February Monthly Meeting

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Paducah Amateur Radio Association was held Monday, February 8 at the WKCTC Emerging Technology Center in Paducah, KY.  A prediction of snow showers for the evening did not deter approximately 20 members.  There was much anticipation for the presentation to be given by Dave Perry (N4QS) later in the meeting.  It was ironic that Dave’s subject about emerging technology in amateur radio was to be presented at the Emerging Technology Center . See presentation info below.

PARA Meeting Minutes 2/9/16

The meeting was opened by President Jeff Wielgos (KB9BVL) followed by the treasurer’s report given by Bruyce Huyck (KS4V) which was subsequently approved by the members.  Then Secretary Ron Cowherd read the minutes from the January meeting, also accepted by the members present.

Old Business.  

President Wielgos touched on an item from the January meeting in which it was    suggested that the club may want to look into the possibility of participating in the ARRL National Parks On The Air (NPOTA), a year long event.  After some discussion it was decided that we should look into the rules to determine whether Paducah’s “foot of Broadway” location qualifies as an activator spot on the “Trail of Tears.”  It was decided that we have all year to look into the matter to properly plan for this event during a warmer a time.

New Business

 Liability Insurance.  Bruce Huyck reminded us that it was time to pay the club liability insurance in the amount of $240.00.  A motion was moved, seconded and passed to pay for the insurance.

Treasurer Huyck requested that an additional person’s name be added to the checking account to provide check writing continuity in case he, for some reason, he wasn’t available to write a check.  It was suggested that the secretary would be the likely person.  Ron agreed to the request.

Past treasurer Paul Smith announced that the web domain fee would be due later this year.  He suggested that the present web master’s name should appear on the application before the due date for fee payment.  Ron Cowherd agreed to contact past web master, Rob Larrison, to get the account in order.

Secretary Cowherd read a letter addressed to Kevin O’Neill who is Dir. Community Education West Kentucky Community & Technical College.  The intent of the letter was to thank him and WKCTC for the use of the Emerging Technology Center facilities this past year.  The letter gave a brief description of PARA’s purpose and goals as an organization as well as short list of our educational and public service events in which we have participated.  It is our hope that PARA may continue to use the facilities throughout 2016.

Net Controls for Late February/Early March

                              February 14          Frank KY4LDS

                              February 21          Jeff KB9BVL

                              February 28          Frank KY4LDS

                              March 6                Logan KG4VKB

                              March 13               Ken KW4DI



Dave Perry, N4QS gave us some very exciting news about new software for remote control of a local or distant amateur radio station.  This “free” cutting edge software requires only (1) an internet connection, (2) smart phone, tablet or laptop, and (3) client software from www.remotehams.com.  Dave demonstrated by using his smart phone to control his station at home.  He was able to control all aspects of the process by clicking on the knobs and buttons shown on the screen of his phone.  It was amusing when he accidentally touched the CQ macro button on 80 meters CW and a DL station from Germany came back to him with a 5/9 signal report.  Dave stressed how easy to install and user friendly the software is.  Unfortunately the software does not work on any Apple products at this time.

Nice job Dave.  Your enthusiasm was infectious.  Several of the club members with laptops with them, were signed up and had the software installed before the end of the meeting.


PARA meets at Emerging Technology Center, WKCTC on 2nd Monday, 7 pm of each month except December.

New License and upgrades are offered on odd months throughout the year.  See W4NJA web site at w4nja.org.  For info click at the top of the page on About Us, then VE License Testing.

The Sunday Night Net meets each Sunday night at 9 PM. All amateur radio operators are invited to check in. 147.060 PL 179.9

Respectfully submitted,

Ron Cowherd (Sec. PARA) roncowherd@aol.com



January Monthly Meeting

Monthly Meeting

The first PARA meeting of 2016 was held Monday, January 11 at Paducah’S WKCTC Emerging Technology Center.  Despite the icy cold evening there were about 15 brave souls in attendance including two new prospective amateurs.  See names and pictures below.

PARA Meeting Minutes 1/11/16

The meeting was opened by President Ken Wontor (KW4DI) followed by the treasurer’s report given by Paul Smith (ND4X) and subsequently approved and accepted by members.
The primary item of business, election of officers for the new year, was conducted  with the following results:  pictured L to R.



Secretary:  Ron Cowherd (K4GYD); Vice President:  Ken Wontor (Kw4DI);  President:  Jeff Wielgos (KB9BVL); and Treasurer:  Bruce Huyck (KS4V).

