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Author Topic: When did Elmer die?  (Read 20764 times)
AC2EU
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« on: June 30, 2014, 08:05:35 AM »

Hello all,

I'm not a young guy, but I am relatively new to AR. I have been learning CW pretty much on my own, since the club CW guys like to see themselves as elite and anyone who can't do 30 wpm or doesn't know everything about being a CW op is just a LID.
They don't seem to have any interest in reducing the "LID population" by teaching or mentoring, either.

On field day , I got yelled at for not jumping on a CW CQ fast enough by one of the elite. The fact of the matter was that I simply wanted to listen for a second time to make sure I got the call correct. They were 20-30 WPM exchanges which were a stretch for me to copy.
When did all of this stop being fun and become a blood sport?

Elmer must have been a great guy, but I am yet to meet him. Has he passed on?
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AF6WL
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2014, 08:23:32 AM »

Less haste more speed ... I also hear so many fast calls with no reply and wonder if just slowing down occasionally would result in more QSOs .

Are there some stats showing morse reading speed over the population of active amateurs - I'm sure that distribution would not be centered on 25wpm. Perhaps it's bimodal 12 and 25 ?
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K6CPO
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2014, 09:58:29 AM »

Hello all,

I'm not a young guy, but I am relatively new to AR. I have been learning CW pretty much on my own, since the club CW guys like to see themselves as elite and anyone who can't do 30 wpm or doesn't know everything about being a CW op is just a LID.
They don't seem to have any interest in reducing the "LID population" by teaching or mentoring, either.

On field day , I got yelled at for not jumping on a CW CQ fast enough by one of the elite. The fact of the matter was that I simply wanted to listen for a second time to make sure I got the call correct. They were 20-30 WPM exchanges which were a stretch for me to copy.
When did all of this stop being fun and become a blood sport?

Elmer must have been a great guy, but I am yet to meet him. Has he passed on?

Find yourself another club.  The has to be one out there that is welcoming to newer hams.

I know I wouldn't be long in a club like that.  If someone yelled at me for trying to get the correct call, it's likely I would have gotten up from the operating position and walked off. 

It's the elitist, "I hate no-code hams" attitude that is going to kill amateur radio.  it's going to drive off the new people and the elite will eventually die off. 
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KF5VPK
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014, 12:30:12 PM »

Elmering went down hill somewhere between the early 1970s and this century. I got fairly good help back then, hardly any now.

I would say find a new club as well. The one who yelled at you must think they are perfect, and they aren't.

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K1CJS
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2014, 01:32:50 PM »

It isn't only ham radio.  Society in general is at fault.  Do it right, do it the first time, don't waste time, and the granddaddy--if you don't do it my way, you're not doing it right!

I agree with finding another club.  There's got to be one around, even if you have to travel eight or ten--or more--miles to get to it.
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K8QV
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2014, 01:57:26 PM »

Elmers used to be younger, I think. The only people left who know anything about classic ham radio, as opposed to computer/digital/EMCOMM, are about 112 years old and understandably cranky. Don't get me wrong, I'm an old fart, too, but I observe that these days few want to teach and fewer want to learn. I am lucky, however, to know a couple of exceptions, so keep looking.
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AC2EU
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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2014, 03:22:43 PM »

Elmers used to be younger, I think. The only people left who know anything about classic ham radio, as opposed to computer/digital/EMCOMM, are about 112 years old and understandably cranky. Don't get me wrong, I'm an old fart, too, but I observe that these days few want to teach and fewer want to learn. I am lucky, however, to know a couple of exceptions, so keep looking.

Actually, in this club, most of the ancient guys are quite helpful, but don't have the energy to "go all in". It's the middle age guys that run the thing that should be "Elmering" or at minimum, refrain from calling newbies LIDS and be patient with others  if they don't wish to mentor. Some have been doing CW since they were teenagers. I have been at it for only two years
It's like they are saying "you'll never measure up to OUR standards". Who needs that crap? Give me another year or two and I'll be able to keep up with high speed CW,only because I'm a stubborn , tenacious S.O.B, but certainly no thanks to this group.

I  posted this in the club section so that other AR clubs ( and maybe mine, too) will stop and think about the face they are presenting to the public and new members. Perhaps they will reflect why people might want to join their club in the first place and understand that there are numerous facets to the hobby-NOT just what they are into. .. If you don't care, it will be a very small club, if any club at all.

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AA4PB
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2014, 04:33:23 PM »

In my experience (since the late 1950's) a club field day is often not a good place for a new ham (or new to CW) to be operating the radio. Too many people are all out to obtain a winning score for the club and they are easily upset if they think someone is not keeping up the QSO rate. I found field day much more enjoyable when a couple of friends and I used to set up a tent, generator, and a single radio. Zero pressure because none of us cared much about the score or QSO rate - we were just there to have fun. Took plenty of breaks. Shut down the station for meals and to get a decent night's sleep.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 04:36:40 PM by AA4PB » Logged
WA2ONH
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2014, 07:19:17 PM »

And than there's the question, when was Elmer born?

If you have access to the March 1971 Issue of QST or ARRL Pub Archives,
look up the "How's DX" Column by W9BRD Rod Newkirk, page 91.

That's the 1st time "Elmer" appeared and was noted by Newkirk as
" ... someone who provides personal guidance and assistance to would-be-hams.
We need those Elmers. The unsung fathers of Amateur Radio."
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 07:45:02 PM by WA2ONH » Logged

73 de WA2ONH dit dit    ...Charlie
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
"No time is ever wasted that is spent LEARNING something!"
G7MRV
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2014, 09:43:36 AM »

One thing I really cannot stand is when people think they have the right to yell or be aggressive to someone simply because that person is not as 'up to speed' on something. I find this in the workplace as well.

