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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

What is an Elmer to You?

Dwayne Rea (KA0AAM) on December 24, 2012
View comments about this article!

Do you remember your first Elmer?

Many of you can, but some of you may not have an Elmer.

Some may ask:

"What is an Elmer?"
"Why have an Elmer if you can do it yourself?"

Others may ask:

"Why can't I have an Elmer?"
"Who would like to be my Elmer?"

Others may comment:

"My Elmer is a Silent Key, I miss him dearly"

"My Elmer is in a Home of some kind, no longer capable of Ham Radio"

"I lost track of my Elmer, because I. . . (insert reason. . .grew up, moved away, got out of radio at one point and lost track, and the list goes on).

"My Elmer and I still enjoy talking to each other"

"I have several Elmers" (The Best Kind in my books, am I allowed to be just a little selfish? [Very big GRIN!])

Whatever your reason or comment is, a Elmer is that blessed person that stops all forward movement, shakes hands with you, brushes aside a spot on the table, whips out the soldering iron or paper, pulls all those neat gadgets out of this drawer that has mysterious capabilities of being endless supplies, and somehow helps us put our ideas and thoughts into working order. WOW!!! -- If that isn't a mouthful.

Well guess what, I was blessed with more than one Elmer. When you are 13 years old, you are a little on the naive side, but your mind wants to play with electronics and make things work.

Let me tell you a little about my Elmers…

I was young, loved playing with electricity. I figured out how to make "Worm Finders", because I enjoyed fishing. I hated digging for worms, and somehow (can't remember how I learned), I discovered that sending electricity into the ground would cause worms to come to the surface. Presto! Instant bait! No hassle of digging! Best of all.... it used ELECTRICITY!

I shamefully admit that I purchased a Cuss Band, "lessor" known as a CB. It was fascinating to me. I attached it to my 10 speed bike and off I went. I soon became friends with my neighbor up the road by accident. He was an older Gent (to me), but he was interested in Ham Radio Himself. Together we studied. Morse Code was easy for me. . . I was at 20 wpm in nothing flat.

We both took the Novice test, and sadly I flunked. But, I knew why I flunked when I took the test. I learned about "key" words and the tricks used in the questions, and about 6 months later I took it again…passed with flying colors.

Unfortunately, this Gent passed away within a year. Was this guy an Elmer? In my books yes! He started me on the road to success, took me under his wing, walked with me through my studying, helped me learn Morse code, helped me take my first test, and did this under his own free will…the will to help. He may not have been a ham at the time, but he became a ham, the kind of ham I am so very proud to know!

Through this ordeal, I received a novice license, a S-38, and a Eico 720. Within a year, I was riding my Bike and saw this massive antenna. It looked like NASA’s dream come true antenna. It towered above the house and high into the sky. It was so big, that Turkeys could roost on it, mistaking it for a huge Elm Tree.

And what did this youngster do? I marched right up to the door, knocked on it, and blurted out: "Are you a Ham?"

My real lessons in Ham started that day.

This crazy guy invited me into his house, brought me into a "Man-Cave", sat me down in front of this radio, and started introducing me to these people on the air. After about an hour, he asked me what I wanted to build. I just said the first thing that came to my mind: "An Amplifier".

What kind of an Amplifier? My Elmer said!

Well heck!!! I didn't know! I just wanted to Amplify SOMETHING, I don't care what it was, I wanted to see something amplified! Not only that, it seems that everything I studied dealt with SOME kind of Amplifier, thus that MUST be an important step!

My Elmer pulled this thing called a breadboard out of a drawer (You know, that drawer that magically has everything…), and together we made a simple Amplifier. Then I got the bright idea of making a transmitter.

THAT is only an amplifier with feedback. My Elmer smiled, gave me about 10 components, sent me home, and off I went.

I started using my knowledge, and finally got together this one transistor transmitter/Oscillator.

The coils? Hell, I didn't know how many turns! I just "guessed".

The Capacitor? Hell, I didn't know how big, I guessed.

I sure as heck knew what a tuned circuit was! So I put two and two together, soldered it all up and brought it to my Elmer.

(And here comes some more magic out of that Drawer of his), It is called a Grid Dip meter. HE Magically put this thingy-ma-jig on top of it, held it next to my ugly wired mess, and said "It is about 14 megahertz." (Darn, I missed the novice band…by quite a bit) But, when we powered it up, I was able to make MORSE CODE!!! Not only that, the tone of that Morse code was so fantastic, that every bird within hearing distance thought I was calling them in to reproduce!

About a year later, and a REAL Homemade Crystal controlled transmitter later, this Elmer passed away.

