COOKEN Silent Keys
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Cooken honors the following deceased hams who were members of our Club. 

We  honor their memory and what they brought to our shared hobby.




Jim Williams,  N8IBR  ( 1951-2017)

JOHNSTOWN: James Edward Williams, 66, of Johnstown, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, September 2, 2017 at St. Ann's Hospital. He was born on May 6, 1951 in Newark, OH, a son to the late Clark and Gwen (Kimball) Williams. James spent majority of his life as a teacher for Amateur Radio Licensing. He retired from Kroger after 37 years of employment. Since retirement James loved and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. He is survived by his loving wife, Donna; children, Clark, Heidi Moran, Matthew and Kimberly; grandchildren, Amber, Samantha, Alex, Zach, Collin, Nick and Ayrianna; siblings, Louis (Millie), Pete (Alyce) and Margie (Mike) Ennis and several nieces and nephews. Memorial service will be at 11 AM on Friday, September 8, 2017 at Alexandria United Methodist Church, 72 Church St., Alexandria, OH 43001 with Pastor Kenn Barton officiating. An online memorial will be available at   

Obit:  Courtesy of The Advocate.


Jim ( center) with Bret and Mike Neal Operating in the Licking County

CERT and ARES Communications trailer in 2015.


Member Eulogies:

James E. Williams ( N8IBR)  was a licensed  Extra Class Amateur radio operator from April of 1971 until his sudden death on September 2, 2017.  He was a member of COOKEN Ham Club who  became interested in the hobby due to exposure and encouragement from his brother W8LKW and long time family friend K8PWLwho were his main Elmers through the early years. As a youngster in the late 1950's and early 60's ,   he was fascinated with what they were able to do with a strange arrangement of a few tubes, capacitors, resistors, and some wire strung up in the air. Thanks Lou and Howard.

He retired late in 2012, and finally had the time we all would like to spend with this great hobby.    He enjoy contesting and rag-chewing, but his main activity was traffic handling.    That  can be rewarding.

Check out your local or state traffic nets.  If  you are in Ohio and have HF capabilities, check out the Ohio Single Sideband Net on 3972.5 KHz.    That net  meets three times daily at 1030 am et, 415 pm et, and 645 pm et. The OSSBN web site ( also has a list of links to some of the local VHF nets and other HF nets  throughout the state of Ohio and Eastern half of the USA.

If you prefer the CW mode, you can still participate in the NTS. There are a number of the state and regional CW nets listed on the OSSBN web page also.

Jim was busy striving to be  more proficient on CW after many years of not using that mode. He operated slow speed  (around 10 WPM) on the bands.  His SKCC # was  13290 and he had  planed to try the digital modes in the future. 

 We had a storm come through a few years back which took down his 50 foot tower and yagi antennas , he concentrated on wire antennas since then. His HF antennas consisted of a full wave horizontal loop for 80 meters, and a folded dipole for 80 through 6 meters. Additionally, he enjoyed experimenting with wire antennas and usually had an experimental version of something up in the air.  He had a dual band vertical for 144 MHz and 440 MHz, and  a "Squalo" for 6 meters SSB/CW.

Jim  was an ARRL member, a member of the National Traffic System and Volunteer Examiner (VE)   He was an active member of three Amateur Radio clubs in the Mt Vernon and Newark Ohio areas.

Dah de Dah Jim,  We will miss you at meetings and our weekly luncheons.


COOKEN Members and others , If you have any  pictures or tributes  you would like to post about your association with Jim , please forward to the webmaster for inclusion here.

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Bob Cashdollar  ( pictured below ) NR8U ( 1945- 2017)


Bob Center Back Row


Obituary ( courtesy of Advocate)

 Funeral services for Robert Charles Cashdollar Jr., 71, of Newark, will be held at the REED-EGAN FUNERAL HOME, 141 Green Wave Drive, Newark, 10:00 A.M., Saturday, February 11, 2017 with Rev. JCP Sullivan, Parish Priest, as celebrant. Interment will follow in Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Robert, a Newark High School graduate, died at Licking Memorial Hospital on Monday, February 6, 2017. He was born in Newark, Ohio on June 13, 1945 to the late Robert C. and Margareet R. (Walsh) Cashdollar Sr.

Robert devoted his life to caring for his family. He cherished his role as a husband and father, and valued the time he shared with his son, Vincent. Over the years, Robert faithfully traveled to many football games, supporting Vincent, first as the athlete and later as the coach. His presence became something that many grew to anticipate and respect.

