Our History

No programming for you…

Bruce Devine, with TEP technician Levi workin’ his magic in the background.

The story of Signal Hound begins in 1992 with a young E6 Technical Sargent in the US Air Force named Bruce Devine. Being selected for retraining during a career field drawdown lottery, he missed just enough questions on the Air Force’s programming aptitude test to not qualify for a position as a computer programmer (lucky for us, it turns out). Instead, he was retrained and assigned a position calibrating RF test equipment in the PMEL (Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory) career field. Gaining knowledge and experience over time, Bruce’s duties evolved into responsibilities as a Lab Chief, supervising calibration labs in Korea and Arizona. This is where he developed a passion for and understanding of the art and science of metrology and RF technology.

Near the end of his military career, Bruce realized that he wanted to continue working in the RF industry but wasn’t altogether sure on the best course of action to achieve his goals. Fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit inherited from his parents, Bruce split his time working two full-time jobs for 6 years–supervising a PMEL cal lab for the military by day, and buying, repairing, and selling used test equipment for his own business by night. He spent his precious vacation days travelling to auctions to source the used equipment.

A new direction

The grueling 80-hour workweeks, without restful vacations, lasted from 1996 until 2002, when Bruce retired from the military and moved his family to Washington state. It was at this point that he was finally able to resume spending more time with his family and whole-heartedly focus on his test equipment repair business, Test Equipment Plus (TEP).

Launching TEP allowed Bruce to deliver on his belief that providing quality used test equipment–at affordable prices to every customer (sound familiar?)–would drive growth and foster loyal customers. This approach worked, and with the resulting sales, Bruce enhanced his services in Washington by building a warehouse/office space and hiring a couple expert technicians.

Lead technician Joe Lubecky in the early TEP days
A young Justin Crooks, TEP EE no. 1

Initial dabbling in manufacturing came in 2006, when TEP began offering Color LCD retrofit kits for Hewlett-Packard HP 8566 and 8560 series spectrum analyzers, whose CRTs were no longer available. These kits sold extremely well and provided the means to manufacture additional specialty electronic assemblies for several popular lines of expensive, hard-to-replace RF test equipment.

A popular TFT2 kit upgrade taking place. These kits were the testing ground for TEP’s initial foray in manufacturing.

Creating a new market

In 2009, leveraging the knowledge gained in manufacturing, the TEP team decided to design a compact, lightweight, and inexpensive spectrum analyzer. The aim was to provide a useful spectrum analyzer providing unrivaled value. This goal was achieved with the USB-SA44 spectrum analyzer, introduced in February 2010, marking the birth of the Signal Hound line of test equipment.

The SA44 box, as originally designed
The original SA44 box. That’s a whole lotta orange!

Since 2010 the Signal Hound brand has continued to evolve, resulting in the addition of several RF test products. In fact, in 2017 the Signal Hound brand officially transitioned into the Signal Hound company. Test Equipment Plus continues to offer RF test equipment repairs, though its volume of business is now overshadowed by the growth of the newer spin-off, Signal Hound Inc.

Moving forward, Bruce and the entire Signal Hound team continue to push technology to its limits in an effort to provide even more powerful and capable RF test equipment–equipment that doesn’t just compete with venerable product brands costing several times its price–but equipment that also raises customer expectations by providing the best value on the market. Signal Hound started with a goal to provide unrivaled value. Delivering on this vision is what still drives us today.