In comes my third Elmer. This guy pulls me aside, teaches me about antennas, coils, and things that are beyond my imagination. We had the most wonderful relationship for many decades. I grew up helping him with Computers, towers, antenna's, and fixing his radio's. I grew up enjoying a wonderful day each week with him and his family.

I also grew up weeping his loss as I went to his wife’s funeral…later weeping the loss of him.

But the most important thing of all, is that each of these special Elmer's brought me one step closer to what Ham radio is all about. They brought me one step closer with a helping hand. They brought me one step closer with a smile on their faces. They backed me up, watched me make errors, corrected my mistakes, and supported me in my wonderful journey throughout the years.

And now, I can happily repay back my Elmer's by being an Elmer to other newcomers. As I repay my debt, I realize the emotional joy that my Elmer's had when they saw me growing up and making mistakes as I learned. I can laugh inside, as I see the same mistakes I have made in the past, being made again by my student. I can lend the helping hand and knowledge to make my student understand why that Knight t-150 has a 3 prong plug on it, instead of a 2 prong plug that can accidentally be flipped around, making that chassis a hot 120 volts to touch. (I had to add this for us old timers who, probably more than once, been zinged with 120 volts for not replacing that cord like we should have done, with a three prong ground cord).

For those who "do not have" an Elmer, Try asking for one... You only have to walk up to a Ham and ask for help, the handshake is only seconds away.

For those who "have" one, you are blessed. You are blessed with help, a patient person, a wonderful friend, and a lifelong experience.

For those who "had" one, the memories will always be cherished in our minds. We can enjoy the memories, pass them down to our students or friends in Ham radio, and be thankful that there are people out there that step up to the plate without question, and stand beside us as we learn what ham radio is all about.

For those who do not have an specific Elmer, or want one? You are probably like me. My main Elmer's have passed away, but I have met some may wonderful hams that I can call Elmer's. I personally do not want to single out just one. Singling out just one would insult all the others, because each and every one of them are a true blessing to me. One will help with transmitters, the other receivers, the other antenna's, the other computer, the the left over Elmer's fill in all the other Gaps that I can't think of while writing this article.

This is what being an Elmer is all about in my books, how about yours?

Dwayne KA0AAM

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by K1CJS on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
An elmer is also a person that will talk to you and accept your wacky ideas, turning them around and getting you to see that those ideas were either not so great--or downright worthless, all without destroying your interest and enthusiasm for ham radio.

My mentor--my elmer--was a gentleman who was polite and helpful without calling anyone down or getting upset about strange ideas. I learned more from him in a couple of years than I did in the couple of decades before I met him. He is a silent key now, and I do miss him and his ways of getting beginners to see that their ideas were, well, just plain wrong.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by WB4DAD on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Although my Elmer has been a SK for a while now, I certainly hope that if he is watching he will be proud of the op whose fingers are on the key.

Irv was a very gentle man, very helpful and always ready to lend a hand with just about any fool thing that I would come up with.

He was known as the Yes-No-Yes man.

And yes, I miss him.
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by W4VR on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I never had an elmer. Living in Northern Maine there was no other ham around for at least 50 miles. I bought a Study Guide and Morse Code LP from Allied Radio. The rest is history!
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by K0DCH on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My Elmer was my older brother, who got met started as a Novice back in 1958. He passed away recently, but gave me a hobby that has lasted a lifetime.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by W7KKK on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I did not have an elmer as such. My first experience with radios was in the Army as a radio operator (O5B intermediate speed CW op) and later as an instructor myself.
Operating military gear from '66-72 fell right into place for me when I got my novice ticket about 1974 while working electronics for the Navy as a Civilian.

From there I was pretty well self taught although I have received a lot of advice from the forums on this an other sites.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by N4BBQ on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My elmer (WA4GEG) and I still chat once a week or so on 160m, so there ya go.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by WV9K on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've been blessed with a fair number of Elmers, each one a joy to have known and been taught by as well as sharing the love of radio.

Almost all are SKs now and I do miss them more than mere words here can express.

The others I treasure and spend what time I can with, they will be a long time gone.

I'll leave it at that...
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KA1PPV on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My Elmer is still very much alive and very active. He is none other than 9V1YC, James Brooks. We worked together at the same TV station for awhile and when he was there he got after me to test for my Novice ticket and he wouldn't leave me alone until I did. That was 1987 and I have been having a blast ever since.
Thanks James for being so persistant! Also the Fairfield Amateur Radio Assoc. for being there and pushing me up the ladder to Extra. Thanks guys.
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by N3ZJ on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!

