An "elmer" is a kindly ham who helps newcomers get started in amateur radio. Many are happy to invite you into their "shacks" for a demonstration as to how an amateur radio station operates. Others enjoy helping with the testing procedures, and getting a station set up and on the air.
"Elmer" is a nickname or term used to describe someone that can answer lots of your Ham Radio related questions when you are starting out in Ham Radio
In amateur radio culture, an Elmer is a person who teaches and nurtures the neophyte amateur radio operator.
Elmer, the person who teaches and nurtures the neophyte ham radio operator. A mentor for Amateur Radio Operators. Almost all hams have had at least one Elmer in their Amateur Radio life. Many have had the privilege of being an Elmer to a new ham.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." While he probably was not trying to coin a term at the time, here's how Newkirk introduced "Elmer" in his column and, as it turned out, to the rest of the Amateur Radio world:
"Too frequently one hears a sad story in this little nutshell: 'Oh, I almost got a ticket, too, but Elmer, W9XYZ, moved away and I kind of lost interest.'"
Newkirk went on to say, "We need those Elmers. All the Elmers, including the ham who took the most time and trouble to give you a push toward your license, are the birds who keep this great game young and fresh."--Rick Lindquist, N1RL