Good Operating Practice
Boy, I sure am sorry I missed monday night! Sounds like things were crazy.
UB, keep your enthusiasm level up and remember, most long and short time HAM's are all really nice people who understand the "newbie" thing. They all have been there, and that's a big part of what the hobby is about, helping the new guy. One of the biggest points that I will try and encourage on the air and during the class is--excercise some humility and you will bring the good natured spirit out of just about any HAM. The HAM community is so diverse and broad that no one can be expected to know all the different quirks of each little niche. Each repeater has different "gentleman's rules". No two are exactly the same. Just ask for suggestions and in no time flat you will sound like you've been working folks on that repeater for years.
Handle has always been used in HAM stuff as far as I can remember. When working HF, I remember the QSO(an conversation exchange between two HAM operators) always containing things like:
"Fine business, Sergio. The handle here is Nathaniel, and my QTH(Location) is Arvada, Colorado."
"Roger, Roger, Nathaniel. You are 5-9 into Madrid, Spain, QSL?(Aknowledge receipt--Did you get that?)"
"QSL, Sergio, you are also 5-9."
From one place on origins of HAM speak, here is what they say for Handle:
The term handle is an old slang term for name that goes back to the cowboys of the Old West. Telegraphers picked it up and the ham radio operators got it from them. CB operators copied the hams. For Hams it can be either the operators first name or a nickname such as Sparks or Rusty. CB'ers often use an alias such as "Three Dawg" or "Jethro"