Mine was Vern, WA4FEZ, way back in 1965. He was patient with a 14-year old, gave me wire for an antenna, fixed my botched building of a Knight-Kit T-60 (my first encounter with a soldering iron), was my first QSO, he and his wife, WA4FEY, drove me to the club meetings, had confidence in me. Many thanks...infinite thanks. No way I can repay him, he is gone now.
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by G3LBS on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I was so lucky mine was G3ABG Johnny Morris, starter of the WAB Worked All Britain award. He was expert on the R1155 receiver. Once I was sitting on his chintz-covered stool and it felt warm - I discovered it was a 3-0-3 kV transformer. On another occasion I cycled to his shack and when I arrived I said, 'So Johnny you've worked Kerguelan Island at last'. He said,'How did you know?' I said, 'I copied you on the street lamps'. When he died the town of Cannock in Staffordshire was blocked. Gil W4/G3LBS.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by WB4DAD on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Guess I should mention that Erv's call was W4YNY.

 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by K1YPB on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I was first licensed as a Novice in 1962. My Elmer was my older cousin K1LWZ a SK many years now. He patiently taught me everything I needed to know as well as the cw to pass the exam, and then helped me find my first equipment and help me set my station and antenna. I will alway remember and be thankful to him for bringing me into this wonderful hobby.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KC3JV on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My Elmer was my deceased brother-in-law, Edward Webb, W4FQM. I was about 36 years old then and Ed decided that I needed a hobby. One day an ICOM-720A appeared with everything I needed including a trap dipole. Along with the package were study guides and code tapes. I studied, the hardest thing was the 13 WPM code test. In one day, at the FCC, I passed all the tests and received a pass on all and a few weeks later I got my Ticket with the call sign KC3JV which I have retained even after passing the Extra Class test.

Ed was a doctor and was flying up to be the "Doc" for an air show in northern Florida with his son. A freak downdraft caused the wing of the aircraft to come off and they were both killed. That was 15 years ago. I am now 71 years old and still active in the hobby. Thank you Ed I still think of you every time I turn on the power to my radio.

Mark
KC3JV
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by WV9K on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
For those of us with SK Elmers who we can't repay for all they have given us I think the concept of "Pay Forward" is apt, find someone worthy and Elmer / Mentor them. Very rewarding and our SK Elmers will probably be looking down, very pleased with us for doing so :-)!
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by W6ZKH on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My elmer was the original W6ZKH, my dad, who went SK in 1992. My original Call K6YDW from 1956-2009, when I went thru vanity system to retrieve his call, which was still available. Dad was in inventor of many radio circuits and antennas, along with the first crankup tower raising system for the Tri-EX towers back in the early/mid 1950's.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by ZL1BBW on December 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I had a few my dad G3WQQ (SK) when I was doing the RAE Fred Canning G6CJ for the Morse Tom G2CMH & G3YY. For the QRO Mac G3OEM.

What were they, well they all had different skills, from patience to flat out persistence.

The one thing they all taught me, many many years ago is is Amateur Radio is made by the people that use it, they may be Radio Professionals they may be Hams they may just have very deep pockets and flash gear, but they all bring a little bit of something to the Hobby.
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by NN4RH on December 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I never had an Elmer, either. Well, basically, the collection of QST magazines at the local public library was my Elmer if that counts.
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by K8AXW on December 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I never had an Elmer. There were other hams around that I had met, but none offered to help me achieve my dream of being a ham.

Many years later after finally achieving my dream of becoming a ham, I had the great fortune to meet and "Elmer" three old men. One was an electronic genius and long time ham, one never got his ham ticket until he was almost 70 years old and the third was a very intelligent and experienced ham .

All three had one thing in common. They no longer could climb towers, work in attics or on roof tops.

Being much younger, I provided the muscle and flexible thinking. What I mean by "flexible thinking" is that Jim, the genius who owned 29 patents, had a mental block at his age with computers which were new at that time. I knew nothing about computers and had to learn to teach him.

In turn he taught me about satellites and how to track and use them. Talking to him about his past when he worked for Westinghouse and the Naval Research Lab was incredible. He and I developed something as close to mental telepathy as I think can be.

Vern, who got into radio late in life and had an insatable curiously that often resulted in electronic nightmares. He was one to try running before he learned to walk. Consequently, I had to learn solid state electronics, especially ICs.

George, was a retired state police radio operator, teacher, mentor and many other things from which he became a legend in this area. He taught me patience and taking the time to analyze before jumping into a problem.

All three are now SK, and I miss them sorely.

I suppose these three relationships could be described as reverse-Elmering in a way, but now that I'm old, I believe that I was being Elmered all along!

Al - K8AXW

 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KB2DHG on December 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My first elmer was a next door neighbor to my uncle who first introduced me to ham radio BUT never really elmer'd me in helping get my license... I would have to say that once I commited to becoming a ham It was the ARRL who was reallt my elmer...
I was first licensed in 1987 and back then the ARRL had a great book called tune in the world with ham radio. It was very well done and by reading it cover to cover I was able to learn enough to take and pass my Novice exam.

