How do I find an Elmer? (an Experienced Ham to help me Learn and Practice)

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An Elmer -- a very archaic but still commonly-used term -- is, simply put, a ham radio mentor. As with any endeavor, it's often easiest to learn and explore under the guidance of a person who has a lot of experience in the activity. The good news is that a great many hams love Elmering newcomers. Still, how best to find one?

  • On-air is a good way, if you already have your license and are comfortable talking. However, it may be that part of what you want from your Elmer is to help you get over mic fright, or you need some help with studying to get your ticket.
  • A local ham radio club is a great way to meet an Elmer. Most, if not all, clubs are very welcoming of new members or potential members, and most of them welcome folks who don't yet have their tickets. Look up the meeting schedule for your local club and come to a meeting. The Puget Sound Repeater Group welcomes any existing or prospective member at its meetings, which are listed right on the home page.
  • You may opt to use the Internet as your elmer. There are many resources online that can get you up to speed. See the Amateur Radio Media article for a curated list of podcasts and YouTube channels.