By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU
Sam, W5KF, recently sent me a link to the Elmers’ page on the Norman, OK, South Canadian Amateur Radio Society (SCARS) website. Not only is it a listing of the club members who have stepped forward to Elmer new members, but also provides ways to honor current and past Elmers. This is from the SCARS newsletter:
“Elmer List on the W5NOR.org website
“This week we talk about a brand new feature on the W5NOR web site. In the amateur radio community, an experienced amateur radio operator who mentors a new or prospective ham is commonly called an “Elmer”. In our hobby, that seems to be a great way for knowledge to be transferred.
“Yes, we all have taken an FCC test to receive our license, however that’s only the starting point. Remember that person that helped you set up your first radio, or gave you the courage to press the PTT button, or answered endless questions about a radio, or an antenna? That’s the kind of thing we’re talking about.
“Thanks to a great suggestion from Gary Skaggs WB5ULK [not sure it was my idea. – Editor], we’ve created the SCARS Elmer Page, located at http://w5nor.org/elmers, for us to celebrate Elmers; past, present, and future. We provide a place for Elmers to list their specialty, and contact information, which allows new hams to find someone they can ask questions of.
“Since this is a new section of the web site, this list is rather short. If you’re willing to help others on a given topic, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be added to the list. Right now we need lots of different categories, like antennas, radio setup, HT programming, contesting, satellite operation, high power operation, test gear, building your own gear, repairing radios, APRS, D-Star, DMR, CW, logging, etc. oh well, you get the idea.
“You don’t need a PhD to be listed here. You just need a willingness to help others in a given area. It’s OK to be a new ham, and be listed here. You may have just struggled through your first space contact, but you’ll have infinitely more knowledge than the person who’s been a ham for 40 years, and has never tried that portion of the hobby.
“Also, there is a link to the “ARRL Elmer Award” page of the American Radio Relay League’s web site. Here, you can enter your favorite Elmer’s name and callsign. The ARRL will print a nice certificate, and mail it to the address you enter. Yes, for FREE! This certificate can either be mailed to your favorite Elmer, or you can mail it to yourself so you can present it to them personally. Feel free to order an Elmer certificate, and present it to your Elmer at an upcoming SCARS meeting. Talk with one of the officers before the meeting to get your place on the agenda. What a great way to recognize these people for their extra efforts.
“Finally, we’ve got a place to list YOUR favorite Elmer in our SCARS Elmer Hall-of-Fame. This is the place to memorialize your Elmer, whether they are SCARS members, Silent Keys, or not. I’ve already listed a few Elmers on the list from my own travels through the hobby. We’d love to list the people that help us all succeed.
“So, please help make this page useful, visit the SCARS Elmer page at: http://w5nor.org/elmers and be listed as an Elmer, and list your favorite Elmers.”
I think this is a wonderful idea, and I hope that you will consider doing something similar in your club. A little recognition could go a long way, and we need all the Elmers we can muster. And, if you’re already doing this, please send me a link. I’ll add that link to my website, KB6NU.Com.
When he’s not Elmering new hams, you’ll find Dan building kits and working CW on the HF bands. He is the author of the “No Nonsense” amateur radio license study guides, and blogs about amateur radio at KB6NU.Com. You can contact him by e-mailing email@example.com.