Robert was an amateur radio enthusiast. He was also an avid reader and writer, submitting articles for amateur radio magazine publications. He enjoyed history, collecting coins and first day covers for stamp releases. Robert enjoyed the outdoors, and for many years, could be seen walking the trails and bike paths in the Newark area.

In addition to his parents, Robert was preceded in death by the love of his life, his wife and high school sweetheart, Antoinette I. "Toni" (Annarino) Cashdollar, in 1993.

Friends and family may call at the funeral home from 5-8 P.M., Friday, February 10, 2017.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Goodwill Industries.

Ham Radio Friends Tributes

It is with regret that I relay the message that Bob Cashdollar NR8U became a SK on Monday Feb 6, 2017.  I received this sad news from Fritz WD8E and independently from Russ W8ATA today.  Arrangements are incomplete at this time, although the Newark Advocate indicates the Reed-Egan Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.

Bob was a past member of NARA and a past Emergency Coordinator for ARES in Licking County.  He also was a regular contributor to the K9YA Telegraph, an electronic newsletter about ham radio, past and present.  Bob was the ARRL "O" manager for the 8th Area Incoming QSL Bureau for 11 hears before retiring from that service. 

We send our deepest condolences to his family and we all mourn the loss of an outstanding friend to the amateur radio community and a personal friend.

Weldon K8NQ
President, NARA



Remembering Bob Cashdollar (NR8U), SK:

I first met Bob in 2010, the year I joined the COOKEN Amateur Radio Club. He was a friendly, welcoming person, and our conversations soon turned to the deep and mutual interest we shared in DXing and Contesting. Bob  helped introduce me to club contesting at the annual Ohio State Parks on the Air special event station, WW8OH, set up at Fritz's (WD8E) cottage on Buckeye Lake ( State Park.) It was  a fun event that sparked  much interest and camaraderie, lasting many years.  Hauling in our gear.   Deploying loop antennas (via bow and arrow) over trees in the front and side yard,  and NVIS antennas along the lake shoreline. Plenty of fresh air carried in the unique sounds of lakeside living. Even Strange encounters of the Third Kind ( jumping spiders to greet you in the port-a-potty.)  Another time, I joined Bob at Fritz's QTH for a three man operation in the Ohio QSO Party. Bob and Fritz handled the ssb station, while I  operated cw, in between the eye-ball  qso's and rag-chewing.


Good times, and good memories, are made of such things.  Thank you, Bob.


de Bob Elek W3HKK

 Bob was one of the first hams I met after moving into Newark in 1986.  He was always chasing DX and new prefixes.  I recall him winning first place from Ohio in several CQ contests.  He along with Fritz, WD8E, and John W8MM , founded the Cooken Radio Club in the early 90's.  Bob as I recall, did not like clubs having a lot of rules and procedures and decided that the only rule that COOKEN would have is that we have no rules.  He was always the one who took the graveyard shift on Field Day and other contests either banging the key or on the mike.  He was instrumental in obtaining COOKEN's meeting site now at the OSU library.  We will all miss you on the HF bands Bob.

73 Bob  de W5UHQ    Dah de Dah

I met Bob when I joined the COOKEN Club, which I understand he helped found.  I found him to an enthusiastic ham and very forthcoming and supportive.  It was fun to participate in several special event stations with him, Johnny Clem and Dawes in particular.  The amateur community will miss his great spirit.


73, mike, kd8dz


My friendship with Bob Cashdollar goes back many years to when we were both
members of NARA. I have always known him to be extra friendly to all as well
as a true gentleman. After a hiatus in my ham radio activity, it was Bob
who cornered me at an early COOKEN special event at the Works and took me over to a
simple station Fritz Tender was operating and said,"This is how easy it is, now get back
on the air." And I did. Thanks Bob !!

Russ - W8ATA

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Fred Saas WA8PGE getting familiar with Steve Katz's N8WL low power radio in preparation for a contest in 2013.



Frederick L. Saas, age 65, of Pickerington, died unexpectedly on Thursday, March 26, 2015 at his residence. Born January 31, 1950 in Columbus, he was a 1968 graduate of Bexley High School, and he attended DeVry Institute and The Ohio State University. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Viet Nam era. Fred was a computer specialist with Hewlett Packard for 37 years. He was an avid amateur radio operator, and was an active member of CRES Amateur Radio Club, Central Ohio Operators Klub Extra-Novice (COOKEN), and QRP Amateur Radio Club International. Fred was instrumental in forming the CRES ARC QRP (low power) SIG (special interest group), and attended every event. He often arranged to book campsites, cabins, or shelters from which to operate. He built several clever antennas, a Morse keyboard, and a few Software Defined Radios. He was very adept at building kits with surface mount parts, too. Fred was a genius at Morse code and his ability to extract information from weak signals was legendary. He was also patient, a good teacher, and always encouraging. Whenever he had time he would chat with friends using Morse code at their speed, and those chats were always fun and interesting. Fred's passing is a tremendous loss for ham radio. His enthusiasm and cheery disposition will forever be missed.


