Re: In Defense of the 7A19

Michael W. Lynch


I should also say that I have great respect for HP. No intention to insinuate that HP products were not good or not many times better than those of Tektronix. As you said, they make a huge range of excellent instruments. HP spectrum analyzers, frequency counters and test meters are superb. Your point that Tektronix has a much more narrow focus is spot on. This may have been one of the things that dragged TEK down in later years as they attempted to compete with HP and their wide range of products, instead of focusing on their strength, which was oscilloscopes, similar types of instruments (curve tracers) and graphic display terminals. I need to sit down and look at some of the points that you raised, this discussion has provided a larger window into this subject.

Michael Lynch

From My I-Phone


On May 31, 2020, at 11:23 AM, Dennis Tillman W7pF <> wrote:

´╗┐Hi Michael,
Your insights about the sales game explains a great deal about the motivation within the marketing department that produced this ad.
I think the marketing team that created it deserve an award for this ad for several reasons:
* The written copy in the ad follows all of the well understood advertising principles by describing the features and benefits of their scopes that should be at the top of your mind when you purchase your next scope.
* The ad never mentions the competition - there is only one company you should consider for your next scope and that is HP.
* What they deserve an award for is the picture of the contraption with bells and whistles. Nobody would have stopped to read the copy in this ad if it wasn't for the picture. When the typical engineer turned the page and saw that thing he probably would have laughed and read the ad to see what it was about.
* Another reason to reward the team that produced the ad is something else they did that is so subtle 99% of the people that saw the ad had no idea the headline and the picture were also intended as an insult to another company - Tektronix. Tek's success is due to their engineering excellence. Stable triggering is critically important for any scope. HP triggering was far superior to Tek's triggering. On-screen readout wasn't any good if you couldn't trigger at the right point on a signal. The hidden message in the ad, aimed squarely at Tek, was we have brilliant engineers and here is proof that we can design a better scope at a lower price than you can.

HP was famous for its very broad line of instruments that all had excellent specifications. Oscilloscopes are another instrument HP would also like to be known for. Unlike HP, Tek had a very narrow line of instruments and all of them were scopes of one kind or another. If HP could build a better scope at a lower price than Tek they were a very real threat. Even worse, HPs laboratory scope outdid the newest and broadest laboratory scope product line that the best minds at Tek could conceive. This was a huge accomplishment for HP. Companies spend a lot of money annually for oscilloscopes and HP was now a serious contender for Tek's most lucrative product line - their laboratory scopes The headline and photo in the ad was intended to send a message specifically to the management at Tek that HP intended to compete against them with a provably better scope at a lower price that Tek's newest and best lab scopes.

Dennis Tillman W7pF

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Michael W. Lynch via
Sent: Saturday, May 30, 2020 8:57 AM
Subject: Re: [TekScopes] In Defense of the 7A19

On Sat, May 30, 2020 at 01:18 AM, tek_547 wrote:

It didn't mention Tek but it mocked the new features of the 7K scopes
as irrelevant "bells and whistles". One of those bells and whistles
was Barrie Gilbert's revolutionary on-screen readout.

I may not be a Electronics Genius, but I do know the "sales game". HP mocked TEK's "bells and whistles" because those were the most visible and attractive features, the ones that the engineering community (plus others) wanted and usually needed.. Competitive company's "Marketing Departments" almost always mock features that they really have no answer for, deflect and distract is the plan. Sales and Marketing are 90% BS and 10% knowledge.

It would appear to me that TEK established the on screen readout first, probably because it was the most difficult to implement as it was "new technology". Bells and whistles sell products, generally much quicker than "technical specs". You can always "fix" bandwidth, triggers and all that other stuff. TEK laid the cornerstone for the 7K series and built from there, they were playing the "long" game; however they certainly knew they were behind at the time. HP had a technically superior product, but only for that instant in time. After that, as Dennis stated, HP played catch up or just stopped playing.

For me personally, the HP scopes are just not attractive in their esthetics. No offense to those who like them, just my personal preference and opinion. I find that the earlier TEK scopes almost always had a more intuitive layout on their scopes and a more attractive panel design. In the categories of Esthetics and ergonomics, the devil is definitely in the details, TEK got it right most of the time. Either brand of scope is likely much more capable of performing than my poor old brain is in understanding.

Great piece of information and history from Dennis, Thanks Again
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas

Dennis Tillman W7pF
TekScopes Moderator

Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas

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