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My Elmer Story

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:51 pm
by AA5SR
I'm 57 and been licensed since '89. The love for radio began as a young boy listening to baseball games with my dad while lying in his bed at night. I think I enjoyed the changing conditions of the radio broadcast more than the play by play coverage. I liked hearing the QRN and QSB, but my dad didn't. The crackling static sounds somehow calmed me and often times I would drift off to sleep.

In the sixth grade, my science teacher tried to teach us Morse Code. For the life of me, I just couldn't cut it. I was pretty sure that I would never be a radio operator. A kid down the street was an ham and I marveled at his station.He tried to encourage me to get my ticket, but the code experience in the sixth grade was still too fresh in my mind. I resorted to CB.

Long after my childhood and well into my way of being a husband, wife, and father, I met my Elmer, WE5O. I met Ron while installing home security systems as a second job. I commented on his handsome hamshack and mentioned my love of radio. He wasted no time going to his closet and pulling out a Ten Tec Century 21, dipole, straight key, and code practice tapes.

Ron pretty much put the ball in my court. I figured if someone, a stranger, could have that much interest in me learning to become a ham, the least I could do was to give it an honest try. Little did he or I know what a door he had opened for me.

In about a month, I had my Novice ticket. When it was time to get my own gear, I told Ron that I was returning his equipment. That's when he asked me to do something for him. Of course I answered 'yes' without hesitating, even though I had no idea of what he would ask. He asked me to keep using the code only transceiver until I got my Extra Class ticket.

Well as you can see, ol' WE50 was no dummy. He is pretty much a CW only Op and wanted me to respect this new language, too. I agreed and had my Extra license within a year. That pretty much locked me in as a Morse Code lover and some 22 years later, I'm still pecking away with a smile on my face.

I've returned the favor once during my years in the hobby. It felt great to help someone learn Morse Code. Most of that help is just to reassure and help build confidence. I hope before I make my final QSO in life to do it again.

Thanks Ron WE5O. If any of you get the opportunity to work Ron, give him my best. AA5SR David

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:49 am
by N6EV
Great story David! It's amazing what a little (and sometimes persistent) encouragement can do to help someone achieve their goals. Being an Elmer to new CW operators is very rewarding and in my eyes a high honor. Just like being somone's first CW QSO on air. I don't know who get's more excited.. the new op or me! I always follow up with an email and QSL to mark the event, provide more encouragement and offer a path to future patient QSOs on air.

Re: My Elmer Story

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:47 pm
by G0KZZ
AA5SR wrote:... I think I enjoyed the changing conditions of the radio broadcast more than the play by play coverage. I liked hearing the QRN and QSB... The crackling static sounds somehow calmed me and often times I would drift off to sleep.


Hiya David

I know that this post has been on here a while, but I've only just read it and had to post a comment.

I very often switch on my HF rig and just tune to an 'empty' frequency, then wait to see what pops up on there. I find that even the gentle background hiss or pops and crackles relax me no end. In fact I very often find that I feel quite drowsy after a ten or fifteen minute shot of 'spherics (to use an old term).

Interesting post!


Best 73, Mark.

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:21 pm
by k8jd
I hope you tuned to one of the SKCC frequencies that are unoccupied to listen !

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:36 pm
by KB7GL
Really have enjoyed this string. I, too, must have an affinity for listening to "nothing"...

When I get home from work, I frequently turn-on the rig, tune to 14.050, put my feet up on the desk and drift-off for a nice snooze. And, I can recall, as a kid, I often fell asleep while listening to foreign broadcasts on my Dad's SX-62.

Something about it is just too relaxing. Reminds me of camping next to a mountain river or creek. And, occasionally, some interesting signals rouse me from my reverie!

Re: My Elmer Story

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:41 pm
by w4dax
I want to add my agreement that just tuning to an unused frequency can be relaxing. When I am in my office I tune the HF rig to 7.117 Mhz. As I work on paperwork or even a kit the static is in the background. Every once in while someone will tune up on the frequency and call CQ Of course I will answer them and have an enjoyable QSO. I have met many new CW ops this way. I really enjoy the "noise" in the background.