While at the club meeting the question came up about terms used in communications like where did 73 and 88 originate. Another topic was where did the term "Elmer" come from and why wasn't it "Harry" or "Fred" or "Louise"? No one present could answer the question. Where did the term "Elmer" originate?
First, the definition of an Elmer is, someone who provides personal guidance and assistance to would-be hams. This definition first appeared in our A.R.R.L. publication QST in March 1971 article "How's DX". The author of this piece was Rod Newkirk, W9BRD (also using VA3ZBB). In Newkirk's article were a couple phrases describing the woes of a despondent person that had just failed the entry level amateur radio license test. "Too frequently one hears a sad story in this little nutshell: 'Oh, I almost got a ticket, too, but Elmer, W9XYZ, moved away I kind of lost interest.'"
Apparently other hams began using 'Elmer' around the world and the new tag stuck. The term "Elmer" is not very old but the concept is older. What name was used to describe those hams that helped other become hams were probably just common describers like friend, helper, tutor, coach, etc.
Raise your hand if you were aware that there is an award for "Elmer's". I can't raise my hand. I learned only from this research of the award. It is known as the Elmer Award, 'catchy isn't it?' and you can send or present someone with an Elmer Award certificate from the Amateur Radio Relay League. I AM NOT SOLICITING ANYONE FOR A CERTIFICATE! If you go to the ARRL Elmer Award page on the Internet you can read just above where you enter your Elmer's information and your information all about the certificate.
So, in closing, "Do Elmer's have and Elmer?" Yes, emphatically. Because we all participate and help each other. Therefore in some cases we are Elmers helping Elmers.
(Pcars - 2018).