K6AAI says: On the radio no one knows you're a dog.

Al Canton

I've wanted to be a General class ham since I was 14 years old but could not send code too well and was even worse at receiving it.

I was able to get a novice ticket. I was lucky to get that... after three attempts the elmer who gave me the exam took pity on me and probably "didn't hear" the mistakes I made on the CW part of the exam. (He lived up the street and I was a attracted to his very cute daughter and her to me... a junior high school romance!)

After that year I became more interested in cars... mainly because I learned that girls were more interested in the car you had than the ham radio you had!

So I put ham radio on the "back-burner of life"... where it remined until 55 years later when I finally found time to get my Tech ticket in January of 2016 (I did not realize that the FCC took off the code requirement years ago. I wish I had known!)

Two months after getting the Tech I passed the General exam.

On Nov. 18, 2017, after being licensed for almost two years... and quite a bit of study, I passed the Extra exam.

I grew up in Great Neck, NY, have a BA from the University of Virginia and an MA from The College of William and Mary.

I've worked in computers and publishing, often at the same time. I own Adams-Blake Publishing. I also own a web design company called NewMedia Create which specializes in web sites for authors, indie publishers, and other small biz. In addition I am a CA licensed insurance agent for life and health coverage, but these days I only write Medicare Supplements... see website here (you will like the cartoon on the last page.)

xxx xxx xxx

My Station

I've had a number of different radios over the years, starting out with the usual Baofang hand-held... which just about every new ham starts out with

I then upgraded to a Kenwood TM-V71 VHF/UHF mobile radio which, like so many other ham, I used as a base station. It has been a workhorse of a radio and since it has never broken, I still have it.

One item of interest, this radio came with very noisy fan... it sounded like the Shuttle lifting off! There is a website that shows how to replace the fan and what to replace it with. That made a lot of difference

Upon getting my General I bought a Kenwood TS-590 SG which I really liked and used it for a few years. When I went to a friend's house and saw his Icom 7300 and I knew I had to sell the Kenwood and get the Icom... and I did.

When I got the Extra I decided to reward myself with an amp and after shopping around I decided on the Elecraft KPA500 which will output 600W, but I keep it at about 475W give or take. I also got the (overpriced) Elecraft KAT500 tuner.

For antennas, I use a Diamond 2M/440 vertical and a My Antenna's 60 foot end-fed strung between two trees up about 35 feet. The Diamond is mediocre at best, but the end-fed works quite well.


Sacramento Area Repeater list: A PDF file with a the callsign, frequency, and PL tone of repeaters that can be reached from the Sacramento, CA area. It also has a list of various HF nets that I often participate in.

Short Tutorial on Getting a Domain etc.: I get asked by hams (and others) to set them up with their own domain with (maybe) a website but, more importantly, their own (domain) email... so that they can get off of the unreliable Yahoo or AOL or Gmail platforms. Thus, I’ve written down procedures that they must do before I can do this for them.

Tips For Passing the Amateur Extra 'Ham' Exam: If you are looking to take the Extra exam, I wrote this piece that has gotten a lot of attention. It might be of some help to you.

How To Choose A Good Vanity Callsign: I have a new vanity callsign, K6AAI. I wrote a short essay on the methodology I used to choose it... How I Chose My New Amateur (Ham) Radio Vanity Callsign.


A. Canton
8041 Sierra Street
Fair Oaks, CA 95682

Email me

(We stopped posting our phone as it generated robo-calls! Email is best.)

"I am often asked how radio works.
Well, you see, wire telegraphy is like a very long cat.
You yank his tail in New York and he meows in Los Angeles.
Do you understand this?
Now, radio is exactly the same, except that there is no cat."
     - Attributed to Albert Einstein