Obituary courtesy of Steve Katz, N8WL

Comments from other friends

Memories of Fred Saas:

Fred’s many interests in ham radio also included “contesting” with small groups of like-minded radio amateurs. Contesting  is a dynamic free-for-all on the amateur bands that values abilities like being able to send and receive Morse code very quickly, very accurately, for  long periods of time -  often  all day and all night.  Fred could keep up with the best,  reaching rates  of over 150 contacts per hour.  We had a blast! 

Operating in a contest requires a delicate  balance be maintained  between operator and logger,  while going all out, full speed ahead testing your mettle  against many other  top-notch operators, all competing to be the best they can be.  Knowledge. Speed. Accuracy. Cunning, of a sort. Stamina. Alertness. And above all, a sense of humor….  All are required.

 Fred and I put in  “all-nighters”  operating  side by side.  While chasing contacts, we saw the sun set – and rise.  We kept each other awake, chatted during quieter moments, and shared laughs together. 

 Besides the   thrill of putting a new multiplier in the log, or beating out other very good operators for a contact, sustaining high rates of  speed in the face of  noise of all types, changing radio propagation,  and literally piles of stations competing on the same frequency,  operators build an understanding and  trust in each other's  judgment and capabilities. A  special  camaraderie developed between Fred and me.  And I will miss him.

I will remember Fred,  especially  when  “contest time” rolls around on 160 meter cw, or, when  I  operate cw on  my keyboard using his  “Morse Code Buddy” interface.  He thought it might come in handy and built one for me.  And,  boy, did it ever.  

 Fred was a  kind, generous and caring man who loved ham radio, and  helping others.  He lead by example.   And The World is a poorer place without him.     73 Fred.  Hope to see you  around the bands.

 ……………………….  de Bob Elek, W3HKK

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John Mellett W8NM (SK) (1949 - 2013)


GRANVILLE: A memorial service for John Mellett, 64, of Granville, who passed away June 12, 2013, at Licking Memorial Hospital, was held on November3rd, 2013 at 3:00pm (1500hrs). Location United Church of Granville address 115 W Broadway Granville, Ohio 43023. Many of his ham friends were in attendance. From left to right Mike M, Bob, Kevin, Jack, Eldon, Paul,??1, Connie, Steve S, Steve K, Billie, Weldon, Fritz, ??2, Brad, Russ, and Fred.



John Henry Mellett was born on Valentine’s Day in 1949 and passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack on June 12, 2013. He was the eldest child of Jesse Brooks Mellett and Dorothy May Roberts Mellett, of Zionsville, Indiana, both of whom preceded him in death.

 A graduate of Vincennes University, in Vincennes, Indiana, he earned an AS in Electrical Engineering Technology. John then worked in the federal government’s Civil Service section with the Department of Defense for over 30 years before his retirement. His Civil Service took him to Indiana, Ohio, New York, and Korea.

 John participated actively in the volunteer opportunities available through the local Boy Scouts of America, and was a former Boy Scout himself. He also provided invaluable information to the Girl Scouts of America through his sister volunteering with the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana.

John relaxing at Sister's Cottage in Minnesota 

First licensed in 1978 as WD9GQP, John, W8NM Amateur Extra, was active in several facets of Amateur Radio. His passion was helping other people with “Ham” radio. Either to teach them how to get a license or upgrade the one they had. He would answer any call on the air, be it for help or just to chat with someone new or an old friend. John was heavily involved with the Air Force MARS program hosting several network operations weekly. On a local basis John was a member of and Treasurer for the Cooken Amateur Radio Club and ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) serving as an AEC (Assistant Emergency Coordinator) for Licking County.

 John was a 32nd Degree Mason and a member of both the Scottish Rite and the York Rite. He was quite active in his local Crusader Masonic Lodge #720, and was a past Master of the Lodge. He had served most recently, and as the longest currently-serving officer, in office as the Tyler of his Lodge for 21 years.

 John is survived by his wife of 28 years, Min Cha, his son Jesse Robert Mellett, his younger sister Elizabeth Mellett Rehfus of Indianapolis, and his younger brother Robert Brooks Mellett of Mound, Minnesota.

