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Author Topic: Elmers, are you hiding out?  (Read 1879 times)

Posts: 1

« on: January 26, 2011, 11:17:14 AM »

I tried a couple different radio clubs over the years and I have had no luck. I was thinking about bribery but that probably is unethical and against the Ham radio operators creed. I just can't seem to find an Elmer. Trust me I am cool plus I can make my wife bake you

So I am now out of the army, back in my hometown of Scranton, PA and I hope to make it the next radio club meeting.

I hope I can find someone into CW. As of now, I am waiting for Uncle Sam to direct deposit my tax refund so I can finally get a nice rig and antenna system. I am teaching myself morse code. I monitor 40 meters to hear on air QSOs to get a feel of real life on the air. I have almost 0 interest in voice modes. CW QSOs seem to the point, courteous, and exciting since a decent set up can get you working the world! Plus on a budget, it is probably my best way to enjoy the hobby :-)

Thank you for letting me put this all out there. I hope to get my general license this year. I have more motivation to get back on the air since my 4 year old thinks radios are cool


Posts: 1214


« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 01:03:35 PM »

Although it's always nice to know someone who can hold you by the hand through the learning process, I 'm sure you can do it on your own.  Get yourself a study guide from ARRL and copy morse code from W1AW if you have a receiver.  If you don't have a receiver you can do it with your computer by installing a simple program to learn the morse code.  But, keep in mind that the morse code test is no longer required for a ham radio exam.

Posts: 6210

« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2011, 01:34:53 PM »

1. You should update your address in the ULS database.
2. Scranton has a club with mentors!  Go to and click on "clubs".  There is contact info and meeting days and location.  I am sure there are some that do CW.
3. You have a license, and 80, 40, and 15 meter CW privledges.  Time to get a rig and get on the air!  Thats another thing clubs can help with.  And it sounds like you have a budget, so take a look at Ten Tec's new QRP rigs, the R4020 and R4030... designed just for CW QRP operations.  A little wire in the trees and you should be good-to-go!
But the club probably knows of some good used gear in the area that is available, so check that also.
Hope to hear you on the air soon!


Posts: 367

« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2011, 02:59:52 PM »

I hope you find a good local Elmer.

One of the bad things I discovered is that trying to get "Elmered" over the internet on various sites, no matter what the subject is, usually results in snide comments and innuendo that end up not even being related to the original subject or belittle the poster for their "lack of knowledge".

(No I am not saying this thread is such a case, JUST that I have seen it happen numerous times different board/different subjects)

Threads rapidly turn into such a major pissing contest that you wish you had never posted looking for help in the first place.

Local Elmers are the best option with the internet a DISTANT 2nd.
Good luck

Posts: 573

« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2011, 03:44:53 PM »

If you have an internet connection you should check out the Learn CW online" site.  If I had this tool back in 1968 it wouldn't have taken 6 months of on-air practice listening to the ARRL code broadcasts for me to get to 20WPM.
I am using it now to get my CW copy skills back to when I was a kid.

the link is:


Posts: 68


« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2011, 11:07:20 AM »

Having just relearned Morse Code (I "learned" it enough to pass the 5WPM test 10+ years ago, but never used it) I can endorse the following *free* resources:

K7QO Code Course
- learn one character at a time
- *tons* of listening including QSOs and practice like "WX hr is", "Name hr is", etc.
- these are all MP3 files you can listen to in your car, on your iPod, etc.
- two speed options--medium and fast (good to learn at a medium speed for each character and then increasing your WPM won't be as difficult later on)

Learn CW Online
- allows you to save your tries at decoding
- requires that you type your answers into the computer

G4FON Koch CW Trainer
- Windows program
- doesn't require that you type in your answers, but you can if you like and it will check them for accuracy
- another good way to learn, like the K7QO Code Course

After I felt fairly comfortable with the letters, numbers, and some of the Q-codes and prosigns I started getting on the air. I can't get on during the daytime, so I stick to 40m (at night). Since October 2010 I've been quite successful increasing my sending and receiving speed and improving my ears. I'm one state away from having 40m WAS on CW (I have WAS on CW with Alaska on 20m, but really want to get them on 40m for that band endorsement).

