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The 1940s: My interest in the far reaches of this big world began early. Chopping cotton on a red clay hillside on our Mississippi farm, I leaned on my hoe handle to watch planes fly over. During and after WWII, vast flights of lumbering, propeller-driven aircraft filled the sky. To a small boy's active imagination, those planes were headed to distant lands. I longed to follow. That fascination with exotic lands which fueled the imagination of a small Mississippi farm boy still exists in the mind of a man over seventy years old, so my amateur radio station is always designed for DX.  I hope to establish friendships worldwide.

1965: Houston, Texas; fascination with radio began. A friend suggested CB; I couldn't afford hobbies. He contributed a $30  Hallicrafters CB-3A. With a $10 antenna on a 20' pipe by the back door, I began to listen. 1965 CBers used callsigns, respected rules and were courteous. I began to recognize two voices, Ronnie KMT1911 and Bob KMT3490. One day they went mobile, headed my way. Ronnie talking. I somehow got the courage to grab the mic and yell "Break!" A gear shifted in the universe.

1966: employed by RMK-BRJ, DaNang, VietNam, I learned the importance of ham radio. Mail delivery was unpredictable to VietNam. The only way to call home was MARS phone patch  There I determined to become a ham when I had a chance.

1968: a civilian on Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, got my first license KX6GW; ran phone patches from Kwajalein club station KX6BU. A proud moment: contact with K7UGA, Barry Goldwater's station. That period in ham radio will always be important to me, so in 2008 I was excited to get through to Randy V73RY, operating the Kwajalein club station, in the same shack, at the same desk where I first operated 40 years before! The Collins S-Line station was long gone, sadly, for it was beautiful gear. Back in the states in 1969, I didn't pursue the hobby for over 30 years.  

2003: Living in Brewton, Alabama, across-the-street neighbor Larry Fussell N4CBS encouraged me to get back into ham radio. I got Tech license KI4AZG in 2003, the General in 2004, and in 2006, the Extra class license N4RTT. When Larry helped me re-enter the hobby, we found Scott Hillman just a block away.  The first informal meeting of the re-organized Brewton Amateur Radio club was held in my ham shack.  Present were Larry N4CBS; Scott, then WA4TYH; Johnny Miller K4VMT; and me. Scott sadly became a Silent Key on July 24, 2017.

2015:  Having moved to the hills of rural Colbert County, in extreme northwest Alabama, I was visited by my good friend and mentor Larry N4CBS who shot an 80M dipole up about 70 feet into a tall pine tree and got me back on the air. Larry brought me a mint Yaesu FT-990 practically donated by another good friend, David Martin W4DSM from Brewton, Alabama. Also From David W4DSM, my Ten Tec Centurion amplifier was returned to my station.  Utilizing two 3-500Z tubes, the Centurion is conservatively rated at 1,300 Watts.  I then added an MFJ-998 automatic antenna tuner rated at 1,500 Watts.

August 2017, Huntsville Hamfest weekend, Larry N4CBS and my good friend and neighbor, Don Thompson K5WSY upgraded my station considerably by installing  a NA4RR Hex Beam antenna.  This highly recommended directional beam antenna covers six bands, 20M through 6M. I look forward to working DX during the next Solar Cycle.

The photo above by Scott Hillman KT4CW(SK) is a mural in downtown Brewton, Alabama representing city namesake Edmund Bruton, first depot agent when the railroad came through in 1861; also first telegraph operator. Legend says when the railroad named "Bruton Station," they hired a man to paint the depot sign. The name he put on the sign was spelled "Brewton," and it stuck. In 2004, when no photograph of Edmund could be found, I was asked to pose for the mural, since my wife Frogene and I were the only Brutons (or Brewtons) around. I was honored to do so, and to portray Edmund at the formal park dedication.


8285579 Last modified: 2017-08-21 12:53:51, 4143 bytes

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Granted: 2017-08-18 23:18:02   (N4RTT)

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