Old/New Business.  Ken Wontor showed the new W4NJA QSL design proposed by Paul Smith followed by discussion and a vote of approval by the club.  The front of the card depicts a montage of attractive images that we have come to accept as icons of our community including a picture of the Atomic Energy Plant, Quilt Museum, Railroad engine, River Front and White Haven.  Incoming President Jeff Wielgos will order 500 cars @ $100, money allocated in a previous meeting.

Net Controls for Late January/Early February

January 17 Jeff KB9BVL
January 24 Frank KY4LDS
January 31 Malckolm KK4RGM
February 7 Ken KW4DI


Ron (K4GYD) gave information about the ARRL National Parks On The Air (NPOTA), a year long event somewhat akin to the very popular 2014 event celebrating the ARRL Centennial.  The event is set up so that amateurs may participate, by individual or group operating as Activators or Chasers, earning credit for each contact made.  There is a leader board to show the progress of Activators and Chasers with certificates available to those who have excelled in their number of contacts during the year.  After only two weeks, 27 KY scores have been posted.  Of the 27 postings, five local hams have already made their presence known:  Ron Cowherd (K4GYD), Bruce Huyck (KS4V), John Hudson (KO4XJ, Forest Summers (N4FZ) and Bill Osborne (K5ZQ).  Not only will this event celebrate the National Park Centennial but very positive PR will be generated for amateur radio.

Jeff (KB9BVL) introduced his newly created W4NJA Facebook page.  It is a public page intended for timely items of interest related to Paducah area hams.  Items listed include news of current expeditions, ham gear reviews, weather, etc.  The page can be accessed by simply typing W4NJA Paducah Amateur Radio Association in the “f” header of any Facebook page.

New License and Upgrade Successes

We are happy to report that Jim Skiles (left) and Clint Houser (right) passed their FCC exams and are now new Technicians.  Congratulations to Jim and Clint.


Contest Participation

The recent ARRL RTTY contest found several of our members busy:  Paul (ND4X) 23,636 points, Craig (KD9MS) 1,083 contacts, Dave (N4QS) 700 worked, Ed (AB4IQ) 204 contacts, and Bill (K5ZQ) results unknown.

Dave Perry earned over 5,000 points with 400+ contacts in the North America QSO Party (CW).

A Few Words From the Web Master

I will be pleased to post any successes that you have earned, contest results, DX worked, awards, etc.  Also, I am trying to add as many pictures of your antenna systems, shacks, pictures, contest log summaries or projects in which you are involved.  I like to think of this web-site as a running historical record of PARA’s life.  You members are the life-blood, so send those news items and pictures to the email address below.  I will add your submissions as quickly as possible.


Ron (roncowherd@aol.com)




The annual PARA Christmas Dinner was celebrated Monday, December 14, 2015 at Casa Mexicana Restaurant on Village Square Drive in Paducah.  The special occasion has traditionally convened in lieu of a formal December club meeting.  Snapshots of the approximately 30 members and guests in attendance enjoyed excellent food and spirited conversation as shown below:  (click on images for larger view)


Contest Success

PaulS&MikeNPaul Smith (ND4X), club treasurer, has distinguished himself this December by surpassing last year’s success in the ARRL 10 meter CW/SSB contest.  The 2014 Award recognized his Score of 16,758 which placed him in First Place in the single operator, unlimited mixed mode, low power Kentucky Section.  Paul most surely will again receive First Place with this year’s magnanimous Score of  108,346.  This is quite an achievement Paul.   We are proud of you!



Bruce Huyck presentation

Bruce HuyckBruce Huyck has passed along a copy of his PowerPoint presentation, given at a club meeting earlier this year, entitled “Exploring HF Signals.”  It is a great overview of the many digital modes that are available to today’s amateur radio operators.  New hams and anyone who has not explored these new modes can benefit from the info in Bruce’s presentation by clicking on the following link:                 Exploring HF Signals    Thanks Bruce


Net Controls late December/early January

December 20    Dave W4WKN

December 27    Frank KY4LDS

    January 3    Jeff KB9BVL

           January 10    Tanya KM4NPZ

Meeting Reminder

Don’t forget!  The next regularly scheduled PARA meeting will kick off the new year on Monday, January 11, 7:00 pm at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College on Alban Barkley Drive, Paducah, KY.  The primary business for the evening will be the election of officers for 2016.  Please be present and cast you vote for the candidate of your choice.  Remember, empty seats can’t vote.  (at least at PARA elections)

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Great DX and Best 73’s.






October Monthly Meeting

George Langton (W4TPC) October 2015, 89 years young, licensed in 1952, a model for us all.  Also pictured are Mike Newman (WD4EFZ), Malckom Williams (KK4RGM), Ed Sobkowiak (KC9UVO) and Don Fuller (KC4DR).

