AB1JU The Elmer
Elmering or mentoring has long been the backbone of Amateur Radio. While technology constantly evolves, the human interaction between hams will not be replaced and will always remain one of the hobby's strongest traditions. As licensed hams we are all ambassadors of Amateur Radio and we should always be looking at ways in which we can welcome newly licensed hams and project a positive image that will attract others to ham radio.
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:
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? We have received a lot of suggestions; teacher, mentor, tutor, guide, helper, sage? All are appropriate, but first and foremost they are called friend.
The ARRL does have an "Elmer Award" and those that have helped you in your quest for ham radio knowledge can be nominated on the ARRL website.
AB1JU and Elmering
AB1JU is always happy to answer any questions you have about amateur radio. He currently assists hams and hams-to-be in the Wilkes County, NC area. You can sign up for his Elmer newsletter below. If you would like to self-study for your exam, AB1JU can help with individual or group Q&A sessions and review sessions. Don't go it alone! AB1JU is also a member of the Foothills Amateur Radio Club which has a great bunch of folks that are also willing to help. If there is a specific project you'd like help on, and AB1JU isn't the right expert for that, he'll be glad to hook you up with an Elmer that is.
Below is a link to my Learning section, which contains useful study materials for you to download. For links to the FEMA ICS Courses, you will find those here. These courses are all online and are free for you to take. (And I suggest you take them!) Please note that in North Carolina, these ICS courses are required for anyone working with Emergency Management. (Volunteer or not.)
If you have questions, feel free to use the "Contact AB1JU" form on the website. Don't forget to sign up for the "AB1JU The Elmer" newsletter too!