This talk reports on joint work with Gotz Pfander of Jacobs University, Bremen. Operator sampling is an outgrowth of pioneering work of T. Kailath and P.A. Bello in the 1950s and 1960s related to finding theoretical limits on the ability to identify a mobile communication channel by sounding it with a single testing signal. The motivation for investigating these questions arose in part from work in the 1950s on spread-spectrum communications. In this talk we will take a brief look at some of the history and motivations behind these investigations, and look at how modern time-frequency tools and techniques have advanced the understanding of these problems considerably. Finally, we will look at some recent developments in the theory including connections to the theory of finite Gabor frames.