I like to think of ham radio operators as some of the original makers and hackers. They called hacking “kinking,” said “hi hi” instead of “LOL,” and assembled Heathkits long before Makershed, Adafruit, and Sparkfun were around. I had a lot of fun checking out some of the vintage radios at Hamvention in Dayton, Ohio a few weeks ago.
I really like the designs of Heathkit, which was one of the first companies to make electronic kits right after WWII. They started with oscilloscopes, and later made many kits, including radios. Since Heathkits were, in fact, kits, they eliminated the cost of assembly and were able to sell electronics much cheaper, making them accessible to more people. The book Heathkit A Guide to Amateur Radio Products is a great resource if you want to learn more.