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Is the ESA-E Series Spectrum Analyzer Noise Figure Measurement Personality, Option 219, code compatible with the NFA Noise Figure Analyzer?

The NFA and the ESA-E Series Noise Figure Measurement Personality, Option 219, are approximately 90% code compatible for the features they have in common. For example, the NFA has the capability to control an external source (used as an external LO), but the ESA solution does not have this capability. Also, differences arise from the fact that the NFA is a dedicated noise figure analyzer while the noise figure measurement personality is one of several modes available for the ESA-E Series analyzers.

The following are the key issues with NFA compatibility and their solutions:

Issue: NFA will always power-up into a state ready to perform NF measurements, while ESA might boot into spectrum analysis or some other mode.

Solution: The ESA can be configured to power-up in the last mode it was in. Press System, Power On/Preset. Set Power On to Last and set Preset Type to Mode. Also, the SCPI command "INST:SEL NFIGURE" can be added to the beginning of the program to switch the ESA into the Noise Figure mode.

Issue: Error message numbers are not the same between NFA and the ESA noise figure solution.

Solution: The error message numbers for NFA are all three digits, "nnn", while the ESA error message numbers for noise figure are five digits, starting at 12000. Fortunately, the last three digits of the ESA error message numbers are the same as for NFA. If the NFA error message number was 123, the equivalent ESA error message number would be 12123. If the error message number returned is greater than 12000, subtract 12000 from that number to obtain the equivalent NFA error message number.

Issue: ESA does not support all of the parameters in a command that NFA supports.

Solution: This is due to fundamental hardware and/or firmware differences between NFA and ESA and are unavoidable. Since the ESA cannot make the measurements which require the unsupported parameters this should not be a practical limitation. Even if the ESA is sent a command with the unsupported parameter, it will not generate an error message. When the query form is used, the ESA will respond with the value it does support. For example, the command [:SENSe]:CONFigure:MODE:DUT:LOSCillator can accept parameters FIXed and VARiable on NFA, but ESA only supports FIXed. When queried, the ESA will always respond with "FIX". The list of affected commands and the query response from ESA are as follows:


  • [:SENSe]:AVERage:MODE (ESA Query Response = ) POINt
  • [:SENSe]:CONFigure:MODE:DUT:LOSCillator (ESA Query Response = )FIXed
  • [:SENSe]:CONFigure:MODE:SYSTem:LOSCillator (ESA Query Response = ) FIXed
  • SYSTem:CONFigure:LOSCillator:CONTrol[:STATe] (ESA Query Response = ) 0

The following NFA SCPI commands are not supported in ESA with the Noise Figure Measurement Personality:

  • :DISPlay[:NFIGure]:ZOOM:WINDow
  • :DISPlay:TRACe:Y[:SCALe]:RLEVel[:STATe]
  • :DISPlay:TRACe:Y[:SCALe]:LOWer
  • :DISPlay:TRACe:Y[:SCALe]:UPPer
  • :DISPlay:DATA:UNITs:
  • [:SENSe]:CONFigure:MODE:DOWNconv:IF:FREQuency
  • [:SENSe]:CONFigure:MODE:SYSTem:IF:FREQuency
  • [:SENSe]:CONFigure:MODE:UPConv:IF:FREQuency
  • SYSTem:COMMunicate:GPIB:LOGPib:ADDRess
  • SYSTem:CONFigure:LOSCillator:TYPE
  • SYSTem:CONFigure:LOSCillator:COMMand:AUXiliary
  • SYSTem:CONFigure:LOSCillator:COMMand:FREQuency:PREFix
  • SYSTem:CONFigure:LOSCillator:COMMand:FREQuency:SUFFix
  • SYSTem:CONFigure:LOSCillator:COMMand:POWer:PREFix
  • SYSTem:CONFigure:LOSCillator:COMMand:POWer:SUFFix
  • SYSTem:CONFigure:LOSCillator:PARameter:MAXimum[:FREQuency]
  • SYSTem:CONFigure:LOSCillator:PARameter:MINimum[:FREQuency]
  • SYSTem:CONFigure:LOSCillator:PARameter:SETTling[:TIME]
  • SYSTem:CONFigure:LOSCillator:PARameter:MULTiplier