Santa Clara County ARES®/RACES
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Network Access using TCP/IP over WiFi Part 15 Radio

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Multi-megabit point-to-point and point-to-multipoint connections to the Santa Clara County data network are available using commercially available WiFi equipment and protocols. The links are operated on unlicensed spectrum using FCC Part 15 rules and are encrypted. Because of the nature of microwave propagation, connectivity is limited to locations with a clear line-of-site to one of the county sites.


Accessible Services

TCP/IP over WiFi Part 15 Radio can be used to access the following SCCo ARES/RACES network services:


How To Connect



Use the following procedure to get connected to the network:

  • Location selection
    • Due to nature of microwave communications, a clear line of sight is required from the intended subscriber antenna location to one (or more) of the SCCo ARES/RACES network locations.
    • Find a location at the subscriber site that has a clear view of one (or more) of the SCCo ARES/RACES network locations.
      • The primary connection should be to your primary network site. This is the same as the primary Packet BBS site or primary E-mail site for your city/agency.
      • The best tool is a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope. Simply go up on the roof or other structure and see if you have a visible line of sight to the SCCo ARES/RACES hub site.
      • Those who wish to examine the link more technically can try some of the online microwave link design tools listed below.
    • Submit a completed WiFi Site Information Form for the intended location:   PDF    MS-Word
  • Equipment recommendation(s)
    • The SCCo ARES/RACES network team will review the expected propagation path to confirm that it is likely to produce a high quality connection. If the path is valid, they will specify the WiFi radio/antenna combination to purchase.
    • Note that there are two antenna/radios involved: one at the city/agency subscriber location and one at the network hub location
      • Subscriber radio/antenna
        • This will mount at your city/agency location
        • The SCCo ARES/RACES network demarc will be the Ethernet port on the radio.
      • Hub site radio/antenna
        • In some cases, a common radio/antenna at the hub site may be used to connect multiple subscriber locations
        • If the location is far from a hub site, a dedicated, radio with a higher-gain antenna will be needed at the hub site
  • Purchasing
    • Subscriber radio/antenna
      • The city/agency will be responsible for ordering the specified radio/antenna for their site
      • While you are waiting on delivery you can start constructing the mounting point, running cable, and installing your firewall and other network components.
    • Hub site radio/antenna
      • Funding for the hub site equipment will be on a case-by-case basis as we learn more about which sites have the ability to connect.
      • For shared hub site radios/antennas, SCCo ARES/RACES will handle ordering the radio/antenna. Depending on available funding, your city/agency may be asked to contribute a portion of the cost.
      • If a point-to-point link is required, you're city/agency will need to fund the entire hub site radio/antenna plus mounting hardware.
      • SCCo ARES/RACES will handle the installation of all hub site equipment.
  • Configuration
    • When the radio arrives, contact the SCCo ARES/RACES network management e-mail alias (see below) and arrange to deliver the radio.
    • The SCCo ARES/RACES network team will configure the radio. The configuration contains security information that can not be shared.
    • When the radio is configured, it will be returned to you for installation. You will receive IP network information plus elevation angle and azimuth information to aid in aligning the antenna. There will be a read-only password for the radio that you can use to perform antenna alignment and check on status.
  • Installation and Alignment
    • See our WiFi Antenna Alignment page for helpful hints on mounting and alignment the antenna.
    • Install at your convenience. We ask that you let us know a few days in advance of when you plan to install. If possible, we'll try to make ourselves available at the same time so we can monitor from the network side.
    • When aligning antennas, be sure to swing a bit past the peak signal and then back again to make sure you find the best signal. This helps ensure you are not aligning on a side lobe.
  • Testing
    • One the antenna is installed, the SCCo ARES/RACES network team will conduct a few tests to verify proper operation. If the unit tests OK, it will be added to our monitoring system so we're alerted if we lose connectivity.
  • Complete your network configuration
    • Finish configuring and testing your routing and firewall configurations. Consult the configuration information above for suggestions on how to configure routing and firewall settings at your site.
  • Train your users
    • Train your users on how to use the network and how to switch back to AX.25 packet if the WiFi link is unavailable.


Equipment and Software





Technical Reference



User Group

A discussion/e-mail group is available for SCCo ARES/RACES members interested in TCP/IP networking.

To Join: Visit our Discussion Groups page to learn how to subscribe to our main Announce group. Once approved, you can subscribe to the TCPIP group.

Network Manager

  • For questions:
    • Please direct questions to the above user discussion group. This helps everyone learn from a broader variety of situations.
  • For radio configuration, installation, or other site-specific issues that aren't appropriate for the general support group:
    • Contact the SCCo ARES/RACES network team at the e-mail alias below.

The network management team can be reached at the following e-mail alias (remove the spaces): netmgr @ scc-ares-races . org


If you have Packet Information that you would like to have included here,
please contact the Webmaster, Phil Henderson

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This page was last updated 05-Feb-2020