The 1 GHz Scope for $300 on Facebook Marketplace

On the Friday before Christmas, I got a very nice gift for myself off of Facebook Marketplace: a Tektronix TDS7104 1 GHz oscilloscope for an incredible price of just $300. Remarkably, I stumbled upon the Facebook Marketplace listing just 30 minutes after it was posted. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. 

Speaking with the seller, who appeared to be well-versed in electronics, possibly an engineer, added a layer of assurance to the transaction. However, we didn't delve deep into our professional backgrounds, as my focus was on the scope, and getting it back home quickly to conduct further performance tests.

Despite the seller's apparent expertise, a part of me was still skeptical. The deal seemed too good to be true. Was there an underlying issue with the oscilloscope? Was it fully functional? These questions raced through my mind as I made my way to pick up the device.

Test and verification of function and performance

Upon acquiring the Tektronix TDS7104, my first course of action was to run a series of comprehensive tests. I initiated all self-tests, followed by the signal path compensation calibration test. To my relief and excitement, the oscilloscope passed all these tests with flying colors. It was a fully operational unit, ready to take on any task.

While I initially planned to delve into a variety of applications, my experiments so far have been somewhat focused. I've mainly used the oscilloscope in conjunction with a RF signal generator. This setup allowed me to explore different modulations using the RF signal generator and even test the oscilloscope beyond its 1 GHz bandwidth. The results have been nothing short of impressive, showcasing the robustness and precision of the Tektronix TDS7104.

Measuring 2.5 GHz 0 dBM in

How great of a deal did I get?

An interesting aspect of this acquisition is the comparison of prices on eBay and used test equipment sellers. After some research, I discovered that even broken units of the Tektronix TDS7104 are listed on eBay for around $1,000, give or take $250. Sold and completed listings confirm that people do indeed pay this price. This price point for non-functional units starkly contrasts with the $300 I paid for a fully operational model. It highlights the incredible deal I stumbled upon and underscores the disparity in pricing across different marketplaces.

This revelation about the pricing of even non-functional units on eBay makes my find all the more extraordinary. It emphasizes the importance of being alert and knowledgeable about the market value of such equipment. This knowledge can turn an ordinary purchase into an extraordinary investment, especially in the world of high-end electronics where prices can vary significantly.


The fact that I managed to acquire a fully functional, high-quality oscilloscope at less than a third of the price of a broken unit on eBay is a testament to the opportunities that can arise from diligent searching and a bit of luck. This experience serves as a valuable lesson for fellow hobbyists and professionals: always keep an eye out, and you might just find a diamond in the rough!