Mentors and Elmers

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What is an Elmer?

An Elmer is a person who teaches and offers guidance to neophyte amateur radio operators.

The term first appeared in the March, 1971 issue of QST magazine's "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."

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