately before you install NI software.

For more information about automating the installation of NI products, refer to the following KnowledgeBase articles:

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 10

Microsoft Windows 10 is the latest version of the Windows operating system and features significant changes compared to previous versions. Windows 10 introduces several new capabilities and also combines features from both Windows 7 and Windows 8. For more information about NI support for Windows 10, visit

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 8.1

When you install NI software on Microsoft Windows 8.1, you will notice a few additional tiles in the Apps view, including shortcuts to NI application software products such as NI LabVIEW, Measurement & Automation Explorer (NI MAX), and NI Launcher. For more information about NI support for Windows 8.1, visit

NI-RFSA Drops Support for Windows 7 (64-Bit) and Windows Server 2008 R2 in 2021

NI-RFSA will drop support for Windows 7 (64-bit) and Windows Server 2008 R2 starting in 2021. Versions of this product that ship after May 1, 2021, will not install or run on these operating systems. For detailed information about NI operating system support, visit

For detailed information about NI application software product life cycles, visit and enter one of the following Info Codes:

Product Info Code
Measurement Studiomstudiolifecycle

Legal Information


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