Do not allow this to happen to you - in whatever shape or form it is bullying.

A good mentor will always be patient, even if you infuriate them! If anyone does this to me, I will simply explain to them why I dont like it, and move on somewhere else - even if that leaves them in the lurch!

I am 38. I instruct in radio, both amateur and professional broadcasting, but I am also a student - currently learning a new dept, and see it from both sides. Dont let anyone push you around just because your learning, but likewise, consider the context - as someone else said, field day might not be the ideal place to get your initial experience, its a quite 'full-on' environment in many cases.

Likewise, if you are an Elmer - remember that even if your student is an adult, they will be unsure, and possibly nervous - even the big fellas! Ive seen ex-paratroopers sat by my desk shaking and sweating as they take control! Go easy, dont let your own frustration spill over!
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K6CPO
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« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2014, 10:33:40 AM »

In my experience (since the late 1950's) a club field day is often not a good place for a new ham (or new to CW) to be operating the radio. Too many people are all out to obtain a winning score for the club and they are easily upset if they think someone is not keeping up the QSO rate. I found field day much more enjoyable when a couple of friends and I used to set up a tent, generator, and a single radio. Zero pressure because none of us cared much about the score or QSO rate - we were just there to have fun. Took plenty of breaks. Shut down the station for meals and to get a decent night's sleep.


But Field Day isn't a "contest."  At least that's what everyone says.  I know that in my case, I really don't care much about where my club places in the scoring (and I'm the club President) but more whether everyone enjoyed the weekend and perhaps learned something new.
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AC2EU
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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2014, 12:00:11 PM »

Quote
But Field Day isn't a "contest."  At least that's what everyone says.  I know that in my case, I really don't care much about where my club places in the scoring (and I'm the club President) but more whether everyone enjoyed the weekend and perhaps learned something new.

Therein lies the rub. I agree with your philosophy on field day as I believe most others do as well. I ran it as a Ham Radio show case and and an all around fun day.
The turnout was fantastic. This year, when the stated goal was to "win or at least place high in the class", only the hard-core contesters 
showed up. When people ( public or Ham) saw the tense mood, they didn't stay long. I made the mistake of trying to participate.
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N8AUC
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« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2014, 01:44:01 PM »

I agree with K6CPO. Field Day is not a contest. Oh sure, there is a contest aspect to it. That is there to entice participation. But it isn't specifically a contest.

If you ask 10 different people what Field Day is, you'll get 11 different answers. Some will tell you it's a contest, some say it's an EMCOMM exercise, some will say it's a social event, or a club picnic, or an outdoor training class. All of which are correct to one degree or another. It's different things, to different people. And that's OK.

I know that for our club, it's not about being competitive. It's spending some time outdoors with good people, having some good food, making some contacts on the radio, and teaching some of the newer hams by making a demonstration out of scooping up bonus points. We taught some new guys how to handle message traffic when sending the field day message to our section manager. Then let them compose a radiogram and had them check into the local traffic net to try their hand at traffic handling. When that was done, we hooked up a laptop computer to the rig and copied the field day bulletin from W1AW. Mainly to teach the newer folks "here's how you do this". We had fun.

As for your club experience? It's unfortunate, but that can happen sometimes. There are lots of different clubs out there. They're all different, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, desires, attributes, and abilities. Each one brings something a little different to the table. If you're not getting what you need, or want from the club you are with, then by all means find another.

73 de N8AUC
Eric
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KB4QAA
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« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2014, 04:11:12 PM »

Being growled at about being too slow at Field Day has nothing to do with 'elmers' or helping others gain experience.

Find another group (or start your own) to do Field Day with who share your attitude, be it Cut-throat contest, Fun, Try out others equipment, or beer and brats....whatever. 

I personally don't like the term 'Elmer'.  These days it seems to have the connotation of 'newbs' (argh) who are so lazy they want everything spoon fed to them.  They won't bother to buy a single reference book.   They don't want to build friends so much as a lifetime commitment from some old timer so they can drain the knowledge from them and pester them to death. (exaggeration).

Dont' take the incident personally.   Build friendships with the good people in the club and avoid those who make life unhappy.  b.
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K4PIH
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2014, 09:30:41 AM »

You hit the proverbial nail a glancing blow. It's not just that you were uncomfortable with the situation, it's also the fact that the same kind of person that growls at you for not going fast enough, is the same kind of a**hole that steps all over everyone else during contests. Yes it's supposed to be a contest but it's not a war. I've lost count of how many times I have been enjoying a nice easy rag chew with another ham and the CQ Contest morons just come right on down and smother everything. Unfortunately they are usually chasing a W1AW/something for points and just don't care.

Field day has morphed from setting up in a different location, operating, having some good outdoor cooking, and building relationships within the club and on the air, into just another point grab and your club/name in a magazine and anybody else on the air be dammed.

I Elmer My local Boy Scout troop(s), Cub Scouts, Explorer Scouts, and any other group or individual that shows even the slightest interest. The that I belong to worked this past field day and we had a blast! Good people, good food, camping, oh and we will submit logs but the point was to foster friendship in the club and "play" radio not make it into the top 3, 5, or even honorable mention.

Find another group. If the current one asks why you are not interested tell them the truth. Jim or Bob or Sue or whatever call sign got on your case for not meeting their standards and that you decided it’s a hobby and not a religion and don’t need them. 
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