Once I got my license, I was able to find many great hames who helped and assisted me so I would say I had more than 1 elmer.

But if I had to answer this question with who I considered my first elmer? I would say it was the ARRL.
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by WB2WIK on December 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I never had an Elmer per se, but met a few after I was licensed.

One was a near-neighbor who was an engineer for Western Electric and a wonderful homebrew artist. Other an an HRO-60 receiver and a D-10 Astatic microphone, every single thing in his extensive ham shack was 100% homebrewed from scratch, and also home-designed. Every transmitter, modulator, converter, amplifier, antenna...even his tower and rotator were home-built.

That's "real" ham radio.

He taught me a lot, but mostly about antennas. "They're not the most important thing...they're the only important thing," he would say. "If you have good antennas, you can do anything. If you don't, no matter how much equipment you have, you can't."

That was Neal, W2KME (SK) and I really appreciated the advice.

 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KB1GMX on December 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
MY neighbor across the street. During my younger years
I had many interests. Airplanes real and model, electricity and radios. He was an engineer old school with sawdust, metal shavings, and slide rule. From him I got my questions answered and sometimes not but the stimulus to go out and study and experiment both came from there. He was patient with the silly questions often they harbored the real questions I hadn't yet formed. There were others after him, he was the model.

These days I try to help others herd electrons, or at least keep them in the pen. It keep me young and active and I hope other active as well.

Allison
/KB1GMX
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by AE7UT on December 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've been licensed for 2 years. In that time I've only met a couple of hams face to face. That was when buying or selling equipment. I am the only active ham in my town.

I went to a club meeting about an hour away and loved it. I just don't have the kind of work that allows a "fixed" time slot in my life.

Bottom line is YOU guys out there are my Elmers. Thanks so much for all your help. I truly mean that. With your help I've built four radios, learned CW, integrated digital modes and have built a couple of antennas. Not a single face to face encounter with an Elmer. Just your patient advice (well... not so patient at times) HI

Thanks!
Merry Christmas.
73
Stan
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by K0DCH on December 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Stan,

Your QRZ page is great. What a happy thing to visit on Christmas Day.

Dave
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by K6YE on December 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have been an Elmer since the 1980s. I currently work with children associated with Boulder Amateur Radio Club Jrs (BARC JRS). I have always tried to give back some of the things that were given to me.

In my 50 years as a ham, I could not name only one person for being my Elmer. There have been many persons that have taken time to teach and/or show me new things or techniques. Some persons have been much younger than me and/or have less time as a ham. Nonetheless, I have learned a lot from them and careful to show my gratitude and appreciation.

Semper Fi,

Tommy - K6YE
DX IS and CW RULES
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by K0HML on December 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My sixth grade teacher in 1957 was Julien Meyer, W0DYC (SK) in Benson, MN . He had a shack in the classroom. Taught me the fundamentals of electricity and electronics. He planted seeds in my mind that are still growing nearly 60 years later.
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by KI4DJN on December 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My father in=law is my elmer. He is very knowledgeable and puts up with my compulsive buying and trying toys. He is the reason I got into ham radio. Bob Wilson WB4BWV is a great guy too.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KA5DWI on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I didn't have an official Elmer, but I had several others influence me to what I would do in this hobby.

Thank you;
Madison Electronics in Houston (bought my first rig).
K5UU-Jamie who rented a house to me just before I became a Ham.
WB5PMR-Al who stirred up my interest in satellites.
And Gerald-W5DBY who got me interested in 2-Meter SSB.

Share your knowledge and love for this hobby.

73s Art
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by K4IQT on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Back in 2005 there was an eHam article about "what was your most memorable QSO", and to define my Elmers, I can simply build upon most of my response at that time:

"As a 15 year-old novice brand new (KN8ZBI), I had only a very few dollars to spend on equipment. The purchase of a junk 1949-vintage FM transmitter from Ted Oliphant (W8BPC) for $5 resulted in a new homebrew rockbound 6L6 Colpitts oscillator in a cigar box running about 5 watts on 7187 KHz for a transmitter. For a receiver, my mom donated our old Zenith "Long Distance" table radio, which quickly grew a 6AG7 BFO courtesy of the remains of that FM rig. The weak spot was the receiver, of course, unstable as heck, no bandspread, and drifting like mad. The antenna was the easy part - a folded dipole in the back yard, using some old brittle 300-ohm twin lead donated by a nearby TV repair shop. No expensive coax was required, since a balun was easy to build and hang on the back of the transmitter.

In my first week as a new ham I had several wonderful local QSO's with my close friend Nick White (KN8BAB), my novice Elmer, Bill Pedigo (K8NXD), and the ham who would become my 60 wpm CW Elmer, Bill Shurance (W8BEW)."

