The Quarterly Essay

How To Be An Elmer

Usually by now I have posted something of a state of the union address outlining what I did last year and what I plan to do this year. Most of it follow much the same outline, i set out a grand addenda and then 30 seconds later get sidetracked into other thoughts and get sucked into many other rabbit holes and I never get much done that I planned. So rather than do that this year, I thought i would take a very different approach to my first blog post of the year. I am going to take a topic, an action or something I have found interesting and write a whole lot of shit about it.

Even the title hints at this. The quarterly essay is an Australian long form journalism journal that comes out 4 times a year. There are no sound bites, no click bait titles, just a really good look at a specific topic in depth. And in podcast form Radio Lab from WNYC Studios kind of does the same thing. The whole idea of long form journalism has kind of lost its way in favor of click bait on social media to sell adverts because no one wants to pay to read real quality reporting, they want some fuckwit pundit to tell them how to think so they can go perform how woke they are on any given subject.

Take the youtube stars as an example, so much of what gets posted is essentially click bait. When I see a video posted with the guy pulling a face pointing at something in his card, I think, fuck that. Do not treat me as an imbecile, or as a means to and ends, I am not here for you to earn ad dollars, so stop with the stupid shill videos, just get to the point and show me either nothing, or something relevant, you pointing at something like a fucking idiot is not going to get me to click on your video, the content will.

So anyway, I have been struggling to a cohesive narrative for this post. Its been more rambling on than anything thus far, but all along I have wanted to talk about elmering. I have been sitting on this post for over 2 weeks not sure of where I wanted to take it, but now I know, and the reason why i know will soon become clear.

For a while now I have been helping a couple of people who have been struggling with focus and understanding concepts and via email i have been answering their questions by mostly asking them questions. I think this is the best way to gain understanding, though, my wife hates it when I do it to her and I have been helping her with essay writing for the university course she is doing for a promotion at work.

As far as elmers go, I have been lucky, I have a EE lecturer at a uni who confuses me more than most, but there is a lot of great technical knowledge coming from him and there are a couple of community leaders who i look up to and respect and while I do not ask them lots of questions, I like to share with them my progress, just so they know that their efforts in writing articles, blog posts and the like are not wasted and that there are some who really appreciate the effort they go to to share their time, skills and knowledge to a wide audience.

And it saddened me, while speaking with one of these wizened leaders of the home brew community that he said he was retiring from home brewing. And lets face it, he has certainly earned the right to retire and enjoy the fruits of his dedication to home brew and construction. But that is not why he is taking a break, he is taking a break because of emails saying things like I don’t like your designs and I disagree how you treat the radio art.

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with people. If someone emailed me something like that, they would get told to go fuck themselves with a hammer, their email would be black listed and their IP added to IPTABLES to DROP all connections from them. See, I just do not have time for these kinds of gutless fucks. Which is why i just focus in doing what I do. People can come along on the journey with me and offer support or they can go to hell.

Its a rather sad indictment on our hobby that people who mostly do nothing, contribute nothing and build nothing are experts on everything that others are doing and building. As some of you are aware of, I moderate a couple of home brew related groups on fakebook and I see this all the time there also, people who really never build anything join these kinds of groups just to tell others how expert they are and to post stupid things that have nothing to do with home brewing. They do not last of course because I take a zero tolerance view to moderating and just delete their posts and or remove them from the group.

I have had a few people over the years tell me that my blog or my videos are not up to their standard. People who have never posted a single thing in their own lives, not even to their QRZ pages. Its tough tits to them hey? And I have others asking for X Y and Z, to which I reply, I am not doing any of this as a service to anyone, I am doing this because I want to keep some sort of documentation of what I have done. This blog for me is not a teaching tool for anyone, its my diary that documents my journey. I can look back in time and see where I was and how far I have come. I am also not really a teacher, I am more an encourager and hopefully and inspirer. If one person reads stuff on here and goes, well if this idiot can do all this, I am sure I can. Or if someone goes OHHH thats a good idea let me improve on it, then for me I have one and fulfilled my duty as a ham to pass it on. For me its not knowledge, but passion that I wish to pass on.

So, how to be a good elmer? Just get out there and do what you love and do it to the best of your ability and show the world just how passionate you are about your thing. It really does not matter what your thing is, be it home brew, portable operation, contests or heavens forbid bloody rag chewing. Do it with love and passion and inspire others with your addiction. You see, the people who I look upto and respect in the hobby and the guys who actually get off their asses and do something. Their actions inspire me to work harder, understand more and to be better.

Ultimately and elmer is someone who leads by example. And leaders are something sorely lacking in the world right now, lets not make ham radio less than what it already is, get out there and lead and show people there is more to the hobby than pissing and moaning on fakebook about who touched you on the frequency, who does not radio like you do, what the idiots at “Insert You National Organization” are doing. Be number 13 on the DX code of conduct: I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their respect. And be the best you that you can be and avoid the arseholes.

To my friends and the people who have inspired me, thank you.

Baxter Out.

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