Secure Site Login

ARRL Special Bulletin ARLX001 (2000)

ARLX001 Hedy Lamarr, actress and inventor, SK

QST de W1AW  
Special Bulletin 1  ARLX001
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  January 24, 2000
To all radio amateurs 

ARLX001 Hedy Lamarr, actress and inventor, SK.

Hedy Lamarr, the sultry, sexy screen star of the 1930s and 1940s who
also conceived the frequency-hopping technique now known as spread
spectrum, has died. Lamarr was found dead in her suburban Orlando,
Florida, home January 19. She was believed to be 86.

Born Hedwig Kiesler in Austria, Lamarr came to the US in 1937 after
being signed by MGM. Among her most successful films was the 1949,
directed Cecil B. DeMille classic, Samson and Delilah.

In her 1992 book Feminine Ingenuity, Lamarr described how she came
up with the idea of a signaling device for radio-controlled
torpedoes that would minimize the danger of detection or jamming by
randomly shifting the frequency. She and composer George Antheil
developed the concept and received a patent for it in 1942.

The concept was not developed during World War II, but when the
patent expired, Sylvania put the idea to use in satellites. Spread
spectrum also has found applications in wireless telephones,
military radios, wireless computer links, and Amateur Radio

A more-detailed version of Lamarr's role in spread spectrum is
described in the IEEE book Spread Spectrum Communications, published
in 1983.