I remember those days, filled with scouring Byte (no, physical copy, nearly didn't fit through the post flap) for modems because the game then was that local telco charged you a fortune for "approved" modems which tended to be rubbish in comparison of what you could order from the US - after all, if you're in the business of selling minutes, you don't want people to have access to stuff that lessens the duration of a call.
In those days I started travelling with a screwdriver and some crocodile clips, to bypass all that "we need to have a different plug than the neighbours" malarky that the electrics industry was using too - and, amazing as that sounds, that is still ongoing.
I cannot count the number of 25pin RS232 boxes I've made with switches for straight and cross over. Thankfully I started just after the rubber cup 300 baud times, but I did have a 1200/75 modem for a bit, upgrading as new standards came out.
As timing goes, a few days ago I actually came across a manual I wrote in 1989 which contained my then FidoNet address.
By the way, that was also the first time I became aware of the need for personal computer multi-tasking. It didn't take long before we started using DoubleDOS to run both BinkleyTerm and BBS and have some computing power left for doing other things, but then again, this was in an era where 640k indeed still appeared to be enough (well, ~ish - when we started moving to 286 and beyond, that limit pretty much went too).