As far as I have been able to determine, I was the FIRST Novice licensed in the state of North Dakota. During my final year of High School, I spent considerable time with Vic, W0CPS, who was the electrician, refrigeration repair, and radio repair in our small time. Vic was a Class C (later Conditional) Class licensee because we were 350 miles from the FCC office and the FCC engineers came to Fargo, ND (90 miles away) only once a year. At that time Vic only operated 160 meters which was the favorite band of eastern ND hams. You had to be a Class A to operate 75 and 20 at that time. Vic passed CW and promptly forgot all he knew so he was no help to me in learning CW. In the spring of 1951 I heard about the Novice license availability starting July 1. Being so far from FCC office I was allowed to take the test with a Class A operator.
On July 1 I applied to the FCC office in St. Paul for a Novice exam package. The package came sealed and had a note that it was to opened by the Class A ham only after I had passed the CW test at 5 wpm. I found a Class A licensee in a city about 30 miles away who gave me the exam. It was then mailed to St. Paul for grading. I received my license in about 3 weeks and assigned WN0EBA on July 24, 1951 with expiration on July 24, 1952. W0CPS had purchased a lot of WWII surplus radios and he sold me a BC454 receiver which covered 3 to 6 megacycles. It had 28 volt filaments so I found a power supply kit advertised in either CQ or QST so I ordered that to power it. I also built a 6V6 crystal oscillator using a power supply from an old AM radio console. My antenna was an end-feb Zepp of some undetermined length. So I was on the air calling CQ time after time trying to get a contact. The novice band sounded abo ut as active as it is today - there just weren't any one around yet. I was probably running about 7 or 8 watts input and now I know that the output probably was less than a watt. After almost 2 months I finally made contact with a ham in South Dakota. I don't remember his call because, unfortunately, all my logs and QSLs were lost in a move in 1965.
My activity was very limited that first year because it was off to college. I did pass my Conditional Class license the summer of 1952 and W0EBA was issued to me on August 22, 1952. That year I purchased a used Hallicrafters HQ129x -- boy what an improvement from the BC454. Also in 1953 I decided to become "legitimate" with a General Class even though it was not required. On May 6, 1953 my license was endorsed as GENERAL. In 1956 I entered the Navy and was stationed.in a small town on Puget Sound, Washington. I became K7AUS on July 30, 1957. Upon returning to Minnesota in 1960, I once again became W0EBA but never was active. That license expired in 1967 during the time that the FCC was charging for ham licenses. I did not have spare money to renew a license that was not going to be used and I was raising a family of 4 kids.
In 1986, I decided to get back into ham radio. I had to start over completely, taking the all the elements and going all the way to Extra in a short time. I finally became WV8B. When I retired and moved from Ohio, I decided to get my old call back of W0EBA through the vanity system -- an unfortunate decision because in spite of the 2-year wait rule the FCC re-issued WV8B within a couple of months. By the time I realized my regrets, it was too late to get WV8B back. I found the W0 call in North Florida Section caused a lot of problems with contests when in contests. A lot of people could not hear North Florida and kept asking North Dakota? That's when I found that W4EBA was available so that is what I am today.
I operate almost exclusively in CW contests primarily due to antenna restrictions in my deed which limits my ability to get out with a good signal.