Are you an “Amateur Radio Elmer” or “Just a Fudd?”

It is an interesting group we are as Radio Amateurs.  Those gushing endlessly about the newest thing in Amateur Radio Technology, the latest DXpedition and elbow deep in education & community.  Those settled into an easy going occasional Radio Amateur mode.  Those fretting that we’re growing grey and fixating on any waiver in the number of licenses issued.  And those who plainly have soured into pining for some day long gone by & negatively contrasting everything current against their stylized prehistoric “ideal moment from the past.”

Seems a dichotomy of either being “an Amateur Radio Dinosaur” or “an Amateur Radio Modern Mover” is far too prevalent in the hobby.

Is it realistic to suddenly expect introspective hams, those who never involved their families or friends over long periods of Amateur Radio licenses to become today’s recruiters for the hobby?

These are the folk, as good of souls as they are, who have never felt a need to share their hobby.  Their children and family never became hams, and they desperately would live in an idealize past rather than face reality of life.

As they stretch their ideal world into something better than it ever really was, then contrasted it to perceived failures of the current situation – a situation they have no intention of every giving a fair shake – they have become bitter.

Fortunately age, health, ability and longevity as a licensee are in no way directly related to whether a person ends up a Radio Fudd.  It is only the most heart-hardened Fudd who can’t change into an Elmer.

You harvest from the seeds and in keeping with the quality & quantity of those seeds you’ve planted.

We’ve all watched once vibrant hams loose their “mojo” and go negative.  Often they talk smack, claiming perhaps that the only real mode is CW when no one has been able to get them to touch a key in years, or prattle on about “back in my day” codswallup intended to belittle the efforts of anyone who has more recently taken up the hobby.

Often they go into a major sulk when asked “who have you brought into our hobby and when?”  Usually they have one person form sometime some years ago, but simply can’t figure out that as a “grumpy old man” people don’t want to join them in the hobby.  

The choice is each of ours – we can look to the future with the idea that the cup is at least half-full or we can pull down the hobby that sustained us and declare it all doom in a cup-half-empty ideal.

I’ve rattled around on this post, trying to be sensitive to misery of those who long ago stopped bringing in new blood into our hobby and somehow changed into Fudds.  

And I have no wonderful platitudes to offer on how to nudge a Fudd into becoming an Elmer, if they even can.

For the Elmers it is necessary to understand the needs of the Fudds, handling them much as a person with Aspergers needs to be handled – with great understanding, no loud or sudden noises and with an acceptance that reality is different for them.

For the Elmers it is necessary to mitigate the negative influence of Fudds.  Nothing will kill a club or community of amateurs quicker than a a bunch of Grumpy Old Men. By keeping positive and setting aside the irrational foibles of those lost in the past & negative on the present, an Elmer can protect their students from the disaster of being run off by silly negativism.

Keep it happy, positive and with an eye to what you can do to make the future better!



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One thought on “Are you an “Amateur Radio Elmer” or “Just a Fudd?”

  1. Scot, K9JY says:

    Yes, the attitude of too many hams is exclusion, not inclusion. This harms the hobby and pushes potential hams away. Time to change those attitudes!

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