The Joy of Elmering (with Congratulations to KK4FKM for His First QSO!)

I got some good news and some bad news Tuesday. The bad news came when Dean, NYØI, let me know he couldn’t get into my EchoLink station. A little investigation proved that my radio is deaf; the problem is either the feedline or the antenna itself. What a disappointment.

But the good news I got that day was so good that it more than made up for the bad news. I got a taker on my offer to be a CW Elmer! Michael, KK4FKM, found me listed over at the SKCC Elmer Page and sent me an email. Great timing — I easily pushed my antenna woes to the back of my mind and set up a SKED with him for yesterday afternoon on 20m.

Kent SP-1 Key

The Key I Used to Work KK4FKM: The Kent SP-1

At the appointed hour I called KK4FKM KK4FKM KK4FKM DE NØIP NØIP NØIP KN. I wasn’t sure I’d hear him since the band was unusually noisy and KK4FKM was running QRP. But sure enough, there he was!

He was buried pretty deep in the QRN; I quickly flipped on my CW filter to isolate his signal. I managed nearly solid copy on the first go-around, but I couldn’t make out his subsequent transmissions. I was booming in there, though, so he had the opportunity to copy plenty of code.

Afterward we chatted by phone. I was moved when Michael told me this was his first QSO! What an honor to be his first contact. Impressive, too, that Michael’s first QSO was by CW, especially considering that he has his General — he could have gone straight to HF SSB if he wanted to, but instead he went the extra mile and tapped out his first QSO on a straight key, QRP no less. Well done!

It turns out that Michael and I have even more in common than our appreciation for CW. He is a police officer in a department about the same size as the one in which I served, and he is a Baptist, too. After a delightful conversation, we set up another SKED before bidding one another farewell.

This is one QSL that I would send if it cost me a hundred stamps! It’s in the mailbox. Congratulations, KK4FKM!

If you ever have a chance to Elmer, go for it. And if you could use an Elmer, don’t hesitate to seek one out. You’ll be doing him a favor. Of all the things we can do in this hobby, Elmering might just be the most delightful one of all.

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5 Comments

Filed under CW, Elmering

5 responses to “The Joy of Elmering (with Congratulations to KK4FKM for His First QSO!)

  1. Chad Taylor - K0KAD

    I have always prided myself on being Techie in nature, I have more computers in my house than any 7 or 8 families would need. I build databases and work with Linux, Windows and Mac alike. But when it comes to CW I am thoroughly LOST. I can’t seem to get a handle on it in my head so it makes copying completely impossible! Congrats to any new ham that has taken the steps to learn. I applaud you…

    • Todd Mitchell

      I’m here for you, Chad! Hey, I just had a great idea. Surely this has been done before? We could intersperse an SSB QSO with CW and have a series of lessons. I’d start with one letter, demonstrate it to you and then have you send it back to me. It would be just like a classroom with both voice and CW, but on the air. Anyone want to try it?

      • I would if I had my general license and a HF rig! That is a great idea and I am sure that you could get some interest from it.

      • Todd Mitchell

        Thanks, Caleb. You just gave me another idea. We should do this on 10 meters so Technicians can take part. Now’s the time to do it, while the sunspots are peaking.

      • That would be cool! I just need to get a 10 meter rig sometime… I will keep that in mind.

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