All of those folks have been SK's for a long time (W8BPC, mom, the TV repair shop owner who was a long-time SWL, K8BAB who bravely lived with muscular dystrophy, K8NXD who was our high school radio club sponsor, and W8BEW who had used spark to communicate from ore boats on the Lakes).

Now, looking back from the perspective of 2012, my Elmers made it possible to develop and nurture a long term interest in ham radio that made my engineering career possible. I'm not on the air very much any more, but will always cherish the memories of my Elmers and will always be thankful that they took the time to guide young nerds in a rewarding and productive direction.

73,
Terry
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by W5XE on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I actually had two that "Elmered" me to my ticket.
One was Gene Jones K4BMD (Tifton Ga) helped me with
many nights of code practice and the second fellow
also in Tifton was Elmer Beck. Elmer helped me
also with code and loaned me a buzzer and key to
practice with. He also gave me along with another
local fellow our Novice test in 1956, Elmer's call
was W4ENC. He moved away and I lost touch with him
but still have memories of his modest station of the
Hallicrafters S20r and Globe trotter station. Thanks
for prodding the memory.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by K3NRX on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Father Cliff Hill, of Duquesne University during my college days. Allowed us to use the school station in the cracks between classes. Worked a ton of dx from that old collins twin station on the "bluff" in downtown Pittsburgh. Good man. Miss old Father Hill. Haven't kept in touch like I should.

V
KA3NRX
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by N4UED on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My elmer was always their whenever I needed him . An elmer should be willing to do anything to help a new ham along . I still remember taking my novice test 25 years ago in my elmers house . I still am thrilled when I get someone into the hobby . This is an amazing hobby . I am amazed at the young hams . My son is now studing for his test now . He is 8 and I am glad he is taking an interest in ham radio . Chuck N4UED
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by KA5DWI on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I forgot..

73 and Ham Radio Magazines elmered me also.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KC8ZEV on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My elmer has been a SK for many years. He was a brilliant Electrical Engineer for Rubbermaid. He elmered many a Ham Radio merit badge back in my Boy Scout days. He was one of the most patient men I have ever known. He stood for knowledge, professionalism, service to the community, kindness, patience and above all humility. He would give the "transceiver off his back" for you. He introduced to me names that will last forever....Swan, Hammerlund, Halicrafters, Collins, Emud, Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu-Musen, not to mention building my first Heathkit with him. The warmth and glow of his shack truly was "hallowed ground" of hollow state. He never lived to see the ink on my ticket, but
I send him "73" every time I cook some RF off my antenna.
I still can smell the oil in that old Heathkit Cantenna that sat in the corner of his shack.
I miss him so.

73

KC8ZEV
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KC8ZEV on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My elmer has been a SK for many years. He was a brilliant Electrical Engineer for Rubbermaid. He elmered many a Ham Radio merit badge back in my Boy Scout days. He was one of the most patient men I have ever known. He stood for knowledge, professionalism, service to the community, kindness, patience and above all humility. He would give the "transceiver off his back" for you. He introduced to me names that will last forever....Swan, Hammerlund, Halicrafters, Collins, Emud, Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu-Musen, not to mention building my first Heathkit with him. The warmth and glow of his shack truly was "hallowed ground" of hollow state. He never lived to see the ink on my ticket, but
I send him "73" every time I cook some RF off my antenna.
I still can smell the oil in that old Heathkit Cantenna that sat in the corner of his shack.
I miss him so.

73

KC8ZEV
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KC8ZEV on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My elmer has been a SK for many years. He was a brilliant Electrical Engineer for Rubbermaid. He elmered many a Ham Radio merit badge back in my Boy Scout days. He was one of the most patient men I have ever known. He stood for knowledge, professionalism, service to the community, kindness, patience and above all humility. He would give the "transceiver off his back" for you. He introduced to me names that will last forever....Swan, Hammerlund, Halicrafters, Collins, Emud, Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu-Musen, not to mention building my first Heathkit with him. The warmth and glow of his shack truly was "hallowed ground" of hollow state. He never lived to see the ink on my ticket, but
I send him "73" every time I cook some RF off my antenna.
I still can smell the oil in that old Heathkit Cantenna that sat in the corner of his shack.
I miss him so.

73

KC8ZEV
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KC8ZEV on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My elmer has been a SK for many years. He was a brilliant Electrical Engineer for Rubbermaid. He elmered many a Ham Radio merit badge back in my Boy Scout days. He was one of the most patient men I have ever known. He stood for knowledge, professionalism, service to the community, kindness, patience and above all humility. He would give the "transceiver off his back" for you. He introduced to me names that will last forever....Swan, Hammerlund, Halicrafters, Collins, Emud, Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu-Musen, not to mention building my first Heathkit with him. The warmth and glow of his shack truly was "hallowed ground" of hollow state. He never lived to see the ink on my ticket, but
I send him "73" every time I cook some RF off my antenna.
I still can smell the oil in that old Heathkit Cantenna that sat in the corner of his shack.
I miss him so.

