Whilst looking up information on this Sunday’s hamfest in Monroe (http://www.mcrca.org/hamfest.htm), I came across their Elmer page. On it, they list a variety of topics with the name, call, and phone number of someone who can answer questions on that topic.
My club something similar once, but it was less than successful. I think that the problem was that we asked people to fill out a form on our website if they needed any help. That information was e-mailed to one guy, who then forwarded it to the appropriate Elmer. There was just too much time lag between the time someone asked for help and when they got it. Or, it may have been that filling out the form was just too impersonal.
We are going to try it again, though, using the format that the Monroe club uses. I’m also going to give it more billing on our website, and push it more at meetings and other gatherings.
The topics the Monroe club lists on their website are:
- Buying First Radio
- Code Practice
- County Hunting
- DXCC Awards
- Rag Chewers Club
- Worked All States
- Public Service
- Technical Q&A
- Tube Radios
We already have Elmers for several of these topics. I, for example, would be more than happy to volunteer to be the Morse Code/CW Practice Elmer. We have one member who is an avid County Hunter, another who restores vintage gear, and yet another who’s been spearheading a statewide effort to set up a packet network throughout Michigan.
In addition, I think we should add or modify several of the categories. For example, Computers might become “Computers/Software” depending on who volunteers to be the Elmer. We should also have Elmers for VHF/UHF, Contesting, and possibly a bunch of other topics.
We’re now in the middle of discussing what topics we should add to the list and recruiting Elmers. I’ll update this topic when we’ve finalized our list.
Does your club have an Elmer list? If so, does it have topics that I haven’t thought of yet? How do you get newcomers to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of your Elmers? And, finally, what topics have you volunteered to be Elmer for?