For a transmitter Mr. Shuck loaned me a Heathkit AT-1. It was already ancient in 1970. I think that I only had 2 crystals for it - both for 40 meters. With a very low random-wire antenna most of my QSOs were with other stations in the zero call district. But once in a while I managed to work some real DX all the way into Michigan or Oklahoma! It was a blast!
One day the AT-1 stopped working. Being more bold than intelligent, I unplugged the rig, opened it up, and started poking around inside. I had no schematic and almost no idea of how the thing was supposed to work, but I eventually spotted an RF choke that looked like it was a little bit charred. Without knowing anything about component values I went to my junkbox to look for a replacement. My junkbox was literally a box filled with old telephone parts, TV chassis, and broken transistor radios. I found a choke that looked about the same - at least it had the same number of honeycombed coils of wire along its length. So I got out my soldering gun and quickly replaced the old part. After closing up the rig I fired it up and bingo, I was back on the air! That blind luck gave me such a feeling of accomplishment, and I knew then that I was a "real ham!"
Paul Huff, N8XMS