73

KC8ZEV
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by KC8ZEV on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My Elmer would have never allowed candy canes around his equipment......one to many elves post candy cane got a hold of my mouse...forgive me.

73

KC8ZEV
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by WX4O on December 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My Elmer was SSG Meyers at the Ft. Sam Houston Army MARS Station around 1969. He helped me set up my antenna, and built me an automatic relay that muted my receiver when I transmitted. He also helped me get my first license.
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by N5XM on December 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Call it serendipity, call it what ever you want, but there was definitely synchronicity when I met RC Thonpson, kf3l. I was working as a PA in an Ortho/Spine clinic, when the Doc who I also worked for died of a blood clot in 1995. RC came to that clinic to work. Within a couple of days of chatting, I asked him if he had an idea how I could improve the reception on my Zenith radios. He drew up a long wire for me and explaned how it worked.

When we had an easy surgery to do, we talked about radio theory. In the first week, he brought me a Tech study guide and said I should study to get my ticket. He had a double major at Cal Tech, medicine and EE. Because of his teaching and Elmering, I made Extra in 13 months. I worked with him for 10 years before the clinic closed.

He bugged me every day about learning CW, and it stuck. He is also a very Spiritual soul (not religious), and he opened my eyes up to a lot of things. His Freshman Chemistry prof at Cal Tech was Linus Pauling, his Physics teacher was Richard Feynman, and his Geology prof was the guy who taught the Apollo astronauts how to recognize rocks on their trip to the Moon. I keep in touch with him regularly, and he has been a great friend and Elmer. I think I'll call him right now!
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KG9H on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
What great stories I have been reading. My elmer was George Hinkes W9HPG and also another ham. I believe George was an ARRL Director at the time. I rode my bike over (back then we had no worries about this - I am sure my mother did not know where I was riding over to) and I was probably 14 at the time. I eventually had a 20' whip on my bicycle and at 16 got my license.
Let's keep the hobby alive contributing back like was done for us guys. Frank KG9H,
Antioch, IL. The Gateway to the Chain of Lakes
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KF7YGD on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
An Elmer to me loves ham radio and loves to break it down so it can be taught to those who are just venturing into this big mystery...radio!
Thank you for the patience you had with me and you were an example of being what an Elmer is. Thanks for your help!
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by K5LDL on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My Elmers came from out of no where. My uncle, who is not a ham, got me interested in SWL. He'd show up with these amazing radios that brought the world to my bedroom when I was only 6. I kept at it until the age of 14 with radios he'd supply, wire antennas he'd help me put together and his pencil written lists of DX stations to listen for. He's in his 80's now but he still listens to his National NC-109 which I found at a hamfest and got for him. He cleaned it up and now I run his antennas for him! Time would pass before radio would become a true. From SWL to CBer.... And then...

The next guy who Elmered me was Keith, W5UTZ. He worked at Houston Amateur Radio Supply. He broke me of my CB habit and got me interested in 2M & 6M SSB rag chews and contesting. Sean, AD5V also had a hand in getting me interested in VHF contesting and improving antennas.

Charlie, KG5RQ, Robert KK5TC and my best ham radio bud Carl, KA5MEI sealed the deal for me on HF. Carl and I pushed each other to get our Tech tickets, although he had his Novice by the time we met on the air on 11M. Carl taught me enough CW for me to pass my General. George KD0RW, then owner of HARS taught me how to look for 'those little jewels' at hamfests and how to work a deal when buying a piece of gear.

There are more, always will be... Each one passes on a little bit of knowledge. Where to now? Now on to Extra... Am I willing to teach another? Of course! Pay it forward...

The best 73!
Luis K5LDL
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KK5GG on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
An Elmer is anyone who knows more about something than you do and is willing to take the time to teach you. Amateur Radio is our specific example. They are willing to take the time to share their experience with you. I really enjoy making Elmer's out of hams. I have found there is almost always something to learn from any Ham.

Happy Holidays and Happy Elmering. Make those know it all's help yah!

