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Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part VI 31 - July - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, The Positive Ham.
1 comment so far

Following on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my thoughts:

Awards/Wallpaper for both Elmers and the “Elmered”

When you think of the efforts, getting on the air at odd times of the day to catch a rare DX station in increase our DXCC counts, endless calling “CQ CQ Nebraska for WAS ..” to get that last state for a Worked-All-States award, or trying to run our station around the clock for a weekend to get every county in that State QSO party…. when you think of the things we get up to get an award – a piece of paper we put up like “wallpaper” in our radio room or den to show off, and perhaps a brief mention in those results listings in QST that look like the stock prices pages from the newspaper – we’ll we seem to be pretty highly motivated by the small acheivement.

Why not put that same motivation to use rewarding successful effective Elmers with Awards that they can use as Wallpaper on their glory wall?

A few weeks ago I stopped at the butcher shop to pick up an order and noticed the butcher had a beautiful large “Meister Brief” certificate from his West German school hanging.  The certificate was stunning and even without knowing German impressive.  This was no little lazer printed 8-1/2 x 11 form, but was the real McCoy, and obviously a point of pride.

Consider rewarding your club’s effective & successful Elmers with a tangible award in recognition of their contributions that they can display as wallpaper in their shack.  Include in recognition the student with a certificate type award marking their success as the “Elmered.” 

….

So these are a few of my observations and thoughts – what are yours?

73

Steve
K9ZW

Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part V 28 - July - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, The Positive Ham.
1 comment so far

Following on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my thoughts:

Encouragement to Find an Elmer

This is so basic, yet we see new licensees andnew interested candidates left without hardly a word of guidance.

The saying goes “Hindsight is 20-20″ which explains why such a simple idea as searching out an Elmer seems self-evident from an estabished ham’s viewpoint.

Whether our local club plants the idea to find an Elmer during Hamcrams, as a follow up with new members, or even as a handout with suggestions, it is important to plant the seed of the idea.

My life has given me exceptional opportunities as the person mentored by exceptional mentors, including in amateur radio.  The most influencial radio amateur was not a local club member, or someone who wanted to be leader of this group or that group, rather it was meeting someone who “just does it” at a high level and who could speak from experience that helped me move forward in the hobby.

I developed a self-drive – self-encoouragement – to find an Elmer, as I was already clear what I would like to do, and I wanted to avoid making too many mistakes that could be avoided by a bit of guidance.

Working with a new ham friend at distance I was pleased when he made the effort to search out a small group of positive effective elmer types locally to his QTH with whom he could get input on what works well where they live.

Repeating & telling the stories of seccessful Student-Elmer relationships is helpful.  If “Elmer” bugs you as a label, use “Mentor.”

Put some meat on those stories.  The hams who prattled on about how this SK or that SK was such a wonderful Elmer to them, never explaining what made that experience wonderful were just telling stories about themselves.  Useless prattle.

Thos who described how they and their Elmer interacted, and how it helped them in the hobby generalize the experience into a shareable form.  They are talking about the special mentorship and encourangement of a good student-Elmer situation.

Do what is needed to plant the idea of finding the mentorship of an Elmer in your fellow ham.

….

So these are a few of my observations and thoughts – what are yours?

73

Steve
K9ZW

Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part IV 25 - July - 2012

Posted by k9zw in A Good Read series, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, The Positive Ham.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far

Following on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my thoughts:

Recognition of Elmership

This is one the first of the keys of developing teaching & mentoring resources in your local amateur radio community – Publicly recognize those who are effective & willing Elmers.

I know some have bristle at the use of “Elmer” as the amateur radio enthusiast’s label for “a good mentor.”  Our club used to have a member who really disliked calling the club meeting room the “Club Shack” too.  Feel free to adopt whatever names are comfortable and effective for you and your amateur radio community, but recognize that just like “Ham” in Ham Radio, these names have a place in the jargon & history of our shared hobby.

So for tradition’s sake I’ll use “Elmer.”

Your Elmers should know they are special.  Continued public recognition of their contributions should be regular, repeated and widely shared.

That doesn’t mean you praise some guy who back in the 1980′s helped someone out – that is ancient history.

It does mean that the guy who is working with a handful of homeschool kids on getting licensed, the guy who just helped another person get their PSK software and station on the air, the person who just took time to show a few of us how to put on cable connectors – - these people should be praised!

Use words of “thank you,” quiet congratulations to them on a personal level, club certificates and awards.  Include them in press releases, make sure their students tell them “thank you” and give them credit.

Repeated public praise of the successful and willing Elmer will nurture that Elmer and inspire others to join the Elmer ranks.

….

So these are a few of my observations and thoughts – what are yours?

