[SECC] [SEDXC] Athens Story

Sandy Donahue,W4RU w4ru at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 20 16:12:34 EST 2007

One mistatement in the article, George was never a Director of the
ARRL. I knew him and W4RH appointed him the honorary title of Asst
Director.  73 Sandy, W4RU
--- Jay Pryor <jpryor at uga.edu> wrote:

> Here's a cut-and-paste story that appeared in the Athens newspaper, 
> FYI.  Some of you may have crossed paths with W4EEE, George Norton.
> 73,  Jay/K4OGG
> #################
> A part of ham radio's history moving to Oconee
> A Five Points landmark that for decades connected an amateur radio 
> operator with the world will find new purpose in Oconee County.
> Workers disassembled the old, metal windmill tower that rose about 65
> feet above the back lot of a house on Milledge Terrace and moved it 
> to Watkinsville, where the new owner may use it as a transmission 
> tower for a low-power radio station.
> The tower was put up in 1951 by the late George Norton, a ham radio 
> operator who attached his radio antennas to the top, said Myra 
> Martin, Norton's niece and the executor of his estate.
> In 1940, Norton selected the Milledge Terrace site for his home 
> because it sat on some of the highest ground in Athens, about 785 
> feet in elevation, which he wanted for his ham radio work, Martin
> said.
> Norton died in 1996, and his wife, Helen, passed away last year, and 
> Martin begin liquidating the couple's estate.
> Martin reluctantly decided the tower had to go to help expedite the 
> sale of the Nortons' home.
> She agreed to give the tower to Phillips on the condition he pay to
> remove it.
> "I hated to see it come down just because it's kind of like an old 
> well-worn shoe," Martin said.
> The tower came from a Griffin farmer who had used it to support a 
> windmill that pumped water to his cattle and crops. Norton bought the
> tower, disassembled it and moved it to his Five Points property to 
> enhance his radio antenna.
> Norton, born in Athens in 1905, became fascinated with radio 
> communication as a boy when he wound a copper coil around an oatmeal 
> box and sent Morse code signals, said his nephew, Dan Norton Jr., who
> is Martin's brother.
> "He was a ham radio operator almost all his life, until the day he 
> could no longer climb stairs to the radio shack - his radio office - 
> in his house," said Dan Norton, who is an amateur radio operator,
> too.
> Selling her uncle's house also means Martin will have to address 
> Norton's "shack," which is filled with memorabilia and awards for his
> amateur radio work.
> "His amateur radio call letters were W4EEE, and he was known around 
> the world," said Martin. "His shack is lined solid with awards he
> received."
> Norton used his ham radio equipment to contact radio operators at 
> more than 300 sites around the world, an accomplishment that gained 
> him noted standing in the DXCC club, or the Distance Century Club. 
> The club included any radio operators who made contact with other 
> amateurs in more than 100 different countries.
> To prove that contact was made, Norton had to obtain a written and 
> signed letter from each of the amateurs he spoke with across the 
> globe, Dan Norton said.
> "For a time he was the leading member of the DXCC in the world,"
> Norton said.
> During World War II, when the FCC banned transmissions by ham 
> operators, George Norton reportedly used his equipment to listen for 
> news of the war overseas and convey information to his neighbors.
> "We heard second- and thirdhand that neighbors were getting 
> information (from Norton) that wasn't available through traditional 
> channels during World War II," said Dan Norton.
> George Norton's work with amateur radio reached beyond communicating 
> with other operators.
> He was a director of the American Radio Relay League and helped 
> improve radio signals by using satellites to boost transmission. 
> During the 1940s and '50s he installed a mobile radio in his car and 
> used it to help build a network of amateur radio enthusiasts around
> Georgia.
> Martin isn't sure how Norton learned about the windmill, but she did 
> have a letter the Griffin farmer wrote to him about how to take the 
> structure down and avoid damaging the farmer's well.
> Watkinsville electrician Quinton Phillips first noticed the old tower
> when he was doing some electrical work at a nearby condominium off 
> South Lumpkin Street. Inquiries about the tower led him to Martin.
> Phillips spent Thursday morning clambering up the tower, taking it 
> apart in sections while a crane lowered each to the ground.
> Later, he and several helpers further dismantled the tower and hauled
> it to Watkinsville, where Phillips plans to refurbish it for use with
> a possible low-power community radio station.
> "I want to clean it up and repair it and get it ready for the next 50
> years of being a landmark," Phillips said.
> The federal government opened up a licensing window for low-power 
> stations in October, but the frequency Phillips wanted wasn't
> available.
> He said he'll wait for Congress to make more low-power frequencies 
> available before starting his own station.
> Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 112007
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