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RF Explorer Articles and FAQ

RF Explorer Virtual Machine

Virtual Machine

You can now run all RF Explorer software in any computer system or operating system version using the freely available Virtual Machine for VirtualBox.

As VirtualBox software is also a free download, this comes very handy to just download the VM image and connect your RF Explorer spectrum analyzer and/or signal generator in a few minutes. This is also a good workaround if you want to run RF Explorer software in macOS Catalina which is not directly compatible as of yet.

The internal VM guest OS is based on free and compact low weight LUBUNTU OS requiring only 768MB of RAM and 5GB HD space.

Installing the Virtual Machine in Mac

  1. Download and install latest version of Oracle VirtualBox software from official website. Note it is convenient to install VirtualBox Extension Pack (same version as VirtualBox): www.virtualbox.org
  2. Download and install latest SiLabs Driver from: Silabs link
  3. Download the virtual machine from www.rf-explorer.com/vmfile
  4. Decompress all files from the RFETouch_VM.zip and move it to /Users/~USER~/VirtualBox VM folder or other of your choice (where ~USER~ is your specific user name)
  5. Launch VirtualBox software
  6. Go to section “Tools” and click on “Add” icon.

    VM Tools
  7. Select RFETouchVM.vbox stored in /Users/~USER~/VirtualBox VMs/RFETouchVM
    RFETouch virtual machine is now available and ready to start.
  8. Start RFETouch VM clicking on “Start” icon.
  9. The VM will automatically start the OS session and launch RFETouch application.
  10. For the RF Explorer device to connect to the VM please read section USB Controller connection

Installing the Virtual Machine in Windows

  1. Download and install latest version of Oracle VirtualBox software from official website. Note it is convenient to install VirtualBox Extension Pack (same version as VirtualBox): www.virtualbox.org
  2. Download and install latest SiLabs Driver from: Silabs link
  3. Download the virtual machine from www.rf-explorer.com/vmfile
  4. Decompress all files from the RFETouch_VM.zip and move it to c:\users\~USER~\VirtualBox folder or other of your choice (where ~USER~ is your specific user name)
  5. Launch VirtualBox software
  6. Go to section “Tools” and click on “Add” icon.
  7. Select RFETouchVM.vbox stored in c:\users\~USER~\VirtualBox\RFETouchVM
    RFETouch virtual machine is now available and ready to start.
  8. Start RFETouch VM clicking on “Start” icon.
  9. The VM will automatically start the OS session and launch RFETouch application.
  10. For the RF Explorer device to connect to the VM please read section USB Controller connection

USB Controller connection

In order for the physical RF Explorer device connected to the computer USB port to be visible to the internal VM session, you need to enable the driver in the VirtualBox USB controller window.

Requirements: Virtual Box Extended Pack installed.

  1. Open Virtual Box software
  2. Select RFETouchVM and click on “Properties” icon.
  3. Click on “Ports” icon and select “USB”
    USB Device Filters should contain stored drivers
  4. While RFExplorer device is connected to machine, click on “Add new USB filter”
    Silicon Labs CP2102(N) USB to UART Bridge Controller should appear
  5. Select this filter and it should add to USB Device Filters
  6. Check filter inside list, configuration should be as depicted below:

    VM USBPorts
  7. Click on [OK] button to apply changes.

Troubleshooting USB connection

The RF Explorer device should be connected automatically to the software following steps described above.

Otherwise, follow steps below to enable RF Explorer USB device:

  1. Open Virtual Box software and start RFETouchVM.
  2. In VirtualBox VM toolbar, go to Devices -> USB
    A list of USB drivers detected and connected should be displayed
  3. Select Silicon Labs CP2102(N) USB to UART Bridge Controller and that should enable the device to the VM

VM USBDrivers

How to share files by Drag and Drop

Requirements: Virtual Box Extended Pack installed.

In order to transfer files between host machine and virtual machine, you can enable this feature for the VM and the host OS to accept file drag and drop

  • Launch RFETouchVM
  • In Virtual Box VM toolbar, go to Devices -> Drag and Drop and enable “Bidirectional” option

VM DragAndDrop

Alternatively you can also enable shared folders in VirtualBox.

Login details

Under normal configuration the VM will automatically login. If this fails or you need to manually login for any reason, please use the following credentials:

  • User: RF Explorer System
  • Password: rfe123

VM RFELogin

Technical details

The RF Explorer virtual machine is implemented over a free and open source LUBUNTU base.

This LUBUNTU configuration is optimized for low requirements and low hard disk space, using only 5GB. It can be installed on any computer where VirtualBox can be installed.

The VM file can be deployed to a fast USB key as well, and not impact the computer HD space.

The internal organization of the VM includes:

  • RFETouch app: Manage RFExplorer Spectrum Analyzer.
  • RFEGenerator app: Manage RFExplorer Signal Generator.
  • RFEPresetManager: Manage device presets.
  • Firmware Upgrade: Contains tools to upgrade RFExplorer devices firmware
    • Signal Generator
    • Spectrum Analyzer PLUS
    • Spectrum Analyzer STANDARD

Enabling RFETouch in macOS

Downloading RFETouch software from RF Explorer website may display a warning message opening the app in High Sierra or newer macOS:

RFETouch warning messageThe software is not damaged but the macOS Gatekeeper is preventing the app to run as it comes from a public download. The RFETouch software is perfectly safe when downloaded from j3.rf-explorer.com official website.

There are two possible workarounds described below, feel free to use the one you prefer.

Workaround 1 - Removing extended attributes

This command removes internet related checks altogether for the specific app, so the system is not compromised any time:

  1. Drag the RFETouch app into the Applications folder.
  2. Go to Applications -> Utilities and launch “Terminal” application.
  3. Run the following command, selecting RFETouch.app full path and press Return:
          xattr -d com.apple.quarantine /Applications/RFETouch.app
  4. Launch RFETouch software, no warning or error should popup.

Note: These steps are required only once, further runs will not require this step anymore except if you download a new version of the app.

Workaround 2 - Disabling Gatekeeper

This alternative workaround requires more step and temporarily disables full Gatekeeper protection.

  1. Go to Applications -> Utilities and launch “Terminal” application.
  2. Run the following command to disable Gatekeeper and press Return:
           sudo spctl --master-disable
  3. When prompted, enter your administrator password.
  4. Open System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> General option “Allow apps downloaded from anywhere” should active (this option is hidden previously).
    masOS preferences
  5. Launch RFETouch software and a warning message will popup as depicted below:
    RFETouch warning message allow open
  6. Click on [Open] button and RFETouch will start.

Note: RFETouch app will be stored as an exception in your internet security settings from now on, therefore it can be initiated at any time with no further warnings.

We suggest enabling Gatekeeper back again so your system remains safe.

  1. Enter in Terminal and press Return:
          sudo spctl --master-disable
  2. When prompted, enter your administrator password.

RF Explorer Touch for Windows

Configuration and Setup

RF Explorer Touch can be installed on any version of Microsoft Windows, starting at Win7 or newer, including Win8.1 and Win10. Any computer or tablet capable of running Windows 32 or 64bits can be used with RF Explorer Touch.

Silicon Labs drivers are required, and the RFETouch software will automatically detect if drivers are installed in the computer or missing. If drivers are missing, they will be automatically installed upon user confirmation.

Quick start guide

  • Download RF Explorer Touch from the download page and install it.
  • Connect your RF Explorer spectrum analyzer to the USB port.
  • Launch RF Explorer Touch.
  • RF Explorer Touch will display captured sweep data in device automatically