You might also check out the online receivers here. If you have a computer with high speed access, these are fun to play around with.

I don't know that I would suggest QRP as the way to go for someone just starting out. I'd check out a used, older rig. You can find lots of 100W rigs to do SSB/CW/AM and sometimes FM on the classifieds,, or swap area. eBay is also an option. You will probably want to invest in at least an audio filter and perhaps a crystal filter.

Good luck! I can hit PA very easily most evenings from NC. Drop me a line if you ever want to have a QSO on 40m. Best places to go are 7.100-7.120 and 7.050-7.060 (for slower code).

Posts: 340


« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2011, 12:42:33 PM »

W4PAH and others: beautifully done!  And in the true spirit of "Elmering!"

Cliff, I'll bet you find help there locally using the advice of several others.  And thank you for your service to your country.

And finally, let me commend you for wanting to learn CW.  It's not necessary, it's not for everyone, and it does require some effort.  And those are all good reasons to DO IT!

You might enjoy this article:

See you on the air on HF soon...


Don N4KC

Posts: 787

« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2011, 10:08:29 AM »

On the internet everyone is an expert, and the amount of misinformation is breathtaking. While you should be able to use some of the aforementioned internet sites to learn to copy the code, you should try to find a local ham who's willing, even eager, to help you set up your station and antenna(s). The best way to do that is go to a local club meeting. In just one meeting you'll find out whether the members are ready to help, or whether they're just a bunch of old f@rts who revel in their little clique.

Good luck and see you on HF!

Posts: 68


« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2011, 11:23:23 AM »

For the record, I had a few offers from members of my club (and we are very fortunate to have an excellent club in Orange Co., NC) to meet me on the air to practice my code. While I appreciated their offers, life is just a bit too busy for me to stick to a schedule (e.g., Monday at 8pm local time on 7.005 MHz, etc.). I found it easier to use the internet resources, MP3 files, and computer programs to learn the code on my time--and then I found plenty of patient hams on 40m in those frequencies I suggested to listen to me send slow, mistake-ridden code. ;-)

There are many ways to learn code (elmer, computer, sound files, W1AW, web sites, etc.). I won't go so far as to say that some are "right" and some are "wrong", but I will say that if you never take that first step you'll never begin to enjoy it as so many others have. Dive in and enjoy!

Posts: 58

« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2011, 05:21:33 PM »

Two of the best clubs (my opinion) in Scranton / Wilkes Barre as of 15 years ago are Scranton Pocono Amateur Radio Klub and Murgas in Wilkes Barre.  Both clubs should have many CW ops.  Both are active clubs.     (SPARK)  (Murgas)

Posts: 2104

« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2011, 05:36:51 PM »

I hope you find a good local Elmer. ....................... Local Elmers are the best option with the internet a DISTANT 2nd.

I couldn't agree more. An good Elmer will also work to keep you motivated and might even let you ride shotgun while they are operating their station.

It sounds like you are definitely going in the right direction on upgrading your license and hope to hear you on HF soon.

Tisha Hayes

Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
Free space loss (dB) = 32.4 + 20 × log10d + 20 × log10 f

Posts: 47

« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2011, 05:52:08 AM »

Well Cliff, it looks like the guys have covered most of your concerns, so all that is left is for me to volunteer
to be the baked deserts tester. I'll do it.

I'll be listening for you on 80/40 meters in Maryland. I hear a lot of K2's here.

Jim...KB3TXH...69 y.o, CW only, & gettin fat.

Posts: 58

« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2011, 03:54:29 PM »

Check out the SKCC--Straight Key Century Club.  This is a fine group of hams whose aim is to promote CW.     check then out. Membership is free, lots of elmers to help you on the air. They even have a sked site---
Join us, lots of fun
Skip  K8SOR     SKCC  2483T
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