Cooken members may post photo memories of John on our web photo album set up for John.

(From John's Sister Liz)


 For Johnny,

 Two weeks ago today, my older brother John Henry Mellett succumbed to a massive, fatal heart attack at 64 years of age. He had not been ill. He was named for his two grandfathers, John Calvin Mellett and W. Henry Roberts.

 Johnny was always both bigger and older than me; somehow I had not thought of a time when he would not be there to lend a helping hand with my Scouting questions, or solve an electronics dilemma, compare notes on one of mom’s recipes, or renew dad’s reminisces about the War. He was older – but only by 3 years, so to me, he didn’t seem “that old”.

 I keep trying to believe that he’s in a better place, where he doesn’t have any more pain or swelling, where the two sides of his body are both equally able – but I cannot get past the fact that I can’t talk to him again. He had called me, once a week, every week, for the past 16 years – ever since the last of our parents passed. Took me on as a substitute, so to speak. I did talk to him, just four days earlier, two days after my birthday. 

Long before all the current annoying political correctness, John never seemed to think of himself as “disabled”. How many other people do you know who could tie all the Boy Scout knots with only one hand, in record time? He seemed to have different abilities, and he made the most of all of them.

 He tried so hard to be like dad. He just couldn’t get there somehow. He was so much more like mom, or Grandpa Roberts – both in physique and temperament. Always giving, anything you needed, any way he could help. I’m not sure he ever recognized that he had such fine qualities. Or that being more like dad was not only not achievable, but totally not necessary. I wish I had told him.

 We would argue – and disagree – and irritate each other. It was certainly not all flowers and sunshine for the past 61 years. But there were no “big” issues; nothing to keep us permanently or even temporarily not speaking.

 I have to hope that he is back with mom and dad and grandpa. And his good friend Rudy, who he lost way too early, years ago. Not in pain, not physically hampered. Happily planning the local Scouting Jamboree, the next Masonic Rite, or his next hunting or fishing trip, over his well-deserved Ham Radio heavenly call sign.


From K8NQ ( EC Licking County) :  John has been a strong supporter of Licking County ARES for a very long time.  As recently as last Saturday he served as alternate Net Control for the Tour de Cure.  John had some difficulties with mobility but he was always available on the air for our training nets and for the real events.  He also was active in MARS, COOKEN, and supported the NARA repeaters.  He will be missed by many who never will have the chance to talk with him, namely those new hams who get on the NARA repeater seeking advice.  John has served our community in countless ways through his presence on the repeater.  I can't count the number of times a newly licensed ham or a person passing through our area has volunteered information about how John helped them in an emergency or with some question about equipment and procedures on the air.

FROM KD8DZ  We send our deep sympathies to his family.

From N8WL: John was patient, honest, smart, and always helpful. He spent countless hours monitoring the 146.88 repeater so that callers,whether local or transient, would get a response, not silence. He was a good ambassador for our community and was happy to help give directions or make phone calls to help out others. He was active on our nets, in ARES events, in VE testing, and COOKEN meetings. Our condolences to his family. We'll miss his cheerful voice on the air.

FROM K8EM:  I just heard the news about John Mellett, W8NM passing; We were in Pennsylvania and got home about 9:00 PM Saturday Evening. I talked to his friend, Paul Strickland.  Paul said that John's body is to be cremated, probably tomorrow,  Monday.  His wife Minja will be planning a service but Paul said it will probably be a couple weeks before they  have the service. I was shocked and saddened at the passing of a great friend and mentor who I will dearly miss.


Although limited in getting around at times, John was ever faithful by being at the mike for nets in MARS, ARES, NARA and

COOKEN, often providing back-up netcontrol from his home. He was a regular attendee at COOKEN meetings. John also gave unselfishly to new hams by mentoring and Elmering.

FROM W5UHQ:   John was one of the first hams I met when I moved to Licking County in 1987.  I have worked with him for 26 years as a member of the Cooken cabinet.  I always remember him as a great mentor to the new hams and really enjoying teaching them about antennas and many other subjects.  One of his favorite sayings was Belden's Law which was a corollary to Murphy's Law as it applies to rolls of coax always getting tangled when you are trying to put up an antenna.  John left us suddenly but we in Newark will never forget him. COOKEN Members and others , If you have any  pictures or tributes  you would like to post about your association with John, please forward to the webmaster for inclusion here.

