The Tektronix 519 is a 1 GHz oscilloscope which first appeared in the 1961 catalog.  The 1 GHz bandwidth was achieved by driving the plates of the CRT directly with no vertical amplifier.  This achieved a vertical deflection of ~10 V/cm.  To achieve the 1 GHz bandwidth Tektronix also made a unique 125 Ω GR-874 connector which is not compatible with the commercial 50 Ω GR-874 connector.  The 519 also came standard with a camera mount bezel.  Only the center of the CRT was guaranteed for the bandwidth so the non-displayed portion of the CRT is covered by the bezel.  Each bezel has the specifications for the CRT. This photo shows Cliff Moulton working on a 519 prototype.


The 519 was introduced at Wescon in 1959. This September 14, 1959 TekTalk cover and article feature the 519.


This August 1960 519 New Instrument Brochure indicates the specifications are tentative. Click on the image to view the PDF.


This 1961 High Speed Oscilloscopes brochure features the 507, 517A and the 519. Click on the image to view the PDF.


This ad for the 519 appeared in the January 1962 Review of Scientific Instruments.

This February 1, 1963 TekWeek anounces the T519C CRT which triples the bandwidth of the 519.


The museum has a Type 519 on display. The image is crisp and bright and has a vertical sensitivity of 9.46V/cm and a risetime of 300 pS.


The museum does not have many 125 Ω GR-874 connectors so we are driving the oscilloscope with a Type 106 Square-Wave Generator through a 50 Ω coax with clip leads to the input.  This mismatch in termination provides some nice reflections for the display.  The museum also has a 519 CRT on display as well.

The delay line is rigid and has a delay of only 45 nS.  The actual delay line, called “Spir-o-line”, was not manufactured by Tektronix. It is called Spir-o-line because the center conductor is held inside the line with a spiral of polyethylene tubes (largely air).


Spir-o-line came on very large spools as can be seen in this image.

This delay line, along with the longer CRT and large transformer required a larger and more robust mechanical package.

We also have information on the T519 Cathode-Ray Tube used in the 519.

Stan Griffiths, one of the two museum founders, calibrated 519 oscilloscopes early in his career at Tektronix.

519 oscilloscopes were used by various agencies doing nuclear research in the 1960s.  As such, some would become contaminated.  Tektronix offered assistance in decontaminating an oscilloscope and the information can be found on the Radioactive Scopes page.  The 519 was eventually replaced with the introduction of the 7104 1 GHz oscilloscope in 1978.

The Beautiful-Electronics-Blog (BEB) on YouTube has a BEB #62: Tektronix 519 Vintage 1GHz Oscilloscope (Part 1) video on the 519.