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NI's PXI RFSG and RFSA first look - RF Cafe Forums
Because of the high maintenance needed to monitor and filter spammers from the RF Cafe Forums, I decided that it would be best to just archive the pages to make all the good information posted in the past available for review. It is unfortunate that the scumbags of the world ruin an otherwise useful venue for people wanting to exchanged useful ideas and views. It seems that the more formal social media like Facebook pretty much dominate this kind of venue anymore anyway, so if you would like to post something on RF Cafe's Facebook page, please do.

Below are all of the forum threads, including all the responses to the original posts.

 Post subject: NI's PXI RFSG and RFSA first look
Posted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:44 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:35 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Ramona, CA
I had an opertunity recently to work with National Instruments PXI frame with a DAQmx, RFSG and RFSA combination installed. I also got quite a library from NI to get started with. I was able to write complex HF Radio test code in no time. This test suite has a lot of potential for radio system test with a bandwidth of 20MHz for the 2.7Ghz model.

Sunshine Design Engineering Services

 Post subject: Re: NI's PXI RFSG and RFSA first look
Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:33 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:27 pm
Posts: 5
What kind of test system is this for?

Are you doing a lot of complex waveforms and/or intensive processing?

I work at NI but am not in sales.
I'm an RF Systems Engineer

 Post subject: Re: NI's PXI RFSG and RFSA first look
Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:52 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:35 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Ramona, CA
I am trying to stimulate dialog on the topic for the discussion and general information.

So Norm, now that you know who I am and we've worked together, any comments to add to NI's RF develpment suite and our project together. I was quite impressed with the support from NI and the library delivered with the suite. As I have mentioned to you and NI already, there are some features that can be improved to enhance the "out of the box" experience for advanced capabilities. That's not to overly downplay the current position of the library. I was able to add the tool functions with relatively short development time. I also made these suggestions to NI to help you build a better platform and experience for the product. I must say the level of support and attention we got from NI was very impressive. It was a pleasure to work with and learn from you as I developed radio test for our new product. I now get the chance to do it for the rest of the factory floor. So we'll be seeing more of each other soon.

Sunshine Design Engineering Services

 Post subject: Re: NI's PXI RFSG and RFSA first look
Posted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:22 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:27 pm
Posts: 5
In keeping with the thread topic, I would like to hear other peoples comments on what they have done 'first experience out of the box' with NI RF equipment.

One of the most difficult things I've tired to wrestle with, is how to make that experience better in light of the fact that these are some of the most flexible pieces of RF test equipment out there. As an answer to this, other than just the Modulation Toolkit and Spectral Measurements Toolkit, NI has been developing more and more standards based toolkits (GPS, WLAN, WiMAX).

But to bridge the gap between the RF example programs that load with the driver and full toolkits, the NI RF Systems Engineering team has been working on reference architectures. You can think of them as examples, after 6 weeks of bootcamp and a year on the front line. As with any reference design, they are functional but may need to be modified for your specific organization or needs.

Base Reference Architecture Link:

Let's take ACP as an example of this.
We have some stock examples that get installed with the RF drivers and SMT but it takes some effort to get a test like this up and running and hardware, let alone in a test executive like TestStand.

Within the reference architecture, things like appropriate IQ rates, IF filtering, Triggering, Frequency References and so on, are already considered and part of the codebase. And on top of having some of the common test needs already taken into consideration, it is ready to be automated through LV, TS or even a dll.

A lot more can be said about using these Reference Architectures but that's for the forums associated with it.

So if you've used NI RF equipment and found that getting up and going took more effort than you wanted, we know your struggle; we work with the same code and hardware every day. And we're working to make it more accessible and get you further down the road quicker. Think of it as 'Springboard Code'. If your wall is very low, it might take you right over it w/ no effort. If it's higher, it might get your fingers on top and leave it to you to climb up the rest of the way.

I look forward to contributing to the Cafe.

Norm Kirchner
Sr. RF Systems Engineer
National Instruments

 Post subject: Re: NI's PXI RFSG and RFSA first look
Posted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:35 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Ramona, CA

Great contribution and hope to see more in the future. It's good for the general and advanced users or possible users to get info to get started and find others who canhelp with advice in case they run into difficulties.

Excelent point on the hardware drivers and the lower level of the functional modules. The features most users in my experience are looking for are compared to an Agilent, Tektronix or R&S Spectrum Analyzer. That have the macro features we are used to using and automating. With the NI toolkits, some of the most advanced spur search, marker functions, limitline functions and some other higher level macro functions have to be constructed by the user, at this time, and are not yet part of the architecturefrom NI. My point being not to knock NI, but to highlight the fact that it will grow in power and utility with the growth of the shared library. Companies like mine, by partnering with NI and other users who contribute will help build the baseline code for the future.

Thanks for the input to the dialog and we look forward to hearing more from you.
I also look forward to others comments of their "out of the box" experience of the products.

Sunshine Design Engineering Services

Posted  11/12/2012

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