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Author Topic: When did Elmer die?  (Read 87004 times)

Posts: 218


« Reply #45 on: February 18, 2015, 11:42:17 AM »

I see it as a combination of factors.
There are still a few helpful Elmers around, but it has become increasingly rare to find one, luckily there are a few in my area. The ones still working for a living typically do not have much time to stop by to help, the older hams that are retired typically stick with their local group of like minded cranky old elites (COEs as described by a local Elmer), WB2RJR is a perfect example of this. "Do it yourself and don't bug me if you have questions about it" type of mentality, expecting us to learn everything ourselves and trying to ask them a question they know the answer to somehow makes us less of a ham, or makes us lids. Fortunately there are a few real Elmers left out there (like in my area KI5FR, K4NDJ, and W4RH) and they tend to dislike those "COE"s as well.

At the same time, so many of these younger hams (my age and younger, aka mid 30s and younger), are part of this "NOW" generation where they want to buy a radio and get on the air as soon as they turn the power on. Anything more and they falter, they fail to understand that they need to enter the frequency, offset, CTCSS/tone, power level and so on. When it comes to the more involved stations they just buy something, put it up and expect it to work, yet when it doesn't work (or not well) they become frustrated and have very little patience. They are part of this generation of set it and forget it, preprogrammed, toss it when it breaks instead of fixing it, let me use it "now" generation. Trying to get them to replace that $20 radio shack RG-58 because they're not reaching the UHF repeater 20 miles away is like pulling cats teeth. Trying to get them to fix a diode in that TS-120S their uncle gave them is like trying to teach them 30 different languages at once. This "NOW" generation has no patience and little capability to think for themselves, which makes for a very aggravating time for people my age and older.
I am part of the last generation to actually have some patience and understand that troubleshooting is needed with almost everything. Add in that not everything can just be taken to the local mechanic to be fixed for cheap seems to go above their heads. Radio Shack no longer repairs radios, and trying to find any radio repair shop within 200 miles is nearly impossible unless you live in a bigger city. So we have to be self sufficient most of the time and learn soldering and some basic electronic theory and practices, which is way beyond the capability or patience level of this "NOW" generation.

DISCLAIMER: I am not saying all old people are COEs, nor are all young people selfish "NOW" types, but that is the general consensus within the given age groups. And here I am stuck in the middle of it all.  Grin

de K4ISR

Posts: 2716

« Reply #46 on: February 20, 2015, 11:40:08 AM »

You have seen in the news the increase of Airline crashes/disasters, especially in the emerging Eastern Asian markets.  Airbus earlier this week announced changes to the pilot training (simulator and classroom) for their airplanes.
So what goes into this new training philosophy?
Airbus says there are three targets — making the training more effective, efficient and ‘fun’.

This last aim may seem out-of-place for some but research over past decades has shown how retention of knowledge is improved the more interactive it becomes. In fact, the highest levels of retention (90%) stem from teaching information to someone else. While reading hovers at 10%, and audio-visual learning at 20%, discussion and practice methods give 50% and 75% retention levels respectively. In this instructors are set to move from a one-way briefings or lectures to discussion and ‘facilitating discovery’.
Airbus’s new training philosophy thus takes elements from how we learn to operate smartphones/or tablet computers today — not by reading thick manuals, but by interaction and trying it out.
See more at:

This actually is a return to experiental or "hands-on" learning, that was eliminated from many educational methods, beginning in the 1980s.  By the 1990s, electronics hardware labs were closed/sold-off to facilitate more classrooms for software/programming coursework.
The sad part, many of those have no idea how the underlying hardware (that they are controlling) actually works.

Posts: 367

« Reply #47 on: March 03, 2015, 07:24:50 AM »

A guy studies for his ticket and becomes a general.  Buys a used transceiver, power supply, builds a dipole and strings it up. Has no previous operating time with another ham so his skills on phone are limited.  First thing I would do is listen for a while to observe how hams are communicating.  I would find some unused frequency and tune up and test my output.  Maybe he has RF coming down to his rig because of mismatches, etc.  So what does he do.  Well let's say he makes contact with some station and that station hears the RF.  Most of the time, the other station will advise the new guy what steps he might take to fix the problem.  Also, since we are in the internet age, most if not all of the information is available.  In previous decades that information was only avaiable in a handful of books and via 'elmers'.  Therefore, today, there's no excuse why a new ham can't emerge in a relatively capable manner from the start.  As he operates on the air others will advise him for improvements; a half intelligent guy will figure things out relatively quick.  Throw the myriad personalities into the mix and you have the state of humanity juxtaposed into the hobby which is what we witness all the time on the air and on these threads.  I wouldn't worry too much if the original 'elmer' has faded away.  Guys will figure things out or they won't.  If they can't then someone will help them..normally.  So if you want to call him 'elmer' that's your choice.
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