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Richard Winbigler WD8DKZ  (1941 - 2011)

A memorial service for Richard D. Winbigler, age 69, of Newark, was  held at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 10, 2011 at the Newark Chapel of Henderson-Van Atta-Stickle Funeral & Cremation Service with Pastor Eric Miller officiating. The Licking County Veterans Alliance will provide military honors. Mr. Winbigler passed away on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at the Selma Markowitz Care Center (operated by Hospice of Central Ohio). He was born December 11, 1941 in Youngstown, Ohio to the late Fred R. Winbigler and Marcia (Norton) Winbigler Rasbold.

Mr. Winbigler worked as a truck driver for many years. He served in the United States Navy for 10 years and retired from the Air Force Reserves after 11 years of service.

Mr. Winbigler was an avid ARRL Amateur Radio enthusiast. He loved his motorcycle and enjoyed bike riding, travel, boating, camping and model airplanes. He was a member of both Cooken and NARA and was active in ARES and both VHF and HF operating.

Dick and his brother Tom Atkinson at the Tour de Cure in June,2011, about one month before he died.  He hadn't seen Tom in many, manyyears until this occasion.

Surviving are his wife, Lois Jean (Mohler) Winbigler; daughter, Christine Breffle; step-children, Phillip (Deanna) McMannis, Brenda (Jack) Brooks, Debra (Randy) Rhinehart, Tye (Katrina) McMannis, Cloyd (Randy) McMannis, Nita (Dave) Bonifant; step-son-in-law, Ronnie Albright; six grandchildren; twenty-one great-grandchildren; brothers and sister, Tom Atkinson, Charlie Atkinson and Sandy (Robert) Moull, all of Pennsylvania; many nieces and nephews; and many friends.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a step-daughter, Barb Albright; and a step-grandson, T.J. McMannis.

Friends may call from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, July 10, at the funeral home, 59 North Fifth Street, Newark.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Oncology Floor at Licking Memorial Hospital or Hospice of Central Ohio.

Additional photos of Dick can be found on our Photo Gallery.

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Randy Smith, N8KBE (1941-2010)

A funeral service for Randolph "Randy" (Shag) Smith was held Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at the Criss-Schoedinger Funeral Home with the burial in Hanover Cemetery.

Randy was born in Columbus, Ohio on December 20, 1941 to Ralph and Agatha Gay (Hoff) Smith. He died Thursday September 16, 2010 at Genesis Hospital in Zanesville. He was 68.  He was preceded in death by his father, Ralph Smith.He is survived by his wife, Eva (McKee) Smith; mother, Gay Hoff; daughters, Cynthia of Pataskala, Samantha (Patrick) Cost and Lindsay Magers; step-daughter, Jeanne Magers of Newark; grandchildren, Averyanna Magers, Rick, Patricia, and Kristin Rutter, Jade Borgerson, Jeremiah and Juliana Magers; brother and sister in law, Geoffrey and Sandra Smith; niece, Michele Smith; special longtime friends, Jim "Uncle B" Benson and Patty Coyle, and a host of friends.

Randy was a firefighter and EMT with the Hanover Volunteer Fire Dept., a member of the IBA, Pirate Radio Club, COOKEN, NARA, NRA, and a Vice Commodore of the Coast Guard Auxiliary Post # 184. He loved to ride motorcycles as he was a Harley-Davidson enthusiast, and enjoyed amateur radio. He will be sadly missed by all that knew him.

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Eva Smith, KD8HWC (1952-2011)

NEWARK: A funeral service for Eva Smith was held Tuesday August 23, 2011 at 1:30 PM at the Criss-Schoedinger Funeral Home. Interment was in Hanover Cemetery with Pastors Joe McMullens and Roger McElfresh officiating.

Eva was born in Newark on April 15, 1952 to the late Charles and Jeanne (Hinger) McKee. She passed at her residence on August 19, 2011. She was 59.

Eva was preceded in death by her husband, Randy "Shag" Smith and her brother Charles Patrick McKee. She is survived by her daughter Jeanne (Jason Quickle) Magers, step daughters Samantha (Patrick) Cost, and Lindsay Magers (Fiance Brandon Church). Grandchildren Jade Borgersen-Burge, Julianna Magers, Jeremiah Caleb Magers, and step granddaughter Averyanna Magers. Brothers Gary (Marge) McKee of Michigan, Michael Lee McKee of Mt Vernon, sister Sandra Ruth (Jim) Heffley of Willard, and sister in law Shelly McKee of Columbus, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Eva was a graduate work center leader for Holophane for 26 years, loved motorcycling, collecting Holophane Glassware, travelling, and watching and feeding hummingbirds. She was a qualified HAM radio operator, and belonged to three HAM radio clubs including Cooken..
Published in the Newark Advocate on August 20, 2011

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