Many Hams started out as a pirate. I’m no exception. I built my first medium wave transmitter in the sixties, at the age of eight. The range was only about 10 meters, but I was proud as one could be. Technology progressed quickly. I started to use tubes (EL84) and better antennas. We made many QSOs, my friends and I. Playing music wasn’t done much, if at all.
CB (still illegal at the time) replaced the medium wave band, the FM broadcast band replaced CB. It didn’t take long before I discovered the 2 meter and HF amateur bands. A number of old friends joined me. Most licensed Hams knew me personally and didn’t care much about my activities, neither did they report me to the authorities. The reason was probably that I built everything myself and blended into ‘the scene’ perfectly. Internet didn’t exist at the time, making it nearly impossible for listeners to find out whether a station was licensed or not. Call books were always out of date by at least a year.
Pirate stations still exist, but something has changed. They don’t care about technology and probably can’t tell the difference between a capacitor and a resistor. Jamming is now the main activity, especially on repeaters. We shut down PI2FLD (Almere) for a while and now PI3RTD (Rotterdam) has been switched off.
Sad, really sad.