Born in 1947. Marred in 1973. I retired from work in the year 2002.
I was licensed as a Radio Amateur operator at late 1969. At late sixties things were different as regards this great hobby. I do not remember transceivers at that time. Transmitters and receivers were used separat. Transmitters were homemade and surplus military receivers were used here in Malta, which were easily obtainable. I designed and constructed a CW transmitter to operate from Topband, which is the 1.8MHz band to 28MHz band. SSB at that time, was in it's early stages and nearly all contacts were made either in CW (Carrier Wave) or AM (Amplitude Modulation).
Equipment design was made of valves (tubes). I remember my PA valve which was the rigid 807 glowing blue during my DXing late at night.
Frequency stability was not compatible with now-a-days ready-made transceivers. Our homemade sets needed at least ten minutes as a warm-up period to get stable.When I got my license, I was still studying and one day very late at night, I remember that I was in QSO with a DX station. All of a sudden the electricity went off, everything went dead in front of me and seconds later I heard my mother from downstairs telling me that it is very late and to go to bed because I had to go to school early in the morning. Eventually she switched off the electricity main switch and retired to her room. While I left everything on, quickly I ran straight downstairs, switched back on, and returned to my shack. I found my receiver still drifting to stabilize. Eventually I realized that my contact was lost.
Homemade construction was very popular, and in my opinion this is the real spirit in Amateur Radio hobby. Real satisfaction is achieved when equipment is constructed, finished and tested. I constructed a lot of necessary equipment, such as Antenna Tuning Unit, Standing Wave Ratio indicator, Grid Dip Meter and others. These necessities were a must for homemade construction and for those who can afford to buy these necessities was not a problem I guess, but for me, it was. We were a poor family (My father passed away when I was eleven years old), and I had to do everything by myself.
Another aspect related to this fantastic hobby is antennas. Antenna construction, set-up and tuning are my number one favorite. I enjoy DXing in CW. Nearly all my QSOs are in this mode. But when digital modes were getting popular, I decided to go digital, SSTV RTTY and later PSK31, sending pictures with EasyPal and WSJT software.
My antennas are all homemade. Presently I have two on the roof. A 7MHz dipole which I use also on 21MHz as a three half waves, and a 14MHz Off Centre Fed Vertical. In my opinion the vertical is very good for DX and apart from it's low angle of radiation it is not a directional antenna. It covers 360 degrees. I find it a little bit noisy on receive. A two S points of noise is quite a lot when receiving a DX station.