W9YB is the callsign of the Amateur Radio Club at Purdue University.  W9YB is one of the longest standing clubs on campus and is also one of the longest standing amateur radio clubs in the United States, with the current callsign dating back to 1932 and the previous callsign 9YB dating back to 1920.

Here is a timeline of events that led to the W9YB of today:

  • 24 December 1906: Reginald Fessenden, former head of Purdue electrical engineering, becomes the first to broadcast speech and music by radio.
  • 1910: The first attempt to assemble a station at Purdue is made in connection with the senior thesis of R. A. Garrett and O. W. Melndoo.
  • 1912: The Radio Act of 1912 first requires US radio stations to be licensed.
  • 1912-1913: The next Purdue transmitter is constructed by A. F. Hague, G. R. Pigman, and R. E. Cleveland, which makes contact with a station at the University of Illinois.
  • 1915: G. M. Wilson and E. H. Pullis improve the station by constructing a new oscillation transformer, receiving set, and high-tech tension condenser.
  • 1914-1917: John Fetzer builds a spark gap transmitter, then later a 500W radiotelephone station licensed as W9FD, while a part-time Purdue student taking classes with Professor A. V. Achatz.
  • 1918: Purdue begins offering a specialty in radio engineering, conducted by Professor Achatz, in conjunction with the U. S. Army Signal Corps. The first class graduates in 1922.
  • 1919: A temporary permit is issued for the operation of a station at Purdue.
  • 1920: The callsign 9WB is assigned by the federal government, along with transmitting privileges on the 200m and 375m bands.
  • 1920: Professor Achatz and D. L. Curtner begin construction of Indiana’s first commercial broadcast station.
  • 4 April 1922: The Federal Radio Commission recognize the station as WBAA.
  • 21 April 1922: WBAA’s first program is aired.
  • 1922: Professor Achatz is active in Purdue’s efforts to start the Western Conference radio service, a weekly on-air event between Big Ten schools.
  • 1926: 9YB and WBAA move into the newly completed Electrical Engineering building, and two Marconi towers are erected on the roof.
  • 1927: The Radio Act of 1927 gives regulatory authority of radio to the newly-formed Federal Radio Commission.
  • 27 October 1930: Roscoe George receives the license W9XG and sets up Purdue’s first television station. He had begun experimenting with amateur television in the late 1920s. The station first came on the air on 31 December 1931.
  • 1932: The callsign W9YB is assigned to the Amatuer Radio Club by the FRC.
  • 1934: By the Communications Act of 1934, the FRC is replaced by the Federal Communications Commission.
  • 1941: WBAA moves to its current location in Elliot Hall of Music, and the Amateur Radio Club to the basement, where the transmitter is operated by remote control.
  • 1963: W9YB moves to its present location in the West Tower of Purdue Memorial Union.