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Paul Hise


I started working part time at WFN in April of 1962 after being furloughed, due to a strike by the Flight Engineers, from my job as a Communication Officer at Eastern Airlines. The normal work hours at WFN were 6 to 6 Monday through Saturday and 6 to 1 on Sunday. Mr Roy Harmon had worked this schedule consistently over the years except for a few days off when WJG would operate the schedule from Memphis. I continued this part-time work until I was hired as a communications officer for the Indiana State Police Headquarters in Indianapolis Indiana in late August of 1962.

In 1964 I transferred to the Charlestown Indiana State Police Post, and in November of 1965 Captain Jack Wofford, ACBL Vice President of Operations, contacted me. He said Roy Harmon had taken a job as a broadcast television station engineer in Branson Missouri and they needed an operator for WFN. He proposed if I would accept the job American Commercial Barge Lines would purchase the station from Warner and Tamble. ACBL was in the process of expanding its fleet and operation and Captain Wofford indicated that the position would have prospects beyond WFN. I accept his offer and began working on the first day of January 1966. I had actually spent time at the station prior to that time getting the equipment operational and building cleaned up and presentable. This began my twenty six plus year in Inland Maritime communications.


WFN was opened probably in 1947 or 1948 by Warner & Tamble of Memphis Tennessee, also owners of WJG. The original station was at the Port of Louisville Terminal in Louisville, Kentucky. The Port of Louisville Terminal was located at the foot of Preston Street at River Road. It sat just west of the I65 Kennedy Bridge.

The station, I was told, only operated on a 2 and a 4 mhz frequency by a man and wife by the name of Johnson. They continued to operate the station until the Inland River crew strike in 1958. This strike shutdown most of the ACBL operations, and, I believe, at other companies.

The strike ended in 1959, and the station was activated by operator Roy Harmon. Roy was a former radio operator for the Corp of Engineers, and I believe he was retired. Roy was an exceptional operator, he had a good radio voice, was able to work well and decipher the conversation in the worst of conditions, and had a good rapport with the captains and pilots.

Sometime in the early 60s the station was moved to Jeffboat Shipyard. At this time the American Commercial Barge Line offices were also at the shipyard. A small concrete block building was constructed at the east end of the yard near the tank yard. Two 60 foot towers were erected on the river side of the building. Two multi-band off center fed wire antennas were installed between the towers and building. One antenna was a inverted V. The equipment was updated to a used refurbished Western Electric 250 watt 4 to 12 mhz transmitter. The original RCA8050 was installed as a guard for 2182 and the 2782 frequency as well as the backup for the 4 and 6 mhz frequencies. Several RCA 8050 receivers were brought in and modified to provide monitoring of all available frequencies. All this was prior to my arrival at WFN.


In August of 1969 Captain Jack Bullard, ACBL Marine Superintendent, offered me the job of Marine Electronic Technician. Bobby Gloyd who held this job since 1965 had accepted another position in St Louis. I decline at first, but upon Captain Bullard's persistence I accepted in late August. I continued to supervise WFN. Roy Harmon had returned, after the UHF television station in Branson failed, as an operator at WFN and he took care of WFN's day to day operation.

In 1974 a 1600 sq ft two story addition was added to the radio station building at 1700 E Market Street. The top floor was to accommodate the expansion of the WFN operating positions. The lower floor was the new electronic repair facility. In addition the electric utility company had upgraded its primary feed from west to east along Market Street to a 167000 volts. This new line produced considerable low frequency RFI marginalizing WFN s reception on most frequencies. This interference required the relocation of WFN's main transmitters, receivers and the construction of a new antenna farm on a 60 acre site 15 air miles west and north of the Ohio River near Elizabeth Indiana off SR11. New CIA transmitters and receivers were installed feeding two directional TCI wire log periodic antennas. The smallest a bi-directional, oriented within 5 degrees of east and west to provide coverage for the Ohio, Upper Mississippi and Illinois Waterway, was installed on a 132 foot guyed tower. The other TCI wire log-periodic, covering from the station south to Mobile and west to Brownsville Texas, was constructed over a 225 foot guyed tower and with the adjacent catenaries took up nearing five acres. In addition the Hy-Gain 6 to 30 mhz log periodic was installed on the 150 foot microwave tower and positioned to provide additional coverage to the Upper Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. This remote site was operated and controlled via a 2 ghz Farinon microwave system from the ACBL building. Backup Onan generators were installed to allow continuous operation.


The Waterway Communications Systems AMTS began operation in 1985 on the Ohio River and in early 1987 we redesigned the WFN operating consoles and relocated WFN to 453 E Park Place north of the ACBL building. The new consoles used telephone switching technology to operate the station and provide enhanced ship to shore telephone calls.

WFN operated under Amcom, Inc a wholly owned subsidiary of American Commercial Lines. Here's a list of the managers and their tenure: Paul Hise - January 1966 to August 1969 Also supervised WFN August 1969 to July 1973 ---- Roy Harmon - August 1969 to March 1973 ---- Robert Grau - July 1973 to September 1974 ---- Harold Mauck - January 1975 to 1980 ---- Lemuel Greer - 1980 until his retirement in 1988

After Lemuel Greer retired I do not recall a new manager being named. At this time I was working on the WATERCOM ATMS System as Manager of Installation and Maintenance. In early 1989 I was promoted to Manager of Telecommunications. I retired from American Commercial Lines in June of 1992 after more than twenty six years.

Paul Hise

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