What the Heck is an Elmarine?

21 Jun

No, it is not a Spanish Speaking Marine. It is (or can be) however, a newly interested Ham Wannabe that has an Elmer. A long time ago Rod Newkirk was credited with inventing the term Elmer to describe a Ham that devotes some time and resources to developing a newly interested Ham candidate.  As far as I know there was never a term describing the “candidate” him or herself. Why not Elmarine?

There are lots of Hams who want to share and give a little back to the hobby. For a lot of us its more than fun; it is or has been a means to an occupation, livelihood or a long held pastime. In my case it has been both. In order to give back a little I try to sponsor a plaque or participate in some club activities or maybe give some newcomer a chunk of hardware they may otherwise not have resources to purchase. These “opportunities” come all too infrequently.

Recently, while daydreaming about ways to share my lifetime of fun and education due to Ham Radio I began thinking of rewarding ways to share the experience. I tried to figure out how to capture some young or not so young persons imagination with the thrill of discovery that I encountered when I became interested and was able to scratch the itch that was Ham Radio.  What better way to accomplish this than get on the air? How about capturing the sound of a faraway place in his very own set of headphones attached to your rig? Or perhaps working, with you at the helm, some state or country. Then, after certifying the accomplishment of the Nubie in say Field Day, NQP or perhaps a DX Contest, submit your contest or Field Day entry to a club sponsor to let your Nubie receive a  printed certificate for say DX 25, DX 50 or WAS 25 or WAS 35 etc?

Operating events abound. There is hardly a weekend that doesn’t have some major or minor activity that can be used as a “carrier” or “vehicle” to allow an Elmer and his Elmarine to play radio and achieve a certificate for the activity. At least they can provide the platform to launch the challenge. It is a simple matter for the Elmer to print and annotate the ones worked by the Elmarine….all that remains is a club or organization to sponsor the certificates. Certainly more than a single op event can be used to achieve the certifications. And what a thrill to receive a Certificate in the mail!

As for a source of Elmarines, there are lots of scouting meetings in every community, also club meetings are rife with Newbies standing or sitting in the back someplace waiting for someone to speak to them. Reach out and touch a new person! Clubs should do as some churches do and open meetings with introductions and calls for guests. I dont see this very often. It makes newcomers feel welcome.

All that really remains is to challenge a club to sponsor this sort of certificate activity. It would take the continuity offered by a major club to pull this sort of thing off. Someone like YCCC or NCCC or equivalent, perhaps a magazine? If someone was truly enterprising it could all be done via web submissions-automated like a contest entry. That is beyond my expertise but is certainly possible given the penetration of the internet today.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG

1 Comment

Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Radio


One response to “What the Heck is an Elmarine?

  1. Darwin Piatt

    July 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Hello Chuck,
    I’m very interested in your comments and thoughts about ‘Elmers’. My name is Dar (short for Darwin) and I think you have a great Idea. I belong to a local QRP group called the Midwest Homebrewers and QRP group and we love Elmering. see our web site at I will be attending the ARRL Trainers Institute this month and hope to be able to talk to some of the HQ hot shots to get support for Ideas just like yours.
    I would be interested in haveing a conversation about what I am up to and see what other ideas you have.
    My favorate one liner at local meeting is “Hey, this is a HOBBY and it is supposed to be FUN!”
    There is so much more to Amateur Radio than just carring around an HT and doing Storm Watch, much, much more.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    73’s and 72’s
    If you feel like talking instead of typing, my work number is 402 602-1978 (normal work hours) and my home number is 402 99100412.
    See ya

    Darwin (Dar) Piatt W9HZC
    Assistant Nebraska Section Manager
    Director – Nebraska Elmer Squad


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