PARA Meeting Minutes 10/12/2015

The September PARA meeting was opened at 7 pm by president Ken Wontor (KW4DI) with a moment of silence in memory of Sam Jackson, (W4THY) who recently became a silent key.  Attendees around the room introduced themselves by giving their name, call and a brief comment on their activities since the last meeting.  There were 19 present, including Wesley Calvert, John Broadbent, and Tanya Gilmore who had come to take the exam for their new amateur license or upgrade.  (See pictures below)

Old Business

The Minutes from the September meeting were reviewed followed by a motion to accept.  The motion was approved.

The Treasurer’s report was given by President Ken Wontor (KW4DI) in absence of Paul Smith (ND4X) who was on vacation. A motion to accept was made followed by a vote of approval.

New Business

There was discussion concerning the new PARA QSL cards that were approved in the September meeting.  Several members commented on the appropriate design that Paul Smith had chosen.  The cards should be available soon.

We were reminded that the PARA annual Christmas Party was planned for Monday, 6:00 pm, December 14th at Casa Mexicana located at 4793 Village Square Drive in the Strawberry Hill area.  This event will replace the December meeting and testing.

It was also announced that the annual election of officers is scheduled for the January meeting.  The nominating committee will meet to choose a slate for nomination.

Net Controls for September are:

Oct. 18      KY4LDS     Frank

Oct. 25     KG4VKB     Logan

Nov. 1     KK4RGM     Malckom

Nov. 8     KW4DI     Ken


Ron Cowherd (K4GYD) Webmaster, encouraged PARA members to use the W4NJA web-site to stay informed of the schedule of club activities to come and news of club happenings that have past.  The site contains a wealth of information, both historical and technical with links to other important information on the web.  It was interesting to see statistical data showing the site’s use in 2014 and 2015.  Numerical data was displayed graphically on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis along with a world map to indicate from where the check-ins originated.   For example there have been 10,304 views in the past 22 months from the US and 76 countries.  Ron’s goal is to surpass 2014 view numbers by the end of 2015.

Club members may contribute photos and text items to the site by emailing to roncowherd@aol.com.  Comments, corrections and additions are welcome.

Respectfully Submitted,

Ron (K4GYD webmaster

New License and Upgrade Successes

Wes Calvert passed his Tech, General and Extra test to get the Extra license in one setting. Wow, Congratulations Wes.Broadbent

From left to Right:  Wesley Calvert passed his Tech, General, and Extra tests to get his Extra license in one setting.  Tanya Gilmore upgraded to General.  John Broadbent passed his Technician.  Congratulations Wesley, Tanya and John.  Also pictured:  Jerry Foland ((WA4TTL) and Mike Newman (WD4EFZ).

September Monthly Meeting

PARA Meeting Minutes 9/14/2015

The September PARA meeting was opened at 7 pm by president Ken Wontor (KW4DI) with a moment of silence in memory of Joey Gill, (KK4ETB) who recently became a silent key.   Each attendee around the room introduced themselves by giving their name, year licensed and report of their ham activities.  Ron Cowherd (K4GYD) appeared to be the first licensed in 1958 with Don Fuller (KC4DR) close behind.  There were approximately 23 members present in addition to two prospective members who came to take their first test for a ham license.

Old Business

The minutes from the August meeting were read by Secretary Jeff Wielgos (KB9BVL).  The Treasurer’s report was given by Paul Smith (ND4X).

A motion was made and passed to reimburse Rob Larrison (KC9VFV) $15.17 for the yearly W4NJA web domain fee that he had previously paid on behalf of the club.  Rob has asked to be relieved of his duties as web master but has agreed to continue as co-administrator of the W4NJA web site for a few months until Ron is comfortable with the WordPress App.  We appreciate the fine job that Rob has done setting up the site from the beginning.  It is planned that his format will remain for the time being just as he initiated.

Bruce Huyck (KS4V) the VE License Testing coordinator, reminded us testing is offered every other month with the next session available in November.  However, there could be an exception by special request.

New Business

Secretary Paul Smith suggested that Club QSL cards with the call of W4NJA are needed.  We have had several requests based on Field Day contacts as well as American Islands On The Air contacts.  The idea was discussed, and the motion was made and passed to allocate $100 for the new cards.  Members were encouraged to bring or email sample pictures for possible card graphics.

