Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I

I’ve had a nearly unanswerable question put to me by a small group of very new hams – Where are the Positive Hams?  And How to Tell?

Whew – what a question and what even brought on the question?

Seems that some of us in the hobby have become forgetful of the debt we owe our Elmers (Mentors) and our fellow hams who helped us learn more about this hobby.

Was going to write “this Great Hobby” but perhaps we haven’t earned the accolade?

My personal experience was greatly “Elmer-less” for the first 15 years.  I share in the responsibility for that situation as I accepted the situation.  I didn’t strive to search out a real Elmer and until I got a wild-hair to upgrade and do a bunch of the ARRL CCE courses (I did almost every one of the original series) I didn’t push.

But then some of that must be shared with the hams I did have contact with either not being Elmer types, being very busy or in a few distinct cases being anti-Elmers (I have written about anti-Elmers before if you want to explore that idea and cures).  The local club had licensing classes with zero follow up opportunity to do more than get on the local 2m repeater or watch an old timer operating on rare occassions.

Can’t say we’ve moved all that far along in 23 years though change has left us with people interested in mentoring involved.

Yet just this last month that “Where are the Positive Hams?” question came up again.

As fellow radio amateurs do we too quickly forget that we need to “put back” by Elmering?

Look at the number of amateurs who somehow can’t even interest their own family in the hobby – what sad things is that saying?

And the deeper more penetrating follow on question to “Where are the Positive Hams?” of “And How to Tell?” suggests we still have anti-Elmers in the amateur raio community showing a face of amateur radio support while either not carrying through or being negative when these new hams approach them.

I want to leave you with the questions and in a few days I will post up my throughts adding any comments contributing towards a better amateur radio community.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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19 thoughts on “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I

  1. kd7ltn says:

    Very good question indeed.

  2. Phil- F5IYJ says:

    Yes, a very good question and a current issue for example in France where the novice license will be canceled.
    How to bring new hams in the hobby and help them to learn more about our activities seems to be for years a main topic for people who promote or have concerns about amateur radio future.
    Looking forward to get nice ideas from your next post and from comments.

  3. I do agree it is a problem. When we have so many activities and obligations, it’s hard to find some time for those extra things — I can barely keep up with my presidency of the local club and my other obligations. Perhaps I am luckier than hams in your region — we do have quite a bit of elmering in my community. My club does three technician classes a year with three metro school districts, another ham holds one or two general classes, and then my club held our first extra-class study group/roundtable in a long time this past spring. But there is so much we can do. We can invite more techs into our stations to learn how to operate and show them all of the different facets of our hobby, but that goes back to finding time for those activities, whether they are planned or spontaneous.

  4. New hams should be making the hobby what they want it to be, not asking for who is “positive’??? Who decides what is “positive”? Someone in Newington?

    One of the great myths about Ham radio is that it is a hobby where the discourse is rich and diverse and substantive. The reality is the vast majority of hams don’t know how to hold a conversation. (the oracle of the ARRL, K1ZZ and others have written about how bland ham QSO’s are). That’s being charitable. Many hams are poorly read, inarticulate and have little to say. What evidence do I cite to support this assertion? Tune the bands. Any band. Find a literate and engaging conversation on film, literature, music, history, culture, foreign affairs or technology (No not antenna tuners…..TECHNOLOGY). You won’t find these kinds of exchanges.

    Don’t listen to these self appointed Ham “Elmers” (the name makes one want to Gag) and other propagandists of hobby. Spend time with your family. Pursue academics. And focus on your children. (As an aside here, if you are not affluent, your children’s future is probably toast—- See the excellent NY Times Column by David Brooks (July 10) Opportunity Gap)

    Ham radio is a waste of time, a frivolous hobby and occasionally fun. It is not a calling.

    Cheers from LA
    mike wa4d.net

  5. Kuby, N6JSX /8 says:

    These are two questions with many tangents. The last question is more about the person asking it and how they view HAMdom.

    The first question reflects more about the current state in our society and the perception of youth towards HAMdom. Sure there are bitter HAMs on the air that would rather role the clock back to ‘the good ole days’. They’re mad about the privileges they have worked so hard to get and then to watch governments minimize their accomplishments in cheap licensees just to promote retail sales.The question also reflects the awareness our youths have with increasingly deceitful media and self-serving politicians. They are questioning everything and rightfully so! My trust in
    govt is swiftly waning…

    I remember my SK Elmer’s (WA6TEY, K6KYW, WB6ADC, N7POI) and wish I could talk to them just one more time.

    So for all of YOU, seek out your Elmers and talk to them one more time (DVR the conversation you’ll be grateful – while you’re at it talk to your grandparents too). When they are no longer here not only their wisdom is gone but their voice, accents, mannerisms, etc that you’ll surely miss.

    As far as what do I do to be a positive HAM/Elmer I write/publish technical articles and started numerous user-groups to share knowledge that may help others enjoy our hobby just a lil more. I can be a VE is asked. Steve,h as even posted a few of my articles here.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HAM-SATs
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RDF-USA

    Steve has create this blog for all to learn and enjoy.

  6. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  7. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  8. MikeK KB3KSA says:

    The “positive” hams are the ones doing the things they enjoy in the hobby, sharing their ideas, and not trying tell people what the hobby should be.

    I see too many hams having stodgy, old-timey, romantic, unrealistic views of the hobby.

  9. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  10. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  11. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  12. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  13. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  14. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  15. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  16. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  17. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  18. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my […]

  19. […] on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” and “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part II” here are my […]

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