As a junior at Purdue, I bumped into EE senior, Jan Dibble. I don't recall what brought us together. We lived in the same housing facility, but in separate buildings in it. I remember stopping by his room to pick up something or other. After completing the PhD requirements (Pharmacology/Toxicology/Biochemistry) I took a job with Procter & Gamble. Initially, my wife and I lived in a large apartment complex. The fellow across the hallway worked for what was then AVCO Electronics (a successor to Crosley Radio). He worked with with "Dib." Dib, his wife, my wife and I began to play Pinochle once each week which led me to learn he was a ham. Our weekly Pinochle sessions soon became Pinochle interlaced with studying for my Novice.
I had a blast in Novice Roundup. This in large part is because the contest was a tremendously relaxing diversion for me at the time. I was working on my Ph.D. at Purdue and the first week of NR was also my "finals" week. I operated the 'test when I could, but had to spend most of the first week boning up for the exams.
As I recall, the NR lasted two weeks. During the second week I became a little more serious about racking up Qs, but certainly didn't dream of doing sufficiently well to win it.
I was using a single tube xmtr and p/s built from the Handbook. Of course, I was xtal controlled. I had about 8 xtals that were on 15 and 40. I was using a "Gotham" vertical (2-pieces of aluminum tubing that telescoped and had a loading coil at the base. My receiver was a Heath Comanche I had assembled. My key was a cheap (and I mean cheap) straight key with plain bearings. I had mounted it on a metal block for stability and had put a poker chip at the base of the knob to help grasp it.
Purdue had/has a club station -- W9YB (Young Boilermaker). I was not aware of it until a few weeks before finishing my doctorate. I joined to use the equipment and mainly the antennas to complete my first WAS. By this time I had gotten the General license. We lived only about 5 miles from W9YB so I operated WA9FEW from it to catch KL and KH and possibly North Dakota.
My wife and (then) two children lived in a rented house on a small pie-shaped lot in a subdivision consisting of National Homes (prefab). The point of the pie of course was in the rear of the lot. Also in the rear of the lot was a convergence of all the utility lines -- electricity and telephone -- for the neighborhood. The antenna had to be placed in the front yard so I made it look as much as possible like a flagpole. The tubing was mounted onto a short piece of 4X4 I had planted and painted white, and put flowers around it.
I had been licensed initially as WN8COA in Cincinnati, OH and when I moved back to Purdue I got the second call of WN9FEW to avoid explaining the a /9 on CW. I also held WA8COA/WA9FEW as a Tech at the time.
I retuned to Cincinnati to work for The Procter & Gamble Co. in 1964 and became quite active in the Queen City Emergency Net which was affiliated with the Cincinnati Chapter Red Cross. This lead me to head a (send messages to the troops overseas) program sponsored by the Cincinnati Enquirer and a couple of months later in me writing a weekly newspaper column about Amateur Radio for 20 years. My by line was Jim Weaver, WA8COA/WA9FEW until second calls were abandoned by the FCC.