2018-03-13 One of the responsibilities of being human is helping others. None of us stand alone. In every aspect of our lives we have been the recipients, the beneficiaries of the help of others. I only have to think a second before names of key people who had significant influence in my life and in some way, small or large, set me on the course my life has taken. Likewise we have and should do that for others.
A name that comes to my mind immediately is a man named Arlie. He was a leader in our Topeka, Kansas church's boys club program called Sky Pilots back in the late 50's when I was about 10 or 12 years old. I had developed a serious in interest in ham radio. In those days you had to learn Morse Code at 5 wpm in order to take the Novice exam. I actually only knew one ham and for some reason I didn't ask him for help. But Arlie had been a radio operator in the war and offered to help me learn Morse Code. My dad got me a little key-buzzer thing and a book from ARRL on becoming a ham that included the Morse Code and each Tuesday evening either before or after Sky Pilots, Arlie would send Morse Code to me and listen to me send until I could manage 5 WPM. I wouldn't have even had a chance of passing my Novice test without his help. What a day when Dad drove me the big, threatening FCC office in Kansas City to take and PASS that exam. Thanks Arlie and Dad!
Fast forward to today. Now it's my turn to be "the Elmer." Gary, a friend at our church recently retired and has had a near-life-long desire to be a ham. He has considerable technical background so it didn't take him too long, after using on-line tests to be ready to take both the Technician and General exams and pass - which he did on February 10. And he didn't need much from me other than to encourage him and discuss questions he had. But we did spend considerable time talking about equipment both before and after he took the exam and before his call, KD9KHI was issued.
The real help he needed was with setting up his station, deciding on and setting up antennas and then "getting on the air." Even with that I didn't actually do much other than talk and make suggestions and loan or give him a few cables, antenna tuner and an SWR meter. He came over several times and looked at my setup. We walked around my yard looking at antennas. I did talk him into putting up a G5RV as his first HF antenna. He, on his own, built a J-pole for 2 meters which is very impressive and seems to work better than my store-bought dual band VHF/UHF antenna!
What's in it for me? Well, he let me have the first QSO with his new IC7300 which was with a station in Florida (we're in Wisconsin) on 20 meters. But the real "blessing" for me was that from there he started having a few QSOs on his own! AND we now have another active ham in the area! Welcome to ham radio, Gary! Now I will be learning from you.
What's my point? Help someone! You'll both benefit from the result.