Net Controls for September are:

Sept. 20     KG4VKB     Logan

Sept. 27     KB9BVL       Jeff

Oct. 4         KY4LDS       Frank

Oct 11        KW4DI         Ken


Jeff (KB4BVL) presented a very enlightening report on the US Islands QSO Party at the KY Dam Powerhouse location.  Jeff and Paul (ND4X) represented PARA.  Jeff showed Google map images of the site which when zoomed in revealed the area that was completely surrounded by water therefore qualifying it as an island.  He also showed pictures of their rigs, antennas and power supply installation.  Their efforts were quite successful even though the 20 and 40 meter bands were not in the best condition at the time.  The club members showed their appreciation to Jeff and Paul by a nice round of applause.

President Ken continued with pictures of the two new signs that have been put in place on interstate (I24), one between the Ohio river bridge and first exit #3, and the other just east of the Reidland exit #16 coming into Paducah.  The completion of this project has been anxiously awaited for several months.  Ken led the effort to get this done and members also gave him a big hand of applause in appreciation.

PARA Pic #2PARA sign #1

Mike Newman (WD4EFZ), showed pictures and commented on his extensive station grounding system incorporated into his 170 ft tower and antenna installation at his home QTH.  His close-up pictures of the many ground connections clearly showed his professional expertise and effort to go the extra mile to guarantee safety.  Mike said he has had at least three lightning hits so far with no damage.  However, he added, “there is always the chance of a big one.”   Mike, we are in awe of your vast knowledge in this area.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jeff (KB9BVL sec. – Ron (K4GYD); Rob (KC9VFV)  web co-admin.

August Monthly Meeting

PARA Meeting Minutes 8/11/2015

Meeting was opened at 7 pm by president Ken Wontor (KW4DI).  Each attendee around the room introduced themselves.

Old Business

It was announced that due to work responsibilities, Rob Larrison (KC9VFV)  had asked to be relieved of his current duties as web master.  Discussion followed concerning the W4NJA website and the financial responsibilities involved.  Treasurer Paul Smith (ND4X) gave a report on expenses involved.  The floor was opened for a volunteer web master and when no one stepped forward Ron Cowherd’s arm was twisted and voila, PARA had a volunteer.  Ron (K4GYD) agreed to do so providing help would be available for the operation of the WordPress application.

New Business

It was discussed the possibility that PARA would participate as a “Special Event Station” August 29th by the activation of an island at the KY Dam Power Plant.  Paul Smith gave the details of the event including how the dam site qualified as an island.  As it turned out, PARA was represented using the W4NJA call on the 29th.  More info will be published in the September minutes concerning the success of the day.

It was announced that six V.E. Testing Sessions would be offered in 2016,.  Testing sessions normally occur at the close of the selected PARA club meetings.  A complete schedule of 2016 dates will be posted later.

The ensuing Huntsville Hamfest was brought up.  Several members mentioned they were going and had room for others in their vehicles.

Jeff (KB9BVL) / Ron (K4GYD)

Net controls for August are:

August 16          Frank            KY4LDS

August 23           Jeff              KB9BVL

August 30           Beth             KI4ZAR

September 6       Logan          KG4VKB

September 13     Ken              KW4DI

Joey Gill – KK4ETB – Silent Key

Joey Gill – KK4ETB – silent key

WPSD mourns loss of chief engineer

Posted: Sep 03, 2015 9:54 PM CDT Updated: Sep 04, 2015 5:11 AM CDT

We’re grieving for one of our own tonight.

WPSD Local 6 Chief Engineer Joey Gill was severely injured in a crash this morning on U.S. 62 in McCracken County. He was taken to a Lourdes hospital and then rushed to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana.

We learned late Thursday night from our vice president of news and operations, who is at the hospital with his family, that doctors determined Joey has lost all brain function.

Joey remains on life support until all family members can arrive and say their goodbyes.

We’ve lost a wonderful friend. His family has lost a wonderful husband and father.

We ask that you keep the Gill family in your thoughts and prayers tonight.


A local man is in critical condition after a motorcycle wreck Thursday morning.

It happened just west of the intersection at U.S. 62/Blandville Road and McCracken Boulevard in Paducah.

The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department says 54-year-old Joey Gill, of Wickliffe, was operating a Red 2009 Kawasaki KLR650 motorcycle eastbound on Blandville Road, just west of McCracken Boulevard. His front tire failed and separated from the rim, which caused him to lose control of the motorcycle. He was ejected into the path of an oncoming Ford F-150, operated by 42-year-old George Petty, of Paducah.

The sheriff’s department says Petty didn’t have time to react, and hit Gill.

Gill, who is the chief engineer at WPSD, was treated at the scene by Mercy Regional EMS for injuries we’re told were “serious” and “incapacitating.” He was taken to Lourdes hospital before he was flown to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana.

We’re told Gill was wearing a helmet, but still suffered a serious head injury.


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