An amateur radio operator WAS the first hacker – KB6NU’s Ham Radio Blog

An amateur radio operator WAS the first hacker.  November 25, 2014 by dan kb6nu. I’ve often maintained that amateur radio operators were the first hackers. Now, I have some supporting evidence.As reported in this post on the Royal Institution website, a public demonstration of Marconi’s wireless communication system, aka radio, was hacked by a British magician. Apparently, Marconi was touting his system as not only being able to send messages over long distances, but as also being secure. Well, now we know that radio transmissions are anything but secure, but they didn’t know that back in 1903. So, when a public demonstration was set up at Great Britain’s Royal Institution, a British magician and inventor, Nevil Maskelyne, was hired to “hack” into the demo. Before Marconi could send his message from his Cornwall station to the receiving station set up at the Royal Institution, Maskelyne sent the message, “RATS RATS RATS from his transmitting station, presumably somewhere near the Royal Institution. This was picked up by the receiving station, thereby demonstrating that Marconi’s wireless system was anything but secure. So there you have it: an amateur radio operators was indeed the first “hacker.”Thanks to Phil, M0WGZ for posting this link to the AMRAD mailing list.Take a look at these related posts:From the trade magazines: Hacker boards, CubeSats, resistorsIs it easier now to be a hacker / experimenter…

via An amateur radio operator WAS the first hacker – KB6NU’s Ham Radio Blog.


Fascinating article relayed by Dan Romanchik (KB6NU) from Phil (M0WGZ), who published this historical oddity on the AMRAD mailing list.  Apparently, Marconi’s radio system was not as secure as he promised.  ‘Seems English inventor and magician Nevell Makselyne was hired to break into Marconi’s radio demonstration to disprove some of Marconi’s claims. Makselye was successful, something Dan feels makes Amateur Radio operators the first hackers of the 20th Century.

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Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

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