View Full Version : Elmer

05-07-2008, 08:08 PM
In the world of ham radio the term "Elmer" is used interchangably with mentor.

Origin of the term "Elmer"

The term "Elmer"--meaning someone who provides personal guidance and assistance to would-be hams--first appeared in QST in a March 1971 "How's DX" column by Rod Newkirk, W9BRD (now also VA3ZBB). Newkirk called them "the unsung fathers of Amateur Radio." While he probably was not trying to coin a term at the time, here's how Newkirk introduced "Elmer" in his column and, as it turned out, to the rest of the Amateur Radio world:

"Too frequently one hears a sad story in this little nutshell: 'Oh, I almost got a ticket, too, but Elmer, W9XYZ, moved away and I kind of lost interest.'"

Newkirk went on to say, "We need those Elmers. All the Elmers, including the ham who took the most time and trouble to give you a push toward your license, are the birds who keep this great game young and fresh."--Rick Lindquist, N1RL

As you can see, the term is not very old. Prior to the first use of Elmer as the one who guided and encouraged us, what were these folks called? I have received a lot of suggestions; teacher, mentor, tutor, guide, helper, sage? All are appropriate but my guess would be that first and foremost they were called friend.

Norm Fusaro, W3IZ

I've only been a ham since October 2007, but have done a ton of reading and research on amatuer radio and absolutly love the hobby. I may not know all the answers, but will surely try. So, if any old, new, or potential hams out there have questions or need help with something, feel free to send your questions my way.

05-07-2008, 09:31 PM
Thank you. I have found through life, that to be good at something you must use it on a regular basis, whether it's a tool or knowledge and we must be open-minded and willing to learn. So it is with my HAM hobby. I still don't know what I don't know. Thanks to all for being "Elmer". I will be asking as I learn.

05-12-2008, 02:26 PM
My good friend Calizonia/JimmyG/KE6LLZ is my Elmer! THANKS bro!

05-16-2008, 12:55 PM
My Elmer was ham I met back in Denver KC0GCU

Think he has enough radios?


05-16-2008, 03:22 PM
Think he has enough radios?

I see some shelf space by the clock and below that to the right. In fact, looks like the 3rd shelf up from where he is sitting could stack equipment for more radios. Get rid of the CRT monitors for LCD to save some space. Nah, he's just getting started.

05-17-2008, 06:10 PM
It's been almost 12 years since I got my first "novice" license, still remember my Elmer, Chuck, KJ4RV

05-17-2008, 10:44 PM
Ive yet to have an Elmer... but I sure do pick alot of guys brain on stuff :D so far so good

02-06-2009, 12:24 PM
Well, this group has been around on the VJC for over a year and I was reminiscing the great times we’ve had by looking at the old posts. My offer above still stands.

06-13-2009, 10:51 PM
Uh, I don't think the ARRL coined the term. At least not in the 70s. I knew guys
in the 60s that talked about their Elmer. Maybe that too was a reference
to some QST or other ARRL related source. But these were guys that
talked about the Elmers they had when THEY had first become
novices and that would have been in the 50s or earlier.

Craig 'Lumpy' Lemke