All posts by roncowherd



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.







2015 Field Day results announced.   In the 3A category, W4NJA was: 1st in Kentucky, 28th World-Wide.  Overall, W4NJA was:  3rd inKentucky, 161st World-Wide.   Pictured above (L-R) posing after successfully raising an antenna  are:  Mike Newman (WD4EFZ), Jim Rudd (AK4PS), Ken Wontor (KW4DI), and Bruce Huyck (KS4V).  Other operators and support team members include:  Gene Summers (N4FZ), Paul Smith (ND4X), Ed Pflueger  (AB4IQ),  Jeff Wielgos (KB9BVL), Dave Dewey (W4WKN), John Hudson (KO4XJ), Frank Baumer (KY4LDS), Mike Thomasson (KY4OEM), and Ron Cowherd (K4GYD).  Congratulations to these and others, not listed, who may have participated to make Field Day 2015 a smashing success.  See additional 2015 Field Day pictures:   


The November PARA meeting was opened at 7 pm by vice-president Mike Newman (WD4EFZ) pinch hitting for president Ken Wontor (KW4DI) who was in attendance, but had lost his voice due to laryngitis.  Attendees around the room introduced themselves by giving their name and call.  Also present were were Lewis Gregg Hicks, John Griffin and Jim Gilmore, who had come to take exams for an upgrade or new amateur license.  (See pictures and results below)

Old Business

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

Paul Smith (ND4X) gave the treasure’s report.  He then spoke of the need for the club to pay $35 for continued membership in the Southeast Repeater Association.  Paul stressed the importance of being a represented by the association in order to hold our 2 meter 147.060 mhz frequency.  A motion was made and passed to pay the $35 fee.

Paul also spoke of the need to choose a new trustee to oversee the operation of the 06 repeater.  The previous long-time trustee had asked to be relieved of his duties.  There were several questions and comments about the responsibilities required of a trustee.  After some discussion Paul asked for a volunteer for the trustee job.  Mike Newman (WD4EFZ) stepped up and was accepted by acclamation.

Garry Wheatley (KD4GCY) brought to our attention that Ron Alvey (WD4ITB) had recently become a Silent Key.  Various comments were given in honor of Ron.  It was also noted that his father Don, also a long-time ham, had died recently making a hardship for Mrs. Alvey who has no relatives locally.  Both of these men were highly respected for their expert work at WSPDTV.

New Business

Dave Dewey reminded us of Skywarn to be observed December 6.  On this day NOAA and ARRL celebrate the partnership of the two services with ham operator visits to NWS offices to make contacts with other radio operators across the world.

We were also encouraged to write our congressmen to ask them to support/co-sponsor the ARRL Antenna Radio Parity Act of 2015 which is (hopefully) soon to be voted on.  The act, if passed, would give amateurs the right to erect a reasonable antenna in neighborhoods where amateur antennas of any sort are now restricted.

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

Net Controls for November and December are:

        November 15      Jeff KB9BVL

            November 22      Charlie K9DUE

            November 29       Frank KY4LDS

                December 6       Tanya KM4NPZ

        December 13      Ken KW4DI

             December 20      Dave W4WKN

              December 27     Frank KY4LDS

                January 3      Jeff KB9BVL

                    January 10     Tanya KM4NPZ


Jerry Foland (WA4TTL) gave an update and projected images showing the progress of his new 40′ tower installation.  It is obvious that he is meticulous taking his time with each step of construction.  We are looking forward to completion of the project at which time we will document his step by step work with photos and commentary.

New License and Upgrade Successes

We are happy for report that Jim Gilmore (upper right) upgraded to General.   Lewis Gregg Hicks (lower left) passed element 2 and 3 to go from nothing to a brand new General.  Congratulations Jim and Lewis.  Anyone interested in upgrading or obtaining a new Ham License may find testing information on this website.

Jim Gilmore Lewis Gregg Hicks

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  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.