The term "Elmer"--meaning someone who provides personal guidance and assistance to would-be hams--first appeared in QST in a March 1971 "How's DX" column by Rod Newkirk, W9BRD (now also VA3ZBB). Newkirk called them "the unsung fathers of Amateur Radio.".
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Using the word Elmer to mean mentor is unique to ham radio. Rick Lindquist (WW1ME) traces the origin of the term Elmer to the March 1971 issue of QST magazine; the term appeared in a “How’s DX” column by Rod Newkirk (W9BRD). Rod’s mentor was a ham named Elmer and the message was that every new ham should have an Elmer to help them.