JB
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KD0OCY on December 31, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My elmer didn't really get me into the hobby. I had an interest in radio and never knew anyone into anything remotely related so when I finally got my license, I didn't know anyone and was a little shy to start a conversation on the repeaters. I met him through a swap net and he kept my interest up with antenna building and until I was more comfortable on the radio. To me, it's anyone that is willing to lend their time to help you improve as an amateur.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by K1LNC on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My Elmer was actually two hams, W1ODS and W1KOT. The former was an affable, kindly gentleman who loaned me a power supply for my first homebrew transmitter, patiently worked with me to build it (I was 11 years old) and helped put up an end fed wire antenna. For those of you old enough to remember tubes, it was a 6L6 crystal oscillator driving an 807 final capable of running 70 watts or so on CW only. He even scrounged one crystal on 3.7279 MHz (or Megacycles as they were called then). He administered my Novice class test in a notary public's office in April of 1959. My transmitter sat on my improvised operating table (an old door) next to my Hallicrafter's S-85 receiver waiting for my license. The FCC took two months to process my exam and one morning in late June my mom delivered that small white envelope to me at 8:00 AM while I was still sleeping (school was out for the summer). I tore it open and there it was--KN1LNC. That little piece of paper may as well have been the holy grail, the rosetta stone, or some other revered document. I immediately called Louis--W1ODS to tell him of my new callsign. I'm not sure who was happier, him or me. He guided me through my first clumsy attempts to send CW for real on the air. My first contact ever was a station in Ellsworth Maine. This was magic. Louis was a wizard and I was his apprentice. Using an old J-38 surplus key I logged contacts in the novice band. That year, 1959 saw an explosive growth in licensing. It was only the beginning. The newly created novice bands were jammed with apprentices. We made friends. We improved our skills. We had one year to upgrade to a higher class license or lose our callsigns.

W1KOT--Bill--helped me study for my General license. Back then, the General class had full operating priviledges. I had to go to Boston to take the exam before "old stoneface" as he became known. I passed the 13 wpm morse test easily--but--failed the written exam by one question. I was heartbroken. But Bill, ever patient, just picked up where we left off--and a month later I was back in Boston. This time--got it.
The "N" after the "K" in my callsign was history. I would never let it lapse--not once in 54 years.

I owe both those silent keys so much. They were wizards in a magic land--a land where we communicated without wires--with machines we made. We learned where places like Tripoli, Stuttgart, Vancouver, Pitcairn Island, McMurdo and so many others were. We learned about radio, about electronics, we made solid state devices, we even put repeaters in space. We graduated from apprentice to wizard along the way.

People today take it all for granted--and even look at radio as obsolete. For me--54 years later, it's still magic.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by G8UBJ on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I must put in a word for Jim (Bertie) Basset G6HG who was a good friend and Elmer until he went SK in the 80's He spent WW2 copying enigma and sending in reports. I don't think many people realised there was an army of people laboriously copying these encrypted blocks of code day after day. We only found out about how important it was after he left us.. Boy was his CW good!
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by NK7J on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I had a couple locals I would call elmers.
One was Larry Campbell WA7V (SK), one heck of a grouchy old logger, but one of the nicest, good hearted men I have ever met. I think of him often and still miss him.

The other was Blaine Kenney, KE7QC. Lost him last year.
Blaine literately changed my life. Back when I was in high school I think as a sophomore I heard about this ham radio class in town. I had heard a little about ham radio but knew really nothing about it.
Well I show up to class and meet the instructor Blaine and his helpers, Joe Rudi NK7U and Mike Reagan NI7T. Blaine had a real knack for finding kids that didn't quite fit the mold and bringing out their hidden talents. I was one of those kids that was just kind of floating by. In short order I figured out, with Blaine's, help that I did have something special. Ever see the dilbert cartoon about little dilbert having "the knack"? Well that was me.
Blaine helped me develop my electronic skills, my grades went from C's to straight A's my junior and senior years, he talked me into going to college and got me my first job as a electronics tech. Not to mention helping (ok aggressively nudging) me in my path to Jesus.

I know Blaine also helped several others along the way as he did me. Some went on to get EE's and become professors.

Everyday I think of Blaine and miss him very much.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KJ6SBW on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'm a relatively new ham with only a little over a year under my belt. I have two Elmers who continue to help with questions and lend aid when necessary. Both live closeby and are neighbors.

It doesn't matter what the question is or how many times I repeat it, they're both willing to respond until I get it right. When I needed a few extra hands to get my new antennas raised both of these "Elmers" were on the job giving me a hand. I still have a lot to learn and I cherish the friendship that I have with these two "Elmers".
 
RE: What is an Elmer to You?  
by KB6QXM on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Did I have an Elmer? Sort of. I had a ham radio operator that was on my paper route who brought me into his shack and showed me his SSTV setup after inquiring about ham radio.

Did he work to help me or motivate me to learn the code? No. Did the local ham club that taught me code in my novice class follow-up to make sure that I was learning and that I would take the test at the FCC office in San Francisco? No.

Good Elmers are hard to come by and far an inbetween. If you had one, great. I had to finally have the disipline to pass my code on my own and pass the tests. Did I finally become a ham? Yes. Would I have become a ham much earlier in life if I had an Elmer that worked with me to get my license. Most definately.

