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New Hams

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Newly licensed? Not sure where to begin?

OK, so you’ve taken the first step, passed the FCC licensing exams and obtained your “ticket” and new callsign. Congratulations! You’re on your way to making new friends, learning valuable communications skills and enjoying the multi-faceted hobby that is ham radio!

But where to start? No doubt you may have already heard about all the interesting activities hams enjoy, from bouncing radio waves off the Moon, talking to astronauts, chatting with other hams across the globe, performing public service, and so on. Maybe you’ve already bought a radio. You’ve come to the right place.

We encourage new hams to check into our weekly New Ham Net, held at 9 p.m. on Thursdays on the club’s 147.330 repeater. Not sure what a “net” is? Think of it as a meeting that takes place on the air instead of a boardroom. Participants “check in” to radio nets using their callsign and often participate in topical discussions. As the name suggests, the New Ham Net is geared towards helping newcomers to the hobby conquer the trepidation of the first contact. We’ll discuss topics relevant to new hams and offer tips to progress in the hobby.

To participate you’ll need a radio capable of operation on the 2-meter band. A 5-watt handheld radio is often all you need to enjoy the net. Be advised our tower is located in northeast Columbia, so if you are farther outside the metropolitan area a good antenna may be required. Once the net begins, follow the control operator’s instructions and don’t be afraid to speak when check-ins are called for!

Setting up your radio is important. The net takes place on a repeater, so remember your Technician-class license training and get your rig programmed properly! Our repeater transmits on 147.330, with a positive (+) shift. Your radio should be programmed for a PL tone of 156.7.

Having issues? Feel free to contact us!

New hams may find the ARRL’s resources helpful!

Elmer Program

We have an “Elmering” program here at the Columbia Amateur Radio Club. If you need help and are looking for an Elmer or you’re an experienced operator with some time to mentor new hams please let us know.

Origin of the term “Elmer”

The term “Elmer”–meaning someone who provides personal guidance and assistance to would-be hams–first appeared in the March 1971 issue of the ARRL Magazine QST in a 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

Helpful links

Permanent link to this article: http://w4cae.com/new-hams/