USRobotics Sportster magic string

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The USRobotics Sportster magic string was a modem AT command that exploited the fact that revision 4.1 USRobotics Sportster 14.4 modems had exactly the same internal hardware and circuitry as the much more expensive USRobotics Dual HST 16.8 modems. Both modems were produced in the early 1990s.

In ASCII, the magic string is represented as: ATGW03C6,22GW05CD,2F[1]

The effect of setting a Sportster 14.4's "b" register to the value "6", and subsequently sending the magic string to the modem, is the modem "becoming" a Dual HST 16.8, which at the time retailed for roughly five times the price (~700 USD) as the consumer-oriented Sportster 14.4. After receiving the magic string, the modem identifies itself as USRobotics Courier 16800 HST Dual Standard.

Consequently, users fortunate enough to be in possession of this particular revision of the modem found themselves able to use digital communications protocols normally reserved for the corporate arena or bulletin board system sysops, with hardware they would otherwise not have been able to afford.

USRobotics removed the ability for users to issue the magic string in subsequent hardware revisions.


  1. ^ Sameer Manek (December 20, 1993). "USR Sportster hack 14.4 --> dual". (Web link). Archived from the original on July 11, 2012.