73

Steve
K9ZW

Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part III 22 - July - 2012

Posted by k9zw in A Good Read series, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, The Positive Ham.
Tags: ,
3 comments

Following on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my thoughts:

Technical Hermitage

Ok – this one is bait of stretch, but perhaps asking the new ham to “go away and teach themselves” isn’t such a bad thing.

In my development of interest in the hobby I had found none who were either willing or equipped to Elmer.  Some of the hams lacked time, and many just didn’t Elmer.  Some were themselves lacking technical depth to teach & mentor.

So I undertook a “Technical Hermitage” actually withdrawing from the local club and searching out books, web resources and later on-line & classroom learning sessions.

I started my notes and approached planning with the knowledge that I simply could not divert needed resources from family needs and what I did save to invest in my interests needed to be effective.

My “Technical Hermitage” took several years, along the way which I not only read & researched, but slowly tried my hand at various ham hobby tasks.

The hermitage was not absolute, as I would make a beeline to any opportunity to operate or learn.  I just moved past the limitations of poor Elmers, anti-Elmers and the overly busy possible Elmers put in my path.

I also quickly learned to not waste time on foolish faux-Elmers who were willing to spend some time only if it was to toot their own horns.

EDIT – This quote was sent to me once I put up this post:

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”

— Isaac Asimov

Like a musician going off to “woodshed” – that is to practice on his own until he had mastered the horn – breaking away on a “Technical Hermitage” has a role.  In a “Technical Hermitage” I only encounter the most positive ham I then knew – myself – while teaching myself.

….

So these are a few of my observations and thoughts – what are yours?

73

Steve
K9ZW

Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part II 19 - July - 2012

Posted by k9zw in A Good Read series, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, The Positive Ham.
3 comments

Following on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my thoughts:

Keep the anti-Elmers in Check.

Whether as club officers or as fellow hobbyists, quietly and without fanfare shun the anti-elmer, never referring anyone to them.  Would you even consider recommending a shabby restaurant to those around you?  Of course not, so why steer anyone to an anti-elmer.  When an anti-elmer volunteers evaluate if the group has enough supervision skills & time to help the anti-elmer and the learner, otherwise just don’t assist making a bad connection.

While running Hamcrams we made the mistake of letting anti-elmers offer to mentor/tutor candidates, and it was a disaster.  The anti-elmers simply did their same head games and with their the-talk-without-the-walk failure to in some cases even contact their students while reporting back “all is well, going good” they sabotaged numerous candidates before we realized what was happening.

In the rare case of the truly negative to outright evil fellow hobbyist openly shunning them is warranted, provided the reason is well known and in the open.  Again you wouldn’t recommend a restaurant noted for making customers sick, with health hazards or in a very unsafe situation, and likewise never send learners anywhere near these unsafe hams.

Also watch out for the ineffective who seem beyond reasonably eager to volunteer.  There may be something deeply wrong going on, as some clubs have found to the chagrin when that enthusiastic anti-elmer is suddenly up on charges.

Oh, if the anti-elmer gets mad and threatens to leave the community of radio amateurs (usually unless the group changes to meet their demands) let them go.  The door can’t hit them in the backside fast & hard enough.  Just as if you were eating grapes and bit into a bad & sour grape you would spit it out, the bad & sour need to be spat out.

Basically until an anti-elmer (if they can) is reformed, keep students away from them.

 

(BTW I’ve written about the non-Elmering type before: 

Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain – Cause & Effect of Non-Elmers

http://k9zw.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/repost-pay-no-attention-to-that-man-behind-the-curtain/ )

….

So these are a few of my observations and thoughts – what are yours?

73

Steve
K9ZW

Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part I 16 - July - 2012

Posted by k9zw in A Good Read series, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
1 comment so far

Following on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my thoughts:

Stop playing the “Zero Sum Game”  - More Hams doesn’t mean less for everyone!

Set aside the silly idea that hobby knowledge and skills are “property” that somehow diminishes in value if more know things and can do things.  Many hams seem to operate this way, and these sure are not pioneering inventors who uniquely discovered the knowledge & skills they somehow make themselves believe to give them self-importance.  Whether a few thousands or millions of others, these bits of knowledge and these skills are not unique.

We are for the most part not trailblazing, the “art” has its form and the science is applied.  We are walking down established paths.  My own main station to the last component is assembled from my selection from commercial building blocks.  Even my QRP station is built from KITS – having a go at assembly of electronics is nothing special.

Rather than the “Zero Sum Game” idea – a thought process that presumes there is only so much spectrum, skill, technique, honor, DX… anyone of a plethora of axis of differentiation, and that by sharing something from that axis we somehow reduce ourselves, we need to honor the idea that “We are only as good as how well we teach & share.”

….

So these are a few of my observations and thoughts – what are yours?

73

Steve
K9ZW

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