If you have the time, knowledge and motivation to be an Elmer. Go for it. You could make the difference in someone's life.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by K3JLS on January 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, I remember my Elmer quite well. His name is Hank Spindler - W3EEX (SK).

Hank was a very patient guy. He helped me study the code, gave me the Novice test and even came by one summer night to help me erect my Windom antenna. Since I didn't have a long extension cord to connect my Weller gun so that I would reach the antenna's center point, Hank used a cigarette lighter to heat the connection and melt the solder - neat-o!

Hank was in the Navy during WW2. When I met him in the late 50's, his home station consisted at the time of an SX-42 and a Globe Chief clone which he had built. When I saw his station, both of the items were apart as he was trying to repair the SX-42's bandswitch (they were broken even then) and add a plate modulator to his transmitter. He also had a nice homebrew 10 meter AM mobile setup.

Toward the end of the '80's I had the opportunity to telephone Hank from work one night. I thanked him for his patience and his time instilling in me the seed of a truly wonderful hobby.

I'm confident that Hank and all of the other Silent Keys are fully enjoying their lifelong hobby in heaven where - someone once said that the DX is literally - out of this world.

dit dit
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KC9UUU on January 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My first Elmer was my best friend when I was 10 years old. I didn't know that he was an Elmer . KN9OMQ now
K9OMQ Ed Crawford and his father W9BYZ Loval Crawford SK
help me get started in ham radio. I never heard of a Elmer at that time. But they help me to learn about ham radio
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KF6VCI on January 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Some OM who sacrificed precious time to help a greenhorn.
Ken, GM3JIG comes to mind. And all those builders who built kits for me, like David PA1HBB and David G3TJP. Great guys! They personify ham spirit.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by K7NG on January 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
What an Elmer is, has been described adequately. I didn't have just one, really. At least two. One was a kid a year older than I, we'd been neighbors for several years. He was the first ham I ever personally knew. I'd been messing around with SWLing for a while, but this guy, who was blind since birth, got a ham license. I was fascinated by what he was doing, and he was, without meaning to, doing a great job of showing me what Ham Radio was, and what you could do in that hobby.

I had many things getting in the way of actually pursuing a license for a couple of years, and after my ham friend moved away, the only other ham I met in that period was a really creepy old guy... but then as a sophomore in high school, I found my electronics teacher was a ham! Not only that, but he managed to offer a class in 'Communications Electronics'... One way to get an 'A' for a semester, was you could get a ham license. He taught me/us Morse code, loaned study guides, and Behold, I got a Novice license. The next semester, to earn an 'A' I had to build a receiver or transmitter that worked. Did it too, after nearly killing myself on a power supply. Learning the hard way is often, unfortunately, the best way.

So one got me really interested, and one helped me the rest of the way. I've been licensed continuously since 1968. I've 'elmered' a few along the way myself. It's the least I could do.

73, Dave
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by W9HQE on January 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My first elmer was Bob Durst w9hqe and friend of my dads and then mine when my dad passed away. I was at Bobs in 1974 the year after my dad died and he asked if I wanted to see his "ham radio" I knew nothing about ham radio and when I saw those radios I was indeed aw stuck. He got on one and the next thing I knew was talking to a guy in Africa how cool. Bob also was into the older stuff and had a set of tubes on the floor that were at least a foot tall. I asked a million questions and he just sit there answering them all. I never got into ham at that time but a few years ago Bob passed away and I remembered how I loved the radios I had saw. I studied and went for my tech lic. Then went for my general and I knew Bob was there with me. After I had got my general I talked with Bobs son and he allowed me to get his dads old call letters W9HQE Bob was truly my first Elmer
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by WA0DTH on January 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My Elmer was W0EPV Edward B Brown. I was 13 years old and found Eds QTH when out mowing lawns for a summer job. I noticed his call sign and name on his mailbox. Then I contacted him on the phone and he was willing to work with me. He was my mentor and Elmer all through High School and when I went out in the work world. He passed in his 90s a few years ago.
 
What is an Elmer to You?  
by KB6PJU on January 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My first "Elmer" was John Beland-K6AVO a retired Navy Brass Pounder and rig builder. I grew up with a pair of Dipoles in the next yard,and visited his shack often. My Ham Radio Elmer is WB6HGJ-Guy in San Diego. My novice code tests[plural!!] were a time of trial and final loss of fears. I passed,then stayed a Tech Plus for 20+ years,unable to pass the code qualifications. When I finally upgraded to General Class, I intentionally made sure that he was my first contact as a General.
I now try to Elmer as many Hams,as Hams Elmered Me.
My ongoing Elmering Job is getting my Wife Terry licensed and enjoying Amatuer Radio as much as I do.
 
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