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Chirped pulses from gain-switched, distributed feedback laser diodes at a wavelength of 1.3Â¿m are compressed to 8.7ps. FWHM by the linear dispersion properties of single-mode fibre. These pulses are used to optically sample fast waveforms from other 1.3 pm laser diodes. The high time resolution sampling system uses a fibre coupler to combine beams; this eliminates critical alignment and results in a practical design.